Cooking – Is Sour Cream Yogurt?

bowl of sour cream and fresh vegetables
bowl of sour cream and fresh vegetables

No, it isn’t. Sour cream is an ingredient that was invented in Eastern and Central Europe that is made when dairy cream is mixed with bacteria that produce lactic acid. This creates a thick tart-like substance. It is used for dips, to thicken sauces, garnish soups and potatoes, and come up with a creamy frosting. Usually, it is used just when a meal is about to be ready.

On the other hand, yogurt is obtained when there is the fermentation of certain microorganisms found in milk. There are many types of yogurt including low-fat, no-fat, frozen, drinking, creamy, bio, and Greek yogurt.

How Does Sour Cream Differ from Yogurt?

Sour cream is different from yogurt in a few ways, such as how they are made. While sour cream is made up of cream while yogurt is made up of milk. Both sour cream and yogurt need bacteria to be created. However, the types of bacteria each one uses also differ.

Bacteria used to turn cream into sour cream: Streptococcus cremoris, Leuconostoc dextranicum, Streptococcus lactis, Leuconostoc citrovorum, and Streptococcus diacetilactis.

Bacteria used to turn milk into yogurt: Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus bugaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus helveticus.

Sour cream is used as a condiment while yogurt is used as normal food to be eaten.

Yogurt dates back to more ancient times than sour cream.

Pasteurization is enough when making yogurt, while re-pasteurization is required to make sour cream.

What Are Some Common Cooking Substitutes for Sour Cream?

As said before, sour cream has many uses in the kitchen such as serving as a condiment for cooked and baked foods. Given its high-fat content, taste, and dairy content, some people may decide to use cooking substitutes for sour cream such as:

  • Greek yogurt (lower in calories and fat than sour cream)
  • Cottage cheese (it has fewer calories and fat as well as more protein than sour cream)
  • Creme fraiche (similar to sour cream but it has a milder taste)
  • Buttermilk (it has a similar taste to sour cream, but it is liquid in nature so it can be used as dressings)

Cooking – Sour cream alternatives

Sour cream is one of the most amazing ingredients that can be used in many recipes. On certain occasions, a person will not prefer this ingredient like in the case of milk allergy or lactose intolerance. There are other reasons like the unavailability of sour cream. If you do not want to use sour cream, there are many best sour cream substitute alternatives.

Yogurt

Yogurt can be used as a substitute for sour cream in many recipes. There are only two issues which include taste and texture difference. Yogurt is not sour enough and not as thick as sour cream. Using the Greek yogurt and adding vinegar in the yogurt can resolve this issue.

Cream cheese

This is a really good alternative to the sour cream because it has a familiar taste. You just have to take the cream cheese and blend it in a way that it gets the consistency of sour cream. You have to be careful as you should keep the consistency constant.

Coconut milk

It has a good consistency and vegan people can also use it. The only exception is the taste. You have to add vinegar or lemon juice to get a similar taste. If you are allergic to milk, this can provide good plant-based fatty acids also.

Soy cream

People who are allergic to milk and want something with more protein content, they can use soy cream. There are certain Soy-based creams available in the market. You can use the same amount of soy cream in place of sour cream.

Buttermilk

There is no special advantage of using buttermilk instead of sour cream. It is only good because it is commonly available in Asia and it is natural. You can use this ingredient when sour cream is not available. You have to avoid the buttermilk also if you have a milk allergy.

Cooking – Sour Cream Vs. Yogurt

Sour Cream Vs. Yogurt

There are many adults, even among cooks, who don’t know the difference between sour cream and yogurt. As such, we are here to clarify this common misconception.

There are quite a few dairy products that are white and sour, as such, it is not so strange that there is oftentimes quite a lot of confusion. And if we are completely honest, sour cream and yogurt can be hard to differentiate from the distance. However, taking a closer look, they do differ in texture, smell, taste, and, most importantly, in their behavior when used in cooking.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a fermented dairy cream. By introducing a specific type of bacterial culture to the dairy cream, the fermentation process is initiated. During the process, bacteria produce acid, flavor, and add thickness. The process is stopped by re-pasteurizing the cream and essentially killing the bacteria.

Bacteria used to turn cream into sour cream: Streptococcus cremoris, Leuconostoc dextranicum, Streptococcus lactis, Leuconostoc citrovorum, and Streptococcus diacetilactis.

What is Yogurt?

The yogurt-making process is very similar to the one described above; however, the initial ingredient is not dairy cream but milk and different type of bacteria are used. In addition, the types of bacteria used to make yogurt don’t require re-pasteurization.

Bacteria used to turn milk into yogurt: Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus bugaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus helveticus.

The Main Difference Between Sour Cream and Yogurt

Yogurt is very high in nutritional value compared to sour cream. It also contains way less fat and is as such a healthier choice. On average, there is about 10% of fat in yogurt and twice as much in sour cream.

Cold Dishes

As yogurt and sour cream are rather similar, they are interchangeable when applied in cold dishes or used as a garnish. Though, you should keep in mind that yogurt is normally tangier than sour cream.

Cooking

When the thermal process takes place, things are not that simple and yogurt and sour cream can’t be interchanged as freely as with cold dishes. Greek yogurt is still a good substitution, as long as you pay extra attention when simmering it.

Other Sour Cream Substitutions

Aside from Greek Yogurt, you can use buttermilk or soymilk and thicken them with softened butter to replace sour cream. Cottage cheese and cream cheese are other alternatives. Another interesting option is unsweetened evaporated milk with vinegar or lemon juice. There are also vegan sour cream alternatives available or can be made at home from scratch.