Sour cream is tangy, creamy, and flavorful! It makes a tasty dip for your veggies and adds flavor to various dressings and recipes. Is sour cream suitable for a ketogenic diet? What are the best ways to incorporate sour cream on keto?
What is Sour Cream?
Sour cream is derived from cream that’s been soured by an acid, such as vinegar or lemon juice, or, more often, by lactic acid bacteria. The bacteria grow in the cream, thickening the texture and imparting a sour, tangy flavor similar to yogurt.
Low-fat sour cream is different and typically has at least 25% less fat than the original, full-fat version. Nonfat sour cream contains no more than 0.5 grams of fat per 50 grams (1/4 cup).
Regular sour cream contains a good amount of fat and can help you absorb the nutrients of other foods you pair with it. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K all require dietary fat to be properly absorbed in your body.
The probiotics in sour cream have also been shown to positively influence the gut microbiome — the bacteria in the human digestive system. Probiotics can help restore gut health and reduce inflammation in gastrointestinal disease. Read our article for more on the benefits of fermented foods like sour cream .
Is Sour Cream Keto?
Sour cream is a keto-friendly choice that adds more fat to your diet, but it’s important to avoid low-fat and nonfat versions and always read the labels. Remember when the fat content decreases, the carb content increases.
Non-Fat Sour Cream: 0 grams of fat, 3 grams of protein, and 16 grams of carbs
Low-Fat Sour Cream: 14 grams of fat, 7 grams of protein, and 7 grams of carbs
Full-Fat Sour Cream: 19 grams of fat, 2 grams of protein, and 5 grams of carbs
It’s easy to see how the regular full-fat sour cream is the best keto-friendly choice here with lots of fat and little carbs. The fat is what gives regular sour cream the thick, smooth texture. To get a similar texture in the versions without so much fat, manufacturers usually add gums, thickeners, and stabilizers like corn starch, which can raise the carb count [7,8].
If you like sour cream, you might also like Greek Yogurt — another good keto choice.
Best Ways to Incorporate Sour Cream into Your Keto Diet
You can incorporate a full-fat sour cream into your keto diet in a variety of ways. Sour cream makes an excellent dip for your keto veggies. Try mixing it with your choice of spices or herbs, such as curry powder, for a tangy dip.
Sour cream is also a tasty creamy sauce for pan-fried chicken. Make a sauce by sautéing a few tablespoons of minced onion and a clove of garlic in a pan with your choice of oil, such as olive oil. Add between 3-5 tablespoons of full-fat sour cream and enough chicken stock or bone broth to reach your desired texture.
When you’re using sour cream to make a sauce, don’t let it come to a full boil to avoid the sour cream separating.
If you can’t have dairy, check out our dairy-free keto guide. Dairy-free alternatives that are somewhat similar to sour cream include coconut cream or fermented coconut cream, certain nut butters, Tahini, and Ghee or Indian cultured butter, which is suitable for some people with dairy sensitivities.
Do You Eat Sour Cream on the Keto Diet?
What are your favorite recipes starring sour cream? Share recipes and tips with the keto community!
1. Aryana, K. J., & Olson, D. W. (2017). A 100-year review: Yogurt and other cultured dairy products. Journal of Dairy Science, 100(12), 9987-10013. DOI: 10.3168/jds.2017-12981
2. United States Department of Agriculture. USDA Specifications for Sour Cream and Acidified Sour Cream. https://www.ams.usda.gov/sites/default/files/media/sourcream.pdf
3. Hemarajata, P., & Versalovic, J. (2013). Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: Mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 6(1), 39-51. DOI: 10.1177/1756283X12459294
4. United States Department of Agriculture. Sour Cream. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/781490/nutrients
5. United States Department of Agriculture. Sour Cream, Reduced Fat. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/781492/nutrients
6. United States Department of Agriculture. Sour Cream, Fat Free. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/781494/nutrients
7. Peng, X., & Yao, Y. (2017). Carbohydrates as fat replacers. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1146/annurev-food-030216-030034
8. Self Nutrition Data. Cream, Sour, Cultured. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/dairy-and-egg-products/54/2
Steph Green is a writer, researcher, and singer/songwriter with a passion for all things wellness. In 2016, after four years of struggling with her own health problems and painful autoimmune disease, Steph developed a life-changing and extensive knowledge of keto, nutrition, and natural medicine. She continues on her healing journey and enjoys helping others along the way.