We’re tasting our way through the dairy substitutes! We’ve covered dairy-free mozzarella, dairy-free cream cheese, and vegan queso. Now it’s time to explore the best dairy-free sour cream alternatives. We tested them as a garnish, in stroganoff, and even in baking. You can use these links to jump ahead in our review:
The Best Dairy-Free Sour Cream Alternative Taste Test
We were able to locate the top selling dairy-free sour cream alternatives for this taste test. For the most part, these brands are widely available across the U.S. and some are also in Canada. This is a smaller category than many other dairy substitutes, so we have just five brands in this taste test. But technically it covers seven brands – I explain why in the findings.
We had a total of 15 taste testers! Our group included vegan, dairy-free, lactose intolerant, dairy flexitarians, and dairy-loving tasters. We had nearly every category covered, from those who haven’t tasted dairy in 20 years, to those who remember what it tasted like yesterday. Each sour cream substitute was served on tortillas chips, one at a time, to all tasters. We later tested each sour cream in baking and in dairy-free beef stroganoff. Those notes have also been included.
Summary of Our Findings
There is a Sour Cream Substitute for Almost Everyone. A couple of our tasters didn’t connect with any of the brands, but the rest found at least one or two that they really liked.
If You Don’t Like it One Way, Try it Another. Individual reviews changed when we went from using the sour creams as a topping, to stirring them in stroganoff, to baking them and mixing in frosting. Even if you don’t like it straight up, you might like it in sauces or other recipes. So don’t throw it away based on first impressions! In baking, most brands were pretty seamless. But …
Your Baking Might Need a Boost. I was hesitant to use a couple of the brands in my dairy-free sour cream coffee cake, because they don’t appear to be cultured and don’t have notable acidic ingredients. In baking, the acidity in sour cream often reacts with baking soda to add lift and to neutralize the acrid taste of the baking soda. If you are worried, add just a little lemon juice or vinegar (about 1 teaspoon per cup) to help ensure a reaction.
They Perform Well in Sauces. Only one variety separated, as noted, but the rest were very smooth and creamy. Because they thin a bit more when warm (and set up more when cool), I do add just a little more thickener to sauces like the one for my dairy-free beef stroganoff.
The Top-Selling Dairy-Free Sour Cream Alternatives Ranked
The ratings are averaged rankings, but don’t get too hung up on the numbers. I encourage you to read the tasting notes to help find your perfect dairy-free sour cream. All of the dairy-free sour cream alternatives that we tried were also vegan, plant-based, and gluten-free at the time of our taste tests. But always verify before purchasing.
The following products were dairy-free by ingredients at our time of review. All food products are at some degree of risk for potential cross-contamination with allergens. It is up to you to decide what is safe for your needs. Our choice for the best dairy-free sour cream alternative might not be yours. All of these products have been on the market for a while because some people like them. This is just a guide based on our findings and opinions. You can leave your own review and star rating on each of these products via the title links.
Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream (6.4/10)
If you’re seeking a very thick and creamy sour cream alternative, this is the one. It dollops atop chips, enriches sauces, and blends seamlessly into soups, batters, and even frosting. The sourness is quite light, yet most found the taste to be well balanced. However, there was a faint sweetness in the flavor that a few tasters couldn’t get past.
- “Good texture. Looks and tastes like sour cream!”
- “Too sweet. It tastes like sweet cream cheese.”
- “Very good, but more like a clotted cream.”
- “Super thick and creamy, great flavor, but just a touch sweet.”
Stroganoff Test: This was our top pick. It stirred in seamlessly and created a thicker, very creamy finish. The flavor melded well. I could detect the light sweetness, but no one else could, and it wasn’t off putting in this dish.
Wayfare Organic Dairy Free Sour Cream – also Earth’s Own & Simple Truth (6.1/10)
This is a three for one review, since Wayfare Sour Cream is also sold under two other labels: Earth’s Own (in Canada) and Simple Truth (in Kroger family of stores). It doesn’t look the most like sour cream. Wayfare is more “thickened” than creamy. But a few of our tasters said the flavor and consistency hit the mark. In fact, it was tied for first place after the initial nacho tasting. But in recipes, it lost a little ground. Overall, it passed the tests, but the taste and creaminess weren’t as spot on as hoped.
- “This is the closest to real sour cream that I’ve tried. It could use just a little bit more flavor.”
- “Not bad for a substitute. I might use it in baking, but not straight as a topping.”
- “Not so good. Tastes a little fake and has a pasty texture.”
- “Nice texture, thick and smooth, with a mild pleasant flavor.”
Stroganoff Test: Wayfare stirred nicely into our sauce, but ranked third in creaminess. The flavor was pretty good, but it just didn’t meld perfectly with the other ingredients. I think it would excel more in zestier or spicier soups and sauces.
Base: Butter Beans, Oats
Kite Hill Dairy Free Sour Cream (5.8/10)
The mediocre rating simply reflects the polarizing nature of this dairy-free sour cream. A third of our group thought it was the best, a third rated it as pretty good, and a third thought it was terrible. It is very thick, but doesn’t taste overly rich. The creaminess gives way to more of a milky mouthfeel. And it’s on the mild side in taste, with just a hint of lemony tang.
- “The taste is pretty close to real sour cream, just slightly less tart.”
- “It’s chalky, milky, and bland.”
- “It tastes like low fat sour cream. I enjoyed it.”
- “Not bad! It just needs a little more creaminess and sourness.”
Stroganoff Test: This stirred into our sauce like a dream. It created a very creamy finish and provided a hint of richness to the taste. The flavor was good, but a little mild. Our sauce needed just a little more tang or depth to reach perfection.
Base: Almond, Coconut, Chickpea
Forager Project Organic Dairy Free Sour Cream (4.8/10)
I honestly wasn’t sure at first if this was Forager’s Unsweetened Yogurt repackaged as dairy-free sour cream. It’s a little thicker, but otherwise, it’s close. Now I understand why so many people use their yogurt as a sour cream substitute! A few people liked it in our nacho taste tests, but it was a bigger hit in recipes. It worked wonderfully in my dairy-free sour cream coffee cake recipe, and provides light creaminess and a bold tang to savory dishes.
- “The taste is pretty close to real sour cream.”
- “Pretty good, but it tastes a little lime-y and is a little too thin.”
- “Tastes like warm Greek yogurt.”
- “Good texture, like sour cream, but the flavor is off.”
Stroganoff Test: This dairy-free sour cream was tied for second in recipes. In this sauce, it was smooth and readily stirred in, but was more like yogurt than cream in consistency. The flavor was good, but a little strong. If you prefer a milder cream in your sauce, then I would go with Kite Hill or Tofutti. But if you often substitute yogurt in sauces and soups, this could be your top pick.
Base: Cashews, Coconut
Follow Your Heart Dairy-Free Sour Cream Alternative (3.1/10)
Sadly, this dairy-free sour cream was a bust in our tastings. It didn’t garner more than an “okay” on nacho chips, and it struggled in our recipes. I think it could work well in some baking applications, but I wouldn’t personally buy it for garnishing, soups, or sauces. The flavor wasn’t bad, but it performed poorly and just didn’t seem to add value to the overall taste or consistency.
- “The texture is thick and creamy, but it’s more like mayonnaise than sour cream.”
- “Not bad but no resemblance to sour cream.”
- “Consistency is okay but too mild. It has almost no taste.”
- “The taste is too sweet and texture is too thick. It’s like paste.”
Stroganoff Test: This sour cream alternative separated the second it hit our warm sauce, and required vigorous whisking to make it mostly smooth. It provided the least amount of creaminess to our sauce and the flavor just didn’t meld well.
More Dairy Free Sour Cream Brands
The following brands weren’t readily available for us to purchase and some have very limited distribution.
- Good Karma Plant-Based Sour Cream
- Mundus Foods Soured Cream
- Only Plant Based Sour Cream
- The Dairy Free Co Dollop Llama
- Violife Just Like Sour Cream
- Wild Creamery Sour Cream Alternative
Homemade Dairy-Free Sour Cream
Of course, you can always make your own! These recipes aren’t “formulated” to be exactly like dairy sour cream. But they taste delicious and work well as a sour cream stand-in when needed as a garnish or for recipes.
- Cashew Sour Cream – This is my favorite in sauces and in Mexican recipes, like enchiladas. It thickens, is rich and creamy, and adds natural flavor with just enough tartness.
- Tofu Sour Cream – When I need dairy-free sour cream fast, this is the one I turn to. It’s fantastic in soups, works well as a garnish, and also performs in baked goods.
I’m so impressed by the variety of dairy-free products available now! It’s so helpful to have the reviews and links to jump ahead in the review. What other dairy alternatives have you tried?
I’m with you; after all these years, Tofutti is still my go-to for both sour cream and cream cheese. I’m really wondering how the new Violife sour cream will stack up though.
Me too! Violife is very popular, but surprisingly, it hasn’t come out on top in our other taste tests. When we find it, we’ll do an add on taste test to this post.