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Oct 4, 2006 11:52 PM

Is there an acceptable substitute for sour cream?

I want to have a Mexican themed party, and tacos are really not the same without sour cream. Where I live sour cream simply doesn't exist. Neither does buttermilk.

Greek yogurt, and all other forms of dairy goodness are easily findable.

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  1. Do you live outside the US? If so, where? It might be easier to suggest a substitute based on your location.

    4 Replies
      1. re: tulipano

        Hmmm ... marscapone thinned with milk? Actually I'm thinking marscopone on a taco is sounding pretty good. I might go out and try that myself.

        Anyway, interesting about no sour cream in Italy. In another forum one person from Italy said she was starting to see it in, of all places, some health food stores. It was being imported from Germany.

        If not, the most interesting substitute I saw was Paula Dean's idea of combining yogurt with butter to come up with mock sour cream.

        What about powdered milk, is that available? There is the idea of using powdered milk, water and vinegar, but that sounds yucky to me.

        There's the classic way of adding buttermilk to cream.

        Before you say that in the OP there is the mention of no buttermilk in Italy ... you can make your own buttermilk by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk. This has how to make buttermilk plus other ideas for sour cream substitutes

        More ideas, but quite frankly even if they sell Cool Whip in Italy ... I'd skip that one.

        An idea using cottage cheese, milk and lemon juice.

        That should give you a little to play with. Some may work, some not.

        1. re: rworange

          I've done marscapone on a taco before, but I thinned it with some lime juice. It works okay, but it's a lot richer in taste and texture than sour cream.

          1. re: rworange

            Yes, I have used the butter and yogurt idea, some years ago, and no one said anything, so I guess it worked out!

      2. You can use creme fraiche if it is avialable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DanaB

          I think that would be the closest match too

        2. Well Mexican Crema is a lot more like Greek Yogurt than it is like the supermarket chain Sour Cream (Knudsen's etc.,)... so there you go... and if you add just a tiny bit of buttermilk & some marscapone... you will achieve pretty much the same effect.

          Although... I must say, I never have Crema with Tacos.... typically just Raw Onions, Cilantro & Salsa.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Eat_Nopal

            Yes, and maybe a little queso blanco.

          2. Seems to me that on dish like this taste is about all that matters. You are not cooking with it. If you like the taste of Greek yogurt on your tacos, then use it. It won't be the same as typical American sour cream, but that isn't the same as Mexican creams either.

            I've been buying Greek style yogurt from Trader Joes for some time now, and use it for a variety of cases where I might use sour cream, or even plain cream.

            Keep in mind that tacos, at least as served by street stands in Mexico, or taco trucks in the USA, don't normally come with sour cream of any sort. So its use on tacos (such as the hard shell ones) is an innovation, and you are free to take the innovation a step further.


            1 Reply
            1. re: paulj

              Paulj... by the way have tried Lebanese style yogurt... aka Kaffir Cheese aka Mediterranean Yogurt Cheese... its an even better substitute for Sour Cream than Greek Yogurt.

              Lebanese restaurants serve it with dry mint, drizzle of olive oil & olives (and bread of course)... and it always makes a nice appetizer. TJs should carry the Lebanese version too.

              Also what do you think of TJ's Greek vs the Fage brand from Greece?

            2. I think creme fraiche is your best get, thinned with a bit of milk. Or you may be able to get crema, it depends where you are.

              You also could chose a taco that is served without dairy.