Can You Use Ricotta Cheese Instead Of Sour Cream?

can you use ricotta cheese instead of sour cream
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can you use ricotta cheese instead of sour cream

Sour cream

A thick, creamy, tangy spreadable cream that works well with almost everything. Sour cream is the acidic child of our beloved dairy cream. Sour cream is created by fermenting the dairy cream with a lactic-acid producing bacteria. When kept in a warm bowl, bacteria starts to consume the sugar molecules (lactose) while releasing lactic acid. Lactic acid then ferments the dairy cream into a tangy more acidic version, the sour cream. Due to a similar production style, sour cream and yogurt – specifically Greek yogurt – have a similar tangy slightly acidic taste. Their textures are a little different with sour cream being a tad bit creamier. As a result, sour cream can be used as a yogurt replacement and vice versa.

Unlike yogurt, sour cream does little to improve the quality of your health. The cream is 30 percent fat from which 60 percent is just saturated fats.

Ricotta cheese

Created in the 19th century, the ricotta cheese – as per Alex Delany (Bon Appetit) – is a creamy, fluffy cloud of spreadable heavenly goodness.

Ricotta/recooked cheese is created from the leftover whey liquid. Whey is the liquid that remains after the cheese curds are removed from the cooking pot. To make ricotta, the whey liquid is reheated with a little bit of whole milk and some acid – preferably vinegar or citrus juice. Cheese curds start to form once more which are then scooped out and creamed to create the ricotta cheese.

Ricotta is a slightly sweet, highly moisturized cheese. It has a grainy texture and is slightly less creamy than cream cheese. But unlike cream cheese, ricotta is a healthy cheese. It contains 10 percent fat out of which only 6 percent is saturated.

Can You Use Ricotta Cheese Instead Of Sour Cream?

Is ricotta cheese a perfect substitute for sour cream

Even though yogurt is a cheaper more commonly used alternative, ricotta can, in some cases, be used as a replacement for sour cream.

To use ricotta as a substitute you’ll have to blend it with a little cream for thinning, and you’ll add a little bit of citric acid to give it some tang.

But even after all this work, the modified ricotta will still leave a slightly sweet aftertaste.


If the sour cream is an ingredient listed within a bread-making recipe, using ricotta as a substitute will depend upon the ingredient that is being used for leavening. If the recipe is using baking soda as the leavening agent, it’s then using the sour cream as the acid ingredient to activate the baking soda’s CO2 making capabilities. Ricotta is not acidic, meaning it will not react with the baking soda present within the recipe. As a result, using ricotta as a sour cream substitute will create undesirable results. You’ll either have to modify the entire recipe or use a better sour cream substitute.

Better sour cream substitutes

The best sour cream substitute is yogurt – preferably Greek yogurt. Other sour cream substitutes include cottage cheese, crème Fraiche, and buttermilk. Cream cheese although not the perfect substitute is still a better match than ricotta cheese.

can you use ricotta cheese instead of sour cream
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