If you have ever prepared hash brown casserole, you know that sour cream is key to getting that creamy texture and tangy flavor. But if you ever want to avoid using it or just to try something new, don’t fear; I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve for substituting sour cream in a pinch. So, what is the best substitute for sour cream in a hash brown casserole?
From cottage cheese and evaporated milk to tofu sour cream and some slightly strange but exotic substitutions, like mashed avocado and white miso paste, there are numerous exciting replacements for sour cream in hash brown casserole.
The next time you’re making hash browns for brunch and realize you’re out of sour cream, don’t panic. Just whip up one of these substitutes, stir it into your casserole, and no one will be the wiser. Your secret’s safe with me! So, keep reading to discover my top sour cream substitutes to save you a trip to the store. Your belly and wallet will thank you!
As an alternative to sour cream in your hash brown casserole, I like to use cottage cheese. It has a similar creamy texture but less fat and calories.
Cottage cheese is made from milk curds, so it has a mild flavor and creamy consistency like sour cream. To use it in place of sour cream, simply spoon it into your casserole dish and spread it evenly over the hash browns. You really can’t tell the difference!
Use small curd cottage cheese. The smaller curds blend into the casserole better than the large curds. You can also add a bit of milk or cream to thin it out. Cottage cheese can be a bit thicker than sour cream, so adding a splash of milk helps achieve a similar consistency. Start with 1-2 tablespoons and add more as needed.
If needed, you can also season the cottage cheese by mixing in a bit of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh or dried herbs like chives, dill, or parsley. This will boost the flavor to resemble sour cream more closely.
When making my hash brown casserole, I like to lighten it up by replacing evaporated milk with sour cream. Evaporated milk has had about 60% of its water removed, so it has a creamy texture without the heaviness of sour cream.
Using evaporated milk instead of sour cream cuts over half the fat from the recipe. The evaporated milk still provides a rich, creamy component to the casserole without weighing it down.
The evaporated milk also has a slightly sweet, caramelized flavor from the heating process, giving the casserole a hint of extra flavor. I find that the evaporated milk helps enhance all the other ingredients like hash browns, cheese, and spices.
When doing the substitution, you may need to add a bit more salt to taste since evaporated milk is not as tangy as sour cream, but otherwise, the substitution works great in most recipes.
Avocados have a creamy texture and mild flavor that works well instead of sour cream. Mash one medium avocado with a fork and use it in a 1:1 ratio for the sour cream called for in your recipe.
The avocado will add richness without overpowering the other ingredients. Besides, there are many pros to opting for avocado instead of sour cream since it provides healthy fat, creamy, and mild flavor.
However, the downsides may include altering color and the fact that avocado features a relatively strong flavor for some people. 
Also, if you’re in a hurry with your casserole, but your avocados are not ripe yet, here’s a hack to make them perfect for use in a blink!
Tofu Sour Cream
Tofu sour cream is easy to make. Simply blend a block of silken tofu, lemon juice, salt, and herbs like dill or chives. The lemon juice adds a bright, tangy flavor similar to sour cream. For the hash brown casserole, I use about 1 cup of blended tofu sour cream for every cup of sour cream called for in the recipe. The tofu provides a creamy texture without the dairy.
Blend all ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Tofu sour cream works great as a topping for baked potatoes, in salad dressings, or anywhere else you’d use sour cream. For the best results, choose extra-firm silken tofu and blend it thoroughly until completely smooth. Occasionally, I like adding a bit of garlic powder, onion powder, or other herbs and spices to boost the flavor.
White Miso Paste
Miso paste is made from fermented soybeans and has an umami-rich, savory flavor. White miso, or shiro miso, is the mildest type.
To use it, simply whisk a few tablespoons of white miso paste into the sauce at the end of cooking in place of the sour cream. Start with 2 tablespoons and taste, adding more as needed. The miso paste will melt into the dish and thicken it slightly. You may need to add some water to reach your desired consistency.
White miso is dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan. It adds lots of savory umami flavor without changing the color of the dish. However, it has a stronger, tangier flavor than sour cream, so use a light hand. It also contains a fair amount of sodium, so you may need to reduce added salt.