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Yogurt vs. Sour Cream — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Urooj Arif — Published on February 10, 2024
Yogurt is a fermented dairy product with a creamy texture and tangy flavor, made by bacterial fermentation of milk, while sour cream, also tangy and creamy, is made by fermenting regular cream with lactic acid bacteria.
Yogurt vs. Sour Cream — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Yogurt and Sour Cream


Key Differences

Yogurt is a versatile dairy product, created through the bacterial fermentation of milk, leading to its characteristic tangy taste and creamy texture. Sour cream, on the other hand, is made by fermenting cream with lactic acid bacteria, which gives it a similar tangy flavor but with a thicker consistency and higher fat content. Both are staples in various cuisines worldwide, yet their unique properties lend them to different culinary uses.
While yogurt often serves as a base for smoothies, dressings, and a healthful snack, sour cream finds its place as a topping for soups, baked potatoes, and Mexican dishes. The probiotics in yogurt make it a popular choice for those seeking digestive health benefits, whereas sour cream, with its rich, creamy texture, is favored for adding decadence to dishes.
The nutritional profiles of yogurt and sour cream vary significantly; yogurt is typically lower in fat and calories but rich in protein and probiotics, beneficial for gut health. Sour cream, with its higher fat content, offers a more indulgent texture and flavor but less in terms of nutritional benefits.
In cooking and baking, yogurt's acidity and texture can tenderize baked goods and meats, while sour cream's richness enhances the mouthfeel and complexity of sauces and pastries. Both can be substituted for one another in some recipes, though the resulting texture and taste will differ.
Despite their differences, yogurt and sour cream share a tangy flavor profile that enriches dishes, from dips to desserts. Choosing between them often comes down to the desired consistency, fat content, and health benefits, making each uniquely valuable in the culinary world.

Comparison Chart


Fermented milk
Fermented cream


Creamy, smooth
Thicker, more viscous

Fat Content

Generally lower

Culinary Uses

Smoothies, sauces, marinades
Toppings, dips, baked goods

Health Benefits

Probiotics, lower in fat, often considered healthier
Rich in fats, indulgent texture with fewer benefits

Compare with Definitions


A dairy product made by fermenting milk with a yogurt culture.
I topped my morning granola with fresh strawberries and yogurt.

Sour Cream

A key ingredient in many dips and sauces, contributing a smooth consistency.
I made a spicy sour cream dip for the chips.


A nutritious food rich in probiotics, aiding in digestion.
For better gut health, I include yogurt in my daily diet.

Sour Cream

Commonly used in baking to add moisture to cakes and pastries.
The recipe called for sour cream to make the cake moist and tender.


Often used as a healthier alternative to mayonnaise or sour cream in recipes.
I used yogurt instead of sour cream in the dip to make it lighter.

Sour Cream

Often compared with yogurt, though richer in fat and with a distinct taste.
For a richer flavor, I prefer using sour cream in my stroganoff.


A versatile ingredient used in both sweet and savory dishes.
I marinated the chicken in yogurt to make it tender and flavorful.

Sour Cream

A dairy product obtained by fermenting regular cream with certain bacteria.
I garnished the soup with a dollop of sour cream for extra richness.


Available in various flavors and fat contents, catering to diverse tastes.
I prefer Greek yogurt for its thick texture and high protein content.

Sour Cream

Known for its tangy taste and creamy texture, enhancing savory dishes.
The baked potatoes were topped with chives and sour cream.


A custardlike food with a tart flavor, prepared from milk curdled by bacteria, especially Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and often sweetened or flavored.


A milk-based product stiffened by a bacterium-aided curdling process, and sometimes mixed with fruit or other flavoring.


Any similar product based on other substances (e.g. soy yogurt).


A custard-like food made from curdled milk

Common Curiosities

Can I make yogurt at home?

Yes, you can make yogurt at home by warming milk and adding a yogurt culture, then letting it ferment.

What is yogurt made from?

Yogurt is made from milk that has been fermented by friendly bacteria, primarily lactic acid bacteria.

Is sour cream healthier than yogurt?

Generally, yogurt is considered healthier due to its lower fat content and probiotics.

What is sour cream made from?

Sour cream is made from cream that has been fermented by lactic acid bacteria.

Can yogurt be used in place of sour cream?

Yes, yogurt can often be substituted for sour cream in recipes, though the final dish may be less rich.

Are there dairy-free versions of yogurt and sour cream?

Yes, there are dairy-free alternatives made from coconut, almond, and soy.

Can sour cream be used in baking?

Yes, sour cream is commonly used in baking to add moisture and richness.

Do yogurt and sour cream taste the same?

While both have a tangy flavor, sour cream is richer and yogurt is milder.

Can sour cream be frozen?

Freezing sour cream can change its texture, making it less creamy and more grainy.

Is Greek yogurt the same as regular yogurt?

Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt because it is strained to remove whey.

Why does sour cream sometimes have liquid on top?

The liquid is whey, a natural part of the fermentation process, and can be stirred back in.

Is yogurt good for digestion?

Yes, the probiotics in yogurt can aid in digestion and support gut health.

How long can yogurt be stored in the fridge?

Yogurt can typically be stored for 1-3 weeks in the fridge, depending on the sell-by date.

Can sour cream spoil?

Yes, sour cream can spoil and develop mold if not stored properly or used by its expiration date.

What are common flavors of yogurt?

Yogurt comes in various flavors, including vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, and peach.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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