sour cream in a bowl with cucumber/homemade sour cream

How to Make a Homemade Sour Cream

Why bother making something when you can buy it? Well, handmade food always tastes better and is far less expensive.

Knowing how to create sour cream at home will be beneficial because it is highly used in the kitchen as one of the ingredients and sometimes used as a dip in certain dishes. In addition, others have dietary preferences due to health considerations. There are several various methods for making your sour milk, including lactose-free and vegan alternatives. Sour cream is highly beneficial in the kitchen, and it is essential in baking since it provides moisture to baked foods, it is rich in fat thus making your dish have a rich taste.

The acid in our baked goods tenderizes the gluten, resulting in a soft and tender finished product. As you can see, sour cream is usually present in recipes that call for baking soda as a leavener. This is because sour cream activates the leavening properties of baking soda. Furthermore, the acid in sour cream provides a mild tangy flavor in your baked treat.

Sour Cream and Buttermilk

Those two effects are nearly identical, with the only difference being the amount of fat in each. Because sour cream has a higher fat content than regular cream, it imparts a deeper flavor to baked goods.

As previously stated, it has a mild tangy flavor, but this flavor is so subtle that you can’t tell if the ingredient is milk, sour cream, or buttermilk because the taste is so faint.

Using buttermilk or sour cream provides almost the same results, so next time you try to bake something that should be soft, tender, and moist, try adding sour cream or buttermilk instead!



milk,cup and lemon/homemade sour cream

1 cup room temperature heavy cream(best if with a fat content of 36%)

1 tsp Lemon Juice

¼ cup Milk

  1. Pour the heavy cream into a clean mason jar then add the lemon juice.
  2. Cover the mixture with a cheesecloth or paper towel and use a rubber band to secure it. (Do not seal the mason jar because we want the mixture to ferment.)
  3.  Leave the mixture overnight in a cool place but do not refrigerate.
  4.  Once it is ready you can add a flavoring of your choice.

You can add flavors such as lemon. onion or chives. Keep it in a sealed container and refrigerate if not in use, but do not freeze. You can keep it fresh for up to 2 weeks.

sour cream in wooden bowl

What is sour cream?

Sour Cream tastes like a mixture of cream cheese and yogurt and is also tangy.

Sour Cream is made when lactic acid-producing bacteria are added to a cream resulting in a slightly tart thick substance. That process is called “souring”, and this is where the “sour” in its name comes from.

The early versions of sour cream were made from milk and it was left to sit at room temperature. 

The cream was allowed to rise to the surface. The cream is then fermented by naturally occurring bacteria. Thus making the cream thicker and is also a natural way of preserving it.

Commercially made sour cream has 18-20% fat and lactic acid was cultured with it to add the tangy taste. The light sour cream is made from half-and-half and has a fat content of approximately 40%. While the non-fat sour cream is using stabilizers to thick the cream.

You can make a homemade sourcream as your version depending on your needs. 

Can you freeze sour cream?

Yes, you can, but the texture will be different. Frozen sourcream is advisable to be used only for baked goodies.

How long does sour cream last?

It is possible to preserve this recipe for up to 2 weeks if it is properly stored.

How to tell if the sour cream is bad?

A rotten sour cream has an unpleasant odor. It’s also important to pay attention to the texture; it’s likely spoilt if the sour cream has colorful specks or changed color.

Common substitute for sour cream

There are different reasons why one would want to substitute sour cream. Some do it because of milk allergy, diet preference, or health reasons.

yogurt with strawberry in a bowl


        It makes an excellent substitute for sour cream, it is 1:1 ratio. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, you can substitute it for 1 cup of yogurt.

white liquid in bottle


       Buttermilk and sour cream are both tangy so it is a great substitute. However, it is a little tricky because buttermilk has a thinner consistency. In baking, you can use ¾ cup of buttermilk for every cup called for. It may look thinner but it will bake nicely.

cream cheese/homemade sour cream

Cream Cheese

     It has a thicker consistency so you will need to thin it a little. For every cup of sour cream needed for a recipe, replace it with 6 ounces of cream cheese with 2 tablespoons of milk, buttermilk, or water.   



       Here’s the ingredient that you usually have in the kitchen. Great news, it makes a great substitute for sour cream in various recipes. You can replace it cup for cup.

Vegan/Dairy free Substitutes

The are various reasons why you would want to substitute the regular sour cream with vegan sour cream. It could be because of health reasons, diet preference or it could be because of allergic reaction to the body. Whatever the reason, you can always make a vegan homemade sour cream.

coconut milk/homemade sour cream

Coconut milk

     If you want a vegan or dairy-free replacement, here’s your answer.

     Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water. Skim the thick coconut cream off the top and add a little apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for a tangy         taste. You can also use refrigerated coconut milk for baked goods. Just mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into every cup of coconut milk.

almond milk in a bottle/homemade sour cream

Almond Milk

This milk has a nutty and creamy texture. It does not have lactose, saturated fats, and cholesterol on it. It is a great option for vegans, you may substitute 1 cup of almond milk for 1 cup of sour cream called in a recipe. For the sour taste, you may add 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of almond milk.

soy cream in a bowl with soy on side/homemade sour cream

Soy Cream

It is made of soy milk, emulsifier, vegetable oils, and stabilizers.  The texture is almost like sour cream. You can have 1 cup of soy cream in place of 1 cup sour cream in recipes.


sliced tofu/homemade sour cream

To prepare this, you will need the following:

  • 1 cup of silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • Simply blend all the ingredients. Season to taste and add more lemon juice according to your taste. 

Vegan sour cream recipe

There are vegan sour cream recipes that you can try if the options above are not preferable to you. You may check lovingitvegan for more sour cream recipes.