Homemade Sour Cream

Until recently I had no idea how easy it is to make your own sour cream. So far, this costs about the same amount as store-bought sour cream, but there are some advantages that make it worth it, and there may be a trick to make it cheaper (I’ll explain that part later).

Sour cream is supposed to have live, active cultures, like yogurt. When you make your own you know that it does (if it doesn’t, it won’t turn into sour cream). This makes it good for your digestion, which is a great thing in any food item. If you’re the kind of person that wants to know exactly what is in their food, making your own will put your mind at ease, too. Not to mention, it’s very easy to make and you can impress your friends.


¼ cup buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream (or milk)


Find a clean glass jar with a lid. I save mine when I buy sauces and such. Boil some water, pour it into the jar, swish it around, and dump it out. Clean the lid in a similar fashion.

Put the buttermilk and cream in the jar, put the lid on, and shake it up until it’s mixed up real good. Set it on the counter or on top of your fridge, cover with a dishtowel, and let it sit up to 24 hours, undisturbed. To check it, tilt the jar. It should have thickened. Refrigerate before serving.

That’s it. You’re done. You now have sour cream! Who would have guessed it was that easy. You should try it at least once, just because you can.


The buttermilk must have live cultures. The cultures in buttermilk die off over time, so if it’s almost out-of-date it may not work.

Your sour cream will be thicker than your liquid no matter what, but if you use plain, whole milk it will still be pretty runny. Heavy cream seems to create a nice consistency, still not as thick as I would prefer, but thick enough to use on burritos without a runny mess. However, heavy cream is expensive.

Adding powdered milk may be the key to getting thicker, stiffer sour cream, and saving money. I know it works with homemade yogurt (I’ll post my recipe for that soon). I haven’t tried it in sour cream yet, but I will.

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