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12 Best Substitutes for Sour Cream in Cake & How to Use

Sour cream is a cooking staple every kitchen lover must-have. It’s one versatile milk product that you cannot get enough of.

So, what do you do when your cake recipe calls for sour cream? This article will give you 12 fantastic substitute options for sour cream in your cake.

First off, let’s discuss the functions of sour cream.

15-Second Summary

  • Sour cream gives your cake batter a moist yet tender consistency.
  • In your cake recipe, you can substitute sour cream with buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, vegan yogurt, coconut milk, and almond milk.

What’s the Role of Sour Cream in Cake?

Add Moisture

Sour cream adds moisture to your batter. Unlike other liquids like buttermilk or milk, it adds moisture and keeps your batter thick. This “thick moisture” gives your cake tenderness and fine crumbs.

Add Flavor

Additionally, the acidity of sour cream gives baking soda in your recipe more leaven power. And the presence of sour cream in your cake gives your recipe more flavor.

What can we substitute for sour cream in a cake that can give us similar tastiness?

We have included options for both dairy lovers and vegans in this substitute list. So depending on what you aim for or who you are, use a suitable replacement.

Dairy Substitute for Sour Cream in Cake

1. Yogurt

plain yogurt

Yogurt is present in almost every household; it’s an excellent substitute for sour cream on the cake. Plain or Greek Yoghurt is packed with proteins and minerals essential for body functions.

How to Substitute

To give your yogurt a sour taste, mix a cup of it with a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Go ahead to use your new yogurt in a 1:1 proportion for sour cream.

The difference between plain and Greek yogurt is the consistency. Plain regular yogurt is lighter than Greek yogurt.

2. Kefir


Kefir is a dairy replacement for sour cream in your cake, which is gotten from fermenting the milk of cows, goats, or sheep.

Kefir has a thinner texture and sweet flavor when compared with sour cream. It’s packed with probiotics, vitamins, and minerals that are good for the digestive system.

How to Substitute

Since kefir is thinner than sour cream, use it in small quantities to keep your batter within the right texture. As a replacement for sour cream in cake, use one for the other in a 1:1 ratio.

3. Crème Fraiche

creme fraiche in cake

Crème Fraiche means fresh cream; it’s more prevalent in Europe but slowly gaining ground in other parts of the world.

We can assure you that this delicious fresh cream is an excellent alternative to sour cream in your cake recipe.  

Crème fraîche has a creamy, thick texture with less tanginess. Its fat and calorie content are higher than that of sour cream. The presence of high fat makes it perfect for boiling as it doesn’t separate.

How to Substitute

In your cake recipe, use a one-to-one replacement for sour cream.

4. Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese cake

Cottage cheese is a cheese curd product. It’s made from the leftover solid milk after making cheese.

It has less fat and calories but a higher protein content when compared with sour cream. This quality makes it a healthy dairy substitute for sour cream.

How to Substitute

To substitute for sour cream, blend a cup of cottage cheese and four tablespoons of milk, then make it tart with two teaspoons of lemon juice. Use this delectable mixture in your cake recipe.

5. Milk or Milk Powder


Milk is a household essential and an easily accessible substitution

Mix a cup of whole milk with one tablespoon of lemon juice and allow to sit for 10minutes to get a fantastic, easy substitute for sour cream.

How to Substitute

Note that the fat content of the milk can affect the final product, and milk on its own won’t give a tangy taste.

Hence the need to mix with lemon juice; once you have that mixture, substitute one-to-one for sour cream in your cake recipe.

Bonus: we recently made a research on the substitutes for malted milk powder, check out this post if you’re interested in this.

6. Buttermilk


Buttermilk is a great option as it has the same tanginess but a lighter texture. So it’s perfect for cakes.

How to Substitute

Feel free to substitute buttermilk for sour cream one-to-one. If you mix buttermilk with mayonnaise, it can be a tasty snack dip.

Non-Dairy Substitute for Sour Cream in Cake

7. Coconut Milk

coconut milk

Despite being a plant substitute, coconut milk is rich, creamy milk with about 17% fat content.

Coconut milk is obtained from the grated flesh of the coconut fruit; hence it should not be confused with coconut water.

For persons who are lactose intolerant or vegans, coconut milk is a perfect choice.

How to Substitute

To mimic the sourness of sour cream, add one tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of coconut milk.

8. Almond Milk

almond milk

Almonds are rich fruits, so we can’t expect anything less from their milk.

Almond milk has a unique nutty, and creamy taste; it has no saturated fats, lactose, or cholesterol.

How to Substitute

Like plain milk, you can mix almond milk to produce different flavors. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice to almond milk to get a tart flavor for a sour cream replacement.

In your cake recipe, use a one-to-one replacement. 

9. Soy Cream

soy cream

Soy cream is an excellent non-dairy substitute for sour cream in cake, whether homemade or commercial.

Soy cream has the same consistency as sour cream but a unique grainy flavor.

How to Substitute

To prepare homemade soy cream, blend silken tofu with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Use this mixture to substitute for sour cream in a 1:1 proportion.

10. Vegan Yoghurt

vegan yoghurt

Vegan yogurt is a also great replacement for sour cream in your cake. Depending on the base fruit used in the yogurt, its taste might vary.

So if it’s made from coconuts or almonds, you might get their nutty flavor in your recipe.

How to Substitute

However, you can try to find plain vegan yogurt in local stores. In your recipe for a cake, replace it with sour cream in a 1:1 ratio.

11. Vegan Cheese Cream

vegan cheese cream

Vegan cheese cream is an excellent substitute for sour cream.

It uses the same process as regular cream cheese; the difference is that instead of using animal-based milk, replace it with plant milk to thin the cheese.

How to Substitute

Add lemon to the vegan cheese cream to give it a similar tanginess to sour cream. Replace vegan cheese for sour cream in a 1:1 proportion.

12. Mayonnaise


Mayonnaise is an unconventional alternative. It’s dairy-free; it’s not sour tasting, nor is it plant-based.

However, its fat content and texture make it eligible to be on this list, similar to sour cream.

How to Substitute

To make up for the sour taste, add a tablespoon of lemon juice to one cup of mayonnaise. Use a one-to-one substitute proportion.

These substitutes for sour cream would give the desired result in your cake batter, we can’t wait for you to try them out. See how you can make a cake without sour cream in this recipe.

cake without sour cream

How to Make Cake without Sour Cream

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Easiest recipe to prepare cake without sour cream.


Ingredient for the cake

  • 1⅞ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of crème fraîche
  • 1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract

Ingredients for the crumb

  • ⅓ cup of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup of packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • ⅛ teaspoon of salt
  • 1⅛ cup of chopped pecans


1. Preheat your oven to a temperature of 175°c. Then butter your eight by ten-inch cake pan.

2. Pour and thoroughly mix the pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, cinnamon, and melted butter. Mix appropriately for about 4 minutes.

3. Whisk your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a different bowl.

4. Bring a separate bowl and mix butter and one cup of sugar until it blends properly.

5. Add one egg to the bowl and whisk appropriately for about 3minutes. Then whisk in the second egg smoothly.

6. Add your vanilla and creme fraiche, then whisk. At this point, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Whisk until the flour disappears but don't over mix.

7. Spread one-half of the cake batter on the prepared pan. Then sprinkle one-half of the crumb mixture on the spread cake batter.

8. Add the other half of the batter gently (don't disturb the crumb) to the crumbs. Then sprinkle the remaining crumbs and gently press it in.

9. Bake the batter in your preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Insert a cake checker until it comes out dry. Allow cooling, then serve.


This recipe is from one of the best cookbooks for beginners.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 646Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 125mgSodium: 535mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 2gSugar: 42gProtein: 7g


Save it to your Pinterest board for easy access and future inspiration!

FAQs About Sour Cream

For muffins, what is the best sour cream substitute?

We recommend yogurts as a substitute for sour cream in muffins. Plain or Greek yogurt can work in a one-to-one substitute proportion.

And if you are a vegan, you can easily use plain soy yogurt as a replacement.

Can I use cashew as a sour cream substitute?

Yes, you can use cashew. All you need are soaked raw cashew, apple cider vinegar, lemon, sea salt, and Dijon mustard mixed and blended to a smooth and thick texture.

However, we don’t recommend this as a baking substitute.

Final Thoughts

Sour cream is undoubtedly a versatile food ingredient for baked foods, dips, toppings, stews, etc.

It can be heartbreaking when it’s unavailable and you have to find a sour cream substitute for your cake. We know our list of replacements has given you a great range of options to enjoy your cake still.

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I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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