Home Articles 10 Sour Cream Substitutes (+ Best Alternatives)

10 Sour Cream Substitutes (+ Best Alternatives)

These sour cream substitutes will come in handy in a pinch! We’ve all been there.

You’re ready to make a super tasty baked good, but you discover that you used the last of the sour cream on taco Tuesday. 

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Before you put on your shoes to make another trip to the store, look around your kitchen.

You likely have a near-perfect sour cream alternative hiding in plain sight.

Mayonnaise Sauce in a White Bowl

Sour cream substitutes are easy. You really just need a thicker dairy product (or vegan alternative) and an acid, like lemon juice or vinegar. 

Here are 10 of your very best options when your tub of sour cream is empty!

Greek Yogurt

1. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is the ultimate sour cream substitute. 

There’s no measuring required when replacing sour cream with Greek yogurt.

If you need 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of Greek yogurt works in a pinch.

It has a very similar consistency that adds serious moisture to your bakes. Plus, it’s lower in calories and packed with nutrition. 

The only downside to Greek yogurt is its slightly different taste.

While the consistency of your dish will turn out great, you might notice a slightly different flavor. 

Mayonnaise in a Wooden Bowl

2. Mayonnaise

Mayo is another great 1:1 replacement, and you likely have a jar of it in your refrigerator.

It has a similar moisture content, taste, and consistency to keep your desserts nice and moist. 

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Unlike other alternatives, you won’t need to add any acid in most cases.

However, if you only have low-fat mayo, you might want to add just a splash of lemon juice. 

Plus, you likely won’t notice a change in flavor in the finished product. 

Kefir Buttermilk in Glasses

3. Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a near replica of sour cream in the taste department, but it doesn’t have the same consistency.

Buttermilk is runnier than sour cream, which will make your batter thinner than expected. 

If your recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, use ¾ cup buttermilk with ¼ cup butter to keep your batter thick and creamy.

Room-temperature butter works best, or you can nuke it in the microwave until it’s just a few seconds shy of melting. 

Creme Fraiche

4. Crème Fraîche

Crème fraîche translates to ‘fresh cream,’ which may not sound like a good substitute for sour cream, but it is! I

t has a cheese-like texture that won’t thin out your batter, and it tastes more creamy than sour. 

While used as a simple one-to-one replacement, it’s much higher in calories.

It has a much higher fat content than sour cream, which might not be ideal if you’re keeping calories low. 

You can even make your crème fraîche by mixing one pint of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk.

Mix it on the counter for 12 hours until it’s thick and creamy. 

Cashew Nuts

5. Cashews

If you want to eliminate dairy, cashews are a fantastic alternative.

This method is a little more time-consuming but worth the extra effort for a tasty one-to-one replacement. 

Soak your cashews in warm water for at least 3 hours. I like to soak them overnight to ensure they’re soft and easy to blend. 

Once they’ve softened, juice one lemon, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (for tanginess), salt, and ⅓ cup of water to the mixture.

Pulse your mixture in the blender until it’s creamy and delicious. 

Be sure to always taste your mixture before adding it to your recipe, and add more vinegar or water as needed. 

Cream Cheese in a White Bowl

6. Cream Cheese

Cream cheese delivers a similar taste to sour cream, but it will make your batter too thick.

You need to be sure that you loosen up your cream cheese a bit before adding it to your recipe. 

Use room-temperature cream cheese to make it easier to blend. If you need a cup of sour cream, use 6 ounces of cream cheese and thin it out with milk. 

If you have it in hand, thinning it out with buttermilk adds that classic tang found in sour cream. 

Kefir and Milk in a Wooden Table

7. Plain Kefir

Kefir is fermented milk. It has a similar flavor profile to yogurt, but the consistency is much runnier.

Swapping out sour cream for plain Kefir will give you the same taste as sour cream, but your batter won’t be as thick and creamy. 

Plain kefir only works well if your recipe calls for a smaller amount of sour cream.

For larger amounts, it could make your batter too runny. To make it thicker, add heavy cream. 

Homemade Coconut Milk

8. Full-Fat Coconut Milk 

Full-fat coconut milk is another excellent alternative. Be sure that you opt for full-fat coconut milk instead of light coconut milk.

While light coconut milk is healthier, it has a much thinner consistency that makes your batter runny. 

To get that patented sour cream zing, add a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.

If your recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, add your acid to your measuring cup, and then top it off with 1 cup of coconut milk. 

Tofu in a Wooden Board

9. Tofu

If you want to keep your bakes vegan-friendly, tofu comes to the rescue again! It’s packed with protein, and it’s a great low-calorie option.

I like to use shelf-stable tofu that doesn’t require draining when using tofu.

If you only have the refrigerated kind, you need to set aside at least 30 minutes to press out all water. 

To mix your tofu into a creamy consistency, mix your tofu and acid of choice (I prefer lemon juice) in a blender until it’s creamy. 

You can also add a tablespoon of oil for a smoother consistency if you find that your tofu cream is too dry. 

Cottage Cheese in a Blue Bowl

10. Cottage Cheese 

Cottage cheese is lower in fat and is an excellent alternative to sour cream.

It requires a few extra steps for that classic tangy and thick consistency, but it’s worth it. 

If your recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, add ¾ cup of cottage cheese, ¼ cup of yogurt, and lemon juice to your blender. 

This creamy, tangy sour cream substitute works just as well as the real thing. Plus, it’s much lower in calories. 

10 Sour Cream Substitutes (+ Best Alternatives)

Try these sour cream substitutes when you don’t have any in the fridge! From yogurt to cashews and more, these alternatives will save the day.


  • Greek Yogurt

  • Mayonnaise

  • Buttermilk

  • Crème Fraîche

  • Cashews

  • Cream Cheese

  • Plain Kefir

  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk

  • Tofu

  • Cottage Cheese


  • Choose your favorite sour cream substitute.
  • Use in all your favorite baking recipes (from cookies and cakes to breads!)
Sour Cream Substitutes

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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