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. 


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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 often 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. 

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. 

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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. 

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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
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