Cashew Sour Cream Is The Vegan Substitute You Need To Know

If you're vegan or just trying to stay away from animal products, you don't have to give up sour cream. The traditional version of this condiment is indeed made by mixing a lactic acid culture with cream, which gives the dairy product its signature tanginess. But whether you want a topping for your baked potato or a base for a fry sauce, you can substitute cashew sour cream for a similar, yet plant-based, effect.

Besides the tanginess, we love sour cream for its thickness and — of course — creaminess, which is partially due to its high-fat content of about 20% (per Eater). Luckily, cashews can help us achieve the latter two qualities in our vegan condiment. These nuts also boast a high-fat content, so they're often used in plant-based recipes like nacho cheese and alfredo sauce. But they also contain plenty of starch, which helps them thicken up, and they offer a mildly buttery taste. Cashews by themselves don't have that acidic tang that we're used to tasting in our sour cream, but they do make for the perfect base texture-wise to add in other ingredients for flavor.

How to make cashew sour cream

Since you're going to eventually blend all the ingredients together to make vegan sour cream, you'll want to soak your nuts first. This is a pretty standard practice for making any cashew-based sauce, but softening the nuts to create a smooth texture later on isn't the only reason to do it. When you soak your cashews, you help release their enzymes, which allows our bodies to absorb their nutrients more easily. You'll want to think ahead when making vegan sour cream, however, as the nuts typically need to sit in cold water overnight or hot water for a few hours.

But once your cashews are nice and supple, you can throw them in the blender with all your other ingredients. So what else is needed to make nuts taste like sour cream? The main element is something acidic, so try a combination of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. If you want to upgrade the flavor of this traditional condiment, feel free to add in some nutritional yeast, garlic, hot sauce, or green chiles. Then along with a pinch of salt, you'll want to pour in water to thin out the consistency. This will give you a delicious cashew sour cream — but if you're not feeling up to the task, you can also track down a can from a brand like Treeline Cheesemakers.