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Heavy Cream vs Sour Cream – Differences & Similarities

The main difference between heavy cream and sour cream is the fat content as heavy cream contains around 35% fat whereas sour cream only contains around 18% fat.

Heavy cream is made from milk that has a higher fat content, while sour cream is made from milk with lower fat content. This means that heavy cream will be thicker and richer than sour cream.

Heavy cream and sour cream can be used interchangeably for some recipes such as cheesecake or soup recipes but will result in a different taste. Heavy cream is sweeter in taste whereas sour cream tastes tartier.

Heavy Cream vs Sour Cream Comparison

Heavy Cream Sour Cream
Calories (per 100 g) 300 190
Carb content (per 100 g) 2.8 g 4.6 g
Sugar 2.9 g 3.4 g
Fat Content around 35% around 18 %
Taste Slightly Sweet Tart
Consistency Thicker and Richer Less Thick and Less Rich
Fermented No Yes
Made With Cow's Milk or Goat's Milk Cow's Milk

Differences Between Heavy Cream and Sour Cream

Heavy cream has more calories with 300 calories vs. 190 calories for sour cream at 100g. In addition, heavy cream is higher in fat with around 35% vs. 18% fat for sour cream. Sour cream contains more carbs per 100g at 4.6g carbohydrates vs. 2.8g for heavy cream and is also higher in sugar content with 3.4g vs. 2.9g.

Heavy Cream vs Sour Cream
Heavy Cream vs Sour Cream

What Is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a dairy product that is made from milk and cream. It has a sour taste, which comes from the lactic acid that is produced when the milk and cream are fermented. Sour cream can be used as a condiment or an ingredient in recipes.

Sour cream originated in Europe, where it was first made by peasants who wanted to find a way to make their milk last longer.

They would add bacteria to the milk, which would produce lactic acid and give the milk a sour taste. This process was later refined, and sour cream became a popular dairy product throughout Europe.

The lactic acid contained in sour cream can help to fight off lactose intolerance but it won’t help those who are naturally allergic to dairy.

The process of making sour cream involves adding bacteria to milk and cream, which causes the milk to ferment and produces lactic acid. This gives sour cream its sour taste.

Sour cream has a sour taste due to the lactic acid.
Sour cream has a sour taste due to the lactic acid.

What Is Heavy Cream?

Heavy cream is also called whipping cream and it’s made from milk that has a higher fat content. It is used in recipes that call for a thick, rich cream. Heavy cream can be whipped and used as a topping on desserts or it can be used to make creamy soups and sauces.

Heavy cream is usually made from cow’s milk, but it can also be made from goat’s milk. It has about a 35% fat content which can help you lose weight and increase energy levels. Heavy cream is also high in Vitamin A and can help to improve your vision.

The process of obtaining heavy cream involves taking milk and cream and separating them by their different densities. The cream rises to the top while the milk sinks to the bottom. The cream is then skimmed off the top and collected.

Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream and it is the fatty layer that rises to the top in milk.
Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream and it is the fatty layer that rises to the top in milk.

Heavy Cream Vs Sour Cream in Cheesecake

When making cheesecake, you want to use a dairy product that will give your cake the best flavor. Heavy cream will make your cheesecake richer and more flavorful, while sour cream will make it tangier. If you want a balance of flavors, you can use both heavy cream and sour cream in your cheesecake recipe.

To substitute heavy cream for sour cream in a cheesecake recipe, use half a cup of heavy cream for every cup of sour cream. Both sour cream and heavy cream will give cheesecake its texture and moisture it is well known for.

Which is best is going to depend entirely on how much sweeter and richer you like your cake or if you prefer a balanced cheesecake that has a tangy twist to it.

For a rich, tangy and balanced flavor, you may use both heavy cream and sour cream in your cheesecake.
For a rich, tangy and balanced flavor, you may use both heavy cream and sour cream in your cheesecake.

Sour Cream Vs Heavy Cream Calories

Because sour cream uses less fat content than heavy cream, it will traditionally have fewer calories as well. Different brands of sour cream will use different percentages of fat content, so it’s best to check the label on the product you’re purchasing to see the number of calories it has per serving.

This is important to remember because if you don’t go buy the per-serving amount, you’ll end up eating a lot more calories than you anticipated.

Sour cream has about 190 calories per 100g serving while heavy cream has about 300 calories per 100g serving.

If a company uses fewer amounts of butterfat when making the heavy cream it will shave off some of the calories, but it will also make the heavy cream less rich.

Sour cream and heavy cream both have a high fat content but sour cream will have slightly less calories.
Sour cream and heavy cream both have a high fat content but sour cream will have slightly less calories.

Sour Cream Vs Heavy Cream Nutrition

Both sour cream and heavy cream are going to be high in sources of vitamin A, calcium, and saturated fat. As explained in the last section, they are also going to have a significant amount of calories per serving.

Neither of the ingredients is going to have a large number of carbs. You should expect heavy cream to have around 2.8g of carbs per 100g and sour cream to have 4.6g of carbs.

They both have around the same amount of sugar so they’ll make whatever you use them with slightly sweeter. Heavy cream contains 2.9g and sour cream has 3.4g. Sour cream will have a tangy taste that offsets the sweetness so it will be harder to tell.

Frequently Asked Questions About Heavy Cream vs Sour Cream

Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Heavy Cream in Quiche?

You can use sour cream instead of heavy cream in quiche. Sour cream will give your quiche a tangy taste and a thicker texture. If you’re looking for a richer flavor, you can use heavy cream instead.

Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Heavy Cream in Mac and Cheese?

You can use sour cream instead of heavy cream in mac and cheese. Sour cream is thinner than heavy cream, so it might not thicken the sauce as much. You might need to add a little cornstarch to help thicken it.

Can I Use Sour Cream Instead of Heavy Cream in Soup?

In most cases, you can use sour cream as a substitute for heavy cream in soup. However, the results may not be as creamy or rich-tasting as if you had used heavy cream. Additionally, if the soup contains a lot of other ingredients, such as vegetables or meat, then the flavor of the sour cream may be overwhelmed

Conclusion To Heavy Cream Vs Sour Cream

Heavy cream and sour cream are both dairy but they have very different properties. Heavy cream is rich and thick with more calories per 100g and up to 35% fat content while sour cream is thin and tangy at around 18% fat. The two can be used interchangeably in some recipes but not all.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.