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What’s the difference between sour cream and cream cheese?

Although cream cheese and sour cream may seem to be the same, there are several distinctions between these two dairy products.

If you’re unfamiliar with any of these basics, you’ll undoubtedly need some assistance distinguishing them. Or, like us, you may be totally familiar with sour cream and cream cheese, but just want to understand their differences better.

What’s the difference between cream cheese and sour cream? The primary difference is that cream cheese is made from milk and cream, but sour cream is made with just cream. They also range in taste and texture. Sour cream has a sour, tart taste and a soft, spreadable texture. Cream cheese has a mild tangy taste and a thicker consistency than cottage cheese.

Continue reading to discover more about the distinctions between these two items and whether or not they are interchangeable.

Cream Cheese Vs Sour Cream – Differences

Cream cheese and sour cream may look similar if you see them on a plate. There are, nevertheless, significant distinctions between these two items.

How Sour Cream Is Made

Sour cream is a dairy product manufactured by adding lactic acid bacteria to the cream .

As a result of this, fermentation starts to take place in the cream altering its texture and taste. Normal cream thickens and changes taste, becoming somewhat sour, as the name implies.

Store-bought sour creams may include extra ingredients to get the desired texture and taste.

Sour cream is typically a product high in fat . There are, however, several variations to pick from. From fat-free sour cream to dairy-free ones, you can use sour cream that is the most suitable for your diet.

Sour cream in light variations is lower in fat, although classic versions have fat percentages ranging from 12-16%.

How Cream Cheese Is Made

The manufacture of cream cheese is also not difficult. It is also created by the fermentation method. Unlike sour cream, which is created from cream, cream cheese is manufactured from cheese. milk and cream.

In contrast to sour cream, cream cheese is made using moderate heat. Lactic acid is mixed into the dairy mixture (milk and cream). The mixture is mildly heated to start the fermentation process.

Curd and whey separate from the dairy mixture. The latter is then removed to leave behind what is later turned into cream cheese with the addition of salt.

Can You Make Them at Home?

Both sour cream and cream cheese may be made at home. . In both cases, you will need some kind of acid to make the cream or milk curdle.

Making sour cream at home doesn’t require cooking. Just mix the acid into the cream. let it sit for one day. You can also use a small amount of milk.

Cream cheese, on the other hand, is made by adding the acid to milk simmering on low heat. Once the milk has curdled, all you need to do is to strain and separate the curds from the whey.

The curds will become creamy after a few minutes in the food processor. You can add herbs and spices to customize your homemade cream cheese.

Texture and Taste

Despite the name implies that this dairy product is sour, it is not. tangy and tart than it genuinely is sour. However, in comparison to the taste profile of cream cheese, it certainly is sour.

Cream cheese, on the other hand, has a mild taste with a subtle salinity. It is also pleasantly tangy, but in a very soft way.

As for the texture, sour cream is softer, more spreadable, and sometimes even slightly liquidy. Cream cheese has a significantly thicker consistency.

Nutrition Facts

Both sour cream and cream cheese are dairy products. high-fat content . Cream cheese contains at least 33% milkfat , although sour cream’s lipid content normally varies from 14 to 18%.

2 teaspoons each of sour cream and cream cheese 52 and 80 calories respectively and a good amount of fat.

However, this small amount will not provide you with the essential nutrients your body needs. As a result, combine these goods with other components in your favorite recipes and use them sparingly.

Here’s a table that compares the nutritional differences between cream cheese and sour cream:

1 Cup Cream Cheese Sour Cream
Calories 793 445
Cream Cheese (Daily Value) Sour Cream (Daily Value)
Total Fat 79 g 121% 45 g 69%
Carbohydrates 9 g 3% 7 g 2%
Sodium 744.7 mg 31% 184 mg 7%
Protein 14 g 28% 4.8 g 9%
Cholesterol 255.2 mg 85% 119.6 g 39%
Potassium 320.2 mg 9% 324.3 mg 9%
Calcium 22% 25%
Iron 4% 2%
Magnesium 5% 5%
Vitamin A 62% 28%
Vitamin C 0% 3%
Vitamin D 14% 8%
Vitamin B-6 5% 5%
Cobalamin 10% 10%


When it comes to applications, cream cheese and sour cream are quite flexible. You may eat them as is, with a slice of fresh bread or incorporate them in various cooking tasks, form dips to baked goods.

How to Use Sour Cream

Sour cream has so many culinary applications that you should always have some on hand.

Here are some common uses for sour cream:

  • Dips: Easy dipping sauces with sour cream, spices, and herbs are perfect to serve with potato chips or wedges. They also pair well with fresh vegetables such as carrots, peppers, and celery.
  • Salad dressing Salad dressings made with sour cream work great with chicken or beef salads. A rich sour cream dressing can also improve a plain potato salad. In fact, you may put it on any salad and it will taste fantastic.
  • Baked goods: Sour cream is a common baking ingredient. It’s often used in batters. Sour cream may be used to create cookies and doughnuts. It’s also fantastic for baking cakes. If you want your cakes to turn out creamy and have an even golden color from the outside, you should certainly use some sour cream.
  • Baked potatoes Sour cream is a traditional baked potato topping. Just add a little cheese, onions, bacon, or whatever strikes your fancy.
  • Soup garnish: Sour cream is an excellent soup garnish. A spoonful of this ingredient is enough to balance out the taste of cozy cream soups. But, sour cream is best used in soups to cool things down. If you have made a soup that’s too spicy, top it off with sour cream and you will be good to go.
  • Sandwich spread : If you use store-bought mayonnaise in your sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, try using sour cream instead. Sour cream is not only a healthier option, but it also adds a distinct layer of flavor to your cuisine.

How to Use Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is also a very versatile product. If you have a block of cream cheese in your fridge, it’s time to do something tasty with it. There are several possibilities for a savory dip or a sweet cream cheese sensation.

Here are some popular uses for cream cheese:

  • Frosting . When you think about cream cheese usage, the first thing that springs to mind is cream cheese frosting. It’s quite simple to create and may be used on cupcakes and cakes. You can also pipe it directly into the cupcakes for a burst of creaminess when you bite into them.
  • Bagel spread. Cream cheese is ideal for putting on bagels for breakfast. You can make it sweet with sugar and fruits, or top it off with avocado, salmon, tomato slices, and other ingredients of your choice.
  • Dipping sauce. Cream cheese, like sour cream, is used to create delightful dips for vegetables and chips. You can use it on its own and add herbs and spices, or mix it with some sour or heavy cream for a creamier texture.
  • Pasta Sauce. If you’re not a great chef but still want to eat pasta with a cheese sauce, adding cream cheese while it’s still hot is a simple option.
  • Soups. If sour cream is best used a soup garnish, cream cheese is at its best when used in soups. Cream cheese adds a smooth and richer texture to anything from pureed vegetable soups to substantial chicken soups.

Unlike sour cream, cream cheese is not often used in baking. It performs well used as a topping or filling for cakes and other baked goods.

Shelf Life

Sour cream and cream cheese should both be kept in the refrigerator. Store these products at 40ºF to maintain their texture and taste qualities.

You should use an opened package of cream cheese within 10 days Unopened, however, will keep for up to 4 weeks beyond the ‘best by date’.

Sour cream will last for around 21 days after its ‘best by date,’ and it doesn’t matter whether it’s opened or not, as long as the lid is properly closed.

Related – Can You Substitute Sour Cream For Cream Cheese?

Sour cream may frequently be replaced with cream cheese. However, many recipes, such as those for most baked goods.

You can substitute sour cream with cream cheese by blending 170 grams of cream cheese with 45 grams of milk. This combination will have a texture similar to sour cream.

Dips, sauces, and spreads may be made using cream cheese instead of sour cream.