Sour Cream

4.45 from 20 votes

Learn How To Make Sour Cream at home using just 2 ingredients and 5 minutes of active working time. The homemade version is super easy, very economical, and much better than the store-bought one (vegetarian, gluten-free).

Try my homemade Pomegranate Molasses, Balsamic Glaze, Old El Paso Copycat Taco Seasoning, or Cajun Spice Mix. These are also easy to make at home and better than their store-bought versions.

Homemade sour cream served in a bowl.
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About Sour Cream

Sour Cream (Cultured Cream) is preserved soured cream made by fermenting heavy cream. It is one of those ingredients used regularly in my kitchen, and the best thing I have done is perfect the recipe to make it home.

The process to make it is just like making homemade yogurt or buttermilk where the lactic acid bacteria react with the cream and milk and produces more acid. This process gives the sour cream a thick texture with a slightly sour, tangy flavor.

It is slightly tangy and tart in taste and is often used as a baking ingredient to make cakes and other bakes fluffier and richer or to cook savory dishes.

Although it comes together in just 5 minutes, it needs 24 hours to allow the lactic acid bacteria to thicken and ferment it. Keep this in consideration and make it in advance before you need it.

Made using just 2 ingredients and 5 minutes of active working time, homemade sour cream is much better than store-bought sour cream. Why, you may ask?

  1. Homemade tastes much better than store-bought ones.
  2. It is made using high-quality ingredients.
  3. It is much more economical to make it at home than to buy commercial sour cream.
  4. The homemade version is free of artificial ingredients, added sugar, preservatives, thickening agents, or stabilizers.
  5. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator

This homemade sour cream recipe can be easily doubled or tripled, too. So, waiting for what? Make your sour cream at home using my easy recipe.

At home, you can also make creme fraiche, cottage cheese, cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and other dairy products. I will be sharing the recipes soon.

Ingredients

You will need 2 simple ingredients to make homemade sour cream.

Heavy Cream – Unsweetened heavy cream (double cream) with a fat content of 36% or more works best.

Fermenting Agent – You will need a fermenting agent to ferment the cream. I used lemon juice but you can use buttermilk or plain live yogurt in its place.

You can either make your buttermilk by mixing a teaspoon of lemon juice into ¼ cup milk or use store-bought buttermilk but since we require it in so little quantity, I refrain from buying a box and then figuring out what to use the rest for.

Another way to make it is by using yogurt as the fermenting agent. Add a teaspoon of plain live yogurt (in place of lemon juice) per 1 cup of heavy cream. Greek yogurt also works fine.

Flavoring – Once it is ready, you can use it as is or flavor it with any flavoring you choose. Garlic powder, taco seasoning, lemon pepper, etc can be added to it for a delicious taste.

How To Make Sour Cream

Add 1 cup of unsweetened heavy cream (36% or more fat content) to a pan and stir well.

Cream added to a pan.

Cook on low heat until it is just warm. Stir a few times while cooking.

Note – To check if the temperature of the cream is correct, put a finger in the pan. The cream should feel warm to the touch and not hot.

Checking the temperature of the cream.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cream to a glass container (or a mason jar).

Add 2 teaspoon lemon juice and mix well.

Adding lemon juice to the cream.
Mixed well.

Cover the mouth of the container with tissue paper, cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth, and secure it with a rubber band.

Note – Using a breathable material to cover the container will help to build the flavor.

Container covered with a muslin cloth.

Leave the container on the counter at room temperature for up to 8 hours or overnight to set. If it’s very hot where you live, reduce this time to 6 hours.

The cream might have separated a bit while resting. Just stir it well using a spoon or a small wire whisk.

Ready sour cream.

Cover the container with a lid and refrigerate for another 8 hours for the cream to thicken. The sour cream is ready.

Refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks and use it as desired.

Refrigerated sour cream ready to use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my sour cream thin?

When you buy sour cream from the store, it comes with added artificial thickeners; hence, it can be a little thicker than the homemade version.

The homemade version might be a little thinner in consistency but is equally good and the recipes to which it is added come out perfect.

How to make vegan sour cream? 

If you are a vegan, you can make it using raw cashew nuts. It’s not the real deal but tastes as good as the original.

Add 1 cup of cashew nuts, ½ cup water, and 2 tablespoon of lemon juice to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy and your vegan version is ready. Easy, right!!

Is sour cream gluten-free?

It contains just heavy cream and lemon juice; hence, it is gluten-free unless there is some contamination.

How to make instant sour cream?

This Instant version is a great substitute if you are on a time crunch. You will need unsweetened heavy whipping cream and lemon juice to make this. Stir the two until combined and whisk until the cream is slightly stiffened. 

Is sour cream different from yogurt?

While sour cream is prepared by adding bacteria (fermentation) to the cream, yogurt is prepared by fermenting only milk.

Can I use white vinegar instead of lemon to make sour cream?

Yes, you can use white distilled vinegar in place of lemon juice. It works fine. You can also use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.

Pro Tips By Neha

Don’t get tempted to use low-fat cream. The sour cream will not turn out thick and creamy.

Once sour cream is ready, you can flavor it using various ingredients. Add some salt, pepper, onion powder, and chives to make a savory onion and chive topping, or add vanilla, orange zest, or lemon zest along with some sugar to top over your desserts.

Usage Ideas

Sour cream is a versatile ingredient used in multiple baking recipes or to make creamy, savory dishes.

It makes the baked goods moist and gives them a nice texture. Since it contains acid, it tenderizes the gluten, yielding incredibly soft cakes. I use it to make pound cake, cookies, and chocolate cake.

Use it to top Tacos, Waffles, Pancakes, or Mexican Cauliflower Rice.

It is also a great topping for baked potatoes and pizza. A dollop of sour cream over baked potato is one of my favorite snacks.

Stir it with a little onion and garlic powder for added flavor. I sometimes slather it over my Sicilian Pizza and it tastes great.

Thin it down with a little water and use it as a salad dressing in potato salad or any other salad, or make a creamy dip.

Use it to thicken soups and stews and give them a creamier texture.

Add some to your favorite dips to make them richer and creamier.

Storage Suggestions

You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Use a non-reactive glass jar or an airtight container (as it may react with the plastic) and keep the lid tightly closed.

I do not recommend freezing it as it may separate when thawed. However, if you have made a big batch and have not been able to use it, freeze it in a freezer-safe box and use it only for baked goodies. Do not use it for dips or sauces, as the texture will differ.

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Learn How To Make Sour Cream at home using just 2 ingredients and 5 minutes of active working time. The homemade version is super easy, very economical, and much better than the store-bought one (vegetarian, gluten-free).
4.45 from 20 votes

How to Make Sour Cream At Home

Learn How To Make Sour Cream at home using just 2 ingredients and 5 minutes of active working time. The homemade version is super easy, very economical, and much better than the store-bought one.
Cook: 5 minutes
Resting Time: 1 day
Total: 1 day 5 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup unsweetened heavy cream (8 oz or 250 g, 36% or more fat content works best)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
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Instructions 

  • Add heavy cream to a pan and stir well.
  • Cook on low heat until it is just warm. Stir a few times while cooking.
  • Note – To check if the temperature of the cream is correct, put a finger in the pan. the cream should feel warm to the touch and not hot.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the cream to a glass container.
  • Add lemon juice and mix well.
  • Cover the mouth of the container with tissue paper, cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth and secure it with a rubber band.
  • Note – Using a breathable material to cover the container will help to build the flavor.
  • Leave the container on the counter for up to 8 hours or overnight to set. If it’s very hot where you live, reduce this time to 6 hours.
  • The cream might have separated a bit while resting. Just stir it well using a spoon or a small wire whisk.
  • Cover the container with a lid and refrigerate for another 8 hours for the cream to thicken. The sour cream is ready.
  • Refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks and use it as desired.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled.
You can use white distilled vinegar in place of lemon juice.
You can use the cream after 8 hours of setting but it will thicken more when refrigerated.
Don’t use low-fat cream and milk or the sour cream will be too thin.

Nutrition

Calories: 143kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 19mg, Potassium: 43mg, Vitamin A: 600IU, Vitamin C: 0.6mg, Calcium: 37mg
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19 Comments

  1. hi! after 24 hours , i dont put my homemade sour cream in refrigerator, i use it right away. is that okay?

  2. 5 stars
    I thought you have a good collection of recipe’s and it might be possible for me to serve these items from my place to the world.

  3. I make sour cream in a different way …..but I am as always mesmerized by your beautiful pictures , your pictures have a ” get happy “button , they never fail to please .