Polish Sour Cream

Name and pronunciation: śmietana [sh-me-eh-tah-nah]
Description: sour cream
Typo of cuisine: Eastern European

In Polish cuisine, sour cream is so important. It is not often used as an actual ingredient, but it is not a mere garnish either! There are some dishes that are just not finished without sour cream. In fact, if you ask for “cream” in Poland, you will get sour cream as a default.


Different sorts of dumplings (pierogi, leniwe, kopytka, etc.), potatoes (young, boiled potatoes, potato pancakes, etc.), soups, sauces and salads instead of greek yoghurt.


In Polish, śmietana means sour cream, but by śmietanka (“little cream”) we mean crème fraîche.

Buy Polish sour cream if you can. I always look for local replacements when it comes to cooking abroad, but Polish sour cream really is different. First of all, we have a choice of fat content, but the most popular ones are 12% and 18%, which is rather uncommon in Luxembourg. Also, it is slightly more sour and creamier than the Luxembourgish counterpart.

If you do not have an access to a Polish shop, do not fret. Try to source a local version of sour cream and adjust it. In Luxembourg, you can buy a version with 30% fat content, so you will need to dilute it with yoghurt (“Fjord” is the absolute best since it already has a consistency and flavour similar to Polish sour cream) or a dash of milk, until it has a consistency of very smooth, thick greek yoghurt. If it feels a little too sweet, you can add few drops of lemon juice.