Hand grenades were one of the key inventions spread across the world by the Mongol Empire. That, and the composite bow. But sophisticated, deadly weapons weren’t the only inventions to come out of the largest contiguous land empire. The Mongol people also gave us sour cream. Yep, we’re talking about that relatively harmless dip you often enjoy with nachos, potatoes, tacos, and more.

Of course, in the 13th and 14th centuries, people weren’t eating sour cream in the way we are today (à la Doritos). Back then, they enjoyed kumis, a slightly alcoholic drink made with fermented horse’s milk. Russian people developed a liking for the delicacy and started making their own version with thickened cow’s milk, and sour cream was born.

Several centuries on, sour cream is still eaten all over the world, and the US is no exception. In fact, according to Statista, in 2020, sour cream was enjoyed by more than 239 million Americans. But as appetites change, and dairy-free alternatives become more popular for their health, environmental, and ethical benefits, vegan sour cream is also rising in popularity. Here’s what it is, where to buy it, and the best recipes to serve it with.

What is sour cream?

Sticking to its roots, today’s sour cream is still made with fermentation. Basically, lactic acid bacteria is added to cream made with cow’s milk until it thickens and the flavor becomes sharper. It’s often used in recipes to add a creamier texture and an extra tang (like in mashed potato, for example), or served on the side as a dipping sauce.

What is vegan sour cream?

While most sour cream is made with dairy, it isn’t a necessity. You can also make a cream that has a similar taste and consistency using only plant-based ingredients. For example, this Cookie and Kate recipe mixes together cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard to achieve a similar result. Most vegan recipes follow a similar formula, mixing together cashews with tangy citrus juice and apple cider vinegar.


Vegan sour cream nutrition

While traditional sour cream is often high in saturated fat, vegan alternatives tend to be healthier. This is because instead of dairy, they often rely on nuts, which are a source of protein and other essential nutrients, like B vitamins. Cashews, for example, are also a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Silken tofu, another rich source of protein, is also a popular base for vegan sour cream.

It’s important to note, however, that making sour cream from home is often healthier than buying it from the store, where vegan versions can still be high in saturated fat. (If this is the case, the answer is to enjoy in moderation!)

Vegan sour cream uses

Vegan sour cream can be used as a direct replacement for regular sour cream. This means you can use it as a dip, dollop it over salads, bake it into desserts, serve it as a side with potatoes or tacos, or add it to soup, coleslaw, or even pasta sauces. The list is endless.

Brands that sell vegan sour cream

A number of vegan and vegan-friendly brands sell dairy-free alternatives to sour cream. Here, we’ve gathered some of the best options to add to your basket next time you head to the grocery store. 


1 Tofutti

Tofutti has been making dairy-free products since the early 1980s, and its expertise shows across its product offering, which includes several different kinds of cheese (including vegan ricotta), dips (like French onion and roasted garlic), and, of course, its very own Better Than Sour Cream, which comes in regular flavor and guacamole flavor.
Check it out

VegNews.vegansourcream-3Follow Your Heart

2 Follow Your Heart

If you loved sour cream before you went vegan, you’ll be thrilled to know that the much-loved California-based vegan brand Follow Your Heart has created a version that is incredibly close to the traditional recipe. Get the quesadillas ready!
Check it out

VegNews.vegansourcream-4Good Karma

3 Good Karma

Good Karma’s Plant-Based Sour Cream is slightly healthier than other options on the market, with only 30 calories per serving. It’s also a great option for those who suffer from allergies, as it’s totally free of nuts, soy, and gluten, too.
Check it out

VegNews.vegansourcream-5Trader Joe’s

4 Trader Joe’s

Over the last few years, Trader Joe’s has expanded its vegan offering significantly. Plant-based eggs, ice cream, salad dressings, and burritos are just a few of the products you can buy from the chain now. And, alongside those and more, you can also grab some vegan sour cream. “We’ve tried quite a few sour cream alternatives in our day, but this one takes the cake—or even makes the cake, perhaps,” notes Trader Joe’s. “Thanks to an ingenious mix of coconut oil, corn starch, and potato starch, this is a true Sour Cream Alternative.”
Check it out

VegNews.vegansourcream-6Kite Hill

5 Kite Hill

It may be only just over eight years since Kite Hill launched its first vegan cheese onto the market, but a lot has happened since then. For one, it has expanded its product portfolio significantly. Now, it offers everything from yogurt to butter to filled pasta. And in 2020, it added its own take on vegan sour cream, made with almond milk, to the mix, too.
Check it out

Vegan sour cream in recipes

Once you’ve bought or made your sour cream, next on the agenda is, obviously, eating the stuff. But what with? Here, we’ve gathered some of our favorite recipes to give you some ideas. (You’re welcome!)

VegNews.DillRoastedChickpeasJackie Sobon

1 Dill-Roasted Chickpea and Lemony Potato Buddha Bowls

A delicious sour cream-based dressing is the ultimate accompaniment to this tasty, protein-packed take on a Buddha bowl. It’s filling, nutritious, and guaranteed to keep you coming back for more.
Get the recipe

VegNews.PotatoRollJasmine Briones

2 Cheesy Stuffed Vegan Baked Potato Rolls

Cheesy baked potatoes laden with sour cream are not a comforting treat reserved exclusively for non-vegans. Far from it. Enjoy these fully loaded potatoes with all the vegan versions of the foods you love and miss. You can even top it with crunchy, plant-based bacon bits!
Get the recipe

VegNews.NaanTacosCandice Hutchings

3 Crunchy Chalupa Naan Tacos With Avocado-Ranch Sauce

It doesn’t need to be taco Tuesday to enjoy this tasty, indulgent chalupa naan taco recipe. One of the best parts is the creamy avocado-ranch sauce, which is made with mayo, avocado (of course), and vegan sour cream, among other simple plant-based ingredients.
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VegNews.LoadedFriesSupremeLauren Toyota

4 Nacho Fries With Tofu Bacon Crumbles

Nacho cheese sauce and sour cream are a match made in heaven, no arguments. This recipe also throws tofu bacon crumbles into the mix, and will no doubt become one of your go-tos when it comes to impressing friends with your vegan cuisine. You’ll want to make batch after batch after batch, it’s just that delicious.
Get the recipe

VegNews.SourCreamOnionSconesCeline Steen

5 Sour Cream Onion Scones

As well as being a great dipping sauce, sour cream is ideal for baked goods too. That’s why it’s included in this tasty, flaky, savory scone recipe. Enjoy them on their own, with soup, or with a side salad for a satisfying midweek lunch.
Get the recipe

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