Can You Substitute Milk For Sour Cream?


Sour cream is the perfect condiment for Mexican food. You can add it to your burritos, tacos, nachos supreme, enchiladas, and more. Not only is it a great condiment, but it is also a great ingredient for recipes.

 All the best cheesecakes are made with sour cream. Do you prefer extra creamy mashed potatoes? Add some sour cream to make your mashed potatoes that much creamier. 

Sour cream is a very versatile ingredient in your fridge. You can either eat it as a condiment with soups, chilis, and potatoes or use it in your baking with cakes, bread, and cookies. 

What happens if you reach in your fridge and there is no more sour cream? Can you use milk as a substitute for sour cream? 

You can use milk as a substitute for sour cream. When you are out of sour cream, you can mix one cup of whole milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice. 

While this may not be as thick as sour cream, you can still use milk as a substitute for sour cream in baking in a pinch. 

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What Can You Use If You Run Out Of Sour Cream? 

Sometimes, you are in such a rush at the grocery store that many items on the list are forgotten. You finally get home only to realize that you forgot a few key items for this week’s dinners. 

If sour cream was one of your forgotten items, are there any substitutes you can use, or are you stuck making another run back out to the store? 

There are quite a few different substitutes that you can use when you run out or don’t have any sour cream on hand. 

  • Heavy Cream: Cream is an excellent substitute for sour cream. Since the cream is thick, all you need to do is add a tablespoon of lemon juice to your cream measurement and you’re good to go. 
  • Greek Yogurt: Unflavored Greek yogurt already has a pretty tart taste to it. While Greek yogurt may not be just like sour cream, the texture and taste come pretty close. Simply follow the recipe’s measurements for how much Greek yogurt should be used as a replacement. Greek yogurt is also packed full of protein and can be an all-around healthier substitute for sour cream. 
  • Cottage Cheese: This high-protein, low-calorie food is another great substitute for sour cream. Blend 1 cup of cottage cheese, ¼ cup low-fat yogurt, and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and you have made an excellent low-calorie alternative to sour cream. 

How Do You Know When Sour Cream Is Bad?

Sour cream is one of those foods that is difficult to tell when it’s gone bad. It already has a strong odor, and often what you think is signs of spoilage actually isn’t. 

It is normal for water to separate and pool toward the top of the sour cream. You can either choose to mix the water with the rest of the sour cream or pour it down the drain. 

If water pooling isn’t a sign of spoiling, how do you know when the sour cream is bad? 

The best way to tell if sour cream is bad is if it starts to turn yellow. If your sour cream is no longer white, it is also no longer edible. 

Another sign of spoiling is mold and smell. If you sniff your sour cream and aren’t sure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Sour cream will typically last in your fridge for up to two weeks. 

What Can You Use If You Run Out Of Milk? 

Have you ever opened the fridge to realize that the expiration date on your milk was quite a while ago? If you’re not an avid milk drinker, cereal eater, or baker, your milk can seem to expire every time you open the fridge. 

If your milk is expired, are there any substitutes that you can use instead of milk? 

There are a few different substitutions for milk that you can use if you happen to run out. 

  • Half and Half: If you are an avid coffee drinker, then you more than likely have some half and half in your fridge. You can use this as a substitute for milk. You can use it for baking, sauces, and gravies. To use half and half as a substitute, combine ¾ cup half and half and ¼ cup of water. 
  • Sour Cream: If you are baking and out of milk, sour cream can be an excellent replacement. Sour cream works well as a substitute when you need milk for bread or for extra creaminess in sauces. While you may not consider sour cream for your cereal, it will work well for baking. When using sour cream as a substitute, you can follow the recipe’s measurements. Sour cream also works as a substitute for buttermilk too. 
  • Yogurt: Full-fat yogurt can be a great option for milk substitution. Again, yogurt substitution works best for baking instead of cereal. However, yogurt and cereal mixed together aren’t much different than yogurt and granola; the combination can still work. Flavored yogurts can also be used to add extra flavor to your baked goods. When using yogurt as a substitute, follow the recipe’s measurements.
  • Non-Dairy Milk: Non-dairy milk is a great option, especially for your cereals. You can use any non-dairy milk, such as soy or nut milk, as a substitute for whole milk. You can follow the recipe’s instructions and get great baking results. However, non-dairy milk options do not hold well in sauces or gravies. Also, be sure to check if your non-dairy milk is sweetened. The vanilla flavor may taste great in your cereal, but it probably won’t taste great in your macaroni and cheese. 
  • Evaporated Milk: Did you ever purchase a can of evaporated milk for a recipe but instead it ended up collecting dust in your pantry? Now is the perfect time to use it. It can work great as a substitute for your cookies, cakes, bread, and pancakes. To use evaporated milk as a substitute, mix ½ cup evaporated milk and ½ cup of water for one cup worth of milk replacement. 

Final Thoughts

Next time you reach into your fridge for sour cream and find it gone, empty, or spoiled, you can use milk as a substitute. If you don’t happen to have any lemon juice on hand, you can always use some of the other substitutes for sour cream. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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