Yogurt vs Sour Cream: Difference and Comparison

Most of us stand a black slate when differentiating between Sour cream and yogurt since both results from fermented milk. These are fermented dairy products with a rather short expiration date. 

If you are running low on one of them, can they be used interchangeably? Don’t worry! We will tell you all the differences in the extent of ingredients. So, you can decide on your own whether you want to experiment. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Yogurt is a dairy product made by fermenting milk with live bacteria cultures, resulting in a thick, tangy, and creamy product; sour cream is a dairy product made by fermenting cream with lactic acid bacteria, resulting in a tangy, slightly sour flavor and a thinner consistency than yogurt.
  2. Yogurt is eaten as a snack or used in cooking and baking; sour cream is commonly used as a topping or condiment.
  3. Yogurt is lower in fat than sour cream and can be used as a substitute in many recipes; sour cream has a higher fat content and a richer flavor.

Yogurt vs. Sour Cream

The difference between Yogurt and Sour cream is that sour cream is made by adding lactic acid and bacteria to a mixture of cream & milk and letting it sit till the mixture sours and thickens. On the other hand, Yogurt is made by fermenting milk only instead of cream. 

Yogurt vs Sour cream

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonYogurtSour Cream
Bacteria used for fermentationLactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilusLactococcus lactis subsp latic or Lactococcus lactis subsp cremoris
Shelf life1-2 weeks3 weeks
Fat content per 100 gm0.4 gm20 gm
TasteSomewhat bland but tart flavorThick, tart taste due to its creaminess
Calories per 100 gm59193

What is Yogurt? 

Yogurt, also spelled yogurt, yogourt or yoghourt depending on the region where you live, is made industrially by bacterial fermentation of milk.

The bacterial culture is a combination of Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus bacteria. This bacterial culture is known as yogurt culture. 

Also Read:  Ruby vs Tawny Port: Difference and Comparison

The process starts by heating the milk to about 85 degrees Celsius to remove its proteins so it doesn’t become curd. After heating the milk, it can cool to about 45 degrees Celsius. 

The bacterial culture is then mixed in, and the mixture is allowed to stand still at a constant temperature of 45 degrees Celsius for about 4-5 hours. Yogurt has a shelf life of 1-2 weeks. 

Yogurt is prominently used as a base for certain dishes and dips instead of sour cream as a healthier substitute.

It can also enrich the taste of dishes like guacamole, hummus, or spinach and artichoke to give that extra tangy taste. 

Yogurt can also be made at home by repeating the above process but in a contained state.

Various substitutes like plant milk yogurt are on the rise owing to their environment-friendly nature, like soy milk yogurt, rice milk yogurt, almond milk yogurt, and coconut milk yogurt. 


What is Sour Cream? 

Sour or soured cream is made by fermenting the mixture of milk and cream.

The bacterial culture combines Lactococcus lactis subsp lactic or Lactococcus lactis subsp cremoris, which sours and thickens the cream giving that rich and thick flavor. 

Sour cream earns its name from the production of lactic acid by bacterial fermentation. This process is known as souring. Sour cream has a shelf life of 3 weeks. 

Sour cream is made by adding a bacterial culture to the mix of cream and milk and heating it to a temperature of 23 degree-Celsius. The process is stopped when the mix reaches the appropriate flavor and thickness.  

The lactic acid produced stops the protein, thickening the cream and giving its characteristic sour flavor.

Sour cream is used in various dishes like sour cream doughnuts, sour cream Lasagna, enchilada casserole, and the most famous tomato soup. 

sour cream

Main Differences Between Yogurt and Sour Cream 

  1. Yogurt is made by fermenting milk. On the contrary Sour cream is made by fermenting a mixture of milk and cream. The bacterial cultures used are also different. 
  2. The bacterial culture used in the fermentation of yogurt is Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, while Lactococcus lactis subsp lactic or Lactococcus lactis subsp cremoris produce lactic acid in a mixture of cream and milk which in turn give that characteristic tangy flavor to Sour cream. 
  3. Yogurt is a low calory food item, while Sour cream is heavy in calories due to its thickness. Therefore, Yogurt can be used in place of sour cream to preserve food calories, maintaining that tangy flavor. 
  4. According to a taste test, yogurt tastes tangy but somewhat bland. On the other hand, Sour cream tastes tangy but is richer due to its creaminess. If you are all into flavors, we recommend sour cream, which is much richer. 
  5. The shelf life of dairy products is low. In this case, it is even lower because of the fermentation process, as the bacterial culture needs a certain temperature to stop working. Yogurt lasts about 1-2 weeks, while Sour cream can last up to 3 weeks. 
Difference Between X and Y 2023 04 18T092034.504
  1. https://elibrary.asabe.org/abstract.asp?aid=34291
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1998.tb17922.x

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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24 thoughts on “Yogurt vs Sour Cream: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article is very well-written and informative. I particularly enjoyed the section on how yogurt and sour cream are made using different bacterial cultures. It’s fascinating to learn about the science behind these products.

    • Yes, the scientific explanation of the fermentation processes was intriguing. The article has done an excellent job in presenting this information in a clear and engaging way.

    • Agreed, it’s refreshing to see an article that provides in-depth scientific details about yogurt and sour cream. It certainly adds a level of intellectual depth to the content.

  2. The scientific details on the fermentation processes of yogurt and sour cream add an intellectual depth to the article. It’s refreshing to find content that delves into the scientific nuances of food production.

    • The scientific insights in this article are highly enriching. The depth of information provided gives readers a comprehensive understanding of yogurt and sour cream.

    • Absolutely, the scientific perspective makes the article intellectually stimulating. It’s a great read for those with a keen interest in the science of food production.

  3. The article presents the differences between yogurt and sour cream in such an engaging way, making it an informative yet enjoyable read. The level of detail and clarity in the content is truly commendable.

    • I absolutely agree with you. The engaging tone of the article makes it an enjoyable and enriching read. The clarity in the content is what sets it apart.

  4. The article clearly outlines the health benefits of yogurt over sour cream, especially in terms of calorie content. It also provides insight into the different bacteria cultures used in the fermentation process, which is fascinating.

    • I found the bacterial culture information very interesting as well. It’s good to know the health benefits of yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.

  5. I appreciate the thorough comparison table that outlines key differences between yogurt and sour cream. It makes it easier to understand the distinctions between the two products.

    • Yes, the comparison table is a very effective way to present the differences. It’s great for anyone looking to understand the nuances between yogurt and sour cream.

    • It’s commendable to see such a detailed comparison and how the article breaks down the individual components and characteristics of both yogurt and sour cream. This is excellent for someone looking for detailed information.

  6. This article is a great source of information for those who are not aware of the differences between yogurt and sour cream. It provides a very detailed comparison between the two dairy products, which is very informative.

  7. The argument for using yogurt over sour cream as a calorie-conscious and healthier alternative is compelling. This article has provided valuable clarity on the nutritional aspects of both products.

    • I agree, the article effectively communicates the nutritional benefits of yogurt as a substitute for sour cream. It’s a persuasive argument for making healthier dietary choices.

  8. The article effectively emphasizes the key differences in texture, flavor, and caloric content between yogurt and sour cream. It’s a well-rounded comparison that covers various aspects of both products.

    • The detailed comparison of the characteristics and uses of yogurt and sour cream is highly beneficial. It clarifies any misconceptions about these dairy products.

    • I appreciate the comprehensive approach the article takes in highlighting the differences. It enables readers to make informed choices about which product to use in their cooking.

  9. The article offers practical information on how yogurt and sour cream can be used in cooking and baking. It’s useful to have this knowledge when considering recipe substitutes or healthier options.

    • I found the culinary uses of both yogurt and sour cream very interesting. The article provides a fresh perspective on incorporating these dairy products into cooking and baking.

    • Absolutely, the information on how yogurt can be used as a substitute in various dishes is valuable. It’s always useful to know about healthier ingredient alternatives.

  10. I’m glad I found this article. It’s helpful to know that yogurt can be used as a healthier substitute for sour cream in various recipes. The article has really widened my knowledge on this topic.


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