How To Make Sour Cream

A dollop on a spicy taco, a spoonful over a big bowl of chili, or smothered over a baked potato, sour cream is always a crowd favorite — and it's easier to make at home than you think. It just starts with a few simple ingredients, which you probably already have on hand. Plus, it's just takes minutes of actual cook-time with a good overnight culture that's completely hands-off.

The first step is to choose the right cream. Whipping cream or heavy cream yields the thickest sour cream, while half–and-half will have a thinner consistency. You can also use pasteurized cream, but make sure it's not ultra-pasteurized with high heat. Next, decide on the type of culture that you want to use. This bacterial culture will thicken the cream and make it slightly sour. Some options are cultured buttermilk, whole milk, or yogurt.

To make the sour cream, heat one cup of cream in a double boiler until it teaches 180 degrees F. Cool the cream to room temperature and place in a cooled jar. Add one tablespoon of starter culture and cover the jar with a cotton dish towel. Let the mixture stand for 24 hours or until it has thickened to your desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate the sour cream and enjoy for up to three weeks.

Emily Jacobs is the Recipe editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @EmilyRecipes.