Many people ask whether Greek yogurt or plain yogurt can be substituted for sour cream in recipes. If you're wondering the same thing, you're in luck, because we've got the answer!
In this article, we'll answer all of your questions about whether or not yogurt can be substituted for sour cream.
Can You Substitute Yogurt For Sour Cream?
The answer to this question is yes…and no. You can substitute the two ingredients for one another in some dishes, but not in all. As with most things in life, substitution depends on what you are making.
Yogurt and sour cream are both made from dairy and are similar in texture, but they're not the same thing. Yogurt is a cultured dairy product made by fermenting milk with good-for-you bacteria. On the other hand, sour cream is created from the fermentation of any type of cream, which is thickened by adding a lactic acid culture (a.k.a. sour cream culture), making it more stable than yogurt and creating its signature thick and creamy texture.
The main difference between the two is that yogurt is thinner and often has a tangier taste than sour cream. Furthermore, yogurts have significantly lower fat content—an appealing quality on its own—but this reduced amount also alters the consistency of your results. Because of these differences, yogurt cannot necessarily be substituted for sour cream in every recipe that calls for it.
Yogurt contains active cultures, which are good for your digestive system. This means that yogurt may work great as a sour cream substitute in recipes like dips, dressings, and garnishing chilled soups, which you may eat directly from the bowl.
How Much Yogurt Should You Use To Replace Sour Cream?
When you substitute yogurt for sour cream in recipes, it's generally safe to use a 1:1 ratio. That is, if a recipe calls for one cup of sour cream, simply replace it with one cup of yogurt.
Can Greek Yogurt Be Substituted For Sour Cream?
Absolutely! Greek yogurt has a thick, creamy texture, and a tangy flavor, making it an excellent substitute for sour cream in some recipes.
Greek yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt, because it's strained from excess water, which reduces its volume by about half and thickens it considerably. It has a higher protein content than regular yogurt, which lends some structure to dishes made with it. It’s also thicker than sour cream, meaning you can use less of it to achieve the desired results.
Greek yogurt is also best used in dips, dressings, and sauces for its smooth consistency. For your baking needs, you must make a few tweaks to successfully substitute Greek or plain yogurt for sour cream.
How To Substitute Sour Cream in Baked Goods With Yogurt?
Many baking experts say that both ingredients can be easily substituted for one another, especially in recipes that require a small amount of either ingredient. Baking experts also say that substituting yogurt for sour cream doesn’t change the flavor or texture of the final product significantly, as long as you follow a few simple tips.
If you'd like to substitute yogurt for sour cream in one of your baking recipes, here are a couple of suggestions that will help make the substitution a success:
Go For Yogurt With High-Fat Content:
Fat content is the key! You can use yogurt in place of sour cream, as long as you add something else to increase the fat content. Try to find yogurt with the highest fat content possible (e.g., whole-fat Greek yogurt), which will give it a consistency closer to sour cream once it's mixed.
If you're using low-fat yogurt, try to make it up with a bit of fat in another place, such as a splash of more oil, flour, or butter, so that it doesn't taste weird and chalky. Basically, you want to match the amount of fat that you would use if you were using sour cream. However, if you're going to substitute yogurt for sour cream in recipes like dips or dressing, then no need to add fats!
Use Whole-Milk Greek Yogurt:
For a similar consistency to sour cream and a rich tangy flavor, whole-milk Greek yogurt is the best option. If you don't have any on hand, regular yogurt will work fine too. However, it might be worth straining out the liquid to thicken it slightly.
When making a steak sauce, yogurt works just as well as sour cream and contains fewer calories. Just remember to keep the temperature low when you're cooking. Otherwise, your yogurt might curdle. The trick is to keep the heat down or add it toward the end, so there's enough time for the sauce to become smooth.
Can I Turn Plain Yogurt Into Sour Cream?
Making your own sour cream from yogurt is very simple, and it's much healthier than the ready-made stuff. All you need is some yogurt with live and active cultures, heavy whipping cream, and a warm place. We always prefer culturing your own yogurt, but if you’re buying commercial yogurt, we strongly recommend choosing one with the Live & Active Cultures seal.
Pro Tip: If you struggle to find yogurt with live and active cultures, make your own with our yogurt starter! Making yogurt is a lot simpler than you might think, and a lot cheaper than buying it at the store. Even if you're a beginner, we have an easy-to-use heirloom yogurt starter we think you'll love, which doesn’t require a yogurt maker. Many of our cultures can just keep going, so you can use some of your leftover yogurt to make the next batch and go on forever.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of yogurt and then whisk in one cup of heavy cream.
- Once mixed thoroughly until smooth, let it sit overnight in a warm place.
If this sounds like too much work to do, we have another great way to make Greek yogurt sour cream. All you need to do is add a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to the yogurt and stir it until the yogurt has thickened. The acid in the lemon juice or vinegar will cause the yogurt to thicken and separate, just like sour cream would.
The Bottom Line — Can You Substitute Yogurt For Sour Cream:
If you're looking for a substitute for sour cream and happen to have yogurt on hand, there's no need to reach for anything else. Yogurt is an excellent alternative to sour cream as long as it has the proper consistency. The lighter consistency may change the texture of a dish slightly, but the flavor will be similar.