Whether you’re feasting on nachos or chili, nothing beats a dollop of sour cream. This fermented dairy product is rich, tangy, and downright delicious. Yet, when you break it down, sour cream isn’t exactly the healthiest condiment. One tablespoon has 24 calories, 1.217 grams of saturated fat, and 2.32 grams of total fat, but the typical serving is often much more. It’s enough to wonder if there are alternative choices!
You might also be vegan, lactose intolerant, or allergic to milk. Or perhaps you simply don’t like sour cream and are looking for a substitute. Luckily, with a little creativity, this is totally possible. The best part is that there are dairy and non-dairy options, so there’s something for everyone. Here are 5 tasty ideas.1
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt also has a tangy, sour flavor. But with just 5 grams of fat per 100 grams of yogurt. To top it off, Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, even when compared to regular protein. How’s that for a nutritional kick? It’s a lot healthier. That same serving of sour cream has 19.35 grams.2 3 4
2. Cottage Cheese
Reach for cottage cheese if you prefer milder flavors. This option is made from cheese curds, the leftover solid parts from cheesemaking. The texture is also soft and creamy, making it a viable stand-in for sour cream. You’ll even get more protein, fewer calories, and fat. For instance, 1 cup of cottage cheese has 23.62 grams of protein, 183 calories, and 5.13 grams total fat. On the other hand, 1 cup of sour cream has only 5.61 grams of protein but 455 calories and 44.51 grams of fat.5 6
3. Silken Tofu
To completely ditch the dairy, use silken tofu. This soy product is perfect for non-dairy condiments like Alfredo sauce, dressing, and sour cream. It’s also an amazing source of plant-based protein. All you need is 1 package of silken tofu, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon apple cider, and a dash of sea salt. Blend together for instant non-dairy sour cream.
It might sound strange, but cashews are a staple for vegan sauces. People often use them to make “cheese,” but with the right ingredients, it’ll be more like sour cream. As a rich source of unsaturated fats, cashews are excellent for the heart. They keep blood cholesterol in check while offering nutrients like magnesium, potassium, fiber, and folic acid. Even inflammation can be reduced with cashews. Making cashew “sour cream” is really easy. To start, soak 1 cup raw cashews in hot water. After 30 minutes, drain and puree with ¼ cup water, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and a sprinkling of sea salt.7
5. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is another lactose-free, dairy-free ingredient. It’s made from coconut meat and has a rich, creamy consistency. And while coconut milk is a staple in tropical countries, the Western world is catching on. You’ll also get healthy unsaturated fats to boost. To make a sour cream, let a can of full-fat coconut milk sit for a while. The cream on top can be skimmed off and mixed with a splash of lemon juice for that tangy taste.8
Sour cream might pair well with baked potato and quesadillas, but it’s not your only option. Experiment with this list and see what you like best.
|↑1, ↑3, ↑5||Basic Report: 01056, Cream, sour, cultured. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Basic Report: 01256, Yogurt, Greek, plain, nonfat. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Yogurt. St. Louis Dairy Council.|
|↑6||Basic Report: 01015, Cheese, cottage, lowfat, 2% milkfat. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Ros, Emilio. “Health benefits of nut consumption.” Nutrients 2, no. 7 (2010): 652-682.|
|↑8||Waisundara, Viduranga Yashasvi, and Conrad O. Perera. “Extension of shelf life of coconut milk.”|