Sour cream is a rich, creamy dairy product obtained by fermenting regular cream with lactic acid bacteria. It has a tangy, sweet taste that adds some acidity to dishes. While you can easily make sour cream at home, you can also get ready-made sour cream from the condiments section of any food store.
However, if you’re ever out of sour cream, there are also quite a few handy failsafe alternatives that you can use as a dressing or dipping sauce. Here are 8 tasty ingredients you can substitute for sour cream for a virtually identical taste.
#1. Greek Yogurt
If you don’t have Greek yogurt, regular yogurt works too. Greek yogurt is preferable because it’s been processed to remove a large portion of its whey. This results in a thicker, tangier product that closely matches the profile of sour cream.
Greek yogurt is also a healthier alternative to sour cream. It has a relatively lower fat content and higher protein content. You can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in almost everything from dips, dressings, and toppings to baked goods.
1 Tbsp. Sour Cream = 1 Tbsp. Greek Yogurt or Regular Yogurt.
#2. Crème Fraîche
Crème Fraîche is a type of French sour cream. It’s less sour but still makes a super close substitute for sour cream. If you’re ever at the grocery store and can’t find sour cream, search for Crème Fraîche on the condiments shelf. You can add a little lemon juice to make it tangier if desired.
Since Crème Fraîche and sour cream have the same consistency, you can substitute them evenly in any recipe.
1 Tbsp. Sour Cream = 1 Tbsp. Crème Fraîche.
Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink traditionally made by using the liquid leftover from churning cream into butter. If you know how to make butter, you can make buttermilk at home too. Alternatively, you can also purchase commercial buttermilk.
It has the same consistency as whole milk and offers a similar acidic tang to sour cream. The only tricky part about using buttermilk as a substitute is that it’s thinner than sour cream.
If you’re using buttermilk in a baking recipe, only use it in ones that call for a small amount of sour cream.
1 Tbsp. Sour Cream = 3/4 Tbsp. Buttermilk. (For Baking Recipes.)
To use buttermilk as a dip, you will need to change its consistency. Try replacing about half of the sour cream with buttermilk and add cheese, mayonnaise, or yogurt to make it thicker.
1 Cup Sour Cream = ½ Cup Buttermilk + ½ Cup Thickening Agent. (For Dip Recipes.)
#4. Cottage Cheese
Cottage Cheese is a fresh acid-set cheese sometimes mixed with heavy cream. It’s a simple fresh cheese-curd product you can make at home by acidifying or heating whole milk into a solid curd. It has a soft and bouncy texture with a mildly tangy taste.
Cottage cheese is a healthier alternative to sour cream if you’re being calorie conscious, plus it has roughly 5 times more protein. When you’re replacing sour cream with cottage cheese, blend one cup of cottage cheese with 4 tbsp. of milk and 2 tsp. lemon to achieve the same consistency and flavor. You then can substitute them evenly in any recipe.
1 Tbsp. Sour Cream = 1 Tbsp. Cottage Cheese.
#5. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is more of an alternative to sour cream than a substitute. It has a similar consistency to sour cream but a slightly different flavor that’s devoid of tang. You can use cream cheese to thicken all kinds of cream-based recipes like soups and sauces.
As there are many varieties of cream cheese, including flavored ones, try to pick the one that best suits the flavors of your recipe. Substituting sour cream with cream cheese may alter the final taste of the product, so be sure to use it in recipes that work well with cheese.
1 Tbsp. Sour Cream = 1 Tbsp. Cream Cheese.
Kefir is a fermented milk beverage with the same consistency as drinkable yogurt. It’s traditionally made using milk, but if you’re ever at the supermarket, you might come across some vegan varieties that are just as good.
In terms of taste, kefir is like a cross between yogurt and buttermilk. It has an acidic tang and creamy consistency, making it perfect for dips, dressings, and baking. You can substitute kefir evenly with sour cream in any dish.
1 Cup Sour Cream = 1 Cup Kefir.
#7. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is the wild card on this list. It’s a liquid condiment made using soybeans and is mainly used in Asian cuisine. Soy sauce offers a sharp, savory, and umami taste to dishes. It can be used as both a dressing and a dip and typically goes well with curries, rice, stews, noodles, and fried meats and vegetables.
Soy sauce is quite thin, however, so it’s not useful for baking. It also offers a completely different taste from sour cream. But soy sauce would work as a good substitute when you need a dipping sauce for vegetables or fried meat or as a salad topping.
1 Cup Sour Cream = 1 Cup Soy Sauce.
#8. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is a surprisingly good non-dairy alternative to sour cream for vegans and people with dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance. It has a rich and creamy texture similar to most plant-based milk. It’s also a staple ingredient in various cuisines across the globe, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding it.
Coconut milk can deliver the same creaminess and richness to dishes. All you need to do is skim the cream off the top of full-fat coconut milk.
To give it the same savory, tangy flavor as sour cream, you can mix some apple cider vinegar, salt, and lemon. Full-fat coconut milk also makes a solid replacement for sour cream in baked goods as a tenderizer.
1 Cup Sour Cream = 1 Cup Coconut Cream + 1 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar.