Does anyone besides my husband insist on adding an -ed to sour cream? Etymonline dates "sour cream" to 1855, but has no mention of "soured", so I don't think this is analogous to "iced tea" or "ice cream". Is this a regional thing? He grew up in New England, but English is not his parents' first language, so his accent is more Uncle Walter than This Old House.

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    For what it's worth, I have never heard it called soured. I'm Scottish.
    – Rory Alsop
    Oct 28 '11 at 17:14
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    Your husband is now the source of two questions on this site. He really ought to join, just to defend himself. :D
    – Marthaª
    Oct 28 '11 at 17:27
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    @RoryAlsop I (English) have also never heard anyone in the UK say "soured cream". On the other hand, if you go to Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco or Waitrose and buy the stuff, the carton will say "soured cream"; if, instead, you buy something flavoured with the stuff, that will probably be described as "sour cream and X flavour". Jul 20 '14 at 15:42
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    “soured cream” is whipping cream that has been in the refrigerator for too long. :-) You put sour cream on nachos, you put soured cream in the trash.
    – Jim
    Aug 10 '17 at 17:40
  • @DavidRicherby If you met me (Berkshire resident) you would certainly hear soured cream. I always call it that - my wife disagrees. Sour cream in my view is cream which has gone sour and is not fit for consumption. Soured cream on the other hand is what we use for our beef stroganoff - yum, yum! Waitrose soured cream
    – WS2
    Aug 10 '17 at 17:41

After a quick Google Ngram search, soured cream appears to be used very little. Personally, I have never heard it used. On the product itself, (in Canada), the label declares it to be sour cream. There are 39.8 million hits for sour cream on Google, and 0.6 million for soured cream. If we change the Google Ngram to British English, soured cream's popularity increases, so I assume that this is mainly a British expression. Changing it to American English shows almost no results for soured cream.


Soured cream is English and sour cream is American English. We don't eat it as much, dips are not as popular here (although on the rise) and we tend to use yogurt or creme fraiche, that's why it shows lower search results.

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    If you buy sour cream in England, what does the package say? Does it have the -ed or not?
    – JPmiaou
    Aug 20 '12 at 19:36
  • @JPmiaou I just looked at the major UK supermarkets' websites and, in all cases, the packaging says "soured cream". On the other hand, most other products containing sour(ed) cream seem to be described as, for example, "sour cream and chilli/chive/whatever". And I've never heard anyone in the UK say "soured cream" rather than "sour cream". On the other hand, I've not spent a lot of time discussing that product with my fellow countrymen. :-) Jul 20 '14 at 15:37

As a New Englander, I have never heard it called "soured cream".

According to Google ngrams, "sour cream" is FAR more popular, but this result indicates that it was originally "soured cream" (not sure how reliable it is).


Looking at the entry for sour (the verb) in the NOAD, I find the following definition:

make or become sour: [with object]: water soured with tamarind | (as adjective soured): soured cream | [without object]: a bowl of milk was souring in the sun.

Soured cream is a valid alternative to sour cream.

Looking at the Corpus of Contemporary American English, I notice that the most used phrase is sour cream.


The data for soured cream is not visible because the CoCA reports just one or two sentences containing that phrase.

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    I'd be interested to see the context for usage of "soured cream": is it actually a synonym for "sour cream", or a different substance entirely, namely cream that has gone bad?
    – Marthaª
    Jun 21 '12 at 23:27

Surely the discussion here is not about what is correct, it is just labeling. Personally, I grew up in the UK and have always called it soured cream because that is what the label said when it was introduced to me.

Soured Cream simply means it has been soured (made sour), past tense. This in comparison with cream that has not been soured.

The other use simply says what it is - sour. This, in comparison with cream that is not sour.

One correctly defines the process that the cream has gone through. The other correctly describes the state that the cream is in.

If I leave cream out in my kitchen, it goes sour, it is sour cream - I will not eat it.

If I buy soured cream then it has gone through a process of souring with a known outcome - I will eat it.

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    What age did you first see this and what manufacturer? Or was it a regionally produced product?
    – Mitch
    Aug 10 '17 at 17:40

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