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


  • 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. Melissa Pischner says

    Thank you for this post! I am severely lactose intolerant and enjoy a good baked potato with sour cream! Before this post I pretty much had to give that up or buy the soy sour cream that is horrible!

    • Mary says

      I have no idea, Christi. Although you can make nut butters with all kinds of different nuts, the flavors will be different. I don't know how they would work as far as tasting like sour cream.

  2. Caitlyn says

    Question: if in a hurry to make this can you use already made cashew milk instead of blending raw ones? Thanks

    • Mary Younkin says

      Unfortunately, cashew milk won’t work for this recipe. The thickness of the sour cream comes from the cashew blending process.

  3. Ann Dominski says

    Hi, I love your website and look forward to trying your recipes. First will be ranch dressing! However I will also be trying the casein free sour cream. My daughter cannot have casein. Do you have any other replacement recipes for cheeses that are high in casein? Thanks, Ann

  4. PiperAnn says

    This sounds wonderful. Who knew? Can’t wait to try this. One question: you say it will thicken after refrigeration, sour cream in stores is to thin for me. I use to use IMO sour cream substitute until it disappeared years ago. It was thick which we loved to make 7 Layer nacho dip and the firmness was perfect. Is this thin, medium thin, or firm once refrigerated? Not that it matters I plan to make this anyway. So excited to find your web page.