Sour cream is a fermented dairy product used in different dishes and different ways.
Made when regular cream is fermented with bacterial culture, the cream is then thickened and soured by the lactic acid made from the process when bacteria are consuming the lactose from the cream.
It has a rich sour taste like yogurt and cream cheese mixture, with a fat content that depends on the type of the cream. But if you don’t have it on hand or can’t find it anywhere, can you replace it with something similar and save your recipe?
The answer is yes, you can replace sour cream with Greek yogurt, Kefir, Buttermilk, Creme Fraiche, Cream cheese, Cottage cheese, Homemade sour cream, Vegan sour cream, Vegan yogurt, Almond milk, Coconut milk, and Soy cream.
Sour Cream Substitutes
1. Greek yogurt
The best yogurt you can use as a substitute for sour cream is Greek yogurt. It has a thick texture and sour flavor so you will not notice any difference in your baked goods.
Maybe the dressings and dips will be sourer than when you made them with regular sour cream, but they will be tasty and creamy anyway. If you want to use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in baked goods use 1 cup of yogurt for 1 cup of sour cream.
For sauces, just mix 1 cup of yogurt with 1 tablespoon of flour and 2 teaspoons water as a substitute for 1 cup of sour cream. The flour will make the mix thicker and smoother. It’s a great substitute for sour cream in toppings, sauces, dressings, dips, and baked goods.
Kefir is a dairy drink made from fermented cows, goats, or sheep’s milk. It is nutritious with a lot of vitamins, minerals, and probiotics that are good for your digestive system.
Kefir has a thinner texture than sour cream with a sour, a lit sweet flavor. As a substitute for sour cream, you can use it in different dips, dressings, sauces, baked goods, and other recipes. Use 1 cup of kefir as a substitute for 1 cup of sour cream.
Buttermilk is the liquid left after butter churning. It is a fermented dairy item with a creamy texture and slightly sour buttery flavor. You can buttermilk in bread, cakes, cookies, or marinades for meat, and many other dishes.
It is thinner than sour cream, so it is best to use it as a substitute for sour cream in baking. If you want to use it in other meals, you can get a thicker texture by adding 1/3 cup of softened butter to ¾ cup of buttermilk. For 1 cup of sour cream use 1 cup of buttermilk.
4. Creme Fraiche
Cream Fraiche is one of the better substitutes for sour cream. It is made from heavy cream with the addition of starter culture, and then it is left to thicken.
It is also known as fresh cream in French is thicker and less sour than sour cream with higher fat and calory content. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute for sour cream in baked goods, sauces, soups, toppings, dressings, and other dishes.
5. Cream cheese
Cream cheese is a cream and milk product. It has a sweet, mild flavor and smooth texture. It works well in many sweet and savory dishes like salads, spreads, sauces, dips, cookies, cakes, and frostings.
If you have cream cheese and you want to use it as a substitute for sour cream in your meal, you will have to blend it with some liquid to reach a similar texture to sour cream.
Just blend 1 cup of cream cheese with 4 tablespoons of milk, and 2 teaspoon lemon juice and use it as a substitute for 1 cup of sour cream.
6. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is with a mild flavor and creamy texture used in many sweet and savory dishes. Made of drained cheese it has high protein content but it’s low in calories, which makes it a good ingredient for diets.
Cottage cheese pairs well with fruits like pears, oranges, and peaches. However, you can also use it in salads or as a dip. When substituting, blend 1 cup of cottage cheese with 4 tablespoons of milk and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. You will get a similar texture and flavor to sour cream.
7. Homemade sour cream
You can make sour cream if you have time and 2 ingredients: heavy cream and buttermilk. Just mix 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 cup buttermilk, place it in a jar and cover it. Let it stay at room temperature for 24 hours, and when it is thick you can use it. Store it in the fridge.
Non-dairy substitutes for sour cream
8. Vegan sour cream
Vegan sour cream is a good and healthy, non-dairy substitute for sour cream. You will need a few ingredients for this recipe including 1 cup raw soaked cashews, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water.
Soak the cashews for 8 hours. But if you don’t have time boil them for 15 minutes or soak them in hot water for 1 hour. Drain, rinse and blend them with the other ingredients.
You can add more salt or lemon juice if you want. Store it in a jar in the refrigerator. Use 1 cup of vegan sour cream as a substitution for 1 cup of sour cream.
9. Vegan yogurt
Vegan yogurt can be made from cashews, coconut, peas, or soy, with natural thickeners. It has healthy fats and added sugar. So, read the content list and use the one with less added sugar. You can use this yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in baked goods and other meals of your choosing. Substitute 1 cup of sour cream with 1 cup of vegan yogurt.
10. Almond milk
This milk has a nutty flavor and creamy texture without lactose, cholesterol, and saturated fats. This plant milk can be found with different added flavors and sugar. If you want sour flavor you can add 1 tablespoon lemon juice for every cup of almond milk. Use 1 cup of almond milk as a substitute for 1 cup of sour cream.
11. Coconut milk
Made from the flesh of the coconuts this milk is used in many recipes like curries, soups, sauces, cakes, muffins, and pastries. It has around 17% fat content depending on the type of milk and the producer.
Full fat coconut milk has a rich creamy texture and is a non-dairy substitute. Substitute 1 cup of sour cream with 1 cup coconut milk, and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice for sour taste.
12. Soy cream
Soy cream is made with soy milk, vegetable oils, stabilizers, and emulsifiers. It has a quite similar texture to sour cream but with a slightly grainy flavor. Use it in the same recipes that ask for sour cream including sauces, soups, dressings, and baked goods. For 1 cup of sour cream use 1 cup of soy cream as a substitute.
Interesting Information About Sour Cream
Sour cream is a staple in many cuisines around the world including Central and Eastern Europe, the U.K., and the USA.
People use it for thickening sauces, dips, frostings, or as a topping for baked potatoes and soups. They add sour cream at the end of the cooking time or after they share the dish.
Sour cream is also a common ingredient in desserts, bread, and other baked goods like cookies, muffins, and cakes. It adds more moisture, a soft texture, and a better flavor. You can also use it without cooking as a dip, sauce, spread, or frosting.
Most substitutes are dairy products. So, they are not suitable for people allergic to lactose or milk products. For that reason, we have also included some non-dairy substitutes such as vegan sour cream, vegan yogurt, almond and coconut milk, and soy cream.
There are few types of sour cream including dairy-free, fat-free, regular, and light. But there is also and sour cream powder you can use mixed with water.
Leave sour cream at room temperature before you add it to baked goods and warm liquids. If it is cold, it will curdle and develop lumps and uneven texture.
Store your sour cream in the refrigerator to prevent it from spoiling. You can also freeze it for up to six months.
Can I substitute milk for sour cream?
You can use 1 cup of milk mixed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice as a substitute for 1 cup sour cream.
How do you make sour cream without sour cream?
You can mix 1 cup of Greek yogurt or 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make sour cream.
Can you substitute cream cheese for sour cream?
You can substitute cream cheese for sour cream but you will have to blend it with milk and lemon juice first. Blend 1 cup of cream cheese with 4 tablespoons of milk and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.
Can you make sour cream from mayonnaise?
Unfortunately, you cannot do that, because sour cream is made of milk, whereas mayonnaise contains eggs, oil, salt, and vinegar.
If you don’t have sour cream, you can use some of these substitutes for similar flavor and texture. Dairy or non-dairy the choice is yours. Just pick whatever alternative that works for you and your recipe.