For years, I wanted to perfect a classic dairy-free beef stroganoff recipe. I finally found an excuse when we held our dairy-free sour cream taste test. I was always bothered by the sour cream aspect. I’d made it with cashew sour cream, which we loved, but knew many people would want to use a store-bought option. And I really didn’t know which one was best. Now I have a slew of options to share, and what I think is the best dairy-free stroganoff recipe.
Classic Dairy-Free Beef Stroganoff Perfected for Your Kitchen
What is classic beef stroganoff? It is a matter for debate. But most agree that the basic flavor elements in the original recipes were broth, mustard, and some sour cream. A lot of recipes online go a little overboard with the sour cream, and most skip the mustard.
I opted to use Nagi’s version at RecipeTin Eats as a starting point, which had the elements of classic stroganoff, with some flavorful additions. I did make several changes to better suit dairy-free ingredients. Yes, there is a little more to it than just substituting the sour cream! Changes in consistency, richness, and taste have to be factored in. I also have some ingredient notes to help ensure the best results for you.
The Best Dairy-Free Sour Cream for Beef Stroganoff
We tested the five top-selling, most readily available brands of dairy-free sour cream in my classic dairy-free beef stroganoff (seven if you count the two private labels). To be fair, I wouldn’t hesitate to use the first three again in this recipe. And the other two have their merits and loyal fans. But here is what we found.
This is the richest of the bunch, and it has a very creamy consistency. It also stirred in perfectly. The flavor is well-balanced, with just enough tang. It melded well with the sauce. My only complaint was that it adds a very light touch of sweetness. But I seemed to be the only one bothered by this.
I loved how easily and seamlessly this blended into the sauce. It has a very creamy finish and provides a gentle richness to the mouthfeel. The taste is good, but a little mild. It could use just a little more tang or depth, but that is easy to compensate for with other ingredients. The optional Worcestershire seems to do the trick in this classic dairy-free beef stroganoff.
Wayfare Organic Dairy Free Sour Cream (also sold under Earth’s Own and Simple Truth labels)
It isn’t quite as creamy as the two before it, but still stirs in perfectly and adds a sour cream-like consistency. It received top marks for taste in our dairy-free sour cream taste test, but was edged out slightly in the stroganoff tasting specifically. We were a little split. Some really liked the flavor, some found it just slightly off.
This alternative is smooth, and it readily stirs in, but it’s a bit more like yogurt in consistency. The flavor is good, but a little strong. It threatened to overpower some of the other flavors in our classic dairy-free beef stroganoff. It’s still a good option, particularly if you like more tang, or often substitute yogurt for sour cream.
Unfortunately, this sour cream alternative was a little more of a struggle to use. It immediately separated in the sauce and took quite a bit of whisking to get it mostly smooth. It also wasn’t as creamy. The flavor wasn’t bad, but just didn’t meld as well with the sauce. Nevertheless, it could be a good allergy-friendly option.
Homemade Dairy-Free Sour Cream
- Cashew Sour Cream Recipe: I have used this version to make classic dairy-free beef stroganoff and it was delicious!
- Tofu Sour Cream: I haven’t used this recipe in stroganoff yet, but it’s a fast and easy substitute that should work in a pinch.
Other Sour Cream Substitutes
- Dairy-Free Yogurt: It doesn’t have the same richness, but many readers use Forager Plain Unsweetened Yogurt in place of sour cream when making classic dairy-free beef stroganoff. If using a different brand, just be sure to choose a plain, unsweetened variety.
- Mayonnaise: Is there anything mayo can’t do? Yes, it actually provides richness and tang to sauces! Regular mayo will work best. Vegan mayos will vary in taste and performance by brand.
Choosing Your Meat for Dairy-Free Beef Stroganoff
Time and time again, I see boneless ribeye recommended for beef stroganoff. I’m sure it’s fabulous, but it’s also $15 to $25 a pound in my town! I usually opt for New York steaks, because they go on sale often. Other loin and sirloin steaks also work well. You can velvet tougher cuts of meat before cooking, which is very easy to do. Or use ground beef – I won’t judge! I’ve done it before myself, and it makes a delicious Hamburger Helper-style meal. Sliced pork is also a suitable substitute in this recipe.
Special Diet Notes: Classic Dairy-Free Beef Stroganoff
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally egg-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, and optionally soy-free. Just be sure to choose the pasta, broth, and sour cream alternative (see above) that suit your dietary needs.
For gluten-free dairy-free beef stroganoff, substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta and your favorite all-purpose gluten-free flour blend for sauce. You might need a little more of the flour, depending on how well it thickens. Or, you can grind about 1/2 cup raw cashews into a powder and puree them with the broth before adding. The cashews will help to thicken like flour and add a delicious taste and texture.
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta (egg noodles, fettuccine, or rotini are great)
- 1 pound steak, thinly sliced against the grain
- 5 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
- 12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon Dijon, Spicy Brown, or German mustard
- ⅔ cup dairy-free sour cream (see post above)
- Salt, to taste (I use about ¼ teaspoon)
- Black pepper, to taste
- ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the steak and sear, about 30 seconds to a minute each side. Remove the steak to a plate or bowl using a slotted spoon. Add another 1 tablespoon of oil, and repeat with the second half of the steak.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and add the onion. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to the plate or bowl with the beef using a slotted spoon.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and the flour to your skillet and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the broth, whisking until smooth. Whisk in the sour cream alternative and mustard until smooth. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often.
- Return the steak and vegetables to the sauce in your skillet, and cook until the steak is cooked through and the sauce is thickened to your liking, about 1 to 3 minutes.
- Taste the sauce, and season with the salt and pepper, to taste. If desired, add the Worcestershire. It adds a little boldness and brightness to the sauce.
- Divide the cooked pasta between four plates or bowls and top with the sauce, to serve.
- If you have leftover sauce, note that it will thicken substantially as it chills. Simply reheat it and it will become perfectly saucy again.