If you have run out of sour cream or simply need a reason to use a sour cream substitute, there are a few options that might be hiding in your pantry right now.
Why You May Need a Substitute for Sour Cream
- Milk allergies – Although most children outgrow this common allergy, some people still avoid milk for this reason.
- Lactose intolerance – Lactose is a common allergen for a lot of people, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe.
- Vegan diet -The vegan diet avoids all animal products for health and sometimes ethical reasons.
- Health reasons – Some avoid milk to avoid hormonal issues such as acne and hormone imbalances. Others avoid it due to its high-fat content and the health issues associated with consuming high-fat foods.
- Taste – Sour cream doesn’t taste good to everyone, so you might want to replace it in your dishes if you’re not a fan of the taste.
15 Best Sour Cream Substitute Options
1. Greek Yogurt
The taste of greek yogurt isn’t as tangy as sour cream, but it does well in dishes where you need to replace sour cream. Recipe Garden has a modified recipe where you add some heavy cream and lemon juice to make it a near-perfect replacement.
2. Cream Cheese
Blog Chefs notes that cream cheese is an easy substitute for sour cream if you mix it with a little bit of milk to thin it out to the correct consistency.
3. Crème fraîche
Sometimes you might just get away with using Crème fraîche as a topping or in a recipe instead of using sour cream. As Lively Table mentions, Crème fraîche has a slightly nuttier taste and higher fat content.
Buttermilk is also tangy and makes for a great substitute for sour cream when baking, but you’ll have to adjust your recipe since the buttermilk is not as thick as sour cream. Twin City Press has a brief overview on adjusting your ratios to make your buttermilk work in a sour cream recipe.
5. DIY Sour Cream
You can make your own sour cream at home if you can wait 1-2 days for it to be ready. Bigger Bolder Baking has a recipe to make your own fool-proof sour cream at home.
6. Mexican Crema
Mexican crema is only slightly less sour than sour cream and with a thinner consistency, but it works great as toppings where you would use sour cream, like on nachos or in this burrito recipe from Sue Bee Homemaker.
7. Cottage Cheese
You can very easily blend some lemon juice, milk, and cottage cheese together to create a smooth sour cream substitute that you can use on baked potatoes, casseroles, and even in stroganoff. Find the recipe at The Spruce Eats.
Kefir is a fermented milk product that works well in dressings as a sour cream substitute, especially ranch dressing. Live Eat Learn uses whole milk kefir to make a tasty ranch dressing.
Mayonnaise is an easy substitute for sour cream since it has a similar consistency, but mix it with some lemon juice or yogurt to get back some of the tanginess you’ll miss from the sour cream. It’s ideal for use in dips, and Whisk Affair has a great veggie dip recipe using both mayo and yogurt.
10. Powdered Milk
If you have some powdered milk, you can make a thick and creamy sour cream substitute using only the milk powder, boiling water, and vinegar if you follow CD Kitchen’s recipe. Leave it to thicken in the fridge for a few hours to allow it to thicken up.
11. Soy Milk
You can easily make your own vegan soy milk-based sour cream using only 5 ingredients and the recipe by Plante Pusherne. It requires about 30 minutes of effort to make this silky creamy substitute.
Using this dairy-free recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, you will get a delicious and creamy substitute for sour cream made from cashew nuts. Many vegan cream products are made using cashews, so make sure you stock your pantry if you want to make other substitutes.
13. Sunflower Seeds
If you have a nut allergy, and can’t make a cashew nut-based vegan sour cream, try this sunflower seed recipe by World of Vegan. It has a rich and nutty taste without the risk of any nut- or dairy allergies.
14. Coconut Cream
If you want a super creamy substitute without any dairy, you have to try this easy 4-ingredient recipe by The Wooden Skillet. You can control the tanginess by adjusting the amount of apple cider used.
15. Coconut Milk
You’ll have to use full-fat coconut milk since you will be scraping off the cream that naturally settles on top of the milk in the can. One Green Planet has a great recipe to use and recommends chilling the coconut milk to help separate the cream.
Is Sour Cream Healthy?
Sour cream is healthy when consumed in moderation. It has a lot of vitamins, minerals, and specifically calcium, but it is high in fats.
What Does Sour Cream Do in Baking?
In baking, sour cream adds moisture to your recipe without thinning out your batter, which may cause your cake or dessert to not set up or rise completely.
Is Sour Cream or Yogurt Better for Baking?
For baking, sour cream is a better option than yogurt. Sour cream might taste richer since yogurt has a milder and less tangy taste. In general, the two can be used interchangeably without people noticing.
Whether you have run out of sour cream, dislike the flavor, or simply want a healthier sour cream substitute, there are plenty of options to try out. You might find that the ingredients you need are already in your pantry or that the replacements work better for your taste.