Difference Between Yogurt and Sour Cream

Most of us stand a black slate when it comes to differentiating between Sour cream and yogurt since both of them are the result of fermented milk. Both of these are fermented dairy products and have 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 to the extent of ingredients. So, that you can decide on your own whether you want to experiment or not. 

Yogurt vs Sour Cream

The main 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 Between Yogurt and Sour Cream 

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 yoghurt, 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-degree Celsius to take away its proteins so that it doesn’t turn into curd. After heating the milk, it is allowed to cool to about 45-degree Celsius. 

The bacterial culture is then mixed in and the mixture is allowed to stand still with a constant temperature of 45-degree 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 be used to 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 cream or soured cream is made by fermenting the mixture of milk and cream.

The bacterial culture used is a combination of Lactococcus lactis subsp latic 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 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 in the process stops the protein, thickening the cream, and giving its characteristic sour flavor.

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

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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 latic 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 also tastes tangy but is richer due to its creaminess. If you are all into flavors, we would recommend you sour cream as it is much richer in flavor. 
  5. The shelf life of dairy products is usually low and 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. 


Yogurt and Sour cream both are made through the fermentation process. Milk in the case of Yogurt while a mixture of milk and cream in the case of Sour cream.

This brings in the difference between their calory marks with Yogurt having 59 calories and Sour cream having 193 calories.  

The taste difference isn’t much. Yogurt tastes tangy but somewhat bland while Sour cream tastes like tart due to its creaminess. So, if you want to have a tart dip but doesn’t want gain some weight.

We would recommend you to switch to yogurt. 

The shelf life of Yogurt is comparatively less than sour cream with Yogurt having 1-2 weeks of shelf-life and sour cream having a shelf life of 3 weeks. Therefore, it would be advisable to buy yogurt in less quantity. 

Yogurt can replace sour cream in almost all the dishes as they are mostly used as dips.

Therefore, keep in mind that sour cream provides a better taste experience while yogurt is low on calories, and then make your mind whether you want to have a better taste experience or maintain your pristine health. 


  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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Last update on 2022-10-07 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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