What Does Sour Cream Taste Like? (FULL ANALYSIS)

Did you know that sour cream is just heavy cream mixed with bacteria? That sounds gross, right? But if it’s so gross, why do a lot of people use it on many things—pizzas, pastas, soups, and even baked goods? With its popularity, what does sour cream taste like?

Short answer:
Sour cream tastes tarty and tangy but not as sour as you think!

If that’s the case, then why is it called sour cream?

Well, you need to read this article to find out! But, when you do, you’ll also learn everything you need to know about sour cream—its health benefits, uses, and a whole lot more.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s get the ball rolling!

image of sour cream in a bowl

What Does Sour Cream Taste Like?

Sour cream is somewhat sour, as most people think. Instead, it tastes a bit tangy and tarty and slightly acidic, balanced by its rich, creamy, and thick texture. 

Its tangy taste is a great match for hot and spicy dishes. Additionally, it brings a cooling and refreshing twist to salads and soups. 

On the other hand, its fantastic texture makes it a suitable option making sauces creamier, baked pastries moister, and desserts richer and tangier. 

Why is Sour Cream Called Sour?

Why is sour cream then called sour cream if it’s not sour? Well, that’s because of how it’s produced. 

Sour cream only has two ingredients, and these are as follows:

  • Heavy cream or cream of cow’s milk
  • Probiotics or Lactic acid-producing bacteria (Streptococcus diacetilactis, Streptococcus lactisStreptococcus cremoris, Leuconostoc dextranicum, and Leuconostoc citrovorum). (*

The mixture is then subjected to high temperatures of up to 73 degrees Fahrenheit. Afterward, it cools down for around 12 to 48 hours. The bacteria is then killed in the final step, which is re-pasteurization. 

Adding probiotics to heavy cream facilitates the fermentation process, producing lactic acid. The production of lactic acid is called souring, and that’s why sour cream is called sour cream. 

The presence of the acid increases the amount of lactose in the cream, causing it to become thicker, creamier, and richer. 

Is Sour Cream Healthy?

There’s no doubt that sour cream is one of the most versatile condiments out there. But the big question is—is sour cream healthy?

Quick answer:

Yes, sour cream is healthy but only consumed in moderation. 

Here are the reasons why:

  • It contains a good amount of nutrients.

Based on sour cream’s nutritional value, a 2-tablespoon serving of sour cream contains: (*

  • 59 Kcal
  • 5.8g Total fat
  • 1.3g Net carbs
  • 0.7g Protein
  • 3% of the DV Calcium
  • 3% of the DV Phosphorus
  • 1% of the DV Potassium
  • 1% of the DV Magnesium
  • 4% of the DV Vitamin A
  • 4% of the DV Vitamin B2
  • 3% of the DV Vitamin B12
  • 1% of the DV Choline

It comes with a few nutritional benefits, such as:

  • Low in carbs
  • Better gut health due to its probiotic content (*)
  • Better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (*)

However, it’s important to note that sour cream is high in saturated fats. That’s why you should only consume it in moderation. 

Additionally, sour cream is manufactured from cow’s milk, so it’s not recommended for people with lactose intolerance and cow’s milk allergy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Sour Cream Similar To?

Sour cream is similar to yogurt, crème fraîche, and Mexican crema. These products are made from fermented dairies like cows, goats, or sheep. They are usually thick, creamy, and tart in flavor due to fermentation. Sour cream is often used as a topping for tacos or added to baking recipes for extra moisture.

What Are The Surprising Uses of Sour Cream?

 Here are less popular ways to use sour cream:

  • Create smoothies and sour cream.
  • The base for deviled eggs.
  • Make scrambled eggs fluffy.
  • Substitute for buttermilk.
  • Add moisture to meatballs. 

What Does Bad Sour Cream Taste Like?

Regular sour cream would taste tangy and tarty. If your sour cream tastes different from what was described, it may have already gone bad.

For reference, bad sour cream might taste more sour or rancid. It may also give off a chemical taste. 

A change in texture, discoloration, mold growth, and foul smell may accompany the off-flavor. If this is the case, discard the tub immediately. 

Learn more: Does Sour Cream Go Bad? How To Tell For Sure

Does It Taste Like Mayo? 

No, they don’t taste the same. Since they have the same color and appearance, most people think sour cream and mayo are the same, but they are not. 

Mayonnaise has a pretty neutral and slightly sweet taste, which is a far cry from sour cream’s tangy and tarty flavor.

They also differ in a lot of ways. Here are some of them:

  • Mayonnaise is slightly thicker than sour cream.
  • As a result, mayonnaise contains higher amounts of calories and fats than sour cream. 

Learn more: What Does Mayonnaise Taste Like? How Can It Be Used? 

Does It Taste Like Cream Fraiche?

Cream Fraiche and sour cream are both commonly used in baking and cooking, but they don’t taste the same. Cream Fraiche has a rich and creamy taste, while sour cream is known for its slightly acidic flavor.

Here are also the other points of differences of these two ingredients:

  • Crème Fraiche is made from unpasteurized cream, so fermentation bacteria is still present at the end of the process.
  • Crème Fraiche has a thicker texture than sour cream.

Despite their differences, you can use these two ingredients as a substitute for one another in baking and cooking. 

Does Sour Cream Similar To Greek Yogurt?

Both sour cream and Greek yogurt are:

  • Fermented dairy products,
  • Amazing sources of vitamins and calcium,
  • And Great sources of probiotics.  

Because of this, it may be safe to assume that they taste the same. But the truth is, there are slight differences in their flavors.

Same with sour cream, Greek yogurt is rich and creamy. However, plain Greek yogurt is quite bland and neutral tasting. 

Aside from flavor, these two ingredients also differ in many ways. Here are some of them:

  • Greek yogurt contains fewer calories, lactose, and fats than sour cream.
  • Greek yogurt has higher protein content than sour cream.
  • Greek yogurt is a lot thicker than sour cream. 

Can You Eat Sour Cream Like Yogurt?

Technically, yes, you can eat sour cream like yogurt. It does not contain the same probiotic cultures as regular yogurt. However, some people may be lactose intolerant, so check with your doctor before eating sour cream if you have any allergies or sensitivities.

Final Words

So what does sour cream taste like? Sour cream has a tangy, tarty, and slightly acidic flavor and comes in a rich, thick, and creamy texture. 

It’s not as sour as many people think, but it has a stronger flavor than Greek yogurt, cream fraiche, and mayonnaise. 

If your sour cream tastes extremely sour, it might have already gone bad. If it’s already past the expiry date and exhibits other signs of spoilage, throw it out immediately. 

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