Have you ever wondered how you can use sour cream in your recipes or what its best substitutes are?
Sour cream is a versatile ingredient sought after for its creamy texture, slight tanginess, and savory flavor.
Whether you’re trying to cut dairy for health or dietary reasons, or if you simply don’t have any available, this article can help point you in the right direction to substitute sour cream.
With options ranging from coconut milk yogurt to silken tofu, there is a non-dairy alternative that will fit any recipe.
Read ahead as we cover how to use sour cream and five of the best substitutes when necessary.
What’s Sour Cream?
Sour cream is a dairy product, made by combining cream with a type of lactic acid called mesclun to create a thick, creamy condiment.
It has a slightly tangy, buttermilk-like flavor that adds a unique twist to all your favorite dishes.
The texture is rich, velvety and smooth.
Sour cream can be an excellent addition to savory dishes like tacos, chili and potato salad, or used as a topping on desserts like pies and cakes.
To use it in cooking, try substituting sour cream for yogurt in recipes such as dips and dressings or try adding it to mashed potatoes for extra creaminess.
If you’re looking for the perfect topping for tacos or potato skins, look no further than sour cream – its tanginess breaks up the flavors of other ingredients while still keeping the dish classic.
Whether you use it as an ingredient in baking or as a condiment to accompany savory meals adds deliciousness to any plate.
The 5 BEST Dairy-free Substitutes for Sour Cream
Sour cream is one of those ingredients that adds a smooth, rich flavor and creamy texture to many dishes.
Unfortunately, if you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you may be looking for dairy-free sour cream substitutes.
Fortunately, there are plenty of options out there.
Here are five great alternatives to traditional sour cream that will still give your dishes the same great flavor and texture.
Each of these can be made at home with simple ingredients or found in some stores:
1 – Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is a popular vegan alternative to sour cream.
This dairy-free substitute is made from raw cashews that are soaked in water and then blended with additional ingredients — such as lemon juice, vinegar, and nutritional yeast — until a smooth and creamy consistency is achieved.
Cashew cream has a nutty flavor and can be used in cooking or baking just like sour cream.
It can also be used as a topping for tacos, burritos, chili, potatoes au gratin, nachos, quesadillas, and more.
2 – Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is made from the thick, white flesh of mature coconuts.
It’s a dairy-free alternative that’s loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and unique flavor.
Compared to traditional sour cream, it is slightly thinner in texture and has a hint of coconut flavor that can be overwhelmed by other ingredients.
You can buy canned coconut cream or make your own at home by blending one part full-fat coconut milk with two parts cold water for about 2 minutes until it forms a very thick liquid.
This mix will resemble store-bought coconut cream but won’t have as much fat content as the canned version.
You can also use coconut cream in place of traditional sour cream when cooking, baking and making dressings.
Like all alternatives to dairy-based sour cream, the flavors won’t be identical but you may still find yourself pleasantly surprised at how versatile and delicious this dairy free alternative can be.
3 – Avocado Cream
Avocado cream is a delicious dairy-free substitute for sour cream.
You can make it in just a few minutes using simple ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen.
This rich, creamy topping is packed with healthy fats from the avocados, and provides a mild but delicious flavor to whatever dish you’re making.
To make this vegan-friendly substitute for sour cream, you will need avocados, lime juice, light olive oil, garlic powder and salt.
Simply blend the avocado and olive oil until creamy then add the remaining ingredients to taste.
You can use avocado cream in place of sour cream in many recipes including tacos or salads.
4 – Vegan Sour Cream
Vegan sour cream is a dairy-free option for those who cannot or choose not to eat animal products.
It is also suitable for people with food allergies and/or intolerances, such as lactose and soy.
This type of sour cream is made from a variety of vegan ingredients, such as coconut milk, silken tofu and nuts.
Manufacturers often produce their own versions of vegan sour cream, which can vary in terms of taste and texture.
However, many vegan versions are noted for having a mild flavor that is similar to traditional sour cream – they may also be slightly tangier in profile than their conventional counterparts.
Vegan sour cream often contains fewer calories than regular dairy versions due to the use of plant-based ingredients such as tofu and coconut milk.
When shopping for vegan sour cream, look out for varieties made without sugar or added preservatives to maximize your health benefits.
Furthermore, vegan sour cream is typically lactose-free and smooth in texture once mixed – making it an ideal topping for tacos or baked potatoes.
5 – Vegan Yogurt
Vegan yogurt is an excellent sour cream alternative for those looking for a plant-based option.
It’s thick and creamy, and many offer flavors that will perfectly compliment your favorite recipes.
It even has the same slightly tangy flavor that sour cream provides, gives food an added bit of tartness, and stands in as a great dairy-free topping on many dishes — all while providing probiotic bonuses.
The best way to use vegan yogurts as a sour cream substitute is to customize them with other ingredients like seasonings, herbs and spices so they’ll be at their tastiest when served as a topping or in recipes.
Popular vegan yogurt brands include So Delicious Dairy Free, Trader Joe’s Soy Yogurt Alternative, and Daiya Dairy Free Greek Style Yogurt Alternative.
There are a variety of vegan substitutes available, but the flavor and texture will vary affected by the various ingredients.
Making your own dairy-free sour cream from scratch is an option, but this involves some trial and error to find the recipe that tastes best for you.
Every individual has their own preference when it comes to powdered or liquid forms, as well as taste and texture profiles.
When looking for dairy-free substitutes for sour cream, be sure to read all ingredient labels for allergens or any ingredients you don’t recognize.
As with any food item that does not come directly from a cow (or other mammal), always store the product according to manufacturer instructions and use it within its suggested shelf life — if unsure, throw it out.
Ultimately, soy yogurt is likely the most popular dairy-free substitute because of its similar thickness, adaptable flavor profile, and easy availability at most grocery stores.
However, many other options exist including other nut milks such as almond or cashew milk, canned coconut milk and canned pumpkin puree – so explore your interests and find what suits your needs best.