Sour Cream Substitutes

When it comes to cooking, there are times when you may wish to find a suitable substitute for specific ingredients, like sour cream. It’s essential to know the various alternatives available to help you achieve desired recipes. Fret not, as we have compiled a list of sour cream substitutes that will suit your needs perfectly. With these alternatives, you can still savor the tangy taste and enjoy sauces, dips, baked potatoes, and more without relying solely on traditional sour cream.

As you explore different substitutes, you’ll discover that each one provides unique features and possesses varying degrees of tanginess and creaminess to suit various dishes. Experimenting with these options will bring newfound versatility to your cooking and expand your kitchen capabilities. Now, let’s get started by diving into the diverse world of sour cream substitutes available in your pantry.

Fret Not if You Don’t Have Sour Cream, We Provide Substitutes

Key Takeaways

  • Explore a wide range of sour cream substitutes to achieve desired flavors and textures in your dishes.
  • Select from various dairy and non-dairy alternatives for one-to-one replacement in recipes.
  • Be prepared to adjust and experiment with the ingredients to find the perfect fit for your cooking needs.

DIY Sour Cream Substitute

Making sour cream from scratch is a great option when you’re planning ahead and don’t want to head out to the store. To create your own DIY sour cream, follow these simple steps:

  1. Combine 1 cup of heavy cream with 1 teaspoon of distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice.
  2. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in ¼ cup of whole milk until the ingredients are well blended.
  4. Cover the mixture and let it sit at room temperature for 1 or 2 days.
  5. Refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it in your dishes like cakes, pies, muffins or coffee cake.

This homemade sour cream substitute will have a similar consistency and texture to store-bought sour cream, ensuring your baked goods remain moist and delicious. Making sour cream from scratch also provides an acidic component, using either vinegar or lemon juice, which can interact with baking soda for the perfect rise in your baking creations. Enjoy your DIY sour cream in various recipes!

Yogurt: A Great Alternative to Sour Cream

If you happen to have yogurt in your fridge, you’re in for a treat! Greek yogurt works exceptionally well as a substitute for sour cream due to its thickness and tangy flavor. It can be used interchangeably in most recipes. However, if you only have regular yogurt on hand, it’s not a problem. Simply strain it through a fine-mesh sieve lined with a coffee filter or paper towel to remove some of the liquid, and you’ll achieve a creamier texture mimicking sour cream.

Remember, yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is packed with protein and generally lower in calories than sour cream. So, if you’re looking for a healthier option without compromising taste, yogurt may be your go-to. Besides yogurt, there are other alternatives like cashews, silken tofu, soy yogurt, or nuts, but yogurt stands out for its availability and flavor. With plain Greek yogurt or plain yogurt, your dishes will still have that delightful creaminess you love.

Sour Cream Substitute: Cream Cheese

Have some leftover cream cheese from breakfast? You can use it as an alternative to sour cream! Cream cheese has a thicker consistency, so it needs to be thinned down a bit. To replace 1 cup of sour cream in a recipe, use 6 ounces of cream cheese mixed with a tablespoon or two of milk, buttermilk, or water. First, let the cream cheese reach room temperature, then combine it with your chosen liquid. This versatile, high-fat substitute won’t curdle and will give your dish a creamy texture!

Sour Cream Substitute: Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a wonderful alternative to sour cream due to its creamy and acidic nature, making it perfect for dressings and dips. If a recipe asks for 1 cup of sour cream, just replace it with ¾ cup buttermilk. However, it might not suit well for garnishing chili or baked potatoes, as its consistency is thinner than sour cream.

Sour Cream Substitute: Kefir

Kefir, a fermented dairy product found in the dairy aisle, can be a delightful sour cream substitute. Sourced from cow’s or goat’s milk, this drinkable concoction is somewhere between buttermilk and yogurt regarding its consistency. Kefir is known for its probiotics and is a popular ingredient in smoothies.

To mimic the taste of sour cream, opt for unflavored and unsweetened kefir. Its versatile nature allows it to be evenly substituted in pancake batters, dips, and dressings. However, due to its thinner, watery texture, it might not be the best choice for dolloping.

Sour Cream Substitute: Crème Fraîche

Crème fraîche, a French counterpart to sour cream, offers a slightly less tangy flavor. If you’re unable to find sour cream at the store, crème fraîche works as an excellent replacement. With its similar consistency and extra richness, it’s perfect for adding a creamy touch to your dishes. Feel free to scoop it in generous amounts!

Sour Cream Alternative: Mexican Crema

Mexican Crema, a staple in Mexican cuisine, provides a delightful, cooling effect on spicy dishes. Being slightly thinner and less sour than typical sour cream, it serves as a fantastic substitute in most recipes. Feel free to drizzle it on your tacos or incorporate it into your baked goods for a delicious twist.

Mayonnaise: A Handy Sour Cream Alternative

Mayonnaise can be a great substitute for sour cream in most recipes, using it on a one-to-one ratio. Surprisingly, it can also be used in baked goods, as its egg and oil composition adds plenty of moisture to cakes and muffins. For a tangy topping, just mix mayo with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Enjoy experimenting with this versatile and available sour cream alternative!

Cottage Cheese: A Sour Cream Alternative

Swapping sour cream with cottage cheese offers a healthier alternative. In comparison, cottage cheese contains nearly five times more protein and half the calories. To replicate sour cream, blend 1 cup of cottage cheese (preferably small curd for a similar texture), ¼ cup milk, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice. This combination provides a close match to the consistency and flavor of sour cream, without the extra fat.

Coconut Milk: A Tasty Sour Cream Alternative

If you’re seeking a dairy-free or vegan option to replace sour cream, consider utilizing full-fat coconut milk. To make this substitute, simply scoop out the thick coconut cream that naturally rises to the top of canned coconut milk. In a bowl, blend in a bit of fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to impart a tangy flavor similar to traditional sour cream. This thick and creamy mixture works wonderfully for dips and dressings.

For baked goods, you can use refrigerated full-fat coconut milk as a direct substitute for sour cream. Just mix about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into every 1 cup of coconut milk. This non-dairy alternative is great for those with milk allergies, lactose intolerance, dietary restrictions, or following a vegan diet, and it serves as a healthy alternative to sour cream.

Fret Not if You Don’t Have Sour Cream, We Provide Substitutes

Sour Cream Substitutes

Options if you don't have sour cream
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Substitute
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 144 kcal


  • 1/2 cup Plain whole milk Greek yogurt Best overall option
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt Runner-up
  • 1/2 cup creme fraîche Best for sauces
  • 1/2 cup ricotta Best for fillings and dips
  • cup buttermilk Best for baking and batters


  • Substitute any of first four ingredients at a 1:1 ratio with sour cream.


Calories: 144kcal
Keyword sour cream substitutes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Frequently Asked Questions

Dairy-Free Alternatives to Sour Cream

There are several dairy-free alternatives to sour cream that you can try. Some options include:

  • Coconut cream
  • Cashew cream
  • Soy-based sour cream alternatives

Replacing Sour Cream with Greek Yogurt

Yes, you can use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It is a popular and healthier substitute, offering a similar taste and texture.

Substituting Buttermilk for Sour Cream

It is possible to replace sour cream with buttermilk in some recipes, especially in baked goods. To do this, use the same amount of buttermilk as the sour cream called for in the recipe.

Vegan Substitutes for Sour Cream

Some vegan options that can be used as sour cream substitutes include:

  • Vegan sour cream (store-bought or homemade)
  • Silken tofu blended with lemon juice
  • Cashew cream with added vinegar or lemon juice

Using Mayonnaise as a Sour Cream Substitute

Yes, you can use mayonnaise in place of sour cream in some recipes. However, be aware that mayonnaise has a different taste and texture, so the final result may be slightly different.

Substituting Sour Cream in Baking Recipes

To substitute sour cream in baking recipes, you can try these alternatives:

  • Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Cream cheese (mixed with milk)
  • Cottage cheese (blended smooth)

Remember to use the same amount of the substitute as the recipe calls for sour cream.

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
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