11 Sour Cream Substitutes For The Creamiest, Dreamiest Vibes

When you were about to cook this pound cake recipe or were looking for a little something extra to add to steamed potatoes or nachos, you realize you’re out of sour cream. Before you worry and run to the nearest store, remedy the situation by making a quick sour cream substitute with ingredients you probably already have at home.

From a plant-based substitute for sour cream like coconut milk or white beans to dairy alternatives, finding a substitute for sour cream is a lot easier than you might first think. By using ingredients like mayonnaise, cottage cheese or yogurt and a little acidic lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, you can wow your guests with a non-dairy or dairy alternative to sour cream and your taste buds with something very close. to the real deal.

What makes sour cream sour?

In order to understand what ingredients can replace sour cream, you need to know what it is. Sour cream is the combination of full-fat dairy cream and lactic acid bacteria which, when mixed together, forms a thick, sour and creamy product. As the mixture ferments, the bacterial culture produces lactic acid, which gives sour cream its distinct tart flavor. Some commercial-grade sour cream has added stabilizers, such as gelatin or guar gum, to enrich its texture and consistency.

When cooking, sour cream helps add fat and moisture to pasta or pasta, resulting in a richer end product. When it comes to savory recipes, it can make a creamy sauce or a luxurious dip (think: nachos and quesadillas). However, if you’re looking for a non-dairy alternative or just lack that ingredient at home, here are 11 of the best sour cream substitutes to get you through the day!

The Best Non-Dairy Substitutes

Cashew nut

Soak a cup of raw cashews in a bowl of room temperature water for at least three hours. When done, drain and rinse the cashews under cold running water. Combine the cashews, the juice of one lemon, two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, ⅓ cup of water (add more if needed), and one teaspoon of salt in a blender. Puree at high speed until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is not tangy enough, add more apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to taste. Make this dairy-free sour cream alternative to top a serving of Haile Thomas’ Fall Chili Bowl with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa.

coconut cream

Place a can of whole coconut cream in the refrigerator for at least six hours. Once cooled, pour in the creamy, condensed layer of coconut fat, leaving the liquid oil behind. Gently mix the coconut cream with one to two teaspoons of lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and season with salt to taste. Stir until smooth and blended. If needed, add more acid to mimic the tart flavor of sour cream. If the mixture is too dense, add a little of your favorite vegetable milk, such as coconut milk, to thin the cream.

Whole coconut milk

When shopping for any type of canned coconut product, you will come across different options: light coconut milk, full coconut milk, and coconut cream. We have already reviewed the merits of coconut cream, but let’s also talk about whole coconut milk. (If the coconut milk has no demarcation, it’s probably the high-fat type.) This product is the middle ground between light coconut milk (which has a viscosity that feels like half and half) and coconut cream (which is about as thick as sour cream or mascarpone). Mix the coconut milk with 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to give it the tartness that sour cream is known for. If a recipe calls for a cup of sour cream, use a cup of coconut milk plus the acid.

White beans

Toss any cooked white beans, like cannellini, with apple cider vinegar, oil, a pinch of Dijon mustard, and salt to create a creamy substitute for sour cream. This protein-rich mix adds moisture to pasta and is the perfect vegan ingredient to use when baking. You can also use this sauce as a substitute for mayonnaise to spread on sandwiches, bread or even veggie burgers.


This rich, fatty substitute works to add moisture to baked goods and can be used at a one-to-one ratio in place of sour cream. However, keep in mind that this ingredient lacks the sourness and spiciness of traditional sour cream. You can add a splash of apple cider vinegar to your paste to create a result similar to the original.

Vegan sour cream

It might seem a bit obvious, but yes, vegan sour cream does exist and it is delicious! Our favorite versions come from Forager Project, which is made with coconut and cashew milk, tapioca starch, distilled vinegar, and live active cultures; Kite Hill, a sour cream alternative made with almond milk, coconut, and chickpeas; and Tofutti, which is a vegan sour cream made from soy.

The best dairy substitutes


Plain yogurt is probably your best bet when looking for a quick fix to make up for your missing ingredient. It conveniently replaces sour cream in a recipe at a one-to-one ratio, making conversions easy. For extra moisture and richness, opt for plain full-fat or Greek yogurt to mimic the tangy, creamy flavors of traditional sour cream for recipes like this Cardamom Sour Cream Cake.


Buttermilk, another great alternative, is tangy, acidic, and adds moisture when cooked. However, keep in mind that it is much looser in consistency and liquid than sour cream. To balance the proportions of wet ingredients, use a three-quarter cup of buttermilk for every cup of sour cream called for by the recipe.

Fresh cream

Although very similar to sour cream, sour cream is higher in fat and calories, but lacks the characteristic pungent flavor of its counterpart. However, the two are incredibly similar in texture and consistency, making them interchangeable at a one-to-one ratio. Use this ingredient as a substitute for sour cream in a good baked batter or use it to top baked potatoes or any creamy soup you like.

Cream cheese

If you’ve searched your fridge and haven’t found any yogurt or crème fraîche, whip up a block of cream to do the job. Mix this denser ingredient with a little milk or buttermilk to soften the consistency. For every cup of sour cream you need, use six ounces of cream cheese with two tablespoons of milk or buttermilk.

cottage cheese

Although it may seem surprising, another alternative to sour cream is cottage cheese. To create a similar consistency, mix cottage cheese with a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar for equally tart results.