Sour Cream vs Mayo – Differences & Similarities

Sour cream is a dairy product (from cow’s milk) that is often used to prepare dishes such as lasagna, creamed soups, etc. while mayonnaise or mayo is a thick, cold, creamy sauce, made from egg yolks, oil, water, and vinegar.

Mayonnaise might be a good choice for you if you want a more savory condiment for your food. But if you prefer something lighter and creamier, sour cream may be more suitable for your dish or salad.

However, if you are making a meal with different types of proteins (meat or seafood), then mayonnaise would likely be the better option out of these two sauces.

In this article, I will explain what sour cream and mayonnaise are, their differences, similarities, and their benefits.

What is sour cream?

Sour cream is a condiment made from fermented lactic acid bacteria to produce tangy, creamy, and slightly acidic milk.

Sour cream is often used to top or decorate chili, soups, stews, and dishes like nachos and burritos.

It’s a great dip for fruit and vegetable platters and potato chips. It is also often used to make baked goods like cookies, scones, and cakes. Sour cream also makes tasty and creamy casseroles and salad dressings.

Benefits of sour cream

Aids in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins

Certain vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K require a fat source to be absorbed properly in the digestive tract.

Adding sour cream to your meals is a great way to supply your body with these vitamins.

It is a good source of protein

Sour cream is also a good source of protein and fat. It has a lot of fat, which makes it good for making sauces. Plus, it also has a higher amount of protein than mayonnaise.

So, sour cream is a great choice when you want to add protein and fat to your diet.

What is mayonnaise?

Mayonnaise, colloquially called “mayo,” is an emulsion of oil, egg yolk, and an acid, either vinegar or lemon juice.

While there are several flavor variations, the color ranges from near-white to pale yellow, with a texture that ranges from light cream to thick gel.

It is widely used on sandwiches, hamburgers, prepared salads, and French fries. Moreover, it also serves as the foundation for a variety of other sauces, including tartar sauce, fry sauce, remoulade, salsa golf, and rouille.

Benefits of mayonnaise

1. It supplies the body with healthy nutrients

Mayonnaise contains healthy vitamins and minerals such as vitamins E and K, sodium, selenium, and potassium.

Selenium helps fix damage caused by free radicals, boosts the immune system, and slows the aging process. Potassium speeds up the metabolism and controls the balance of fluids in the body.

Sodium keeps blood pressure and body fluids in balance.

2. Improves heart health

Mayonnaise has high Vitamin E content which keeps the heart robust and healthy and prevents stroke.

3. It moisturizes the skin

Mayonnaise has emollients and fats that soften and moisturize dry, cracked skin. It helps get rid of dead skin and soothes lips, feet, and elbows that are dry and cracked.

It can also help soothe and heal skin that has been burned by the sun.

4. It makes your hair healthy

Mayonnaise contains a lot of Omega 3 and Omega 6, which are known to make hair follicles stronger. It can also be used as a mask or conditioner for hair that looks dull or weak.

When used often as a hair mask, mayonnaise makes hair look shiny and healthy.

Differences: Sour cream vs mayo

Mayonnaise is made from egg yolk, oil, and vinegar (or lemon juice) while sour cream is a product of fermenting pasteurized cream with lactic acid bacteria.

While sour cream has a lighter consistency and is slightly sweet, mayonnaise is thicker and has a neutral taste.

Both products are high in fat and calories but sour cream is no match for mayo. But sour cream provides more carbs and protein than mayo.

Sour cream contains more vitamins A & C than mayonnaise. Furthermore, sour cream is a good source of calcium. It has 11 times more calcium than mayonnaise per 100 grams

In terms of storage, mayonnaise has a longer shelf life. If you need a cream that will be around longer than two weeks, go for mayo.

Similarities: Sour cream vs mayo

Mayo and sour cream contain a large number of calories and saturated fat. And they are both rich and good sources of thiamin, folate, and vitamin B12.

Moreover, both condiments serve similar purposes and can be used as substitutes for each other with slight modifications in some cases.

Can you use substitute mayo for sour cream?

Mayo can be used as a good substitute for sour cream. Mayo has a similar texture to sour cream, which makes it a great substitute for sauces and dips.

In addition, it adds moisture to cakes and muffins, giving you a similar result as sour cream, except that you’ll lose the tanginess of sour cream. However, you can get the tang by adding yogurt to mayo.

Mayo can be used as a cup-for-cup substitute for sour cream in any recipe.

Can you use mayo and sour cream interchangeably?

Yes, you can. While making your salad, you can use mayonnaise instead of sour cream if you crave something creamy and savory with some nice flavor.

However, you should use sour cream as a healthier alternative with fewer calories and saturated fat.


What are some other sour cream substitutes?

Yogurt, buttermilk, crème fraîche, cream cheese, kefir, Mexican crema, cottage cheese, and coconut milk are all great sour cream substitutes.

Is sour cream healthier than mayo?

Sour cream is a healthier choice of cream for your dips, sauces, and baked goods. Mayo has 243% more calories than sour cream.

Is sour cream the same as cream cheese?

No, it is not.

Sour cream is produced by fermenting cream. Cream cheese, on the other hand, is made by curdling and draining milk and processing it into smooth, soft cheese.

Conclusion: sour cream vs mayo

Sour cream and mayonnaise are both excellent condiments with numerous culinary applications.

They make tasty and creamy savory dishes, sandwiches, salad dressings and dips, baked goods, and ice creams or smoothies.

But, they are not made equally. For a low-calorie option, sour cream wins. If you prefer mayo, you must consume it in moderate portions to stay healthy.

I hope you found this article helpful. Read more on Millenora.

Thanks for reading.