Here Are the 10 Best Sour Cream Substitutes for Your Recipes

Here Are the 10 Best Sour Cream Substitutes for Your Recipes

Top 10 Sour Cream Substitutes for Your Recipes

Sour cream is a fermented dairy product made from pasteurized cream that is soured by bacteria. The best substitutes for sour cream are coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk, and other milk alternatives.

Sour cream is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but for reasons of taste, diet, or availability, you may want to consider a healthier or dairy-free substitute.

Sour cream contains dairy, which may not be suitable for everyone due to health or lifestyle reasons. If you have difficulty digesting lactose, a dairy-free alternative may be beneficial. Studies also suggest that dairy consumption can contribute to outbreaks of acne in children, adolescents, and young adults, making vegan substitutes a good option. Plant-based, dairy-free sour cream substitutes are also ideal for those following a vegan diet.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is made from the meat of coconuts. It is high in calories and fat but rich in nutrients like iron and vitamin C. Iron provides energy, while vitamin C boosts the immune system.

For baking recipes, you can replace sour cream with a cup of full-fat coconut milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice. To create a cream-like consistency for toppings and dressings, mix full-fat coconut milk with lemon juice, salt, and apple cider vinegar to replicate the taste and texture of sour cream.


Cashew nuts can be a good sour cream alternative if you don’t have any nut allergies. Although high in calories and fat, cashews are also rich in protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. The high fat content of cashews comes from unsaturated fats, which can improve blood cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and stabilize heart rhythms.

To recreate the tanginess of sour cream, blend cashews with vinegar, lemon juice, and sea salt. Cashews work well as a substitute in any sour cream recipe, including soups, baked potatoes, and baking.

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Almond milk

Almond milk is made from ground almonds, water, and other ingredients depending on whether it’s commercially made or homemade. It is generally low in calories and high in vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps slow down cell damage. However, almond milk lacks protein and is unsuitable for those with tree nut allergies.

You can use almond milk curds as a base ingredient for sour cream substitutes, but almond curds tend to be sweeter in taste. To balance the sweetness, combine almond milk curds with lemon juice and salt before using as a sour cream replacement in your recipes.


Soy is derived from soybeans and can be used to make various plant-based products like tofu. Soy-based sour cream substitutes have similar levels of fat and calories to sour cream.

While there are many soy-based sour cream substitutes available commercially, they often contain added preservatives or sugar. However, they can be used as an exact 1:1 substitute in recipes. Alternatively, you can make your own soy-based sour cream substitute at home by mixing lemon juice, salt, and apple cider vinegar with silken tofu.

What are some dairy-based sour cream substitutes?

There is a wider range of dairy-based sour cream substitutes available. Dairy is a great source of calcium and provides around a third of your recommended calcium intake. It is also rich in vitamin B12, which is essential for healthy blood pressure levels, bones, and muscles. Some dairy-based sour cream alternatives offer additional health benefits, such as higher protein levels and probiotic microbes. These alternatives also tend to have lower levels of fat and calories, making them suitable for healthy recipes.

Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is an ideal substitute for sour cream because of its similar taste, texture, and versatility. It is healthier than sour cream, with more protein and fewer calories and fat. Greek yogurt also contains probiotic bacteria, which promote good gut health and reduce inflammation.

Greek yogurt can be used as a 1:1 replacement for sour cream in any recipe, including baked goods, dips, dressings, and toppings.

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Crème fraîche

Crème fraîche, a French ingredient meaning "fresh cream," is made by acidifying cream with bacteria, similar to sour cream. However, it is less sour, thicker, and higher in fat and calories than sour cream.

While the fat in crème fraîche is the saturated kind, which should be consumed in moderation, it does provide calcium and dairy protein that can benefit your health. Use crème fraîche as a 1:1 replacement for sour cream in recipes, adjusting the flavor with extra lemon juice if desired.

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is a mild-tasting curd cheese with a creamy texture. It is lower in fat and calories and higher in protein compared to sour cream. Additionally, cottage cheese is rich in vitamin B12, calcium, and riboflavin, a B vitamin necessary for the development and function of the skin, digestive tract, and blood cells.

The high nutritional value, low fat, and low calorie content make cottage cheese a great sour cream substitute in healthy recipes. However, its mild taste may require extra lemon juice to effectively mimic the tanginess of sour cream in recipes.

Cream cheese

Cream cheese is a soft, mild cheese that is thicker than sour cream. It is high in fat and may not be suitable for those on a diet. However, it is a good source of vitamin A, with just 1 ounce providing around 10% of the recommended daily intake.

Before using cream cheese as a substitute for sour cream, thin it with milk, buttermilk, or water. Generally, for every cup of sour cream required, use 6 ounces of cream cheese. For a tangier taste, add more lemon juice.


Buttermilk is a fermented dairy liquid traditionally obtained as a by-product of butter-making. Like sour cream, buttermilk has a tangy taste due to lactic acid. It is also a good source of calcium and has been linked to lower cholesterol levels.

Buttermilk is best used as a sour cream substitute in baked goods and dressings due to its liquid form.

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Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a sour and slightly fizzy taste. It is similar to buttermilk and is suitable as a sour cream substitute in baking and dressing recipes. Kefir offers various health benefits, including calcium and probiotic bacteria that can protect against viral infections. It also has low levels of lactose, making it suitable for those with mild lactose intolerance.


What should you use as a substitute for sour cream?

The best substitute for sour cream depends on your diet, health concerns, and recipe suitability. Healthier alternatives, such as Greek yogurt and cashew-based substitutes, are recommended. Consider the consistency of the substitute, as thinner alternatives work better in baking and dressings. Taste is also a factor, as some substitutes are milder than sour cream and may require additional lemon juice or ingredients to achieve the same tangy flavor.

Before incorporating dairy or dairy-free substitutes into your recipes, check for any possible interactions with medications or allergies. Consult a doctor or nutritionist for specific health concerns before making dietary adjustments.


– Arthritis Foundation: "Probiotics and Arthritis"

– British Dietetic Association: "Dairy Benefits"

– Harvard School of Public Health: "Types of Fat"

– Journal of the American Dietetic Association: "Kefir improves lactose digestion and tolerance in adults with lactose maldigestion"

– Microbiome: "Cross-kingdom inhibition of bacterial virulence and communication by probiotic yeast metabolites"

– National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Lactose Intolerance"

– Nutrients: "Dairy Intake and Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 78,529 Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults"

– Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases: "Impact of buttermilk consumption on plasma lipids and surrogate markers of cholesterol homeostasis in men and women"

– U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Almond milk, unsweetened, plain, shelf stable," "Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 1% milkfat," "Cheese, cream," "Coconut milk," "CREME FRAICHE," "Milk, buttermilk, fluid, cultured, lowfat," "Nuts, cashew nuts, raw," "Yogurt, Greek, plain, whole milk"

– U.S. Food and Drug Administration: "Code of Federal Regulations Title 21"


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