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12 Sour Cream Substitutes That Will Save Your Recipe

12 Sour Cream Substitutes That Will Save Your Recipe

Sour cream substitutes got you stumped? Whether you’re out or seeking a non-dairy alternative, our guide provides top-notch options. Ideal for baking or cooking, discover the best fit for your dish. 

We go into details about how to use each sour cream substitute below and when you should use each one, but here’s a quick snapshot of our best sour cream substitutes. 

Key: c = cup; T = tablespoon; t = teaspoon

1 c of Sour Cream =

1 c Buttermilk
1 c Cashews + 1/4 c Water + 1 T Lemon Juice
1 c Coconut Milk + 1-2 T Lemon Juice
1 c Cottage Cheese
1 c Crème Fraîche
1 c Greek Yogurt
1 c Kefir
1 c Mayonnaise
1 c Milk + 1 T vinegar
1 c Plain Yogurt
1 c Silken Tofu
1 c Soy Sour Cream

How many cups are in a pint of sour cream?

A pint of sour cream is equivalent to 2 c, as there are 2 cups in a pint

How many tablespoons are in a cup of sour cream?

A cup of sour cream is equivalent to 16 T, as there are 16 tablespoons in a cup

How to make DIY sour cream

To make DIY sour cream at home, mix heavy cream, milk, white vinegar, lemon juice, and salt until thick, then chill the mixture for at least an hour before serving. For more detailed instructions, check out our homemade sour cream recipe.

Sour Cream Substitutes

1. Buttermilk

Buttermilk is liquid and tangy, while sour cream is thick and rich. Substituting buttermilk for sour cream can alter a dish’s consistency, especially in baked goods. Despite these differences, buttermilk can be a good substitute in salad dressings, marinades, and baked goods where its tang can complement other ingredients. 

Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio. 

2. Cashews + Lemon Juice

Soaked and blended cashews can mimic the creamy texture of sour cream, making them a good dairy-free alternative. Adding lemon juice or vinegar gives it a tangy flavor. While it can be used in various dishes like dips or toppings, its taste has a slight nutty hint, making it different from traditional sour cream.

Blend 1 cup of soaked cashews with a tablespoon of lemon juice and 1/4 cup water for every cup of soup cream. Or you can check this cashew sour cream recipe for more detailed instructions. 

3. Coconut Milk + Lemon Juice

Combining coconut milk and lemon juice offers a dairy-free alternative to sour cream. While the coconut gives it a rich texture and the lemon contributes a tart note, the blend has a distinct coconut flavor. It’s best in dishes that benefit from a coconut taste, like tropical desserts or curries. But for recipes needing a more neutral flavor, this might not be the best substitute.

Combine 1 cup coconut milk and 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice for a cup of sour cream. 

4. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a milder, chunkier alternative to sour cream. To make it smoother, like sour cream, you can blend or puree it. It can be used instead of sour cream in various dishes like dips, dressings, and baked goods and as a topping for baked potatoes and nachos. Keep in mind that cottage cheese’s unique qualities may slightly change the dish’s taste and texture, so adjust as desired.

Substitute cottage cheese for sour cream in a 1:1 ratio. 

5. Crème Fraîche

It’s possible to substitute crème fraîche for sour cream. Both of them are cultured creams, but crème fraîche is milder and thicker. While both can be used interchangeably in many recipes, such as dips, dressings, or toppings, the luxurious texture of crème fraîche makes it particularly suitable for desserts and can be a stand-out in recipes where a smoother finish is desired.

Replace sour cream with crème fraîche in a 1:1 ratio. 

6. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt’s tangy taste and thick texture make it a superb alternative to sour cream in specific dishes. While it’s a bit tangier and less creamy, Greek yogurt often works well in dips, dressings, baked goods, and even as a garnish for soups or tacos. It’s worth noting that the success of the substitution may vary by recipe; adjustments to ingredients are needed for the right taste and texture.

Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream in a 1:1 ratio.

7. Kefir

Kefir, a tangy fermented dairy product, can be used as a sour cream substitute. While traditional kefir is more liquid, like buttermilk, strained kefir or kefir cheese is thicker, resembling sour cream. When you use kefir instead of sour cream, it gives a tangy, slightly fizzy flavor to dishes. Though it can be used in dips, dressings, baking, or toppings, it might differ in taste and consistency. So, consider adjusting the quantity or using thickeners as needed in your recipe.

Start with a 1:1 ratio and adjust if needed. 

8. Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise can replace sour cream in certain recipes, but it comes with some significant differences. Mayo is tangy and creamy like sour cream, but it has a richer, slightly eggy taste. You can use it in dips, dressings, and baking, but it might not work well in situations where sour cream’s lighter, tangy flavor is crucial, like topping a baked potato or adding a dollop to a bowl of chili. 

Substitute mayonnaise for sour cream in a 1:1 ratio. 

9. Milk + Vinegar

Mixing milk and vinegar can be a substitute for sour cream, but keep in mind that it won’t taste exactly the same. The vinegar makes the milk thicker and tangy, somewhat like sour cream. It’s suitable for recipes where sour cream is needed, like dips or dressings, but the flavor and texture will be a bit different. Adjust the amounts to match what you need, but remember it won’t be an exact match for sour cream.

Mix 1 cup of milk and a tablespoon of vinegar for 1 cup of sour cream. 

10. Plain Yogurt

Plain yogurt can indeed work as a good substitute for sour cream. While there are some differences, such as yogurt’s slightly tangier flavor and thinner consistency, these distinctions are often subtle and easily adaptable in most recipes. It adds a creamy taste and tang to savory recipes like tacos and dips, and it can be used in sweet dishes like dessert toppings and dressings. But plain yogurt might not be the best choice for recipes where the tangy quality of sour cream is essential. 

Use it in a 1:1 ratio. 

11. Silken Tofu

Silken tofu works well as a substitute for sour cream in making baked goods, dressings, and dips. While it won’t replicate the exact flavor of the original ingredient, it can provide a similar creamy texture and a mild, slightly nutty taste. To make it work, blend silken tofu with a bit of lemon juice, vinegar, or dairy-free yogurt to mimic the tangy note of sour cream.

Substitute silken tofu for sour cream in a 1:1 ratio. 

12. Soy Sour Cream

Another great substitute for sour cream is soy sour cream. While it may not perfectly replicate the exact flavor and consistency of dairy sour cream, it offers a tangy and creamy profile. The consistency is usually quite similar, making it suitable for dolloping on tacos, nachos, or baked potatoes, as well as for incorporating into dips, dressings, and baked goods. 

Substitute it in a 1:1 ratio. 

The bottom line

There are many sour cream substitutes available to suit various personal preferences and culinary needs. Options range from Greek yogurt and cottage cheese to plant-based alternatives like cashew or tofu-based creams. By trying these substitutes, you can enjoy the creamy texture of sour cream while customizing your dishes. So, experiment, adapt, and when you’re struggling to choose one of these alternatives, use Greek yogurt and substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.

More About Sour Cream

Sour cream substitutes visually represented in the image.
Sour Cream in a wooden bowl with chives sprinkled on top

The Ultimate Guide to 12 Sour Cream Substitutes

Whether you're out of sour cream or simply looking for a healthier or more sustainable alternative, these 12 substitutes, from yogurt to cottage cheese to cashew cream, will work in most dishes.


  • Buttermilk: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Cashews + Lemon Juice: 1 c cashews + 1/4 c water + 1 T lemon juice for 1 c sour cream
  • Coconut Milk + Lemon Juice: 1 c coconut milk + 1-2 T lemon juice for 1 c sour cream
  • Cottage Cheese: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Crème Fraîche: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Greek Yogurt: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Kefir: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Mayonnaise: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Milk + Vinegar: 1 c milk + 1 T vinegar for 1 c sour cream
  • Plain Yogurt: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Silken Tofu: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)
  • Soy Sour Cream: Use an equal amount as sour cream (1:1)


  1. Replace sour cream with one of our 12 suggested substitutes.
  2. Use one of the above ratios when substituting for sour cream in a recipe.

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