Sour cream?

Is it just me or is commercial sour cream less sour than it used to be? I’ve bought a few readily available ones to use on beets , soups, and chicken paprikash/beef stroganoff and they seem pretty bland. I hate to spend more money on the artisanal types, but I’m tired of paying for inferior products. Is Greek yogurt more tart? It’s been a while since I had any so I don’t really remember. My Hungarian relatives would think that was sacrilege but they aren’t around anymore so I think I’m safe…

Maybe it’s just my aging taste buds?!


With all due respect and based on my personal observation I suspect aging taste buds.

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Well, that’s depressing!!!

Yes it less tart (and I don’t have aging tastebuds - I mean we are all aging, but anyway).

Greek yogurt is also less tart than yogurt used to be.

If you really want tart, I’d suggest buying natural goat’s or sheep’s milk yogurt and draining it - I find it’s actually tangy vs the bland smoothness of most large scale Greek yogurt that’s made to suit the american palate. Or buy small brand yogurt or sour cream at smaller markets.

Actually I recall a brand at WF that even I found sour - Nancy’s. Maybe try that.

Just a caution re stirring yogurt (even full fat) into hot things - it can break where sour cream wouldn’t. You can whip it first, which helps sometimes, or add a pinch of cornstarch.


Thanks - I feel better now! I was planning to try Nancy’s next. I’ve had their cottage cheese and really liked it.
When I make stroganoff or chicken paprikash, I serve the sour cream/yogurt on the side. It’s less stressful (and just as good, I think) than worrying about it breaking when heated.

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I ageee, I use greek yogurt on the side when I’m having something that would benefit from sour cream - mexican most often.

I’d love your stroganoff and paprikash recipes if you’re willing to share!

Nancy’s cottage cheese is exactly what I found very tangy, and I wasn’t expecting it! Pretty sure WF carries sour cream by them too. Erivan is the goat yogurt that tastes exactly like the homemade I grew up with, but day-old sourness. Seven Stars is also good, but may be regional.

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Agree about Nancy’s being really tart - their yogurt at least. BTW, did you know that Nancy’s products are from the late Ken Kesey’s dairy?

It is, isn’t it? You can make your own yogurt and by letting the cultures grow longer the yogurt becomes more tart. If you prefer thicker Greek yogurt expect about a 50% reduction in volume from the straining. The whole process is really easy. Sour cream is even easier - it’s just cream and buttermilk. I like mine shaken, not stirred. grin Again, longer ferment time leads to a more tart product. If you haven’t made your own of either before I’m happy to share my experience - in fact I just pulled two quarts of yogurt out this morning from last night’s batch.

Some other things that seem to have helped my wife and me is to reduce salt on food. It takes a couple of months to adjust but then you (or at least we) started tasting other things better. Smoking is really hard on taste buds.

Ultimately life is hard on bodies. Some of us have been ridden hard and put away wet more than others.

I dunno. It could also be that commercial sour cream isn’t formulated to be as tangy as it may have been. Meh for me, too. Without access to the manufacturer’s recipes, there’s no way to know for certain if the product has changed.

I’ve been using a local Greek yogurt (from Sophia’s Greek Pantry, found in Belmont and Lowell, MA) made of sheep and goat milk. I sub it for sour cream and similar dairy products. This yogurt has the tanginess and complexity I find missing from mass market sour cream and Greek yogurt. Very rich—a dollop will do. It’s also very, very stable and lasts many weeks in my fridge if necessary.

Short of making your own sour cream or yogurt, perhaps you might run across a local shop that cultures its own yogurt?

Or try commercial labne or labneh if available? I’ve had some tangy labne/labneh that I have enjoyed very much, but I can’t remember which brands I tried. None was a big supermarket-type brand though.


I recently used greek yogurt to cut ricotta cheese on a dish I was trying to “healthy up” a bit. (cauliflower ziti) I was surprised at how well the greek yogurt and ricotta blended together in both consistency and taste.


We’ve been using labneh purchased at George’s Market in Methuen MA. Really good alternate.
But we do have Cabot sour cream in the fridge too, for the occasional baked potato.

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When I used to see labne it often had additives.

But not available close to me, so I don’t know if that’s changed over time, or if you have an international market nearby to get it at the source.

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Well, I’ve never smoked, so who knows?! Thanks for your info, but, at this point, I’m not planning to make my own since we don’t eat that much of it. I think I’ll try some of the sour creams and yogurts that others have suggested. Thanks, everyone!

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These are the recipes I’ve used. Like all recipes, I made various adjustments to suit my own tastes. Have fun!

Ground beef stroganoff:

Chicken paprikash:

I’m not sure what my Hungarian Jewish father would think about this recipe, although the one he used came from an old copy of Vogue. Whatever - I thought it was good.
For both, I serve the sour cream on the side and don’t have to worry about the sour cream curdling.


Sure. I’m not trying to talk you into anything - identifying options. Yogurt doesn’t scale down very well to less than a quart of regular or a pint of Greek yogurt. Sour cream on the other hand is simple - 1 cup heavy cream and 1/4 cup buttermilk for 1-1/4 cup of sour cream. You can easily cut that in half and make an individual batch for a single baked potato. The problem of course is whether you have anything to do with the rest of the buttermilk you have to buy. Biscuits, pancakes, mashed potatoes, marinade for chicken, … personally I dislike having to hunt for ways to use up ingredients.


Adding to the list of uses in case anyone finds themselves with extra buttermilk on hand: buttermilk cole slaw and buttermilk-brined pork chops are other tasty applications.


My mother drank a glass of buttermilk every night.
I have not continued the tradition.


Salad dressings. The main reason I buy buttermilk.


Thanks @Auspicious - handy to know the ratios for making sour cream. I always have heavy cream on hand & quite frequently buttermilk. Hadn’t thought to make my own sour cream.


Even if you only do it once it would be an illuminating experience. Let it ferment 24 hours at room temp and the refrigerate until you use it.