5 No-Fail Sour Cream Substitutes

Skip the grocery run and get on to the good stuff—whatever it is you're cooking!

If you find yourself without sour cream, don’t worry. There are a number of sour cream substitutes you can use in a pinch. Here are some standbys.

Greek Yogurt

For each cup of sour cream needed, substitute an equal amount of Greek yogurt. It will give you the extra-creamy results you crave, with the bit of tang you’re looking for, too.  Greek yogurt is an excellent sub for your nachos, baked potatoes and luscious dips. It works in baking, too.

Plain Yogurt

This runner-up yogurt subs in equally for sour cream, just like Greek. Because it’s a bit thinner, you’ll have the most success substituting plain yogurt, cup for cup, in waffles, baking recipes and the like—where its thinner consistency won’t be noticed.

Creme Fraiche

Having only creme fraiche in the house might sound like an unlikely problem. But if you find yourself there, you can indeed skip the grocery run. Dollop creme fraiche onto soups, enchiladas and other places you’d use sour cream (add some tang with lemon or lime). It’s richer than sour cream, so a little goes a long way.


Here’s a baking rescue: For each cup of sour cream needed in muffins, cakes and the like, you can sub in 1-1/3 cups buttermilk while decreasing the liquid called for in the recipe (such as juice, milk or water) by 1/3 cup. For 1/2 cup of sour cream, use 2/3 cup buttermilk and cut the liquid by a scant 3 tablespoons.

DIY Buttermilk

If you don’t have any buttermilk on hand, you can use one of these buttermilk substitutes and follow the instructions above to swap it in for sour cream. Our favorite way to make homemade buttermilk calls for milk and vinegar. Use 1 tablespoon white vinegar, plus enough milk to measure 1 cup. Stir, then let stand for 5 minutes.

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Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.