Sour cream gives a stimulating effect to both baked and cooked recipes, which is why when the need to find a substitute arises, it feels like the world is about to end. In other cases, like when you wish to cut down on fat, seeking an alternative to sour cream also becomes a necessity. And most times, the ultimate suggestion is yogurt, which has brought many to ask if both are ideal substitutes. But surprisingly, yogurt- both plain and Greek- is a fantastic sour cream alternative in cooking and baking. You’ll also find it interesting to know that other options that can work in place of sour cream can be seen as well, like buttermilk, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. But first, let’s focus on what sour cream does in foods and how yogurt can replace it.
Sour Cream in Recipes
As the name implies, sour cream has a tangy flavor with a creamy texture. It’s a high-fat ingredient that’s used to add moisture to baking. The fat in sour cream also enriches baked goods, and its dairy nature adds an extra dose of deliciousness and fluff to the foods. Plus, it renders the baked goods softer and gives them a more palatable feel.
In other forms of cooking, sour cream adds tang, thickness, and creaminess to the consistency of the food. The fatty content lifts the surface of sauces and soups, allowing more flavor to be released as it cooks.
You can find sour cream in recipes of different kinds, as its versatile nature makes it a highly sought-after ingredient. Among the many recipes and dishes prepared with sour cream include;
- Baked goods
- Creamy soups
- Chilled soups
- Beef stroganoff
- Tacos and burritos
- Salad dressings
- Ice cream
- Baked potatoes
Yogurt Nutrition Facts
Substituting Yogurt for Sour Cream
As previously mentioned, you may decide to replace sour cream with yogurt in your recipe for various reasons. Perhaps you wish to cut down on fat from your diet. Or maybe you want to reduce the amount of tang in the recipe. It may also be that you’re out of sour cream, and yogurt is the closest thing you’ve got in your fridge. In such cases, you can substitute it for sour cream in the following ways;
Substitute Plain Yogurt for Sour Cream
Most times, chances are that it would be plain yogurt you have instead. In such cases, you can use in place of sour cream in the same amount. But note that plain yogurt works best in uncooked recipes such as dips, dressings, and toppings. You can use it in chilled soups and baked potatoes and as a last addition after your soups and sauces have cooled to a lukewarm temperature. But plain yogurt has a more robust tang than sour cream, so when using in its stead, adjust ingredients in the recipe with such flavor accordingly to not overwhelm the final taste.
Substitute Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream
If you have Greek yogurt, you can also use it in place of sour cream. Greek yogurt has almost as much tang as sour cream, and it works well in chilled recipes like soups and sauces. It also works well as a filling, topping, or garnish for burritos and tacos, as well as in marinades. But when using as a topping, make sure not to add while the food is hot, as Greek yogurt curdles in high temperatures due to its low-fat content. Instead, allow the burrito or taco to cool before adding or present it as a dip. Greek yogurt works well in these recipes, and you can even season it to your preferences with other ingredients like parsley, chives, pepper, and even salt. Add these in pinches, of course.
Substituting Yogurt for Sour Cream in Baking
Of the two, Greek yogurt is the best substitute for sour cream in baking recipes. Whole milk yogurt can also work in this respect, as it doesn’t only mean the finished food would be lesser in fat but also richer in calcium and protein. But note that the baked goods would come out with a tangier flavor and a lighter texture with a less tender feel. The zero fat content of yogurt also means you’ll miss out on the buttery taste, so if this is something you wish to have, add some butter to the mix before baking.
For whole milk plain yogurt, mix ¾ cup and one tablespoon with three tablespoons of butter. If you’re using whole milk Greek yogurt, use the exact measurements, but with two teaspoons of water. Use this direction also for nonfat plain yogurt but with three tablespoons of vegetable oil and two teaspoons of water. And nonfat Greek yogurt needs about ¾ cups and one tablespoon of it, with three tablespoons of vegetable oil and one teaspoon of water.
Using Yogurt for Sour Cream in Simmered Recipes
Because of its curdling effect under high temperatures, it’s advised not to put yogurt into soups and sauces while they’re still cooking. This direction also applies to marinades and recipes like beef stroganoff. Apart from the heat needed to prepare these recipes, most of them also contain highly acidic ingredients like vinegar, wine, or tomatoes. In such cases, it’s advised to let the soup or sauce cool to a warm temperature after you finish cooking. Then, take a bit of it in a bowl and gently stir in the yogurt to the warm soup to make a mix. Once you’re done, you can then add this mix into the entire pot.
Other Substitutes for Sour Cream
In case you don’t have yogurt to replace sour cream, you can still use any of these handy substitutes;
Buttermilk works as a substitute for sour cream in dips, soups, sauces, and baked goods. Its high-fat content makes it ideal for this. For baking, ¾ cup buttermilk is enough to replace 1 cup sour cream, while in dips and soups, use half the amount asked for sour cream.
If you’re baking, an equal amount of mayonnaise will replace sour cream easily. It’s also a good amount to use in soups, dips, and sauces, though you’ll lose some of the tangy flavors. To get this back, you can mix half and half mayonnaise and yogurt.
Cream cheese doesn’t curdle easily, so it helps when you don’t have either sour cream or yogurt. As such, you can use it in equal amounts as a substitute for sour cream in sauces and soups. But you’ll have to dilute it to get a thinner consistency that can mix well in a dip. So, mix about 6 ounces of cream cheese with two tablespoons of buttermilk by beating to get a cup of sour cream.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does Greek yogurt taste like sour cream?
Yes, it does share a similar taste to sour cream. Greek yogurt is almost like plain yogurt, with the only difference of it having its water drained. The closest type that tastes similar to sour cream is whole milk Greek yogurt.
What replaces sour cream in banana bread?
Any yogurt can replace sour cream in banana bread. But when using, avoid the flavored varieties as they tend to come with extra sugar and artificial flavors.
Can I replace sour cream with Greek yogurt in cheesecake?
Yes, you can. Because Greek yogurt has a closer flavor profile than sour cream, it can replace it in equal amounts in cheesecake. And sometimes, you can even use Greek yogurt to replace some of the cream cheese in the recipe if need be.
Sour cream has numerous applications in both baking and cooking recipes. But if all you’ve got is yogurt or you wish to reduce your fat intake, you can use it as a substitute. You can also try out any of the other alternatives available if they’re what you’ve got.