Cream Cheese or Sour Cream: What’s the Difference?

If you are like most people, you may not know the difference between cream cheese and sour cream. Many people use these two ingredients interchangeably, but they are actually quite different.

Cream cheese is a type of fresh cheese that is made from skim milk and cream. Sour cream, on the other hand, is a dairy product that is made from fermented cream. It has a tangy flavor and is often used in sauces and dips.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between these two ingredients and how to substitute one for the other.

Is Cream Cheese the Same as Sour Cream?

No, they are not the same. Cream cheese has a smooth texture and mild flavor, whereas sour cream tends to be thinner with a more tangy boost. According to FDA, cream cheese is a soft, unripened cheese with at least 33% milkfat and no more than 55% moisture content. Sour cream, on the other hand, is a dairy product made from cultured cream that contains at least 18% fat.

Cream cheese has a higher fat content than sour cream and tends to be milder and denser in taste. Sour cream generally has approximately 44% fewer calories per serving (100g) than an equivalent amount of regular or low-fat versions of both products.


Cream cheese and sour cream both have their benefits, but they also contain a lot of fat. According to the USDA’s food database, one tablespoon of full-fat cream cheese contains 49 calories while one tablespoon of sour cream has 28 calories. However, the caloric value is not necessarily indicative of which product is healthier overall because it depends on what else is in the recipe.

For calories and fat content, sour cream is the heathier choice.

For comparison, sour cream by Tillamook nutrition is 44% less calories than the cream cheese by Philadelphia nutrition. It also has a good amount of calcium and lower sodium content than Philadelphia cream cheese.

We discussed more about Is Cream Cheese Actually Healthy here.

Can Cream Cheese be Substituted for Sour Cream?

In general, you can substitute cream cheese for sour cream in most recipes. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture of the dish may change slightly.

If you are making a cheesecake, for example, you can use either product. Just make sure to follow the recipe instructions, as the ratios of ingredients may vary.


If you want to substitute cream cheese for sour cream in a cheesecake recipe, it is best to use a 3-to-4 ratio. For example, if a recipe calls for one cup of sour cream, you can use an approximately three-fourths cup of cream cheese mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of milk or buttermilk.

If you are making a sauce or dip, you can use a little bit more cream cheese. Start by mixing the softened cream cheese with some of the wet ingredients from the recipe. Then add additional seasoning to taste. Be sure to stir well so that the cream cheese is fully combined to avoid lumps.

Which is better in soup?

Cream cheese or sour cream can both be used in soup, but they have different effects. If you want a richer and thicker soup, then use cream cheese. If you are looking for a tangier flavor, go with sour cream.

Read How to Melt in Soup without Lumps.

How do I make cream cheese taste like sour cream?

If you want to make your cream cheese taste like sour cream, you can add some of the following ingredients to it: yogurt, lemon juice, or vinegar.

You can also use a food processor to make your cream cheese smoother and tangier. Add a tablespoon of ingredients to the food processor and pulse until desired consistency is achieved.

Is Creme Fraiche more like Sour Cream or Cream Cheese?

Creme fraiche is a type of French sour cream more like cream cheese than sour cream. It is thicker and has a slightly less sour flavor than regular sour cream. Creme fraiche can be used in place of sour cream in most recipes, but it may not be available at all stores.

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