Discover the Ideal Substitute for Sour Cream in Baking

by | Jun 29, 2023

Top 10 Sour Cream Substitues

Ever wondered how to substitute for sour cream in baking?

You’re not alone. Sour cream is a popular ingredient, but sometimes you need an alternative.

Whether it’s due to dietary restrictions or simply running out of regular sour cream, there are plenty of excellent sour cream replacements available.

In fact, statistics show that more and more people are turning to dairy alternatives.

This guide will introduce various substitutes for sour cream in baking – both dairy-based and non-dairy options!

Ready? Let’s dive right into the world of baking without full-fat sour cream!

Types of Sour Cream Alternatives for Baking

Don’t worry if you find yourself without sour cream in the midst of baking; there are many suitable replacements to choose from. 

There are plenty of sour cream alternatives that can save your day (and your cake).

Dairy or Non-Dairy?

Deciding between dairy and non-dairy options is the first step in finding a suitable substitute for sour cream. 

Both options have their pros and cons, but ultimately it’s up to personal preference and dietary needs.

Dairy substitutes, like plain yogurt or buttermilk, often provide the same texture and tanginess as sour cream.

On the other hand, non-dairy substitutes, such as vegan sour cream or cashew-based creams, offer plant-based alternatives without compromising on flavor.

Diving into Dairy-Based Alternatives:

  • Greek Yogurt: It’s thick, creamy consistency makes it an excellent choice for baking recipes requiring sour cream.
  • Creme Fraiche: A French-style cultured cream that provides rich taste while maintaining a light texture.
  • Kefir: This fermented milk product adds both moisture and acidity making it ideal for cakes.

Tasting Non-Diary Options:

  • Vegan Sour Cream: Made from tofu or cashews, this alternative mimics traditional sour cream quite well.
  • Cashew Cream: Soaked cashews blended until smooth can add richness to any recipe calling for sour cream.

No matter what type of substitute you choose, make sure to adjust the amount used based on its thickness compared to regular sour cream.

Remember. The key here isn’t just about finding an alternative; it’s about finding one that works best with your specific recipe. So get creative in the kitchen.

Why Would You Want to Substitute Sour Cream in Baking?

Replacing sour cream in baking may not be as blasphemous an act as initially thought. In fact, there are several valid reasons why someone might want to swap out this dairy delight.

Dietary Restrictions or Preferences

Those with lactose intolerance or vegan diets have to pass on the sour cream. But don’t worry. There’s a wide range of both dairy and non-dairy substitutes available.

Nutritional Considerations

If you’re watching your calories or cutting down on fat, substituting sour cream can be your secret weapon. Many alternatives offer a similar taste and texture with fewer calories and less fat.

Limited Pantry Stock

We’ve all been there – halfway through preparing a recipe when we realize the tub of sour cream in the fridge expired two weeks ago. Fear not. Chances are, you already have at least one suitable substitute sitting in your kitchen.

Culinary Experimentation

Inspired by the spirit of culinary adventure? Swapping out components can bring unexpected joys and unique flavorings that will make your pastries extraordinary.

The Right Texture

Achieving the perfect texture is paramount in baking, so choosing an alternative with a similar consistency will ensure success without compromising on quality.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Last but certainly not least: variety is indeed the spice of life (and food). Swapping out sour cream keeps things interesting – because who doesn’t love shaking up their routine every now and then?

Benefits of Using Sour Cream Alternatives in Baking

Switching up your ingredients can be a game-changer, and using sour cream alternatives in baking is no exception.

A Healthier Option?

Sometimes, the motivation to substitute sour cream stems from health considerations. Many substitutes are lower in fat and calories, making them a healthier choice for those watching their waistline or cholesterol levels.

Related read: How Many Calories Are in a Margherita Pizza? Get the Scoop!

If you’re on this journey towards healthier eating habits, check out these healthy recipes.

Budget-Friendly Choices

You might also want to swap out sour cream if you’re trying to save some bucks. Some alternatives like plain yogurt or buttermilk can be cheaper than buying a tub of sour cream.

Vegan Delights.

The world of veganism has opened doors to exciting culinary adventures. If you’re avoiding dairy products altogether because you’re vegan or lactose intolerant, nondairy substitutes like cashew sour cream come into play.

Diversify Your Flavor Profile

Each alternative brings its unique flavor profile which could add an interesting twist to your baked goods. For instance, Greek yogurt adds tanginess while creme fraiche lends a rich creamy texture with mild tartness.

Allergy Concerns?

If allergies have been bugging your baking plans – fret not. Substitutes like mayonnaise (egg-based) or vegan options (plant-based) provide allergy-friendly solutions so everyone at the table gets their share of dessert happiness.

Creative Freedom.

Last but not least – creativity. Swapping ingredients gives us home bakers the chance to experiment and create our own signature dishes that stand out from standard recipes. So go ahead – let’s get creative with these baking tips.

Dairy-based Sour Cream Substitutes

Let’s dive into the world of dairy, where we’ll find a treasure trove of creamy, tangy alternatives to sour cream. Each one brings its own unique twist to your baking adventures.

Plain Yogurt:

A straight-up swap for sour cream. It has the same tartness and body, but with less fat. Remember to drain any excess liquid before using it in your recipe.

Greek Yogurt:

This is like plain yogurt on steroids – thicker and richer. A fantastic choice if you’re after some extra protein in your baked goods.

Creme Fraiche:

The French know their dairy products. Creme Fraiche is rich, velvety smooth, and slightly less tangy than sour cream. Use it when you want an indulgent touch in your recipes.


If you need more liquid in your batter or dough, buttermilk can step up. Its acidity will also help activate baking soda or powder just like sour cream does.


Fermented milk drink packed with probiotics? Yes, please. Kefir adds moisture and slight tanginess without overpowering other flavors.

Crema Mexicana & Cream Cheese

Incredibly versatile – great for cheesecakes or frosting due to its thick consistency. Slightly thinner than American-style sour creams; gives baked goods a light texture while maintaining richness.

Remember, these substitutes aren’t just about replacing ingredients; they’re about experimenting with flavors and textures too.

Nondairy Sour Cream Substitutes

For those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or just want to try something new, there’s a whole world of nondairy sour cream substitutes out there.


A common household item that can be used as a substitute for sour cream in baking is mayonnaise. It provides the same creamy texture and tangy flavor without any dairy products involved. Discover this tutorial on how to utilize mayo in baking.

Vegan Cream Cheese:

This plant-based alternative has been gaining popularity recently due to its similar consistency and taste to traditional cream cheese. It’s perfect for those looking for a vegan option.

Cashew Sour Cream:

Blend together soaked cashews, water, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar for a vegan alternative to sour cream that offers the same tangy flavor without any dairy. Here’s an easy recipe on how to make your own cashew sour cream.

Vegan Sour Cream:

If you’re not into making your own substitutes at home, many grocery stores now carry ready-made vegan alternatives like Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream or Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Sour Cream, which can be directly swapped into recipes calling for regular sour cream.

Tips For Using Nondairy Substitutes:

  • To maintain the right balance of flavors when using nondairy substitutes such as mayo or vegan cream cheeses, adjust other ingredients accordingly.
  • You might need less salt if using store-bought versions since they tend to have higher sodium content.
  • The amount needed will depend on what type of baked good you’re making, so start by substituting equal amounts then adjust based on results.
  • Remember these alternatives won’t brown like dairy does, so don’t rely solely on color changes during cooking time.

Recipes That Can Be Made with Sour Cream Alternatives

Sour cream is a staple in many recipes, but what if you’re out or looking for a healthier option? Fear not. There are plenty of delicious dishes that can be made using sour cream alternatives.

Cakes and Muffins:

You might think cakes and muffins need the tangy richness of sour cream to taste good. But substitutes like Greek yogurt or vegan sour cream can work wonders here. Check out this mouth-watering recipe for Greek Yogurt Chocolate Cake.


Bread recipes often call for sour cream to add moisture and flavor. Substitutes like kefir or cashew-based vegan alternatives offer similar benefits without the dairy content. Try your hand at making some delicious Kefir Banana Bread.

Dips & Dressings:

Sour cream is often used as a base for dips and dressings, but mayo or Crema Mexicana can make equally tasty versions too. This easy-to-make Mayo-Based French Onion Dip Recipe will prove it.

Tips for Substituting Sour Cream in Baking

Don’t worry – we have all the information you need to make a successful substitution. Here are some tips on how to successfully substitute sour cream in baking.

  • The golden rule when substituting any ingredient is maintaining balance – adjust the amount of liquid or fat used accordingly.
  • If using thicker substitutes (like Greek yogurt), consider thinning them down with milk or water so they match the consistency of sour cream better.
  • In contrast, thinner options (like buttermilk) may require reducing other liquids in your recipe slightly.
  • Avoid overmixing batter after adding an alternative; it could result in tougher baked goods due to excess gluten formation.

5 Tips for Substituting Sour Cream in Baking

So, you’re ready to substitute that sour cream? Well, buckle up, buttercup, because we’re about to dive into the world of baking substitutions.

The Rule of Thumb

In baking, consistency is key. For a successful baking experience, use an equivalent amount of the substitute as you would sour cream.

But remember. Not all substitutes are created equal. Some might be thinner or thicker than others.

Adjust your fat content accordingly. For example, if using Greek yogurt which has less fat than sour cream, add a little more oil or butter to keep things moist and rich.

Mind Your Acidity Levels.

Sour cream’s tanginess comes from its acidity. If your substitute isn’t as acidic (like mayonnaise), consider adding some lemon juice or vinegar to balance it out.

Note: This could affect the rising process in certain recipes, so tread lightly.

Bake Test First

If possible, do a bake test first before going full scale, especially when trying new alternatives like cashew sour cream or vegan cheese.

Tweak The Recipe

If you find the texture isn’t quite right after swapping out the sour cream, don’t panic. You can always tweak other parts of your recipe too. For instance:

  • Add an extra egg for added structure and moisture
  • Cut back on other liquids in your recipe
  • Increase leavening agents slightly

This resource has great tips on how to adjust recipes when making dairy substitutions.

This game of swap-the-sour-cream can feel like walking through uncharted territory, but fear not. With these handy tips under your belt, you’ll be whipping up delicious baked goods sans sour cream in no time at all.


After reading this blog post, you’ve learned about the different types of sour cream alternatives for baking and why you might want to swap out sour cream in your recipes. 

You’ve also discovered the benefits of using these alternatives, whether they’re dairy-based or nondairy options.

Now you’ve got a bunch of recipes that can be made with sour cream substitutes, so you can still enjoy your favorite baked goods even if you’re fresh out of sour cream. 

And to top it off, you’ve picked up some handy tips for successfully subbing in sour cream in your baking adventures.

Written By SEODave777

David Nilsson is the founder of The SEO Back Office and former SEO agency Converted Click. Passionate about people, search engines, faith, technology and boxing.

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