Explore 13 Fantastic Alternatives for Sour Cream in Baking
While sour cream has its benefits, some individuals may not appreciate its tangy flavor or cannot use it due to reasons such as dairy allergies, lactose intolerance, vegan diets, or dietary concerns. Additionally, its high fat content makes it unsuitable for those on weight loss programs, unless specifically allowed, such as in the case of a keto diet.
If you’re seeking a substitute for sour cream in baking, here are the best alternatives to consider: whole buttermilk, whole milk, evaporated milk, milk powder, heavy whipping cream, plain kefir, Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, cream cheese, crème fraîche, ricotta cheese, Mexican crema, mayonnaise, coconut cream, and cashew cream.
Let’s begin with buttermilk.
1. Whole Buttermilk
Whole buttermilk serves as a suitable sour cream substitute in baking and vice versa, thanks to its tangy flavor profile. It can be used in recipes that require moisture, such as quick bread and cakes. Whole buttermilk is thinner than sour cream and has significantly lower fat content (3% for whole buttermilk compared to sour cream’s 20%). To match the consistency, it’s advisable to combine whole buttermilk with butter (81% fat).
Use a mixture of 3/4 cup of buttermilk with 1/4 cup of butter to replace 1 cup of sour cream.
Next, consider regular milk, evaporated milk, or milk powder.
2. Whole Milk, Evaporated Milk, or Milk Powder
Whole milk, evaporated milk, and milk powder are convenient sour cream substitutes in baking and can rescue your recipe in a pinch. They can also serve as substitutes for milk in baking. Whole milk or evaporated milk is suitable for cakes, cookies, and quick bread. Milk powder has a longer shelf life and is better for those who like to stock up on long-lasting ingredients.
For recipes that call for sour cream, you can use whole milk, evaporated milk, or milk powder, and add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to enhance the flavor.
Use 1 cup of whole milk, evaporated milk, or milk powder, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to replace 1 cup of sour cream.
Next up, heavy whipping cream.
3. Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy whipping cream is an excellent substitute for sour cream in baking, as it is thicker than regular milk and has a higher fat content (36%, compared to sour cream’s 20%). It shares the same tangy flavor as sour cream, making it a versatile option for various baking recipes.
When replacing sour cream with heavy whipping cream, use a 1:1 ratio.
Now, let’s explore plain kefir.
Plain, unsweetened kefir is a great substitute for sour cream in baking, offering similar tanginess and high moisture content. However, kefir is thinner than sour cream, so it should be used in smaller quantities. Kefir made with whole milk has 8% fat, which differs from sour cream’s texture. Nevertheless, it works well in pancakes, biscuits, cookies, or breads as a suitable substitute when sour cream is unavailable.
When substituting sour cream with plain, unsweetened kefir, maintain a 1:1 ratio.
Next, consider plain Greek yogurt.
5. Greek Yogurt
Plain Greek yogurt is an incredibly versatile sour cream substitute in baking. It adds moisture to cakes and shares the same tanginess and consistency as sour cream. Whether you choose low-fat, regular, or fat-free Greek yogurt, it can be used effectively in various baked goods or as a topping or dip.
For a seamless replacement, use a 1:1 ratio when substituting sour cream with plain Greek yogurt.
Now, let’s discuss plain yogurt.
6. Plain Yogurt
Plain yogurt serves as an excellent sour cream replacement. It is thinner compared to Greek yogurt, which can be challenging to find in unsweetened and unflavored varieties. Plain yogurt has a lower fat content (5%) than sour cream (20%). It can be used in baking recipes calling for sour cream or as a topping or dip.
To use plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, maintain a 1:1 ratio in recipes such as bread, cakes, cookies, and dressings.
Now, let’s explore cream cheese.
7. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is a suitable sour cream substitute in baking, although it is thicker than sour cream. Both low-fat and regular cream cheese can be used effectively as substitutes for sour cream in cooking. If you need to make cream cheese thinner for baking, you can mix it with water, milk, or buttermilk.
For a seamless substitution, combine 3/4 cup of cream cheese with 1 tablespoon of water, milk, or buttermilk to replace 1 cup of sour cream.
Now, let’s consider crème fraîche.
8. Crème Fraîche
Crème fraîche is a delightful French sour cream alternative, slightly less tangy than regular sour cream. It shares a similar consistency and tangy flavor with sour cream but offers a creamier and richer texture. Light crème fraîche has a fat content nearly identical to that of sour cream (19% compared to sour cream’s 20%).
When replacing sour cream with crème fraîche, maintain a 1:1 ratio.
Next, consider ricotta cheese.
9. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese serves as a fine substitute for sour cream in baking, especially whole-milk ricotta cheese, which has a 13% fat content compared to sour cream’s 20%. There are notable differences between ricotta cheese and sour cream in terms of texture, flavor, and smoothness. However, ricotta cheese can be effectively used as a sour cream substitute in various recipes.
To replace sour cream with ricotta cheese in baking, combine 3/4 cup of ricotta with 1/4 cup of plain yogurt and use this mixture in place of 1 cup of sour cream.
Now, let’s explore Mexican crema.
10. Mexican Crema
Mexican crema is an excellent substitute for sour cream in baking, providing moisture and richness to cakes. While it is slightly thinner and less tangy than sour cream, Mexican crema has a high fat content (30%, compared to sour cream’s 20%). It can be used effectively in recipes calling for sour cream.
For a seamless substitution, use a 1:1 ratio when replacing sour cream with Mexican crema.
Next, consider mayonnaise.
Mayonnaise serves as a wonderful substitute for sour cream in baking and vice versa, as it adds moisture to cakes and muffins. You can also use it as a topping after thinning it with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. While regular mayonnaise has a high fat content (75%), light mayonnaise is an excellent option (22%), approaching the fat content of sour cream (20%).
For a seamless substitution, use a 1:1 ratio when using mayonnaise as a sour cream substitute.
Now, let’s explore coconut cream.
12. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is a dairy-free sour cream substitute that works well in recipes requiring the consistency and fat content of sour cream. However, coconut cream has a distinct coconut flavor that will influence the taste of your baked goods. It is best used when you don’t mind the coconut taste. Before using coconut cream in your baking, blend it to achieve a smooth consistency and add lemon juice or vinegar to impart a similar tanginess to sour cream.
Mix 1 cup of coconut cream with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and use this mixture to replace 1 cup of sour cream.
Finally, consider cashew cream.
13. Cashew Cream
Cashew cream offers a milder flavor compared to coconut cream and serves as a vegan sour cream substitute in baking, as well as for toppings or dips. It has a nearly identical fat content to sour cream (21% for cashew cream, compared to 20% for sour cream). However, it doesn’t provide the same tanginess as sour cream in baked goods, so you’ll need to combine it with lemon juice or vinegar.
Mix 1 cup of cashew cream with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and use this mixture to replace 1 cup of sour cream.
For additional information on sour cream substitutions, continue to the FAQs section.
Substitute for Sour Cream in Baking (FAQ)
This section provides concise answers to common questions about sour cream.
Can you freeze sour cream?
Yes, you can freeze sour cream. To do so, thoroughly mix the sour cream, place it in a resealable freezer bag slightly larger than the quantity of sour cream, remove excess air from the bag, label it with the date, and store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
How do you make sour cream at home?
To make sour cream at home, you will need:
- 1 cup (240 ml) of heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) of buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of lemon juice or vinegar
- Pour the heavy cream into a clean bowl.
- Add the buttermilk and lemon juice or vinegar.
- Stir until the mixture thickens and forms a soft peak.
- Cover the bowl with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours, until the mixture turns sour and thickens further.
- Once the sour cream is ready, transfer it to a clean container and store it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Is sour cream keto?
Yes, sour cream is suitable for a keto diet, as it is made from cream, which is high in fat. Additionally, the lactic acid bacteria in sour cream can promote gut health.
How acidic is sour cream?
In terms of acidity, sour cream has a pH level of 4.5.
Sour cream is a widely used ingredient, particularly in baking. However, for various reasons, some individuals may seek alternatives. Fortunately, there is no shortage of dairy and non-dairy substitutes available for sour cream in baked dishes.
It’s worth noting that some sour cream substitutes work better in toppings and dressings than in baked goods, so the choice depends on your specific recipe and preferences.