Updated on November 8, 2023
Sour cream. Are you making a recipe that calls for it and wondering if you can find Italian sour cream at your grocery store in Italy?
Fact: Sour cream is cream fermented with lactic acid bacteria.
Does Sour Cream Exist in Italy?
Yes! Sour cream does exist in Italy.
It used to be difficult to find, but now you can find it in most large Italian grocery stores like the Coop, Esselunga, Carrefour, and Conad.
It’s usually in the refrigerated section but can also sometimes be found in the unrefrigerated ethnic food section.
Common brands are Daisy Brand (refrigerated) and Old El Paso (unrefrigerated).
It’s also sometimes labeled as smetana, sauerrahm, or smântână.
How To Say Sour Cream in Italian
Sour cream is panna acida in Italian.
It’s pronounced PAHN-nah AH-chee-dah.
Listen to it here:
Less commonly, it’s called panna agra.
Do Italians Use Sour Cream?
Sour cream (panna acida) isn’t commonly used in the Italian kitchen.
It’s typically used in American, French, and Russian dishes. For example, it’s used as:
- An ingredient in cheesecake
- A topping for baked potatoes
- A filling for blinis
- An ingredient in beef stroganoff
Sour Cream Substitutions in Italy
If you don’t want to make your own sour cream (see recipe below), you can also use these ingredients that you can usually find in Italian grocery stores:
- Greek yogurt – this is my favorite Italian substitute for sour cream. It works perfectly in my cheesecake recipe, and I also use it in other cake recipes. I use the Fage brand’s full-fat version.
- Crème fraiche – this French ingredient can also be used in many recipes that call for sour cream.
An Easy Recipe for Sour Cream in Italy
- small container (100ml) of panna (cream)
- small container (100g) of yogurt bianco (plain yogurt)
- tablespoon of succo di limone (lemon juice)
In a bowl, use a whisk to mix the panna and yogurt bianco.
Next, mix in the succo di limone.
Let rest in in the refrigerator for one hour.
Your homemade panna acida can be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Italian Sour Cream FAQ
The closest thing to crème fraiche in Italy is panna acida, or sour cream. Panna acida is a little less thick than crème fraiche and it has less fat.
Italians don’t use sour cream, or panna acida, in Italian baking recipes. Italians do use sour cream in recipes from other countries, like cheesecake.
Yes, you can find Philadelphia brand cream cheese at most Italian grocery stores.