Sour Cream Substitute

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Bowl of Sour Cream

If you need sour cream for a recipe, and you’re only just discovering that that tub in the back of the fridge has grown fuzz, or you’re trying to figure out how to tweak a recipe for someone who’s lactose intolerant or vegan, check out these sour cream substitutes.

Dairy Substitutes for Sour Cream


Plain yogurt is the hands-down easiest substitute for sour cream. It has a similar sour flavor and consistency. For the best results, replace the sour cream called for in your recipe with an equal amount of plain Greek yogurt. The taste and texture is nearly identical.

Only have plain yogurt on hand? Though it’s a smidge wetter than Greek yogurt, it’s still an excellent stand-in for sour cream. Use it as a one-to-one replacement.

If you have time, you can even strain some of the whey out of the plain yogurt to turn it into Greek yogurt. Just twist the yogurt up in a piece of cheesecloth; hang it over a bowl; and in about an hour’s time, enough whey will have drained to firm up the texture. But don’t feel like you have to go to the trouble. Plain yogurt will do just fine straight out of the container.

Yogurt is a good all-round substitute for sour cream. You can use it in baked goods, sauces, dips, dressings or as a condiment. You just need to take some extra care, when using it in sauces. Since it has a lower fat content than sour cream, it’ll curdle if you heat it too quickly. To work around this, heat it over low heat, while stirring continuously. Temperatures over 180 degrees Fahrenheit will cause it to curdle. If you have a thermometer, clip it on the side of the pan, so you can monitor the temperature.

Cream Cheese

Have a block of cream cheese in the fridge? Blend it with milk to create a quick sour cream replacement. Start with four tablespoons of milk, and add more, until it reaches a sour cream-like consistency. This will give you a close approximation of both the tang and texture. For the best results, use this sour cream substitute in dips and dressings.

Dairy-Free and Vegan Substitutes for Sour Cream

Coconut Cream

Place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge, so the cream separates and rises to the top. Then, skim off a cup of the coconut cream, and blend it with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Do a taste test, and add a bit of salt, plus more vinegar/lemon, if needed. The acid and salt will help to sour the coconut, but it won’t completely mask the coconut flavor, so consider whether this flavor will be a good addition to your recipe.

Silken Tofu

Place a package of firm or extra firm silken tofu in the blender. Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Then, blend until thick and creamy. Use your sour cream substitute right away, or refrigerate it for later. This works well in any recipe that calls for sour cream.

Never Run Out of Sour Cream Again

If you never seem to have sour cream when you need it, or it always goes bad before you get around to using it up, there are two simple things you can do to solve the problem.

Freeze Your Leftover Sour Cream

When you buy a tub of sour cream for a recipe, freeze the leftovers right away. This will keep them from going bad, and ensure that you’ll have sour cream the next time you need it. Freezing sour cream definitely changes its texture, but as long as you use it in casseroles, soups or other cooked dishes, you won’t even notice the difference.

Have a favorite recipe that calls for sour cream? Divide the sour cream up into the portions required for that recipe. If you aren’t sure how you’ll use the sour cream yet, just freeze it in cup servings.

To use your frozen sour cream, simply thaw it in the fridge, and add it to your recipe. If you’re making soup, it can go straight into the pot frozen, since it’ll have plenty of time to thaw as the soup cooks.

Switch to Powdered Sour Cream

If you don’t use sour cream often enough to justify keeping a container in the fridge, consider purchasing a container of powdered sour cream instead. This shelf-stable product allows you to make sour cream whenever you need it and in whatever quantity you need. Just mix the powder with water, and you have real sour cream in minutes.

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Sour Cream

Sour Cream Substitute

Here are several things you can use, if you don’t have sour cream, or aren’t able to eat it.

  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: Varies


  • Yogurt, cream cheese, coconut cream or silken tofu


  • From Yogurt: Replace 1:1 with plain Greek yogurt. Plain yogurt can also be used, but is slightly wetter.
  • From Cream Cheese: Blend a block of cream cheese with four tablespoons of milk. Continue adding milk, until sour cream consistency is reached.
  • From Coconut Cream: Refrigerate a full-fat can of coconut milk, so the cream rises to the top. Then, scoop it off, and stir in a tablespoon of lemon or vinegar. Taste, and add salt, or more lemon/vinegar, if needed.
  • From Silken Tofu: Place a package of firm or extra firm silken tofu in a blender with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Blend until thick and creamy.

Keywords: sour cream substitute, vegan sour cream substitute, dairy-free sour cream substitute

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  1. You saved me. I started a rice casserole and realized half way through that I didn’t have any sour cream. I used the cream cheese/4 T milk and the recipe turned over great. Thank you. Marilyn

  2. You are a life saver! Making a banana bread that calls for sour cream, and to my dismay the sour cream in the fridge had become a green fuzzy gook. Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips.

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