Easy Homemade Sour Cream Recipe

miraclebaratlanta chef writer avater
By Barbara Hodge • Last Updated: October 17, 2023
Miraclebaratlanta.com is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.
Easy Homemade Sour Cream Recipe

Rich, creamy and tangy, Homemade Sour Cream is a game changer! Making sour cream easily with just two simple ingredients. Once you taste this, you’ll never go back shop bought. Master how to make sour cream, and bring soups, baked potatoes and salads to life in no time!

Homemade Sour Cream

Can you make homemade sour cream? Yes! And it’s super tasty and easy to make. Homemade sour cream is fresher, healthier and more economical.

I love making everyday staples from scratch. It’s surprising how straightforward many of them are. Put simply, they taste better, and have fewer (if any) additives and preservatives.

Sour cream is one of my favourite dairy toppings. I find the fresh, creamy tanginess is the perfect accompaniment for soups, potatoes, squash and baking desserts. Especially during the fall and winter seasons!

That’s when our sour cream and cream cheese consumption dramatically increases. That’s why I learnt how to make homemade sour cream – it’s a great money saver, and it’s so delicious.

This home made sour cream is ready in 14 hours in summer, and 24 hours in winter. All you have to do is to allow the mix to sit untouched on the kitchen counter. Just a bit of planning and the pay-off is totally worth it!

Bring joy into your life and share it with loved ones. Read on!

making Homemade Sour Cream in a glass jar
Credit: Instagram @veganhuggs

Traditional method

I tried making sour cream recipes with heavy cream, lemon juice, distilled vinegar, and milk. The problem was that the lemon juice and vinegar tends to separate the cream with a curdling effect in soups, mashed potatoes or when it’s used in cooking.

No one wants curdling sour cream, so I did a bit of research on the traditional method so I could use a homemade sour cream recipe for cooking and baking as well.

What is sour cream?

It’s a rich and creamy cultured dairy product with a tangy flavour. Sour cream is fermented with lactic acid bacteria in whipping cream. The process develops and multiplies the bacteria at room temperature. The cream is then thickened naturally after fermenting.

So I tested with various dairy products for this DIY sour cream, and my favourite is Greek yogurt and whipping cream. It results in a thick, tangy taste that is just right. And it doesn’t curdle when cooked.

Sour cream ingredients

There are only two simple ingredients you need in making your own sour cream.


I use whipping cream (30% fat) which is a bit lighter in fat content than heavy cream (36% or more fat).

I often use sour cream to replace mayonnaise and butter. So, less fat and calorie is achievable with it. And for this, whipping cream is best for homemade sour cream.

Best cream for this recipe

The higher the fat, the thicker the sour cream is. As I mentioned, whipping cream has less fat than heavy cream. However, I recommend you use no less than 30% fat, and low temperature pasteurized whipping cream. This will help sour creamto become thicker andmore flavourful.

Avoid raw cream and ultra pasteurized cream. They don’t culture well.


I use live natural Greek yogurt. It’s probiotics rich and allows fermenting in whipping cream. The natural yogurt should have no additives or sugar. Make sure it has no gelatin or guar gum which are used to thicken the cream. You can find all the information on the label.

How to use homemade sour cream

I love sour cream, and I often use it as a replacement for butter. It can reduce fat in my cooking and add some extra tang and flavour. It’s also a great substitute for mayonnaise.

You can use this homemade sour cream for sour cream potato salad, and top it on kabocha squash soup. Also you can make sour cream sauce and enjoy it with mashed potato cakes or Japanese sweet potato. Instead of butter, make mashed potatoes with sour cream. It’s delicious!!

You can also DIY your sour cream flavour by adding some chopped herbs like dill, chives and parsley. Or spice it up with smoked paprika, garlic or onion.

How to Make Sour Cream

a clean glass jar for Homemade Sour Cream
Credit: Instagram @filzadiaries15


Remove whipping cream from the fridge and leave it in your kitchen at room temperature before use.

Use an air-tight glass container to make and save your sour cream in. Make sure that the jar is clean. And use a clean teaspoon to stir the mix.

I first use washing detergent and clean the jar with warm water, removing all of the detergent. Then leave it to dry.


Place whipping cream in the jar, and add live Greek yogurt. Gently stir the mix with a clean spoon until the mix becomes consistent.

You can also use homemade sour cream from a previous batch. It’s probiotic rich and can help fermenting in whipping cream.


Use clean cheesecloth or kitchen paper, and cover the glass jar with it. Always allow your sour cream mix to breath. So, don’t seal the jar with a lid yet. Then use a rubber band to bind the jar and the paper. Leave the jar at room temperature for six to eight hours.

I leave it on the kitchen table during summer. In winter, I heat up the oven to about 120 F degree (50 C degree), turn it off, and leave the jar in the oven. Make sure you turned off the oven after heating. Fermentation goes well when the temperature is more than 60 F degree (25 C degree) room temperature.

In my experience, it takes six to eight hours in summer. Then in winter, it takes 16 to 24 hours. After leaving the mix at room temperature, rest it in the fridge for eight hours. So in total, homemade sour cream is ready in 14 hours in summer, and 24 hours in winter.

How can you tell the fermentation completed?

Hold the jar, and jiggle a bit to see if the mix has set. It should look pretty uniform in texture as one solid mass, and will be pretty smooth.

Once fermentation is completed, put a lid on tightly and put in the fridge overnight. The sour cream will be a bit thicker the next day. It’s ready!

That’s it! Serve immediately Enjoy!


Homemade Sour Cream scooped with a wooden spoon in a jar
Credit: Instagram @ourgabledhome

How long is homemade sour cream good for?

You can keep homemade sour cream for up to two weeks. Though if you’re like me, it will be long gone before then! Make sure it’s always kept in the fridge, and use a clean spoon or knife whenever you scoop it up.

Can you freeze sour cream?

This homemade sour cream is best used without freezing. When it’s frozen, it tends to separate and the texture is no good.

Why is my sour cream thin?

Shop bought sour cream is thick because artificial ingredients are added. Your homemade sour cream may look thinner than shop bought at a glance, but once you sit it in the fridge after fermentation at room temperature, it thickens.

Is sour cream gluten free?

Yes. Our homemade sour cream is gluten free.

How to make sour cream more sour

The longer you leave the sour cream mix at room temperature, the tangier the flavor. If you prefer more tang, leave the mix out of the fridge a bit longer.

What is a substitute for sour cream?

  • Greek yogult
  • Buttermilk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Crème fraîche
  • Coconut cream
  • Mayonnaise

Side dish with sour cream

Easy Homemade Sour Cream Recipe

Homemade Sour Cream Recipe

Barbara Hodge
Rich, creamy and tangy, homemade sour cream is a game changer! Make it easily with just two simple ingredients. Once you taste this, you'll never go back shop bought. Master how to make sour cream today, and start bringing to life soups, baked potatoes and salads in no time!
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 16 hours
Total Time 16 hours 3 minutes
Course Cooking Basics, Dip
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegetarian
Servings 1 cup


  • 1 cup  cream (240ml: note 1)
  • 2 tablespoons live Greek yogurt (note 2)


  • Prepare a clean air tight glass jar or mason jar and a tablespoon.
  • Place whipping cream in the glass jar and add Greek yogurt. Stir the mix until the lumps of yogurt disappear and it becomes smooth.
  • Cover the glass jar with cheese cloth, kitchen paper or coffee filter. Use a rubber band to bind it to the jar.
  • Leave the jar on the kitchen counter. It takes about six to eight hours in summer. In winter, heat up the oven at 110 F° (50 C°) for five minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the jar for 16 to 24 hours. Don't stir or shake the mix while fermenting. (note 3)
  • To make sure the mix is fermented, jiggle the jar a little bit and check the sour cream is one uniform mass. If so, the sour cream has set. Remove the paper and rubber band, and put a lid on tightly. Leave the glass jar in the fridge for at least eight hours
    That's it. Serve and use the homemade sour cream. Enjoy!


  1. Use whipping cream no less than 30% butterfat. Don’t use fluffy whipped cream, low fat milk or light cream. They’re not suitable for this recipe. Also raw cream and ultra pasteurized cream don’t thicken. 
  2. Use natural Greek yogurt with no additives, sugar, or guar gum added for thickening. Just check out the label. 
  3. Fermenting goes well over 55 F degree (25 C degree) room temperature. 
How to use homemade sour cream:
Use it as a replacement for butter and make sour cream potato salad and sour cream mashed potatoes or top on mashed potato cakesJapanese sweet potato and kabocha squash soup. The ideas are limitless!