What Does Sour Cream Do in Baking

Baking is a science, and every ingredient plays a critical role in determining the final outcome of the recipe. While some ingredients are essential, others may seem optional. One such ingredient is sour cream.

While it is most commonly used as a topping for baked potatoes and nachos, it can also add an extra dimension to baked goods. In this article, we’ll answer the question, “What does sour cream do in baking?” and explore the benefits of using sour cream in your desserts.

What Does Sour Cream Do in Baking?

Sour cream is a versatile ingredient that can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. Here’s what sour cream can do in baking:

  1. Adds Moisture:

One of the main benefits of using sour cream in baking is that it adds moisture to the recipe. The lactic acid in sour cream helps to tenderize the gluten in the flour, resulting in a moist and tender crumb. This is particularly important when baking cakes, which can easily become dry and crumbly.

  1. Provides Creaminess:

Sour cream adds a subtle tanginess to baked goods, as well as a rich, creamy texture. It can be used in place of milk or cream in recipes, providing a richer flavor and creamier texture.

  1. Enhances Flavor:

Sour cream has a tangy, slightly acidic flavor that can enhance the taste of baked goods. It can be used to balance the sweetness in a recipe or add a slight tang to savory dishes.

  1. Makes Baked Goods Tender:

Sour cream is acidic, and when combined with baking soda, it creates a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide. This helps to leaven the baked goods and make them tender.

How to Use Sour Cream in Baking?

Sour cream can be used in a variety of baked goods, including cakes, cookies, muffins, and bread. Here are some tips on how to use sour cream in your baking:

  1. Substitute Sour Cream for Milk:

You can replace milk with sour cream in most recipes. Simply use an equal amount of sour cream in place of milk to add moisture and creaminess to the recipe.

  1. Use Sour Cream in Frostings:

Sour cream can be added to buttercream frosting to add a tangy flavor and creamy texture. Simply beat butter, powdered sugar, and sour cream together until smooth.

  1. Add Sour Cream to Cakes and Muffins:

Adding sour cream to cake or muffin batter can result in a moist, tender crumb. Use a 1:1 ratio of sour cream to milk in the recipe, and adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.


Can I use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in baking?

Yes, you can use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in most baking recipes. Greek yogurt has a similar texture and tanginess, and it can add moisture and creaminess to the recipe.

How much sour cream should I use in baking?

It depends on the recipe. As a general rule, you can use an equal amount of sour cream in place of milk in most recipes. However, it’s always best to follow the recipe instructions for the best results.

Can I freeze baked goods with sour cream?

Yes, you can freeze baked goods with sour cream. However, the texture may change slightly upon thawing.


Sour cream can be a game-changer in baking.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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