How To Make Homemade Sour Cream
Sour cream is one of those ingredients that can be found in both sweet and savory recipes as well as cooked dishes and baked goods.
It is a typical topping for baked potatoes and generally used as a condiment with Mexican dishes such as nachos. It can also be the main ingredient in breads, appetizers, and desserts.
It adds richness, moistness, and even lightens up a recipe. But, sour cream has a high fat content, something that the fat conscious cook or diner may want to avoid. And, as it is made of cream, it is not safe for a dairy free diet or those who are vegan.
A container of powdered sour cream can be reconstituted just like powdered milk. Tuck it in the cupboard and you’ll always have sour cream on hand. You can make as much or as little as you need so there’s never any waste.
Using heavy cream, whipping cream, or one of the low fat ingredients results in sour cream thickening. Raw cream can be used instead, although it will have the same thinning effect as milk, half and half, or light cream.
You can even use a starter culture instead of the buttermilk, and this offers some nice probiotic advantages. But using ultra pasteurized cream isn’t recommended. The results can be iffy.
Did You Know?
Most grocery store sour cream isn’t really sour cream at all. It’s often just milk that’s been artificially thickened and flavored to taste like sour cream. In fact, if you buy fat free sour cream, there isn’t any cream in it at all.
Store bought sour cream also usually contains added ingredients like those thickeners. Do you really want your family ingesting that stuff?
Sour Cream Tips and Hints
Although sealed sour cream may be stored up to two weeks beyond the sell-by date, it will lose flavor as it ages.
Sour cream should always be kept refrigerated.
Do not use the carton as a serving container. Remove what you need and return the carton to the refrigerator immediately.
You may notice some liquid separation in sour cream after opening. You can either pour off the liquid or stir it back in.
Pink or green scum is an indicator of spoilage. Toss it out.
Before adding to any hot liquid, bring sour cream to room temperature.
Add 1 tablespoon of flour to 1/2 cup of sour cream as a thickener to discourage curdling.
Sour cream does not freeze well because it separates when thawed.
How To Make Homemade Sour Cream
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 tsp distilled white vinegar
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- Combine the milk and vinegar and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Pour the heavy cream into a jar.
- Stir in the milk mixture, cover the jar, and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours.
- Chill before using.
Nutrition Information is estimated based on the ingredients and cooking instructions as described in each recipe and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. Please note that nutrition details may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients used.
Conversion Information We get a lot of requests to help with conversions especially between various countries like Canada, the U.K. and Australia. These tables should help you make those conversions. For your convenience we have included a Conversion Chart.
Disclaimer Unless indicated recipes influenced by cookbooks, magazines or family traditions.
How to Make Low Fat Sour Cream
You can replace some of the cream with whole milk, half and half, or light cream if you’d prefer a low fat version. Just keep in mind that your sour cream won’t turn out quite as thick if you cut the fat.
Yogurt is an excellent substitute for sour cream in most recipes, but keep in mind it is thinner in texture. You can thicken yogurt by draining it through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a bowl And set n the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can use Greek yogurt, which is a bit thicker, to achieve the desired consistency.
To substitute 1 cup of sour cream in a baking recipe, use 1 cup yogurt plus 1 teaspoon baking soda. If you are making a dip, it is an even swap. Just make sure you use Greek yogurt or the yogurt is drained. For a cooked sauce, use a combination of 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon flour, and 2 teaspoons water for 1 cup of sour cream.
Buttermilk or Sour Milk
Buttermilk and sour milk are the next best options to swap for sour cream, but they are not quite as thick. Adding some softened butter can improve the texture. If you are baking, use 3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk plus 1/3 cup of softened unsalted butter.
Cottage Cheese and Cream Cheese
Although the textures of cottage cheese and cream cheese are quite different from sour cream, their tastes are somewhat similar. Thus, it is best to blend either ingredient, along with some liquid to achieve a similar consistency and “rid” the cottage cheese of the curds.
If you are making a dip, use a blender or food processor to combine 1 cup cottage cheese with 1/4 cup yogurt or buttermilk. If you are simply looking for a lower-fat alternative to sour cream, mix 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons skim milk, and whip until smooth in a blender.
To use cream cheese instead of sour cream in a dip, add 6 ounces cream cheese plus 3 tablespoons milk to a blender and briefly whirl to process to the right consistency.
This unsweetened, condensed milk has had about 60 percent of the water removed, resulting in milk with a thick consistency. Make sure you are using unsweetened milk and not sweetened condensed milk, which has added sugar.
For cooked sauces, combine 1 cup evaporated milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture stand 5 minutes to thicken. If you are looking for a lower fat option to sour cream, mix 1 can of chilled evaporated milk whipped with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
Non Dairy Substitutions
It will be difficult to replicate the taste and texture of sour cream while using an ingredient that is dairy-free, but if you have an allergy or are on a vegan diet, there are a few foods you can substitute when necessary. You may be able to find store-bought dairy-free sour cream, but it can have a lot of processed ingredients and may not hold the same flavor of sour cream.
You can actually make your own dairy-free sour cream at home. It only takes about 5 minutes to prepare in a food processor but does require some chilling time, however, so you may want to prepare it in advance and refrigerate it.
If you prefer to avoid soy, you can use cashews to make a vegan sour cream. Soak the cashews overnight to soften, then puree in the blender with lemon juice and nutritional yeast to taste. Cashew cheese also can be used as a ricotta substitute.