The Best Substitutes for Sour Cream (Nondairy Included!)

The Best Substitutes for Sour Cream (Nondairy Included!)

Soured on sour cream? Whether you’re trying to avoid dairy or simply don’t like the sour stuff, we have a list of the best sour cream substitutes so you still enjoy some tangy, creamy goodness in your favorite dishes.

If you’re a sour cream fan, cracking the foil seal on the top of a fresh, smooth, and tangy container of sour cream (especially right before digging into a piping hot, melty plate of nachos) is akin to something divine. A pile of salty and savory food just begs for the cooling addition of good dollop of sour cream. But depending on your lifestyle or predilections, sour cream itself might not be for you.

Common complaints about sour cream comes from folks who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, or those who are on a low-fat diet and don’t want to fill up on milk fats. (Just two tablespoons of this stuff can run you 60 calories and 5 grams of fat.) Others just simply don’t like the taste of sour cream, but do enjoy a creamy compliment to hot or spicy foods.

Fortunately, there are plenty of other creamy and delicious options out there that can step up to the plate and offer you an equivalent culinary experience — no matter your concerns or quibbles.

 

The Best Sour Cream Substitutes With Dairy

The options below are great replacements for sour cream for those who are looking for a lighter, healthier option, or just something with a slightly different taste.

 

Greek Yogurt

This thick and dense yogurt is for those who just aren’t into sour cream or want to cut down on fat calories. It still retains a slightly tangy flavor, and two tablespoons of low-fat Greek yogurt pack more protein than sour cream (nearly 3 grams vs. 1 gram), less fat (0.5 grams vs. 5 grams), and only 25 calories. You can use Greek yogurt as a good replacement for sour cream in dressing, dip recipes, and even mashed potatoes.

 

Cottage Cheese

Another protein powerhouse, cottage cheese ends up giving over 3 grams of protein per two tablespoons, 24 calories, and 0.4 grams of fat. Just mix with milk and lemon juice to use as a sour cream substitute in a variety of recipes. And if you’re thrown off by the texture, mixing it up well can give it more of a creamy finish.

 

Crème Fraîche

This is what most Europeans spring for when they need a tangy, smooth dairy kick for recipes and toppings. Although it is higher in calories and fat than sour cream — two tablespoons will run you about 110 calories and 11 grams of fat — it can be enjoyed in moderation. Crème fraîche doesn’t have quite as much of a sour kick as sour cream, making this a nice, lighter flavor option.

 

Kefir

Kefir is a fermented dairy product that’s similar to yogurt, but is a little runnier and can have a more pronounced sour taste. Like yogurt, it’s also loaded with probiotics that can help aid a healthy digestive system. If you’re only using two tablespoons of this sour stuff, it only has about 13 calories and 0.3 grams of fat, although just 1 gram of protein.

 

The Best Dairy-Free Sour Cream Substitutes

If you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant, or simply trying to cut back on your diary consumption, don’t worry! There are a handful of good nondairy sour cream options, so you can still enjoy a refreshing dollop of something creamy in your favorite dishes.

 

Soy-Based Sour Cream

Nondairy eaters, rejoice! You can now enjoy store-bought soy-derived sour creams that are popping up in most regular grocery stores and online, like Follow Your Heart Gourmet Sour Cream and WayFare Dairy Free Sour Cream. They makes it super easy to swap in for sour cream in recipes — just make sure you read the nutrition labels before making your choice. This substitute can range from 35 calories to 90 calories or more per two tablespoons, and some can be altered by added sugar and other not-so-great ingredients to mimic the real thing.

 

Coconut Milk

This milk made from the meaty part of the coconut is a perfect sour cream substitute for vegans, those with a nut allergy, or those who are lactose-intolerant. Just keep in mind that although this is a good dairy-free sub for taste, it’s not necessarily the best choice for the calorie counters. That’s because you’ll need to use full-fat coconut milk to get the right texture, which clocks in around 140 calories per two tablespoons. But if you want to treat yourself with a moderate serving, try blending it with some apple cider vinegar and lemon juice to give it a tangy kick.

 

Cashew Sour Cream

With a little kitchen magic, you can turn these sweet nuts into a rich and tasty sour cream alternative. Since a ready-made product isn’t widely available, here’s how to make this dairy-free sour cream substitute.

  • Soak a cup of cashews for 30 minutes in pre-boiled water.
  • Drain the cashews and add them to a blender with 2 teaspoons cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, pinch of salt, and ¼ cup of water.
  • Blend it all together until smooth.

And that’s it! What makes these nuts such a good replacement for sour cream? It’s their high-fat content, giving them the ability to be blended into a creamy concoction. So just be mindful of that and use this sub sparingly.

Adam Bible

About

Adam Bible is a lifestyle, fitness, nutrition, and health writer and editor with over 15 years experience. His work has appeared in Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, FLEX, Bicycling, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Natural Health, and Whole Living. A former New Yorker, Adam lives in North Carolina where he tends to his 8 chickens and thriving garden while restoring vintage steel bicycles.

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