Yes, You Can Make Sour Cream At Home
It's as easy as 1-2-3.
Sour cream is heavy cream that has been treated to become sour, usually with a probiotic culture not unlike those used to make yogurt, buttermilk, and cultured butter. It's used in recipes that need a touch of sourness to the dish. It easily adds a subtle tang to dips and sauces, creates a fantastic and pro-looking finishing touch to soups when lightly swirled or dolloped on top, and is the secret ingredient to baking moist and decadent cakes.
However, it's not always available in supermarkets and even when available, it can cost more than you might be willing to pay. There's good news though: there is a substitute you can make to mimic sour cream for these dishes.
Just like you can make a buttermilk substitute using milk and an acid (usually either vinegar or lemon juice), you too can make your own sour cream. All you really need is heavy cream, lemon juice or vinegar, and a little fresh milk to thin down the mixture as desired.
To make your own sour cream, here's what to do: mix 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (that's about 1/2 lemon, squeezed) in a jar. Stir the two ingredients together, let it sit for about 5 minutes to begin to thicken, stir again, taste, and adjust the lemon juice (Calamansi juice works, too, by the way!) until you reach your desired level of sour creaminess to your heart's and taste buds' desire. Lightly cover with the unscrewed lid and set aside about 4 hours to overnight until the mixture has completely thickened.
You may notice the mixture has separated, and this is just the whey that has separated from the curds. Mix it back in and voila! Sour cream. If the mixture is still too thick even after stirring in the whey back in, add fresh milk by the tablespoon until the desired consistency is achieved.
If you're thinking heavy cream is just as hard to find as sour cream, the fantastic news is that it, too, has a substitute ingredient which you probably already have in your kitchen: all-purpose cream. Your sour cream may be thicker and may require more time to thicken so adjust as necessary.
There's no need to not have sour cream for any of your recipes, whether you're baking or cooking. Try this great ingredient hack for the next time you need some tang in your dish.