FREE Video: Easiest Sour Cream EVER

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We get around 4 gallons of milk per day from our Jersey cow. For our family, this is plenty to make cheese, butter, kefir, ice cream and more — plus we have some to share with friends AND some to clabber (spontaneously sour) for the chickens and dog. I figured out a really easy way to get both clabber for the chickens and sour cream for us, with hardly any work at all. This week’s free video shows you how I do it.

Easy Sour Cream: The Print Version

Here’s the quick run-down if you can’t or don’t want to watch a video. :)

Any time I’m going to clabber milk for the dog or chickens, I start it right after milking, when the milk is warm and the perfect temperature for culturing. I cover the jar of milk with a paper towel or cloth napkin and rubber band, then leave it to clabber (sour spontaneously) at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, or more in the winter when it is cooler.

(You can’t clabber pasteurized milk because it lacks naturally present organisms — though you can simulate clabber by adding a mesophilic cheese culture.)

After 1 to 2 to 3 days, both the cream and the milk are thickened from the acids produced by the proliferating organisms, and the cream has conveniently risen to the top. I skim off the cream for us and chill it until we need it. I take the clabbered milk to the animals. Voila — done! With hardly any effort at all. Except for milking the cow of course. 😉

How did I used to do this? It was easy, too, but not quite so effortless. I used to refrigerate the milk, let the cream rise, skim off the cream, and let both the cream and milk sour separately. My new way allows me to skip the fridge stage entirely (saving about a day) and the cream and milk sour together (saving multiple containers and additional counter space). I love it! Hardly any work at all — which you’ll see in the video.

By the way, you don’t need to milk your own cow to try this. If you have an abundance of raw milk from a friend or co-op, just bring the chilled milk out of the fridge and let the milk and cream sour together before skimming the cream. If not time, you’ll be saving counter space and containers!

What do you think? Are you game to try this? Do you think it would help you?

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This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. Alice Benham via Facebook says

    I tried this one time (saw it someplace else), and it all ended up tasting like stinky feet… I don’t have a cow, so I started with refrigerated raw milk from a local Grade A for raw dairy. Any ideas what went wrong?

    • says

      Alice — Clabber isn’t predictable. The best results come from totally fresh raw milk. Yours may not have been fresh and competing organisms affected the flavor.

  2. Julie says

    I get raw milk from a local farm and would love to make our own sour cream, but I don’t want to ‘waste’ the soured milk on my chickens or cats (if the cats would even have it.)

    What else could I use the skimmed sour milk for? Being skimmed, I don’t think I’d want to use it for yogurt. What about as a substitute for buttermilk in recipes like pancakes?

    • says

      Julie — Baking is a great use for skimmed sour milk. Or anywhere you see yogurt or kefir called for. You can add it to smoothies or salad dressings, which would be good actually because you can add coconut oil or some fat to make up for it being skimmed.

    • Lynne says

      Sour milk is wonderful in pancakes and any baking that requires milk. I use my homemade kefir and also my sour milk in my baking. And to answer another question, yes, your pets will love it!

    • Stephanie says

      Clabbered skim milk can be used to make low-fat cottage cheese, too. Cut the curd (optional), warm curd double boiler style, very slowly. In about an hour, the curds will firm up and there will be more whey. Strain through cheesecloth for about 2-3 hours. Break up curd, salt. Optionally, mix in a couple tablespoons of cream. Play around with options til you get it like you like it. Inspired by the Little House on the prairie cookbook.

  3. Elizabeth says

    I discovered this the first time I tried clabbering whole milk. I had a half-gallon jar almost full, with a mason lid just resting on top (not screwed down). The cream made a thick plug (with lots of bubbles in it) and lifted the lid right off by about 2 inches!

  4. Angelia says

    How long is spontaneously soured cream generally good in your opinion? I have some cream that got a little lost in my fridge for a while:) It seems fine to me but then I am second guessing myself because I know it has been a loooong time!

    • says

      Angelia — It is probably still good. You can trust yourself on that. Anyway, if it had some mold at the top, you can usually skim that off and still use what’s beneath. :)

    • says

      Kara — I put a gold coffee filter in a wide mouth funnel and set that on top of my jars. I pour the just-milked milk through that setup into the jars.

      • deb p says

        Hi Wardee

        What is the purpose of filtering the raw milk before you make the sour cream. What would happen if you skipped this process. Just wondering…

        • says

          Hi Deb,

          Wardee filters the milk after milking to remove any debris that may have fallen in during the process. If you are getting your milk from a farmer or dairy this process will already have been done.

          GNOWFGLINS Support Team

  5. says

    I wish I could do that with goat’s milk but after that amount of time the milk is very goaty. I am really thinking about getting a cow next year. I will still keep my goats for my daughters 4H but I sure would like cow’s milk again. Thanks for sharing :).

    • says

      Mona — Goat’s milk won’t really separate like this, at least not in 1 to 2 days. But you might get a little layer of cream at the top. :)

      • Stacey Hegarty says

        So we raise our own milking goats and I have tried doing the clabber thing and its not working is that because goats milk wont “clabber”? Can I still eat the sour cream on top??

  6. Barbara says

    Wardee, I have been working through your cultured dairy e-course for a while now and I had so much fun. But only just recently was I able to get raw milk. So my question, after the milk and/or cream is soured or clabbered, when does it really get bad, or is bad for you?

    • says

      Barbara — It doesn’t really get bad. It gets strong, and too strong for most people. At the top surface there may be mold growing. You can skim that away and usually underneath is fine.

      Souring is a continual process. Over time, the dairy sours more. Occasionally, you’ll have spoiling, but usually people don’t like it rather than it has gone bad. 😉

  7. Nina says

    I’m just working through your eCourses at the moment, hope i’m not repeating something you already mentioned somewhere.
    Clabbered milk is used in Germany to make a traditional milk product called Quark. Thats how its traditionally done, without any added cultures: After skimming off the cream, just leave the fresh milk in a clean covered jar to ferment on the counter(1-3 days)( your clabbered milk), once it’s thick, pour it into a cheese cloth and hang it to drip dry over night in the fridge. Stir it well to make it smooth and silky, then fill it in clean jars.
    The aimed for consistency is thick, but not dry like cream cheese. It’s much milder than Kefir cheese and offers itself for many uses.
    We make Herb quark, mix in chopped fresh herbs with pepper and salt, serve it with cooked potatoes or rice- very tasty( or use dry herb salt)! Or we just spread it on our bread with honey, or served with mashed bananas and honey is very nice too as a desert for the kids. Or use it in a recipe for baked cheese cake.
    Thanks for sharing all your knowledge Wardee!

    • Lynne says

      Nina, I have a couple questions. You’ve skimmed the cream from a half gallon or so of fresh milk and let your skim milk sour on the counter? Do you have whey on the bottom and the “cheesy” material on top becomes quark?

  8. veronica cardozo says

    yeah i do the same as nina does and i make it into cheese.and i use it as cheese that i spread on toast or chappatis(whear flour breads) or i use it with herbs.

  9. says

    Okay, I have some milk in my fridge that is just over a week old. It’s too sour to drink at this point (I tried) but I don’t want to waste it. Would this still work out okay if I skimmed the cream off…? I’m wanting probiotic sour cream to make ranch dip. Or, since it’s already souring some, would it not taste so good? I have not made my own sour cream before and I am not a huge fan of cultured dairy products as it is. But since my son and I have decided to start eating ranch dip with veggies I wanted to make my own so we could have good probiotics in it. Any thoughts on this? Worth a shot?

    • says

      Kate — Yes, you can. Just skim it off and that’s your sour cream. The only thing is whether you like the flavor or not. If you don’t, it still might work in dressing w/ the other ingredients to mask it. Or you might love it!

      As I mentioned in a previous comment, clabber is unpredictable and it is best when you start with fresh milk. BUT, I have often used sour cream from older milk and we like it.

  10. Dona says

    I am new to this working with raw milk. I let 3/4 a gallon sit on a open shelf for 1 week as my house is usually around 65 degrees. Only in the evenings do we reach 70 degrees. When I took my milk off the shelf, it had separated into milk on bottom, whey in the middle, cream on top. It did have alittle mold in one spot so I removed it before I worked with the milk. I removed the cream on top and put it in a dish. Then I ladled out as much as possible. (I had this in a gallon jar.) Then I ladled out the milk that was also thick, into a linen dish towel in a bowl. I let the cream and milk in separate bowl drain. That gave me additional whey. My question is what is the remainder milk/cream product called, and what can I do with it???

  11. christianmotherof5 says

    Hello. I am new to using raw milk. If I want to drink the skimmed milk should I let it sit in the fridge to seperate and then skim the top for sour cream or butter and then just keep the milk for drinking?

    • says

      Yes, you can do that. :) In the video above, I let the milk and cream sour together, then skim off the cream. However, this means the milk is soured, too. If you want to keep the milk for drinking, you’d skim cream beforehand.

  12. Kaitlyn says

    I buy a gallon raw milk from a nutrition store. Once I get it home it only stays sweet for a few days before it starts to sour. There are times that I haven’t had chance to finish it and (because I heard raw milk never goes bad) it has sat in the fridge for many, many weeks in a glass ball jar. It smells and tastes so sour that I’m sort of afraid to use it. Is it really ok? Does it matter if the milk has soured naturally on the counter or soured in the fridge? When is it TOO bad to consume?

  13. Memorey says

    How long will the clabbered milk last in the fridge and do you need to warm the milk if it has been in the fridge before culturing?

    • says

      I’ve kept clabbered milk for a quite a while in the fridge– maybe a week or a little more. It’s a great way to extend the life of the milk. I don’t warm my milk, I remove it from the fridge and set it to clabber. Super easy!

    • Wendy says

      I love making sour cream by using 3 parts cream mixed with 1 part cultured buttermilk to get it going: leave overnight to culture and you have sour cream on top and buttermilk you can use again for a start, on the bottom.
      I love this easy method Wardeh shared, too, but the flavor is amazing and consistent with a buttermilk start.
      We LOVE making glaze using this sour cream and brown sugar: aMAZing on cinnamon rolls or as a fruit dip.

  14. Lynne says

    I’ve seen several people mention their raw milk only lasts a few days. This I don’t understand. I have a herdshare in a local Jersey dairy. I pick up my gallon once a week, but if I go away on vacation for 10 days, the milk is still fresh for another 2 or 3 days, and it is sweet. I do keep my milk on the bottom shelf of a refrigerator in our garage that is only opened once a day or so, so the temp remains constant, but I’ve drunk 14-day-old milk and found it still sweet. The dairy has a good refrigeration tank, which may be the secret.

  15. Mary says

    My raw soured cream tastes nasty. If I would use sour cream as a starter, would that make the soured cream taste better?

    • Wendy says

      I love using cultured buttermilk as a starter for sour cream: the flavor and texture is amazing. I use 3 parts cream and 1 part buttermilk and let it sit at room temp for 12 hours+/-
      The buttermilk sitting under the sour cream will be thick like yogurt, but is delicious and can be re-used for your next batch of sour cream.

  16. DeAnna Julian Slevin via Facebook says

    Minnesota bans regular people– who don’t own cows– from buying raw milk from dairy farmers :( … so stupid…we grew up on “raw milk” when my uncle was a dairy farmer.

  17. Jami Hoekstra via Facebook says

    I will have to try this with my goats milk and see if it works. If it doesn’t chickens just get more yummy food!!!

  18. Nicky Harris via Facebook says

    Is it at all possible to make sour cream from pasteurised milk? We have no access to raw milk at the moment, only shop bought pasteurised.

  19. Kasey says

    Hi. I was hoping you might be able to send me links to your dairy video’s/blogs/articles? I am getting two dairy-goats in a couple of weeks, and while i make my own yogurt and soft cheeses, I realyl want to learn all the different things I can do with milk so as not to waste it. I have made butter before, and it was good, but I know I can do better with practice.

    I know that often-times ‘cultured’ milk is used for making butter, how do I do this? do I let it sour first?

    I know that to get any decent amount of cream out of goat-milk I have to get a seperator.

    I am just bubbling over with questions.


  20. Wendy says

    Sour cream sweetened to taste with BROWN sugar makes the easiest, tastiest frosting/glaze/fruit dip ever. Amazing on cinnamon rolls and super fast to make. :)
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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