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Substituting Sour Cream in Stroganoff

Stroganoff is originally a Russian dish made with pieces of meat served in a sauce with sour cream. Over time, the dish has experienced a few variations, giving the dish various recipes according to a cook’s needs. Historically, the dish ‘stroganoff’ is named after Count Pavel Alexandrovich Stroganoff. He belonged to the Affluent Stroganoff family of Russia. One of the recipes his chef-prepared for him was the beef stroganoff. It was derived from basic French mustard, used for seasoning the beef, and combined with a Russian sour cream dollop. His chef later entered the recipe for beef stroganoff into a competition and named it after his benefactor. Today, the dish is quite popular around the globe.

Traditionally, stroganoff is prepared with beef, mustard, and sour cream. Presently, the recipe for the dish depends on the country it is being designed. It varies and can be prepared in different ways. Stroganoff can be prepared with beef, chicken, sausage, mushrooms, or shrimps.

Sour cream is a dairy product that is gotten after regular cream has been fermented and acted upon by certain lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation is what turns the regular cream into thicker sour cream. This can be done naturally or by induction. It is commonly used as a condiment on food. A rich, thick creaminess characterizes sour cream with a tangy tart taste. It could be used on food, combined with other ingredients, or as a dipping sauce. In some cases, it is added to soups or sauces to make them thicker or creamy. In other cases, it is added to lighten soups that are too thick.

Processed sour cream may contain additives such as calcium, phosphate, Grade A whey, modified food starch, sodium phosphate, potassium sorbate, etc. Traditionally, sour cream is made by taking off the cream from the top of skimmed milk and fermenting it at moderate temperature. The fermented more acidic form of the cream is a natural way to preserve the cream. 

Stroganoff Nutrition Facts:

Stroganoff nutrition facts

Reasons for Substituting Sour Cream in Stroganoff

Regarding finding appropriate substitutes for sour cream in stroganoff, there are several reasons people may want alternatives to it. These may include;

Lactose intolerance

Lactose is sugar gotten from milk. People who are lactose intolerant cannot break it down due to the absence of lactase (the enzyme used to break down lactose) in their body systems.

Vegan diet

Some vegetarians do not take animal produce. They are strictly on a plant-based diet.

Milk Allergy

Having an allergy to milk can stop one from taking sour cream as sour cream is gotten from milk. About 2-3% of children under the age of 3 are allergic to milk.

Low-fat diet

Sour cream is very high in fat. It contains about 91% of calories due to the high amount of fat it has. People on a low-fat diet may wish to substitute sour cream for something with fewer amounts of fat and calories.

Health reasons

Some people may have some health problems or maybe medication that does not allow milk or milk products. 

Substitutes for Sour Cream

Cottage Cheese

Cottage Cheese


This is a product of cheese curd. It is a mild substantial part of the milk with a soft creamy texture. If you are looking for a sour cream substitute, this is significantly lower in calories, and it will serve as an excellent choice. Furthermore, it is higher in protein than sour cream.

Cottage cheese is gotten from the leftover of the cheese-making process. History has it that 18th-century American settlers in cottages made this cheese. This explains its name, “cottage cheese.” To achieve a tangy sour taste similar to sour cream, you can alter it a little. This can be achieved by blending the cheese with two teaspoons of lemon juice and four milk tablespoons. Once this is done, you can go ahead to prepare your stroganoff using this blended mix.

Greek Yoghurt

Greek Yoghurt


It is important to note that the Greek yogurt is different from regular yogurt. Whey (which is a liquid part of a protein) is strained from the Greek yogurt to give it a thicker, tangier version of the yogurt, thereby making it similar to sour cream. It is also lower in fat and calories but higher in protein than sour cream. One ounce of Greek yogurt contains about 3g of fat, 2g of protein, and 37 calories, while sour cream contains about 54 calories, 1g of protein, and 6g of fat.

Crème Fraiche

Crème Fraiche


This means fresh cream. It is made by adding a bacterial culture to heavy cream. The cream fiche has a thick, cheesy feel and is not as tangy as sour cream. It contains about 100 calories and 11g of fat in one ounce. Therefore, this may not be suitable for those on a low-fat diet.

Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk


Vegetarians and those with lactose intolerance can use this. Coconut milk comes from the meat of freshly grated coconut. This is not the same as coconut water.

It is a great non-dairy substitute for sour cream due to its lactose-free and vegan features. To achieve that tangy taste and flavor similar to sour cream, you can alter it a little. This can be achieved by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice to every cup of coconut milk.




Surprisingly, cashews are also a great vegan substitute for sour cream. They are a great source of protein. It contains high amounts of fat, which makes them an excellent substitute for sour cream. Unfortunately, this will not be suitable for people on a low-fat diet.

Cashews can replace sour cream by blending soaked cashew with salt, lemon juice, and vinegar. So if you need to replace sour cream in your stroganoff, use this mixture in the same way you would use sour cream in the dish.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I make Greek yogurt taste like sour cream?

  • Step 1; measure the Greek yogurt in the same amount of sour cream you need 

    for your dish

  • Step 2; add two tablespoonfuls of white flour or corn starch to it over low heat

    (25 degrees Fahrenheit) and whisk vigorously to avoid curdling (for cow’s milk

    Greek yogurt)

    For Goat milk Greek yogurt, you can skip this step.

  •  Step3; Add it to the dish or dressing

These steps are required to stabilize your Greek yogurt (if it is from cow’s milk). This then improves the texture of the yogurt, making it similar to cream. Greek yogurt has a tangy taste similar to sour cream. Therefore you don’t need to add anything to it. However, if you wish to make it Tangier, you can add 1tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to it.

Is sour cream and heavy cream the same?

No. Sour cream has a flavor, unlike heavy cream. But they both have the same creamy richness.

Does sour cream thicken beef stroganoff?

No. It is used to add flavor to its sauce. But if the beef sauce is too thick, it is used to make the mixture lighter.

Read More: Substitute for Sour Cream


Every person has their differences. This ranges from health issues to diet to lifestyle in general. Due to specific reasons, people look for a substitute for sour cream to put in their dishes. I have provided a few alternatives that can be used in stroganoff. I hope you found this helpful.