Sour Cream vs Cream Cheese: Difference and Comparison

Dairy products are a part of almost everyone’s daily diet. It can be in the form of milk, yoghurt, cheese, cream, and so on. All these products can be used for serving many purposes. There are some which are very popular, sour cream and cream cheese being two of them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sour cream is made by fermenting regular cream with lactic acid bacteria, whereas cream cheese is made by curdling milk with an acid and then straining the whey.
  2. Sour cream has a tangy taste and a liquid consistency, while cream cheese is thick and smooth with a mild, slightly tangy flavor.
  3. Sour cream is commonly used as a topping or ingredient in dishes such as baked potatoes, while cream cheese is used as a spread on bagels or as a base for dips and cheesecakes.

Sour Cream vs Cream Cheese

The difference between Sour cream and Cream cheese is that sour cream has more sourness in taste than cream cheese. There are furthermore differences between the two in reference to their manufacturing process, taste, texture, fat, cholesterol, and the content of other ingredients.

Sour Cream vs Cream Cheese

Sour cream, also known as soured cream, is a dairy product that is made by normal fermentation cream. This is done along with lactic acid bacteria. It thickens the cream, making it sourer and more acidic. Although it is not fully fermented. However, it has to be refrigerated before and after opening it.

Cream cheese is a dairy product that has a soft creamy texture and a mild taste. It is primarily made from milk and can be made easily at home. It must be consumed fresh. It is used as spreads and dips. Also, it is the main ingredient in the popular dessert Cheesecake. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonSour CreamCream Cheese
ProcessThe manufacturing of sour cream involves the fermentation of cream.The manufacturing of cream cheese involves curdling and draining milk. After which it is  processed into a smooth and soft cheese.
Sour tasteAs the name suggests, sour cream has a sour taste.As the name suggests, cream cheese has a creamy texture without much sour taste.
FatSour cream has 20% fats. And also less fat than cream cheese in comparison.Cream cheese has 33% milk fat. And it has more fat than sour cream in comparison.
CholesterolIn comparison, the cholesterol in sour cream is 42% less in cream cheese.In comparison, the cholesterol is more in cream cheese.
Other ingredientsIn comparison, sour cream has less proteins and carbohydrates. In comparison, cream cheese has more proteins and carbohydrates.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream refers to a popular dairy product that is manufactured by the fermentation of ordinary cream along with certain lactic acid bacteria. The term sour cream is used in many countries like America, Australia, New Zealand, and so on.

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However, it is popularly called Soured cream in British English. The purpose of the lactic acid bacteria in the process is to make the regular cream thicker and even sourer. It is also called souring. There is a type of sour cream that has more fats and less sourness.

It is called Crème fraîche. The traditional method of making sour cream involved allowing the fermentation of skimmed cream, which was obtained from the top of milk. This was done at a moderate temperature. 

The fermentation process with lactic acid bacteria not only thickens the cream but also makes it more acidic. This results possible to preserve it naturally. The sour cream, which is produced commercially, has a specific percentage of milk fats before and after the fermentation process.

They also do not have an acidic percentage below 0.5. In addition, it also has restrictions on the percentage of other ingredients. Like the rest of the dairy products, sour cream is not entirely fermented. However, like the rest, it should be refrigerated before and after use.

sour cream

What is Cream Cheese?

Cream cheese refers to a soft and creamy dairy product. It has a mild and fresh taste. This cream is made with fresh cream and milk. In industrial production, certain stabilizers are used, like carob bean gum and carrageenan.

Cream cheese is meant for fresh consumption as, unlike others, it is not naturally matured. It is also different in terms of texture, taste, and production than the others. There are many methods to make cream cheese at home, with a few simple steps.

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However, the perfect consistency, texture, and taste of a commercially prepared one are difficult to obtain. The commercial ones have a definite amount of ingredients approved by the government. 

Cream cheese can be used to form a spread with yoghurt, jelly, and others. There are many popular methods of using cream cheese, such as using it as a spread on bread, a dip for snack items, and even in salads. Apart from that, the most popular use is the deserts.

Cream cheese is popular in a wide variety of baking recipes. One which stands out to be the most popular- ‘The Cheesecake.’ Cream cheese is the main ingredient in this widely known famous dessert. It is also used with or as a replacement for butter.

cream cheese

Main Differences Between Sour Cream and Cream Cheese

  1. The manufacturing of sour cream involves the fermentation of cream. The manufacturing of cream cheese involves curdling and draining milk. After which, it is processed into a smooth and soft cheese.
  2. As the name suggests, sour cream has a sour taste. As the name suggests, cream cheese has a creamy texture without much sour taste.
  3. Sour cream has 20% fat. And also less fat than cream cheese in comparison. Cream cheese has 33% milk fat. And it has more fat than sour cream in comparison.
  4. In comparison, the cholesterol in sour cream is 42% less in cream cheese. In comparison, the cholesterol is more in cream cheese.
  5. In comparison, sour cream has fewer proteins and carbohydrates. In comparison, cream cheese has more proteins and carbohydrates.
Difference Between Sour Cream and Cream Cheese
References
  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/acidified-milk-sour-cream-cream-cheese-standards-grades-specifications-hui-%C3%B6zg%C3%BCl-evranuz/e/10.1201/b12084-22
  2. https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/19812701710

Last Updated : 07 August, 2023

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21 thoughts on “Sour Cream vs Cream Cheese: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The detailed explanation of the fermentation process in the production of sour cream provides valuable insight into the science behind this dairy product.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for this detailed and informative comparison. It’s great to be able to understand the differences between sour cream and cream cheese so thoroughly.

    Reply
  3. This article offers a comprehensive and clear comparison of sour cream and cream cheese. A great resource for those looking to understand these dairy products.

    Reply
  4. The detailed descriptions of sour cream and cream cheese are incredibly informative. I feel like I have a much better understanding of these dairy products now.

    Reply
  5. The thorough comparison of the fat, cholesterol, and other nutritional content in sour cream and cream cheese is fascinating and highly informative.

    Reply
  6. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the characteristics and uses of sour cream and cream cheese. Very helpful.

    Reply
  7. The in-depth description of the composition and characteristics of cream cheese is incredibly insightful. A well-researched article.

    Reply
  8. The breakdown of the fat, cholesterol, and other ingredient content in sour cream and cream cheese is particularly enlightening.

    Reply
  9. I appreciate the extensive coverage of the production processes and characteristics of sour cream and cream cheese. A very enlightening read.

    Reply
    • Absolutely, this article provides a comprehensive understanding of these dairy products from a production and nutritional standpoint.

      Reply

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