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Difference Between Yogurt and Sour Cream

yogurtYogurt vs Sour Cream

Many people just adore dairy products. They can be used as condiments, or as an ingredient in many dishes, all around the world. Fermentation is a fundamental process in many dairy products. Yogurt and Sour cream are two of these wonderfully fermented dairy products.

Sour cream is made primarily of cream. It has been used for a long time as an ingredient in Eastern European cooking. The pleasant tang that it provides to many dishes is truly great; hence, culinary experts from different regions value the taste that it provides.

The sourness in its taste is rather mild, and it is caused by its acidity obtained by fermenting the cream. To accomplish this, a bacterial culture is introduced, and consequently, sours and thickens the cream. This fermentation procedure is sometimes dubbed as ‘souring’. Souring can also be done naturally, and this is when unpasteurized cream is left to sour by itself, from the bacteria it contains. This is the traditional way of making sour cream.

Today, sour cream is made from pasteurized cream, to which is deliberately introduced, a starter culture of bacteria, which makes lactic acid. Bacteria such as Streptococcus diacetilactis, Streptococcus lactis, Streptococcus cremoris, Leuconostoc citrovorum, and Leuconostoc dextranicum is allowed to grow to produce acid, flavor, and add thickness. The cream is then re-pasteurized to kill the bacteria and stop the process.

Sour Cream contains 15 to 20 percent fat; bad news for weight watchers. However, light and non-fat sour creams are commercially available. Commercially made sour creams may contain gelatin, rennet, vegetable enzymes, flavoring agents, salt, and sodium citrate. Sour cream is often used as condiments, like in dips, relishes, and spreads.

Like sour cream, yogurt is also a fermented dairy product. It is produced by introducing bacterial culture to milk. Lactobacillus bugaricus, Lactobacillus lactis, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Streptococcus thermophilus are the types of bacteria used in fermenting milk. After adding the bacteria culture and incubating it, re-pasteurization is no longer needed.

It is already an old food item, as it has been produced for at least 4,500 years. It is a favorite type of snack, and is often served as a cold dish, with additional flavoring or mixed with fruits or jam. There are many beverages nowadays that are also yogurt-based. Yogurt is known to be highly nutritious as it is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It is also known to boost immune response.


1. Yogurt is fermented milk, while sour cream is made of fermented dairy cream.

2. The bacteria introduced to make sour cream is different from the ones used in yogurt.

3. Re-pasteurization is needed when making sour cream. It is not needed when making yogurt.

4. Sour cream is often used as a condiment, while yogurt is often served as a snack food.

5. In terms of discovery, or date of production, yogurt is much older than sour cream.

6. Sour cream is very high in fat and not as nutritious as yogurt. Yogurt is high in nutritional content.

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  1. There is no difference!

  2. “Sour Cream contains 15 to 20 percent fat; bad news for weight watchers.” Actually, this good news:
    First off, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar does!
    Saturated fat on the other hand:
    • Improves cardiovascular risk factors
    • Raises the level of HDL (good) cholesterol
    • Saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bones.
    • Saturated fat has been shown in medical research to protect the liver from alcohol & other poisons.
    • The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids. The lungs can not function without saturated fats.
    • Your brain is mainly made up of saturated fat and cholesterol. A diet that skimps on healthy saturated fats robs your brain of the raw materials it needs to function optimally.
    • Saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence metabolism.
    • Saturated fats found in butter, cream, and sour cream play key roles in immune health, the importance of the fats lives on beyond infancy; we need dietary replenishment of them throughout adulthood, middle age, and into seniority to keep the immune system vigilant against the development of cancerous cells as well as infectious invaders.
    • Without fat, vitamins and mineral can’t get absorbed.
    • Your brain, liver, and sex hormones are fat dependent.
    • The immune system is enhanced by saturated fats.
    • Kidneys can’t function without saturated fats

    • Just to add one more thing “Sour cream is very high in fat and not as nutritious as yogurt.”
      Full fat plain yogurt contains the same amount of fat as sour cream, low fat yogurts contain SUGAR!!!!! Sugar is fattening.

    • I ended up reading this article because I ran out of sour cream and was thinking about putting some plain yogurt on a baked potato. I’m trying it now and it tastes almost the same, though I still prefer sour cream.

      Reading through the comments though, I have to agree with Clint regarding the value of saturated fat. I’ve lost a lot of weight and become less sleepy going to a diet that is high in saturated fat with zero bread and near zero grains (not a zero carb diet, i eat plenty of potatoes and fruits). I take a couple tablespoons of MCT oil each morning just to make sure i’m getting enough fat in my diet. And sometimes I follow that up with a spoonful of coconut oil. I also eat lots of nitrate/nitrite free bacon and save the rendered fat for cooking other things.

  3. Clint. You are very incorrect about the fat in sour cream being the same as plain yogurt. One tablespoon of sour cream is one whole serving of sour cream where as an entire cup of plain (nothing added) yogurt is one serving.
    ONE TBSP sour cream =
    Total Fat 2.4 g
    Saturated fat 1.4 g
    Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
    Monounsaturated fat 0.6 g
    Cholesterol 6 mg
    Some sour creams are higher, I just posted the lowest I could find.
    ONE CUP plain yogurt =
    Total Fat 0.7 g
    Saturated fat 0.2 g
    Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
    Monounsaturated fat 0.1 g
    Trans fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 9 mg

    Now if I take one TBSP of yogurt and use it instead of sour cream in things like tacos, dips… anything else people normally use it for… I am not even registering on the nutrition chart. Which in turn means I can actually use more before it becomes unhealthy.

    OMEGA fats are the healthy fats. Those are found in various plants and fish or in the vitamin isle of your local store.

    I love using plain yogurt mixed with ranch dressing powder instead of using sour cream. I love using it in place of sour cream on my chicken breast veggie wraps. I love pouring 100% juice (no sugars added) into a cup of plain yogurt to make a healthy smoothie type breakfast… I am eating that right now (pomegranate juice with no added sugars because it is already very sweet on its own).

    I am posting links with my information as I think all people who make nutrition statements should.

    • Bella, that depends very heavily upon what type of yogurt you are using. I personally use a full fat yogurt made from 5% butterfat milk. Comparing that yogurt to the same company’s sour cream, ounce you normalize the serving size the biggest difference between the two seems to be the difference in water vs fat content. Protein is the same and there might actually be a little more sugar content in the sour cream.

      Clint is correct in stating that saturated fat is a healthy fat, that along with monounsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fats are not healthy to unhealthy per-say rather they can be unhealthy if consumed incorrectly. You want to keep your polyunsaturated fat consumption as the lowest percentage of your total fat consumption while also keeping your omega-6 to omega-3 consumption in a ratio of between 1:1 and 4:1 because they contribute to regulating your body’s inflammation response. You also want to avoid over cooking polyunsaturated fats because they are easily oxidized which leads to arterial damage if consumed, especially if you are over-consuming omega-6 fats which increases your inflammatory response to that arterial damage and increase scarring.

  4. Clint you are right!

  5. If you make your own, there is very little difference. You can make sour cream with milk, or yogurt with cream, the tang depends largely on the amount of time the product is allowed to ferment prior to refrigeration.

  6. Hahahaha
    Eat all you can…
    It always depends on the consumption and on the person

  7. Yogurt is mentioned in the Koran and the Bible. Not sour cream.

  8. Dietary fat is not bad news for weight watchers. Refined sugar is the far worse culprit there.

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