Sour Cream: Nutrition, Benefits, Downsides

Sour creme is a fermented dairy food that has a creamy texture and a unique, slightly tart taste.

Most sour cream is produced by the lactic acid fermentation of pasteurized cream that is approximately 18-20% fat (1).

This article examines the complete nutritional profile of sour cream and some of its benefits and downsides.

What are the nutritional values of sour cream?

Two spoonfuls of sour cream.

The following sections show the full nutritional values of sour cream according to USDA data (2).

Daily values (% DV) have been calculated using USDA data and the FDA’s published daily values (3).

These nutritional values are per two-tablespoon (30-gram) serving.

Nutrition facts

NameAmount% Daily Value
Calories59 kcal
Carbohydrates1.39 g0.5%
Fiber0 g0%
Sugars1.02 g
Fat5.82 g7.5%
Saturated3.03 g15.2%
Monounsaturated1.38 g
Polyunsaturated0.24 g
Omega-30.02 g
Omega-60.19 g
Protein0.73 g1.5%
Cholesterol17.7 mg5.9%
Table 1: Nutrition facts for sour cream per two-tablespoon (30g) serving


VitaminAmount% Daily Value
Choline5.76 mg1.0%
Folate1.8 mcg0.5%
Vitamin A, RAE37.2 mcg4.1%
Vitamin B1 (thiamin)0.01 mg0.8%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)0.05 mg3.8%
Vitamin B3 (niacin)0.03 mg0.2%
Vitamin B60.01 mg0.6%
Vitamin B120.06 mcg2.5%
Vitamin C0.27 mg0.3%
Vitamin D0 mcg0%
Vitamin E0 mg0%
Vitamin K0.5 mcg0.4%
Table 2: Vitamin composition of sour cream per two-tablespoon (30g) serving


MineralAmount% Daily Value
Calcium30.3 mg2.3%
Copper0.01 mg1.1%
Iron0.02 mg0.1%
Magnesium3.0 mg0.7%
Phosphorus22.8 mg1.8%
Potassium37.5 mg0.8%
Selenium1.11 mcg2.0%
Sodium9.3 mg0.4%
Zinc0.10 mg0.9%
Table 3: Mineral composition of sour cream per two-tablespoon (30g) serving
Key Point: Sour cream contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals. However, a standard serving size only provides these nutrients in small amounts.

Sour cream benefits

Here is a summary of sour cream’s potential benefits.

Sources of fermented dairy may have benefits

Some research demonstrates that fermented dairy foods like cheese and yogurt may have several benefits (4).

One reason for this could be the abundance of bacterial species contained within fermented dairy foods, such as various Lactobacillus and Streptococcus strains (5, 6)

Unfortunately, there is very little research on sour cream in this area. However, as a lactic acid-fermented food, sour cream does contain these same live microorganisms (lactic acid bacteria) (7).

Various research suggests that fermented dairy benefits gastrointestinal health and may improve several health markers, like LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. These potential benefits may be due to the probiotic bacteria fermented dairy contains (8, 9).

However, as mentioned, there is no little specific research on sour cream, making it difficult to make any strong claims in this area.

That said, a randomized controlled trial published in 2020 found that fermented dairy products (cheese and sour cream) led to a less inflammatory response after a meal compared to non-fermented dairy products (10).

It is worth noting that eating anything will exert an inflammatory response, and this is part of normal metabolism. However, the different responses between fermented and non-fermented dairy are interesting and worthy of further study.

Compared to regular cream, the probiotic content of sour cream may offer benefits.

Key Point: Sour cream is a fermented dairy product that contains lactic acid bacteria, which is associated with health benefits. However, most scientific research focuses on yogurt and cheese, with little focus on sour cream.

Provides several vitamins and minerals

The nutritional values section shows that sour cream contains a broad range of nutrients.

However, most of these nutrients are only present in small quantities.

Among the vitamins and minerals that sour cream provides, it has a moderate amount of vitamin A (4.1% DV), riboflavin (3.8% DV), and calcium (2.3% DV).

A Plastic Container of Sour Cream.Use as a salad dressing may increase fat-soluble vitamin absorption

Leafy greens typically used in salads contain a significant amount of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E, and K (11).

Since these vitamins are fat-soluble, eating them alongside some dietary fat can significantly improve their absorption.

For instance, numerous studies show an increased absorption of fat-soluble vitamins when vegetables are consumed with higher fat (12, 13).

On this note, people often use sour cream as a salad dressing. This makes the fat content relevant for increasing the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins in the salad.

However, it is worth noting that sour cream offers no unique benefits in this regard. Any source of fat, such as olive oil or hummus, will have the same effect.

For a quick and easy sour cream-based salad dressing, the following recipe works well (serves four people):

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Squeezed juice from half a lemon
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic (or half a teaspoon of garlic powder)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • Black pepper to taste
Key Point: Using sour cream as a salad dressing can boost the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins in the salad.

It makes a great dipping sauce

Thick Sour Cream In a Wooden Bowl.

Sour cream can also provide an excellent base for a dipping sauce.

Making a sour cream dip is simple, and you only need a few additional ingredients for a great taste, such as garlic powder, salt, and chopped chives.

Add them (to taste) to the sour cream and mix well for a delicious and creamy dipping sauce.

For a healthier snack than foods like potato chips, here are some ideas of what to dip in the sour cream:

  • Carrot sticks
  • Celery sticks
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Rye crackers
  • Sugar snap peas


Sour cream has some potential downsides, as summarized in the following sections.

High in saturated fat

Sour cream contains a high amount of saturated fat.

In larger quantities, sour cream has the following saturated fat content (2):

  • 10.1 grams per 100 grams
  • 24.2 grams per cup serving

Diets with high levels of saturated fat can increase LDL cholesterol. LDL-C is commonly called “bad cholesterol” because higher levels are strongly associated with increased cardiovascular risk (14, 15).

However, a typical two-tablespoon (30g) serving of sour cream has a relatively modest amount of saturated fat at 3.03 grams (2).

Sour cream can certainly fit into an overall healthy dietary pattern, but sticking to standard serving sizes is better.

Allergies and intolerance

A serving of sour cream contains only one gram of sugar. Thus, it has extremely low lactose content (2).

People with lactose intolerance can usually tolerate a small amount of lactose, so this, in most cases, should not be problematic (16).

However, anyone who experiences severe intolerance to lactose may wish to be cautious and discuss sour cream with their doctor.

As with all dairy products, sour cream is not suitable for people with cow’s milk allergy. This is because the smallest trace amounts of milk protein are enough to cause an allergic reaction (17, 18, 19).

Different types of sour cream

Lastly, it is worth noting that there are several different varieties of sour cream available.

The differences are similar to those between milk containing different fat percentages.

For instance, there are ‘light’ and ‘fat-free’ varieties of sour cream.

Using USDA data, the table below shows the basic nutritional values for these different sour cream products to allow a clear comparison (2, 20, 21):

Sour Cream ProductRegularLightFat-free
Calories59 kcal41 kcal22 kcal
Carbohydrates1.39 g2.13 g4.68 g
Fiber0 g0 g0 g
Sugar1.02 g0.07 g0.12 g
Fat5.82 g3.18 g0 g
Saturated 3.03 g1.98 g0 g
Monounsaturated1.38 g0.93 g0 g
Polyunsaturated0.24 g0.12 g0 g
Protein0.73 g1.05 g0.93 g
Cholesterol17.7 mg10.5 mg2.7 mg
Table 4: A comparison showing the nutritional values of regular, light, and fat-free sour cream per 30-gram serving

How to use sour cream

There are many different ways to use sour cream.

Here are some common ways to use it:

  • As a base for a dip (add seasonings of choice).
  • Use it on top of spicy foods like curries and spicy stews for a slight cooling effect.
  • In wraps and sandwiches.
  • Mix it with several seasonings and then use it as a salad dressing.
  • Mixed into curries, soups, and stews.
  • Use it instead of milk in sauce recipes for a creamier sauce.

Is sour cream healthy?

Sour cream is a delicious high-fat dairy food, makes a versatile ingredient, and has many uses. However, is it a healthy choice?

Nutritionally, sour cream contains a range of micronutrients but only provides them in small amounts. Therefore, it isn’t a food that offers significant nutritional benefits, and there is no real need to include it in the diet.

However, sour cream can fit into a healthy dietary pattern and probably works best when combined with other nutrient-rich foods.

For example, using it as a salad dressing may increase the bioavailability of fat-soluble vitamins in the salad while making the dish taste much better.


Lastly, sour cream is relatively high in fat and calories, so it is advisable to stick with the recommended serving size. A lower-fat variety of sour cream may be more suitable for anyone trying to limit their calorie or saturated fat intake.

For more on fermented dairy products, see this review of the benefits and drawbacks of kefir.

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Michael Joseph, MSc

Michael works as a nutrition educator in a community setting and holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. He believes in providing reliable and objective nutritional information to allow informed decisions.

6 thoughts on “Sour Cream: Nutrition, Benefits, Downsides”

    • Hi Jack,

      It won’t have the same fat-soluble vitamin content (like vitamin A).

      Other than that, low-fat sour cream will still have the beneficial bacteria, same protein content and everything else.

      Personally, I’d go for the full-fat option – more for taste than anything else – but either option is fine.

  1. Since I prefer organic, all I could find at closest supermarket to my house is full fat. My mother used to make me berries with sour cream as lunch. I just made it today for the first time in years, but I don’t really like the taste of the full fat sour cream I’m stuck with.

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