Saturday, May 25, 2013

Make Your Own Homemade Sour Cream

"Hey yogurt, if you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera?"
- Attributed to Stephen Colbert

I use a lot of sour cream. It is one of my favorite ingredients for baking. I prefer using it over yogurt, since it has a higher fat content, I think it makes tastier baked goods. So when I first found out you could make it yourself, I was all over it.

Measuring the cream

I keep heavy cream in the house, mostly because I use it in tea and coffee. There is nothing like heavy cream, pure and simple. I actually think heavy cream is my favorite food of all time. Since I keep it around, this is so awesome for me. I can make my own sour cream myself, if I run out of store bought.

Just added the milk/vinegar mixture
Another reason I wanted to share it here, is because many of my recipes call for it, and sour cream isn't available in every country. But heavy cream, (probably called simply, cream, in most places) I know is more widely available.

And we wait for the magic to happen

The great news is I think this homemade sour cream tastes even better than store bought. The first taste you get when you taste it is sour cream. But then you get this after taste of heavy cream. So of course I love that! And you know what the ingredients are since you made it yourself!

After 24 hours, it gets thick! But not quite as thick as store bought, but almost.

The bad news is it doesn't last as long in the fridge as store bought, and it's not quite as thick, (it's still thick, just a tad less than store bought.) It lasts about a week after you make it, but after a few days it does loosen a little. I think it's best within the first 4 or 5 days.

Vintage Minton Bowl, Pink Napkins and  Towle Sterling Silver Spoon, available at my Etsy shop, House of Lucien.

Homemade Sour Cream

There are 2 different ways you can make this, I've included them both.

Recipe #1 from All Recipes This is the recipe I used this time, but I've made it both ways.


1 cup (8 oz or 237 ml) heavy whipping cream - here in the US there is whipping cream and heavy whipping cream, get the heavy kind, the one with the highest fat content

1/4 cup (59 ml) milk

3/4 tsp white vinegar


In a small bowl, add the milk and the vinegar stir, and let stand for 10 minutes.

Pour the heavy cream into a jar and stir in the milk mixture. Cover the jar and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.

After the 24 hours has passed, store it in the fridge. Use within a week.

Recipe #2 From Mother Earth News this article also includes how to make cream cheese


1 cup (8 oz or 237 ml)  heavy whipping cream - here in the US there is whipping cream and heavy whipping cream, get the heavy kind, the one with the highest fat content

1/4 cup (59 ml) sour cream OR cultured buttermilk, OR yogurt with live cultures


In a jar add the heavy cream and the sour cream or buttermilk, shake it all up and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours, store it in the fridge. It will last a week in the fridge.



  1. New fan coming over Mop it Up Monday. I would love for you to come share this post at our From the Farm Blog Hop. Hope to see you there!
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  2. If you would like it to thicken up - you can strain it in a cheesecloth for a further 24 hours - it will be very tangy and I would suggest recipe #2 if you plan to do that.

  3. hello i am from India , i want to know that should all the ingredients be at the room temprature and is there no need to boil the cream? your guidelines will be great help to me.

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  4. meenakshi - No need to boil the cream. And you don't need to bring them to room temperature first, since they will become room temperature after sitting. So if they are first right from the fridge, that's fine.

  5. Making this now! Thanks so much for posting the recipe.☺

  6. thank you so much for this recipe!! I'm into dipping sauces these days and sour cream is is many of the recipes yet I didn't know what it is. Now i do :) thanks to you!

  7. I mix everything it ok? I forget to mix the milk and vinegar for 10 mins.

  8. after 18 hrs the cream has thickened a bit, but it's not sour at all. tastes only like cream. why is that? :-( and I live in a hot humid place, so wondering if the weather also makes a difference?

  9. Designer Mommy - I don't know. It would seem that in a warm climate it would sour faster. I don't know what method you used, but if you used the one with the milk and vinegar, you might need a little more vinegar, or just let it go longer.

  10. Hello

    I have a container of Lactantia 35% creme that went sour before the stale-by date, when it was more than half full! Because I didn't have time to return it I popped it in the freezer.

    Does it now qualify as sour creme to use in baking, or should I throw it out?

    Thank you.

  11. We do not have sour cream sold in the dairy section of grocery stores&super markets here in Greece, so this is a great help for us when we try many American recipes:) Thank you!!!

  12. I want to thank you for this recipe as I live in India and have no way of obtaining Sour Cream! I love your site!

  13. I used the dry container of Cultured buttermilk powder that you add to the 1/4 C. less 1 T. of water to make the buttermilk along with the heavy cream. Gave it 2 taps in magic bullet and let sit for 24 hours covered at room temp. Saved me from stopping at grocery store on the way home. Really good. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Hi,I'm from the western part of the Philippines and what is available here is only all purpose cream,can I use it in place for the heavy cream that you mentioned?

  15. Hi! I tried to do the sour cream with yogurt (actually buffalo curd) and heavy cream. The sour cream taste is quite OK, but it's too thick, almost hard. What could be the problem? I am in a hot and humid country so room temperature is probably higher. Should I leave it for a shorter time in room temperature or?

  16. ummmaryam - I'm sorry I don't really know what all purpose cream is, since we don't have that in the U.S. Is it just cream? If it is, I think you should just try it and see if it works. Sorry I can't be of more help. It's hard when trying to translate recipes into recipes for other countries since the ingredients are different.

    Indicanne - I'm sorry, I don't know. We don't have buffalo curd here in the U.S. I'm not sure what it is. I wish I could be of more help. You can always add some milk to thin it out, or add more of another wet ingredient to thin it out then refrigerate it.

  17. @ummmaryam hi I'm from the Philippines too. No, I don't think you can use all purpose cream since it only has less than 10% fat content. Heavy cream or whipping cream has 35% or more. As far as I know SM carries the following brands--President, Elle & Vire and Anchor. Remember to check the fat content to make sure it's not half and half or light cream. If you can't find any you can try Nestle Sour Cream but it really isn't authentic since the fat content is around 8%.

    @TheAlchemist - I'm planning on making NY-style cheesecake soon and the recipe calls for sour cream. I wanna know which version of your recipe is closer to an authentic sour cream.

  18. hi melissa, i just want to confirm about leaving the cream at room temperature for about 24 hours. i am from india and being a tropical country it is pretty hot here. i just wanna ask whether leaving the cream out for 24 hours can it go bad as we never leave cream out for more than 1-2 hours?

  19. Shreya Chaddha - Yes, the point is that you want it to sour. It's the beginning stages of it going "bad" but it's not bad to eat. This is the same process as making yogurt, how milk sours after being left out for hours to make yogurt.

    I hope that helps.
    Good luck!

  20. Hi there! I was excited to make my own sour cream and used the buttermilk method. After 24 hours, my sour cream ish stuff had thickened quite a bit. It was the texture of a thick custard like creme brulee, but not sour at all. It tastes rich and creamy and not necessarily sweet, but it doesn't have that sour tang of sour cream. What can I do to fix this or what did I do wrong?

  21. This is a response to Gabrielle Miller, I haven't made sour cream yet, but I am in the process of making yogurt, and it says if it hasn't thickened up right you can leave it out for up to 36 hours, put in the fridge for then 8-12 and if it still havent thickened to repeat leave out for up to 36 hours...anyone else do this with sour cream??

  22. can you substitute vinegar with lemon juice?

  23. Katie, yes. I prefer using lemon over vinegar in making buttermilk. U definitely can replace vinegar with lemon.

  24. Just fyi: powdered buttermilk works well and also helps to thicken. It can be found in most stores.

  25. This recipe Didn't work at all. Tried with buttermilk it didn't thicken at all.

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  27. If you are using buttermilk, yogurt, etc, it has to have "live cultures." If your buttermilk doesn't have live cultures, it won't work. Also, about going bad. If you leave milk or cream out to sour, it will become sorted by whatever bacteria is in the air. Likely, bad tasting bacteria. By putting live cultueres in, they will be what digests and flavors the milk. So there is a difference between just letting it sit out on the counter versus inoculating it with a good, live culture.

    1. Thank-you have had eratic results with all the different advice out there. This makes sense.

  28. If you are using buttermilk, yogurt, etc, it has to have "live cultures." If your buttermilk doesn't have live cultures, it won't work. Also, about going bad. If you leave milk or cream out to sour, it will become sorted by whatever bacteria is in the air. Likely, bad tasting bacteria. By putting live cultueres in, they will be what digests and flavors the milk. So there is a difference between just letting it sit out on the counter versus inoculating it with a good, live culture.

  29. Hi Dear,

    My name is Tej, and I am from India.
    I wanted to make a dessert called Rasmalai using curdled milk. But the thing is when I opened the packet of milk, it was already curdled. I thought if I filter the water out I might get rest of the cream which I can use for making my sweet or panneer.
    But You know what, it has become like a curd, as if I have blended the curd in grinder, it has become a cream.
    Any Idea, what can this be used for ?

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  31. I used heavy cream, lemon juice and full fat milk. Gave it a mix. Let the entire mixture sit in a mason for 18 hours. The whey separated and the cream is set. However, I am confused whether this can be consumed as it does not taste sour. Has a funny odor. It often happens that if I (by mistake) leave the milk on the counter for 8 to 10 hours it turns thick (like yogurt) and we usually discard such milk considering it has rotten. Hence I am wondering of my milk has rot or this is how sour cream is made? I reside in India and currently the temperature in my city is 40 degrees C. Please guide me. I was hoping to make a red velvet cheese cake this evening.

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