Great Sour Cream Substitutes

Dairy, Non-Dairy, and Vegan Options

Sour Cream. Organic Dairy Products on Rustic Wooden Table

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You're in the middle of throwing together a great recipe that calls for sour cream, and you go to get it from the fridge. And it's not there.

This doesn't have to be an epic fail; you can rescue that recipe. There are plenty of substitutes for sour cream. Whether you're out of it for the day, or you're looking to reduce or eliminate your dairy intake, you have several great options.

Dairy Substitutes for Sour Cream

  • Plain Yogurt: Yogurt is the easiest substitute for sour cream. Just replace the sour cream called for in the recipe with an equal amount of plain yogurt. There shouldn't be any noticeable difference in flavor or texture when you make the swap out in baked goods, though you might find that dips or dressings made with yogurt taste slightly tangier than usual. Use caution when making sauces with yogurt. Since it has less fat, it can curdle when simmered. Greek yogurt and whole milk yogurt are thicker than nonfat or fat-free yogurt, so they make the best substitutes, but any plain yogurt will do in a pinch. You can even strain the nonfat or fat-free yogurt through cheesecloth to make it thicker. Plain yogurt can even be used as a substitute for the sour cream on baked potatoes. Don't mention that you made the switch, and no one will even notice.
  • Buttermilk: With a little bit of added butter, buttermilk can be a substitute for sour cream in baked goods. Replace it measure for measure but add it to your recipe slowly. You might find that you don't need as much buttermilk since it's a wetter ingredient than sour cream. This substitute is too liquidy for non-baked uses, so stick to plain yogurt for those.

Vegan and Non-Dairy Sour Cream

  • Vegan Sour Cream: If you're trying to avoid dairy products, there are commercial brands of vegan sour cream, such as Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream, that you can use. This is an excellent product which might taste even better than the real thing, without that heavy feeling that dairy can impart. You can even make your dairy-free sour cream.
  • Vegan Yogurt: Vegan yogurt can be substituted for sour cream the same way dairy yogurt is substituted.

Make Your Sour Cream

Do you have cream and buttermilk in your fridge? If so, you have everything you need to make your sour cream. It's effortless and tastes a million times better than the store-bought stuff. Spend two minutes measuring out ingredients today, and you'll have a fresh batch to enjoy tomorrow.