Homemade Dairy Free Sour Cream

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I have a sweet friend who was diagnosed a few years ago with allergies to both gluten and casein. In that time, the one thing that she has missed more than anything else is sour cream.

There are substitutes for wheat and lots of things to use in place of milk, but it is very difficult to replace the creaminess of sour cream.

Homemade Dairy Free Sour Cream recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Until she commented on it, I really hadn’t thought about how unique so many dairy products really are. I am not sure that sour cream would be nearly so high on my list, but who knows? If you take it away from me, it just might be.

I wanted to surprise her with an alternative; so I looked around online and stumbled onto a couple links for making sour cream out of cashews. I think “skeptical” might be far too weak a word for what I was thinking.

In the interest of surprising my friend with a treat she had been missing, I decided to give it a try. And it WORKED. I am still shocked that a handful of nuts could be transformed into something like this, but it really did work!

If you are a regular sour cream user, I will tell you now, that on its own, this does not taste exactly like sour cream to ME. (My friend, on the other hand, not having tasted sour cream in quite a while, thought it was very close.)

However, in a dish, a dip or a sauce, it DOES taste like sour cream. I made my family’s favorite Homemade Ranch Dip using this sour cream and I could not tell the difference. Side by side at the table, they both tasted like the same dip. I have a couple of friends with milk allergies that are excited to be able to enjoy a dairy-free ranch dressing once again.

Homemade Dairy Free Sour Cream recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

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Homemade Dairy Free Sour Cream

5 from 1 vote
Recipe adapted from and with thanks to Addicted to Veggies and Food.com
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  • 1 3/4 cups raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • additional fresh lemon juice or vinegar for adjusting the flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup water if using Vitamix plus ¼ cup water (if using food processor)


  • Place the cashews in a 3-4 cup container and cover with water. Soak them at least 8 hours. Mine soaked about 24 hours before I had a chance to finish making the recipe. They will expand in size while they soak. There should be slightly more than 2 cups worth of cashews after you drain the water.
  • Into a food processor or a very powerful blender, combine the cashews, 1 tablespoon each of vinegar and lemon juice, and salt. Puree for 1-2 minutes, until you have a thick and oily paste. (Warning: I thought it smelled pretty bad as this point!) Scrape the sides of your processor as needed during this process, to make sure everything is well blended.
  • The finished sour cream will be slightly more watery than regular sour cream, but it will thicken after it has been chilled for about an hour. This can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks or it can be frozen in small containers.
  • VERY slowly, just ¼ cup at a time, while the processor is on, stream in the water. Let each ¼ cup of water puree for a bit before adding the next.
  • I have it frozen this in several ½ cup containers and I'm looking forward to being able to make ranch dip as needed for my dairy-free friends as needed in the future.
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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Sue/the view from great island says

    This is fascinating. Now I need to know the science behind this! I would have expected it to have some sort of oil, but this way it must be incredibly healthy. I just can't believe you got that texture from those ingredients…you are a good friend!

  2. Dawnye7 says

    Now that is cool. It's so appreciative when you know that there are individuals out there that find new ways for everyone to enjoy a food product that their body disagrees with.

  3. Linda says

    You're a great friend! How creative and clever this recipe is! I can believe it works well as I've heard of nuts processing into a milk. Sounds like a healthy sour cream even for those of us without any allergies.

  4. Ana_ILTdP says

    I think this is genius! Really, so white cream from cashews, wow. I'd love to try it!

    It's great to give away a little bit of happiness, isn't it? Your friend must be very glad to try sour cream again! 😀

  5. Katerina says

    It was so nice of you to try and do something like this for your friend! I am keeping this to try because I cannot find sour cream very easily in Greece!

  6. Erin says

    How interesting! I would have never imagined you could make sour cream out of cashews. I'm not really a big sour cream person, but this is so fascinating that I just might have to try it sometime.

  7. Javelin Warrior says

    I'll be honest – I never would have thought to combine these ingredients to create sour cream, but I love the creativity. And I love the smooth, creamy texture you achieved… I am featuring this post in today’s Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It’s a pleasure following your creations…

  8. Fahad Khan says

    Homemade Dairy Free Sour Cream – How amazing!Not just wonderful for those who are allergic/have problems with dairy,but also suitable for vegans!
    I am going to note down/bookmark this right away!Thank you for sharing!:-)

  9. Anonymous says

    I have a question. Just found your recipe, and while searching the web to find raw cashews, there is word of them being poison and that really, all they sell, have been steamed. Is this true? Could the Planters Cashews be "raw" enough for this recipe? Thanks!

    • Mary says

      I would use Planters if that is all you can find. I made this with roasted cashews once last year when I didn't have the others on hand already. It turned out fine. My health food store sells raw nuts in their bulk bins, so I can usually pick up just what I need for the recipe without any difficulty.

  10. Sini says

    I just found today your blog and I'm excited of the recipes you share! I have lactose intolerance but have used milk and milk products so long it is hard to stop. With these, I will try to quit on dairy and have painfree bidy!