How to Make Sour Cream From Scratch

How to Make Sour Cream. Photo © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    2 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    2 min
  • Yield
    1-1/4 cups

Need sour cream for a recipe? Here's how to make your own:


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


1. Pour the ingredients into a sterilized jar; seal; and shake to combine.

2. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours to allow the sour cream to develop.

3. Stir. Then, store your sour cream in the refrigerator.

Why This Works

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

*Technically this recipe makes creme fraiche, but I dare your taste buds to detect the difference.

For Low-Fat Sour Cream:

Replace some of the cream 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, here's a substitute 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 on the sour cream container, you may not need a replacement after all. Here's the scoop on how long sour cream is good for.

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. Disappointing!

Try Your Homemade Sour Cream in These Recipes