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Bagel with raspberry cream cheese on top made from homemade sour cream and cream cheese recipe.

Homemade Sour Cream & Cream Cheese

Easy-to-make sour cream and cream cheese with just three ingredients.

Did you know cream cheese and sour cream are a cinch to whip up at home? And I do mean a cinch – like add culture to milk – wait 12 to 24 hours – then strain. Does that sound too difficult? I didn’t think so!

All you need is some raw milk, raw cream and mesophillic cheese cultures (I know, that sounds intimidating, but it’s really just a packet of powdered stuff). Our milk-man’s cows tend to be quite generous when it comes to cream and a gallon of milk will average 4 cups. By adding milk and cream, we’re going to make two dairy products at once, plus I’m getting more bang for my buck by using one packet of culture for both products.

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It is possible to allow the raw milk to clabber (think milk jello), which happens naturally when left at room temperature for 2-4 days, then let it turn to curds and whey (which you can strain and cream into cheese), but I find the end result a little too overpowering and tangy for my taste. Using a culture speeds up the process and yields a more mild flavor my family happens to love.

Bagel with raspberry cream cheese on top made from homemade sour cream and cream cheese recipe.

Homemade Sour Cream & Cream Cheese

Simple homemade sour cream and cream cheese recipe with just three ingredients. It doesn't get any easier than this!
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Course: Dairy
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours 43 minutes
Servings: 2 cups sour cream, 2 cups cream cheese
Author: Full of Days



  • Skim 4 cups cream from fresh, cold raw milk and add to half gallon jar.
  • Add 4 cups fresh, cold raw milk to jar.
  • Stir in one packet mesophillic starter culture, continue to stir gently for 10 seconds with a non-metallic spoon.
  • Cover jar with lid and let sit at room temperature for 12-18 hours (after 18 hours I think the sour cream gets a little too sour).
  • After 12-18 hours, gently skim cream into a bowl or jar and refrigerate. If it seems a little runny, you can allow it to continue to culture, but it will thicken slightly more once chilled.
  • Allow the milk to set for 12-24 additional hours (for a total of 24-44 hours).
  • You should start to see curds and whey, a clear separation of milk solids and yellowish-green liquid. Gently pour curds and whey into a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl.
  • Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and place in the refrigerator to strain. Allow whey to strain out for 6-12 hours, or until desired consistency/thickness is reached (I have allowed it to strain for an entire 24 more hours for a nice thick cream cheese, it’s pretty hard to mess up!).
  • For a smoother cream cheese, allow as much whey to drip out as possible, then pulse the cream cheese a few times in a food processor, or place in the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the whisk attachment, whip until smooth and fluffy (see flavoring options below).


Flavored Cream Cheese Options:
  • PLAIN - Add salt, to taste, and use as you would regular cream cheese.
  • HERB FLAVORED - Add ranch seasoning (or other favorite herbs & spices) for a healthy dip for veggies, or a spread for crackers.
  • FRUIT FLAVORED - Blend in fresh berries and a little sweetener for a healthier frosting, a dip for fresh fruit or a spread for bagels and toast.

Need something to schmear on? Homemade Sourdough Bagel Recipe

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