Sour cream is one of those foods that I seem to always have in my refrigerator. It is such a versatile product that can be used in many dishes. Just off the top of my head, I think of sour cream used for chili, desserts, soups, tacos, dips, and so on. The recipes seem endless. But, what if you go to use your sour cream and it is spoiled or gone? Fortunately, there is a substitute for sour cream and not just one. Let’s take a look at some possible substitutes for sour cream.
Sour Cream Substitutes
Greek Yogurt – Plain Greek yogurt is probably the most used substitute for sour cream because it provides a similar texture and to some a similar taste. It is also readily available in many homes. The good part about plain Greek yogurt is that it substitutes equally with sour cream so you do not have to figure out the conversion math. Whole milk (full fat) Greek yogurt works best because it is closest in fat content to sour cream than the lower fat brands. Additionally, whole milk Greek yogurt will best match the creaminess of sour cream.
Regular Yogurt – Plain regular yogurt can also substitute for sour cream but it tends to be a bit liquidy. You may want to strain it with a colander until the texture becomes closer to sour cream. Just like Greek yogurt, try to use whole milk plain yogurt. Use the same regular yogurt as you would sour cream for baking but add a teaspoon of baking soda.
**Note on yogurt** – When yogurt is exposed to high heat, it can form curds and separate. This makes for an awful texture if you ask most people. If you are adding yogurt to a hot liquid, be sure to first introduce a bit of hot liquid to the yogurt before adding it to the larger heated portion of the dish. This will help keep it from curdling. Keep in mind, the lower the fat content, the higher chance yogurt will curd and separate under high heat. See cream fraiche below for a better alternative for a high heat substitute.
Buttermilk – You can use buttermilk for a sour cream substitute, but the ratio is not be one to one. For a cup of sour cream, you can substitute 3/4 cup buttermilk and 1/3 cup butter for baking.
Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese may not seem like an appropriate substitute because of its lumpy texture. However, the beauty of a blender is that you can make just about any food smooth. Scoop a cup of cottage cheese into a blender, add two tablespoons of milk, and one tablespoon of lemon juice. Blend the ingredients until the lumps disappear.
Evaporated Milk – Simply mix a cup of evaporated milk with one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.
Heavy Whipping Cream – Heavy cream is preferred as a substitute over milk because of its higher fat content and thicker texture. Whisk a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice into a cup of heavy cream. Add a pinch of salt if desired. The cream should thicken rapidly as you begin to whisk to become a similar texture to sour cream.
Cream Fraiche – Depending on where you live, cream fraiche may be hard to find but it is very similar to sour cream. The difference between sour cream and cream fraiche is mainly in the fat content. Cream fraiche has about 30 percent fat whereas sour cream has 20 percent. Sour cream has that classic tangy taste while cream fraiche is creamier with less tang. Because of the extra fat, cream fraiche will hold up better to heat and will be less likely to separate than sour cream. The same amount of cream fraiche can be used in a recipe as you would sour cream.
Mayonnaise – Whisk together 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup heavy cream, and 1/3 cup yogurt.