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How to make Sour Cream recipe - All you need is 3 ingredients and a jar, that's it!

How to Make Sour Cream (Bold Baking Basics)

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Learn How to Make Sour Cream at home and then use it to make your baking even better or enjoy on its own.


Hi Bold Bakers!

Dairy is a really important ingredient when it comes to baking. It serves many purposes like replacing eggs, makes richer cakes and because it contains acid it tenderizes the gluten so it yields incredibly soft cakes. That’s why it’s important for me to show you How to Make Sour Cream.

Bold Bakers have been asking me about Homemade Sour Cream for quite some time. Whether it’s because it’s unavailable in your region, or maybe you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get it, here it is! And it’s so simple. You will be happy to know you just need 3 ingredients and a jar, that’s it.

Squeeze your lemon into the heavy cream first, and stir it well. Then add the whole milk and leave it covered on the countertop overnight. Make sure to use a breathable cloth (no lids or plastic wrap), as your sour cream will have a more fragrant flavor with exposure to the air. And that’s it!

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In the morning, put it in the fridge and make sure to use it within two weeks. The consistency of your homemade sour cream might be slightly looser than something store bought, but it will provide all the same flavor and moisture to your baking.

Because there are no artificial thickeners, your homemade sour cream may be thinner than commercial brands you may be used to. Have no fear, it’s fine. I’ve gotten used to the consistency and like it better since it blends in recipes so well.

Leave out at room temp in your kitchen. Label it. After 24 hours stir (show separated) and store in the fridge.  Keep for 2 weeks in fridge.

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4.36 from 51 votes
How to make Sour Cream recipe - All you need is 3 ingredients and a jar, that's it!
How to Make Sour Cream

Learn How to Make Sour Cream at home and then use it to make your baking even better or enjoy it on its own.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (8oz / 240g) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice ( or white vinegar)
  • ¼ cup (2oz / 60g) milk
Instructions
  1. In a jar, mix the cream and lemon juice (vinegar) together, then pour in the milk. Screw a lid on tightly and shake well.
  2. Remove the lid and put a clean piece of kitchen paper over the jar and secure it with a rubber band.
  3. Leave it on the counter overnight (up to 24 hours) for it to set up.
  4. After 24 hours it should be quite firm. Give it a stir and cover it with a jar lid. It will keep in the refrigerator for 2 week or so, if it lasts that long!
  5. Note: Because there are no artificial thickeners, your homemade sour cream may be thinner than commercial brands you may be used to. Have no fear, it’s fine. I’ve gotten use to the consistency and like it better since it blends in recipes so well.

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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288 Comments

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  1. Crazimax on January 5, 2019 at 7:27 am

    Hi. So I tried yesterday at 1.30 pm. It is now 11.24 am and while it thickened, there was no separation and the taste is no different to the extra whipping cream . I used extra whipping cream, whole milk and white vinegar. I live in the Caribbean and the weather is hot but this time of the year it is cool. I kept it in the oven overnight.

    • Gemma Stafford on January 12, 2019 at 4:14 am

      Hi there,
      I am not sure what you mean by separation! This should not separate, it should set up, and slightly sour.
      I use heavy whipping cream, 35% fat content, and whole milk for this. I presume this is what you have there too.
      If you add more lemon juice, or vinegar it may very well separate and form a curd. I am thinking this is an issue of comparison with store bough sour cream, which tends to be lower in cream and thickened, and stronger in flavor. I hope you will enjoy using it, it should taste really good when chilled.
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Greg Knibbs on January 2, 2019 at 12:00 am

    Fantastic blog

    • Gemma Stafford on January 2, 2019 at 11:55 am

      Thank you so much!

  3. Leticia on December 30, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Hi Gemma here in UAE heavy cream is hard to find… What should I used then to make one?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 30, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Hi there, if you can get double cream that will work too!

      • Rekha on January 11, 2019 at 8:56 am

        Hi
        I am able to get only single cream here, 25 percentage fat cream. What should I do

        • Gemma Stafford on January 11, 2019 at 9:51 am

          Hi there, what you can do is melt 1/4 cup of butter and add it into the cream to up the fat content to match content of heavy cream. I hope that helps, enjoy!

  4. oferia on December 11, 2018 at 8:48 am

    Hi Gemma
    I live in DOminican Republic, and my kitchen is very hot.
    what is the best temperature to live the jar overnight?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 11, 2018 at 5:08 pm

      would keep this in the coolest place possible. Enjoy!

  5. Khadija on December 9, 2018 at 12:04 am

    Can i use UHT pasteurized cream for this recipe?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2018 at 4:06 am

      Hi there,
      UHT cream is treated with heat and I am not sure it will work for you. It depends on what you have where you live, the cream has been denatured by the process and is difficult to culture.
      A quick solution, if you are using it as a side dish, is to add a little lemon juice or vinegar to the cold cream, season, refrigerate and use.
      I hope this is of help,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Gale Serafica-Agustin on December 6, 2018 at 6:00 am

    Is there any substitute for sour cream in making baked cheesecakes?
    And is full cream milk is the same as full fat milk?
    Thanks gemma! You are the best!

    • Gemma Stafford on December 6, 2018 at 10:47 am

      Hi there, instead of sour cream you can use Greek yogurt, nascarpone or creme fraiche. Full cream has a higher fat content than full fat milk so i would suggest sticking with heavy cream for this.

  7. Michelle on November 30, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Hi Gemma is this the same as creme fraiche? I saw a recipe for creme fraiche online that was cream + buttermilk, but perhaps it would yield the same results? Love your bold basics, thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Hi there, great question! I’ve never tried that but it sounds like it might work!

  8. Lani on November 29, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Hi thanks for your recipes. i would like to make this for eating not just baking. How’s do I thicken the mixture?

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      To thicken it you can strain it with cheesecloth in the fridge. Allow it to sit in the cheesecloth set inside of a strainer over an empty bowl over night. the next day you can discard the liquid and the sour cream should be much thicker.

  9. Andisbeach on November 24, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    I love your videos. Could you post a recipe for dairy-free sour cream? Thank you. Andrea

    • Gemma Stafford on November 25, 2018 at 4:19 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind words. I will add that idea to my list. It is not impossible, actually a lot of store bough sour cream is actually thickened, with carrigeen Moss or cornstarch, and that is what you would do using non dairy like Soy/Almond/coconut milks. Then you will use an acid ingredient, such as vegetarian yogurt/lemon juice/cider vinegar etc.
      I have added this to my list, thank you for the suggestion,
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Merlina Ong on November 13, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I totally love your work. I live in Singapore and the weather is pretty much warm, as high as 30+C . So I was wondering if leaving the jar 24h is advisable. Appreciate your reply.
    Merlina

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks so much, Merlina.

      Place it in a cupboard if that is a cooler spot. Just keep it in the coolest part of your kitchen. It should be fine.

      Gemma.

  11. Terryz on November 13, 2018 at 8:57 am

    I tried this followed directions and I found my sour cream was not sour and tasted more like slightly sour butter

    • Gemma Stafford on November 13, 2018 at 8:09 pm

      Oh funny, Terry. I’m sorry to hear that. If you don’t want to eat it you can use it in baking where you would normally use yogurt.

      Best,
      Gemma.

      • Gina Gobble on December 25, 2018 at 8:24 am

        This is my first try with any of your recipes. I only had heavy whipping cream. Like someone else mentioned, it isn’t sour. Could I add more lemon juice (or white vinegar) to sour it a little more?

        • Gemma Stafford on December 26, 2018 at 7:41 am

          yes you can do that, Gina 🙂

          Thanks for giving my recipes a try.
          Gemma.

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