Sour cream is a type of fermented dairy product, and it is a popular accompaniment to many dishes. It is not only commonly added to baked potatoes and soups but is also used as a raw ingredient for baked goods, such as biscuits, cookies, brownies, and cakes. Mixing thick dairy cream with lactic acid bacteria makes sour cream. The lactic acid bacteria eat the lactose (sugar) in the cream and create lactic acid waste, which is what gives the product a sour taste.
A lot of recipes that call for sour cream only require a small quantity of the fermented dairy product. If you don't like the taste of sour cream or if your body has a difficult time digesting dairy products, for most recipes, you can replace the ingredient with a product with a similar consistency. Featured below are seven keto-approved alternatives for those looking for sour cream replacements.
Heavy Whipping Cream
Heavy whipping cream is rich in fat and contains virtually zero carbs. As a result, it makes a great sour cream substitute for those trying to stick to a keto diet. That said, the consistency of heavy cream is not quite as thick as that of sour cream, so you need to ensure you adjust the volume added to the recipes accordingly. The options to sell the product are ultra-pasteurized and pasteurized, with the first option having a longer shelf-life. However, pasteurized cream is better for whipping.
Heavy creams often labeled in grocery stores as "heavy whipping cream" are the same products. Heavy whipping cream contains around 40% fat and is regularly used in soups, creamy sauces, desserts, quiches, and more. Since it has a high milk fat content, it is easy to whip into soft peaks for dessert toppings.
The consistency of coconut cream is much thicker than that of coconut milk. Consequently, it is a better option for those searching for a dairy-free sour cream alternative. It is vegan-certified, low in carbs, and perfect for those on a keto diet or a plant-based diet.
Be sure to source coconut cream that is free from carrageenan or added sugars. A typical 100g serving contains 19.67g of fat, 1.64g of protein, 3.28g of carbs, and 197 calories. Coconut cream is an excellent sour cream alternative to use in keto-friendly recipes.
Ghee Or Clarified Butter
Ghee is clarified butter, and it can serve as an excellent dairy-based sour cream substitute for those who don't enjoy its taste but need an ingredient that is thick and creamy. A 100g serving contains 100g of fat and 882 calories. It has zero protein or carbs. Be sure to buy clarified butter from grass-fed dairy cows if possible. Also, note that ghee is not a good substitute for all recipes that call for sour cream.
Ghee is created by heating butter, removing the milk solids, and evaporating all of the moisture contents. Since a keto diet allows for the consumption of lots of butter, ghee is a good cream alternative as it doesn't contain any lactose (sugar). Given that clarified butter is calorie-dense, you will probably need to reduce the quantity used in your recipes.
Nuts that are ground down into paste with an easy-to-spread, butter-like texture create nut butter. You can make the process easier by soaking the nuts in water overnight to make them softer to grind up. When it comes to nutritional value, 100 grams of cashew butter (unsweetened) contains 53.03g of fat, 12.12g of protein, 27.3g of carbohydrates, and 609 calories.
While nut butter does not seem like a very obvious alternative to sour cream, it does have a similarly smooth, sticky consistency. Furthermore, it's vegan and contains no lactose sugars. We recommend opting for neutral-tasting nut butter, like cashew nut butter, to avoid altering the taste of a recipe that calls for sour cream too much.
Full-fat yogurt is arguably one of the best replacements for sour cream, particularly if you are searching for a fermented food product. What's more, you can buy flavored yogurt to add some creativity to your recipes. Many grocery store yogurts are prohibited on a keto diet as they contain lots of fruits, added sugar, and carbs. Therefore, you need to ensure you buy unflavored full-fat Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt has less sugar content than traditional yogurt, provided you select an unsweetened version. Furthermore, it has lower lactose content, making it ideal for those who are sensitive to dairy. One hundred grams of plain Greek yogurt contains 5g of fat, 9g of protein, 3.98g of carbs, and 97 calories.
Cream cheese has a thick consistency, making it an ideal sour cream substitute for most low-carb recipes. The products differ in their taste. As cream cheese contains vital minerals, including calcium and phosphorus, it is excellent for preventing degenerative bone diseases like osteoporosis.
A lot of keto-friendly recipes use a versatile ingredient like cream cheese. The carbohydrate content of cream cheese depends on the brand; an average 100-gram portion of cream cheese contains 34.44g of fat, 5.52g of carbohydrates, 6.15g of protein, and 350 calories. Using pasteurized milk, rather than raw milk, makes cream cheeses that are safe to eat.
Tahini is sesame seed butter. Like sour cream, it has a thick texture. However, unlike sour cream, tahini has a nutty flavor. Plant-based and meat-based recipes use it as a replacement for sour cream. And the good news is that it contains fewer carbs and more protein than sour cream.
Ground-up toasted hulled sesame seeds make tahini. Middle Eastern dips, like hummus, commonly use it as an ingredient. Tahini is a satisfying, delicious food to consume as it is rich in healthy seed oil, which has the added benefit of containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A single teaspoon of tahini includes 3470 mg of omega-6 fatty acids and 61 mg of omega-3 fatty acids. Those fatty acids are essential for human health as the body itself is not able to make them.
While some sour cream replacements are great for dressings and toppings, others are better for use in baked products. As long as you don't suffer from an allergy or sensitivity to dairy-based products, you can consume sour cream as part of a healthy ketogenic diet. The only potential downside of sour cream is that it has a high-calorie content, so you need to be careful not to overconsume it. A dollop or two here and there is fine, but overindulging can be easy if you don't pay attention to serving sizes.
Each serving of sour cream contains minimal carbs and a high amount of healthy fat, so it is certainly a healthy food to include in a keto diet. Sour cream has many health benefits for people on the keto diet who love its taste and don't have any dairy sensitivities. We hope you found the list of seven sour cream alternatives featured above helpful and will seek to incorporate some of these options into your favorite keto-friendly dishes.