The Best Sour Cream Substitute For Delicious, Dairy-Free Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff wouldn't be the dish we know and love without its creamy, gravy-style sauce. While beef may be the main ingredient featured in this French-meets-Russian recipe, it's the sour cream-centric sauce that really ties the dish together and creates a bridge between flavors. Needless to say, using the right ingredients matters — a difficult feat for anyone who can't eat dairy. Rather than forgo the creamy component and rid stroganoff of its silky finish entirely, swap it out for a decadent, dairy-free replacement.

Lactose-laden options like Greek yogurt or crème fraîche can rise to the occasion in the absence of sour cream, but for those with allergies and intolerances, there are still plenty of viable options out there that are devoid of dairy. For the ultimate dairy-free substitute, we recommend using coconut milk; specifically full-fat and unsweetened versions.

From recipe to recipe, stroganoff sauce can vary. It is commonly made like a pan gravy: Stock and seasonings are whisked into a roux and left to reduce before being finished with a generous amount of sour cream. The tangy ingredient acts as a thickening agent, imparts richness, and adds another layer of flavor. As a key element in stroganoff, the addition of something lusciously creamy is a must, and coconut milk is the perfect substitute.

Trade sour cream for an equal amount of coconut milk

Coconut milk is an excellent dairy-free replacement for sour cream due to its many similar traits. For example, since the milk boasts a buttery thickness, it delivers the same velvety consistency as sour cream, but minus the lactose. Its opaque and pearly appearance is nearly identical to that of sour cream, allowing coconut milk to seamlessly blend into stroganoff sauce without any visual consequences.

Additionally, given the fairly neutral flavor profile of coconut milk, this dairy-free option won't alter the taste of the dish too heavily. That said, sour cream does have an acidic tang that coconut milk does not. In order to give the mildly floral and nutty ingredient a sour tang, simply whisk it with a squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar. Then, following a 1:1 ratio, use the coconut milk just as you would the original dairy-based ingredient. 

If this substitution has inspired you to keep swapping ingredients, you can take things a step further and whip up a fully vegan stroganoff for dinner.