Sour cream is really very easy to make. We use an Instant Pot Ultra, Horizon cream and a real sour cream starter culture from Cultures for Health. This creates incredible sour cream, and also saves money. By making it ourselves, we know exactly what is in it, since it’s just high quality cream cultured with a real sour cream starter culture. Even better, this is an eco-friendly swap because Horizon is taking action on climate change to be carbon positive in just 3 years, and an Instant Pot is a great way to use less energy and eat better.
Because this is a cultured product, it is important that everything is clean. Start with fresh cream that is not near its expiration date. Remove the sealing ring on the Instant Pot lid and leave it off. Thoroughly wash the inner pot and the lid with very hot water.
It is possible to make successive batches of sour cream from a few tablespoons of a previous batch, but we always start with fresh starter culture to make sure it is strong and the cream is kept clean. The starter culture comes in powdered form in tiny packets and conveniently stores for months in the refrigerator.
Sour cream that you can buy in the grocery store is often half cream and half milk. We prefer to make the sour cream entirely of cream, but you could make it with half Horizon milk as well.
The cream is first heated to 145 degrees F, because this causes the proteins to tighten and will produce a thicker sour cream. The temperature is then allowed to drop to 77 degrees F before the starter culture is added. Then the mixture is kept at 90 degrees F for 16 hours while it thickens.
Sour cream is made from a mesophilic culture, which translates to “medium-loving”, indicating that it thrives at medium temperatures and is destroyed at a higher temperature. The sour cream culture thrives at temperatures between 74 and 77 degrees F, and is destroyed at 113 degrees F. The Instant Pot Ultra has a yogurt setting that can be adjusted to low, where it will maintain a constant temperature of 90 degrees, which will culture the sour cream. This makes culturing sour cream very easy.
- Instant pot
- Remove the sealing ring and thoroughly wash the inner pot and the lid with very hot water. Leave the sealing ring off. This is a cultured product so it is important that everything is clean.
- Add 1-4 quarts of cream to the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. The valve can be in either the sealed or unsealed position. Select the "yogurt" setting and change the time to 45 minutes and the temperature to 145 degrees F. This step will result in a thicker sour cream.
- After 45 minures at 145 degrees F, remove the inner pot and allow the temperature to drop.
- When the temperature of the cream has dropped to 77 degrees F, add the starter culture and wisk it in for a few seconds.
- Return the inner pot to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock. The valve can be in either the sealed or unsealed position. Select the "yogurt" setting and adjust it to "low". It will show a temperature of 90 degrees F. Adjust the time to 16 hours and start.
- After 16 hours the sour cream should be fairly thick. Transfer it to a glass container and store it in the refrigerator. It can be stored for 2-3 weeks.