Whether you’ve run out of sour cream just when you need it, or are looking for a dairy-free alternative, we’ve collected 17 of the best sour cream substitutes. You’ll also find a recipe for homemade sour cream at the end of this article.
Sour cream is a versatile and economical ingredient that can be used in many dishes. From baked goods, to sauces, to desserts and as a topping, it’s a staple in many households.
Best Sour Cream Substitutes
Plain Greek Yogurt (Our Top Pick)
Easy to find and economical, Greek yogurt is thick, tangy, and an excellent substitute for sour cream. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
To use regular heavy whipping cream in place of sour cream, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to every cup of whipping cream.
Regular Plain Yogurt
Plain yogurt isn’t as thick as sour cream, but can be used as a substitute for baking or cooking. If you’re making a thick dip, Greek yogurt is a better choice. Use plain yogurt at a ratio of 1:1.
Cream cheese is much thicker than sour cream and doesn’t have the same tangy flavor but it can be used in place of sour cream in some recipes. Use an equal amount of cream cheese in place of sour cream.
Often used in Europe, crème fraiche translates to fresh cream. It has a tangy flavor that’s similar to sour cream and can be used to replace sour cream in baked goods and in dips. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
This soft Italian cheese is used in sweet desserts like tiramisu. It doesn’t have a tangy flavor and is best used to replace sour cream for baking. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
Mayonnaise is creamy and tangy and would work in sauces, dips, and baked goods. If using mayonnaise as a substitute in a dip or dressing, try adding a bit of plain yogurt or buttermilk to mellow out the flavor. Use mayonnaise at a ratio of 1:1.
To use cottage cheese in place of sour cream, blend 1 cup of cottage cheese with a ¼ cup of yogurt until smooth, and add 1 tsp of lemon juice. This will give the cottage cheese a pleasant tangy flavor. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
The Best Substitute for Sour Cream in Baking
The options below are ideal for replacing sour cream in baked goods.
Buttermilk is much thinner than sour cream but does have a tangy flavor. To use it as a substitute in baking, add ⅓ cup of butter. If you don’t have buttermilk in your fridge, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of regular milk. Use buttermilk at a ratio of 1:1.
Because milk doesn’t offer the tangy flavor of sour cream, it’s best to use buttermilk instead. Make your own buttermilk out of regular milk by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of regular milk. Note that nonfat or skim milk is much thinner than regular milk and can affect the texture of your baked goods. Use milk or homemade buttermilk at a ratio of 1:1.
Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy whipping cream has a higher fat content and is thicker than regular milk, making it a better substitution for sour cream. To use heavy whipping cream in place of sour cream, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to every cup of whipping cream to give it a tangier flavor. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
Kefir is fermented yogurt that can be enjoyed as a beverage. It has a tangy flavor and is a great option for baking. Be sure to select plain, unflavored kefir. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
The Best Dairy Free Substitutes
Vegan Sour Cream
Vegan sour cream is an excellent option to regular dairy sour cream. Use it at a ratio of 1:1.
Coconut cream can be used in place of sour cream in baked goods but it will add a coconut flavor to the product. Before using coconut cream, empty the contents of the can into a blender and blend until smooth. For a tangy flavor, add a tablespoon of lemon juice. Use coconut cream at a ratio of 1:1.
Cashew cream is another option if you’re looking for a vegan substitution. It can be found in many health food stores.
Vegan yogurt is often made with coconut or almond milk. Note that the flavor of your baked goods may take on these flavors, so choose a plain option whenever possible. Use vegan yogurt at a ratio of 1:1.
To use tofu in place of sour cream, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1–12 oz. box of firm or extra firm silken tofu
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
- Salt to taste
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Check the taste and add more lemon juice if required. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Homemade Sour Cream Substitute Recipe
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ cup milk
- Mix the whipping cream and lemon juice together, and then stir in the milk.
- Pour the mixture into a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well.
- Remove the lid and cover the jar with a clean piece of paper towel or cheesecloth and secure it to the top of the jar with a rubber band.
- Let the mixture sit overnight at room temperature or for up to 24 hours.
- After 24 hours the mixture should be thick and somewhat firm. Stir well and cover with the lid. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
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