A Vegan Sour Cream Recipe This RD Swears By

Registered dietitian and plant-based diet specialist Cynthia Sass shares the dairy-free vegan sour cream recipe she uses as a plant-based alternative to dips and toppings.

A vegan substitute for sour cream

You can think of cashews as a snack or treat, but they are also a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of vegan recipes, including savory options, such as sour cream. Yes, it may come as a surprise, but cashews are an excellent dairy-free substitute for sour cream because of their light and creamy texture. Cashews are also nutritious and good for your health in general. (Learn more about cashew nutrition.)

Health benefits of cashew nuts

A cup of raw cashews, the base of this recipe, contains 20 grams of plant-based protein, along with good for your fat, fiber, antioxidants and a range of essential nutrients, including energy-supporting B vitamins, bone-supporting vitamin K and minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, zinc, manganese and selenium.

Cashews also appear to be beneficial for heart health due to their potential to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure and curb insulin levels in the blood. That’s a lot of nutritional value for your bite, or in this case a spoonful. And preparing cashew sour cream is incredibly easy.

How to make vegan sour cream

The first step to turning this delicious tree nut into a creamy dip is to soak the cashews in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.

The drained nuts are then simply pureed with a little acid – I used white wine vinegar and freshly squeezed lemon juice – along with filtered water and sea salt.

Other types of vinegar, such as apple cider vinegar or brown rice vinegar, can also be used. (There’s also coconut vinegar. Here’s what you need to know.)

Storing and using vegan sour cream?

Store your regular sour cream in the fridge as a base and fold in herbs, seasonings, or other ingredients as needed. Ideal side dishes include fresh dill, basil, chives, garlic, dried onion powder, black pepper, and additions like sliced ​​olives, a dollop of salsa, or a few capers (as shown here).

Use it as a dip for fresh or leftover roasted vegetables or tortilla chips, or as a topping for baked potatoes, vegan tacos, and hearty vegetable soups, such as lentils, black beans, and split peas. (Here’s how to make a vegan cashew cheese sauce.)

Thanks to Cynthia Sass, MPH, MA, RD, CSSD

Vegan Sour Cream Recipe

This ultra-easy recipe is a healthy dairy-free alternative to sour cream and can be eaten by vegans and omnivores alike. It’s creamy and light at the same time, with a delicate flavor and just enough sharpness.


1 cup raw cashew nuts

1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 – 3/4 cup filtered water


Place the cashews in a bowl, cover with water and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. Drain and rinse the cashew nuts. Transfer the cashews to a food processor or high-speed blender.

Add the vinegar, lemon juice, salt and half a cup of water. Blend until you reach your desired consistency, adding more water if necessary. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with herbs or add-ins if desired.

If you’re not a fan of cashews, or don’t feel like making a DIY version, you can buy ready-made dairy-free sour cream. I like Kite Hill’s, which is made from a wider variety of plant-based ingredients, including almonds, coconut oil and coconut milk, rice starch, and chickpea protein.

Bonus: Substituting more dairy-based foods for plant-based swaps is good for the planet. According to a 2018 review published in the Journal of Dairy Sciencedairy farms make an important contribution to the total greenhouse gas emissions during the life cycle of milk and other dairy products.

If you haven’t tried nut-based dairy alternatives yet, give them a try. You might be surprised at how much they mimic their traditional counterparts.

Then watch out for the foods that you think are dairy-free but aren’t.

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