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

While 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 completely acquainted with sour cream and cream cheese but wish to learn more about their distinctions.

What’s the difference between cream cheese and sour cream? The fundamental distinction is that cream cheese is manufactured from milk and cream, while sour cream is made only from cream. They also range in taste and texture. Sour cream has a tangy, sour flavor with 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

On a platter, cream cheese and sour cream may seem identical. 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 consequence, fermentation begins to occur in the cream, affecting its texture and flavor. Regular 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. You may use sour cream that is best for your diet, ranging from fat-free to dairy-free.

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 combination is mildly heated to start the fermentation process.

Curd and whey separate from the dairy mixture. The latter is subsequently removed, leaving behind what is eventually transformed into cream cheese with salt.

Can You Make Them at Home?

Both sour cream and cream cheese may be made at home. . In both circumstances, some type of acid will be required to cause the cream or milk to curdle.

Cooking is not required for making sour cream at home. Simply mix the acid into the cream. let it sit for one day. A tiny bit of milk may also be used.

Cream cheese, on the other hand, is made by adding the acid to milk simmering on low heat. Once the milk has curdled, just filter and separate the curds from the whey.

The curds will become creamy after a few minutes in the food processor. You may flavor your own cream cheese with herbs and spices.

Texture and Taste

While the name implies that this dairy product is sour, it is not. tangy and tart than it genuinely is sour. However, in compared to the flavor profile of cream cheese, it is unmistakably sour.

Cream cheese, on the other hand, has a mild taste with a subtle salinity. It’s also delightfully tart, although in a subtle manner.

Sour cream has a softer, more spreadable texture and is occasionally somewhat 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.

This modest quantity, however, will not give you with the critical nutrients your body requires. 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 consume them on their own with a piece of fresh bread, or you can include them into a variety of culinary jobs, from dips to baked items.

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: Dips made with sour cream, spices, and herbs are ideal for serving 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. Sour cream should be used if you want your cakes to be creamy and have an even golden hue on the exterior.
  • Baked potatoes Sour cream is a traditional baked potato topping. Simply top with cheese, onions, bacon, or anything else takes your fancy.
  • Soup garnish: Sour cream is an excellent soup garnish. A teaspoon of this ingredient is sufficient to balance the flavor of warm cream soups. However, sour cream is best used in soups to cool things down. If you make a soup that is excessively spicy, top it with sour cream and you’ll be OK.
  • Sandwich spread Instead of using store-bought mayonnaise in your sandwiches, wraps, and burgers, use sour cream. 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 may even pipe it right into the cupcakes for a creamy explosion when you bite into them.
  • Bagel spread. Cream cheese is ideal for putting on bagels for breakfast. Sweeten it with sugar and fruits, or top it with avocado, salmon, tomato slices, and other things of your choosing.
  • Dipping sauce. Cream cheese, like sour cream, is used to create delightful dips for vegetables and chips. You may use it on its own with herbs and spices, or you can combine it with 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. Sour cream is best used as a soup garnish, but cream cheese is best utilized 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 is effective as a topping or filling for cakes and other baked items.

Shelf Life

Sour cream and cream cheese should both be kept in the refrigerator. To keep the texture and flavor of these items, store them at 40oF.

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. Many recipes, however, such as those for most baked items.

Sour cream may be replaced with cream cheese by combining 170 grams of cream cheese and 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.

Related Questions

  • Can I substitute sour cream for cream cheese?

    Sour cream tastes similar to cream cheese but is lower in calories, making it an excellent low-calorie option. It provides baked items an airy and moist texture, and it even lends a little of creaminess to cheesecake. In recipes, use an equivalent quantity of sour cream instead of cream cheese.

  • Which is healthier cheese or sour cream?

    Cheese has 100 calories and 8.5 grams of fat per ounce. There are 5 grams of saturated fat. Sour cream has 120 calories and 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of which are saturated fat.

  • What can I use as a substitute for sour cream?

    Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, crème fraîche, and buttermilk are all excellent dairy substitutes for sour cream.

    1–4: Dairy-based substitutes

    1. Yogurt from Greece. Greek yogurt is a fantastic substitute for sour cream.
    2. Cottage cheese is a kind of cheese. This cheese has a long history.
    3. Crème fraîche.
    4. Buttermilk.
  • Is sour cream cream different?

    A In a nutshell, soured cream is single cream that has been given a harsh, sour edge by adding a bacterial culture; crème fraiche is double cream that has been similarly cultured but is richer and thicker since it is created from cream with a high fat content.