How to Thin Sour Cream – 5 Ways

Most sour cream products found at grocery stores are super thick. If you spoon a dollop of it onto something like a burrito or taco, it is difficult to spread and can be frustrating to work with at times. Manufacturers sometimes even add thickeners or stabilizers such as gelatin to their sour cream to ensure a proper texture. If you are like me who prefers a thinner sour cream, check out these five methods to get its texture to your liking.

How to make sour cream thinner


One of the best ways to thin sour cream is to add milk to it. Simply pour a small amount of milk into the sour cream while stirring until you obtain a desirable texture. While any fat percentage milk will work, you may wish to use whole milk for full-fat sour cream and the lower fat kinds of milk for reduced fat and nonfat sour cream products.


You can also use cream to thin out the sour cream. Keep in mind that regular sour cream is about 20 percent fat so cream is actually closer in fat to it than milk. We recommend using half-and-half (12 percent fat) or light cream (20 percent fat). However, if you prefer a creamier taste, feel free to use whipping of heavy cream which both have fat above 30 percent.


Buttermilk is sometimes used as an ingredient to make homemade sour cream. It is non-fat or low-fat milk with cultures added to it that is allowed to ferment for several hours. To thin sour cream with buttermilk, simply stir in small amounts of buttermilk into the sour cream until you get the texture right for your liking.

Lime Juice

Lime juice works particularly well for thinning out sour cream that will be used for Mexican cuisine or similar dishes. Of course, you have to be certain the lime-flavored sour cream will pair well with whatever you are eating. In other words, it probably will be tasty on food such as a taco but not as good on something like a baked potato.


Water will also do the job of thinning out sour cream when you do not have any of the above ingredients. Just use the water sparingly. We recommend about 3.5 tablespoons max to thin out a cup of sour cream.