Kefir Is The Nutritious Sour Cream Replacement Your Dips Need

Sour cream is the backbone of football Sundays and backyard get-togethers. Depending on the seasonings and mix-ins used, it can transform into a warm, creamy spinach dip or a thick, tangy tartar sauce. The only drawback? It's not typically known as the most nutritious topping around, since it contains plenty of saturated fat and calories, yet lacks significant beneficial vitamins and minerals.

If you're looking to satisfy your sour cream craving but want an ingredient with a little more nutritional value, turn to kefir instead. This dairy product is made with fermented milk from cows or goats and is essentially drinkable yogurt. It's similar to sour cream in that both products are pasteurized with lactic acid bacteria, but sour cream comes from cream instead, which is why it contains so much fat. A cup of kefir, on the other hand, features nine grams of protein, 24% of your daily calcium, and 29% of your daily vitamin B12. It boasts stronger probiotics than yogurt, can help bolster bone health, and may even help guard against tumor growth.

Kefir mimics sour cream's flavor, but not its consistency

Aside from its nutritional benefits, the main reason kefir is one of the absolute best substitutes for sour cream comes down to flavor. Both dairy products have tangy, slightly acidic notes from the fermentation, which means you won't be missing any punchy flavor in your dip once you make the swap. You will, however, need to take into account each ingredient's consistency. Because kefir is made from milk, it's much thinner than sour cream — so much so, in fact, that it's often sold in bottles so you can drink it straight.

But while you wouldn't want to (and wouldn't be able to) add a dollop on top of your chili, kefir's consistency isn't much of an issue in dip recipes. It can be swapped for sour cream at a 1:1 ratio. If you're worried about thinning out your dip too much, use it in recipes where other ingredients can provide the thickness and creaminess – Tasting Table's cheesy crab rangoon dip, for example, also incorporates mayo, cream cheese, and melted Monterey Jack cheese. Or try it in a bean dip recipe, where the blended legumes provide enough structure to hold up the whole dish. Either way, your final product will be just as delicious, while you secretly pack in the added nutritional benefits.