How to Make Sour Cream From Scratch

How to Make Sour Cream
••• How to Make Sour Cream. Jeff Kauk/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Sure you can buy sour cream at the store, but you'll just be settling, if you do. Because homemade sour cream tastes a million times better. And you know what? It only takes two ingredients and maybe two minutes of your time to make a batch from scratch. Heck, you don't even have to cook anything. Make sour cream once, and I guarantee you'll never go back to that store-bought stuff.


  • 1 cup cream (heavy or whipping)
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream


  1. Pour the ingredients into a sterilized pint jar; seal; and shake vigorously to combine.
  2. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours to allow the sour cream to develop.
  3. Then, give your finished sour cream a good stir, and store it in the refrigerator, if you won't be using it right away.


1-1/4 cup. Scale the recipe up or down to meet your needs.If you're making more than two cups, you'll need to use a quart jar.

Why This Works

The lactic acid bacteria in the buttermilk (or sour cream) ferments the cream, causing it to sour and thicken. 

Now, if you want to split hairs, this recipe actually makes creme fraiche, but I guarantee your taste buds won't complain about the fancier name.

How to Make Low-Fat Sour Cream

Replace some of the cream that's called for with whole milk, half-and-half or light cream. Just keep in mind: your sour cream won't turn out quite as thick, if you cut the fat.

Need Something That You Can Use Right Now?

If you don't have time to make sour cream from scratch,  that you can use in its place. And if you're just looking for a stand-in because you've reached (or passed) the sell-by date that's stamped on the sour cream container in your fridge, you may not need a replacement after all. .

Never seem to have sour cream when you need it, or always throwing away tubs that went bad before you got to use them? Think about investing in a container of powdered sour cream. It can be reconstituted just like powdered milk, so you always have sour cream on hand. You can make as much or as little as you need, so there's never any waste.

Did You Know?

Most grocery store sour cream isn't really sour cream at allIt'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. Disappointing! Give the real stuff a try; your taste buds will thank you.

Uses for Extra Sour Cream

If you make the switch to homemade sour cream, you probably won't ever have any leftovers again (it just tastes too good), but should you ever find yourself with a little extra, . You'll be amazed at how much it elevates even the simplest of dishes.