Are you on the hunt for the best Dairy-Free Sour Cream around? If so, you’ve found it! This super simple nut-free, oil-free, Vegan Sour Cream Recipe requires just 3 inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients and 5 minutes of active time to prep.

Why I Love This Recipe

I am always a fan of finding simple solutions to everyday problems. If you’ve been searching for a dairy-free cream or vegan sour cream without cashews or soy, I’m happy to report your search is over. My easy air-fryer onion cream is the magic ticket you’ve been looking for.

This delightfully creamy dairy-free cream is ideal for turning into salad dressings, cheesy vegan sauces (like vegan mac & cheese), drizzling on soups, or anytime you want a creamy texture without any fat. It’s also a ridiculously simple way to make plant-based sour cream.

Aside from being richly flavored without a lick of fat, this vegan sour cream recipe is:

  • Made With Just 3 Ingredients – All you need are onions, lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and salt. And, depending on your diet, you’re welcome to omit the salt. How easy is that?!?
  • Allergen-Friendly – This deliciously creamy sauce is vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and oil-free, meaning it’s ideal for just about any diet. 
  • Budget-Friendly – Onions are among the cheapest ingredients at the store. Even with this crazy grocery inflation, a full batch of this creamy, dreamy non-dairy sour cream won’t cost you more than about $1.50.
  • Meal-Prep Friendly – In fact, this recipe requires almost no prep at all. You don’t even have to remove the onion skin before tossing it in the air fryer or oven! Once made, it’ll keep for up to 4 days in the fridge and you can freeze the leftovers.
  • Versatile – You can make this roasted onion purée in your air-fryer, Instant Pot, stovetop, or oven. Honestly, There are limitless ways to make it! Once it’s made, you can also season it in about a gazillion different ways or use it in any savory recipe that calls for cream, sour cream, or yogurt. 
  • Crowd-Pleasing – Roasting the onion for 45 minutes really brings out all the sugars and removes the oniony “bite,” so even if you aren’t a fan of onions, give this onion cream a try. Even Cheryl will eat it, and you know that’s saying a lot!

Ingredients & Substitutions

As promised, this non-dairy substitute for sour cream is made with just two ingredients that you might already have on hand. Here’s what to grab:

  • Onion(s) – Sweet or regular, white or yellow onions will work here. The only catch is that they should be small enough to fit in your air-fryer basket.
  • Salt – A little seasoning goes a long way. You’re also welcome to make a salt-free version of this dairy-free sour cream substitute if needed.
  • Lemon juice or apple cider vinegar – to add that sour cream tang.
green air fryer on a white kitchen counter.

Equipment

While I love making these roasted onions in the air fryer, you have plenty of other options to choose from. Here is what you’ll need:

  • Air Fryer ~OR~ Oven & Baking Sheet ~OR~ Dutch Oven & Stovetop – I like to call this a “choose your own adventure” recipe. 🤓
  • Blender or Food Processor – Whipping the sweet, soft, roasted onion into a deliciously pourable consistency requires some electrical assistance. Either of these options will do the trick.

How To Make The Best Vegan Sour Cream Using Your Air Fryer

This vegan sour cream substitute requires just a few minutes of “hands-on” cooking time. The rest is just waiting! Here’s how it’s made:

Step 1: Prep. Set the whole, unpeeled onion in a baking dish with an onion-size piece of parchment paper in it for easy cleanup. (Do not put the onion directly in your air fryer basket, because it will be a mess to clean up!)

Step 2: Cook on 400F (205C) for 25 minutes, check, and then cook for 20 minutes more. 

Step 3: Cool. Carefully remove the pan and let the onion cool.

Step 4: Peel. Once cool, peel the skin off, remove any dark or burned parts of the flesh and remove the ends.

Step 5: Blend. Cut in half and put the pieces into your blender with salt. Blend until light and frothy.

Step 6: Use or Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Use in any *savory* recipe that calls for cream, sour cream, or yogurt. You can also add it to your normal tomato sauce to make a pink sauce. YUM!

pile of yellow onions.

Optional Variations

While I think this vegan sour cream without cashews is pretty lovely all on its own, you can always jazz it up a little to make it fit your needs better. Here are a few variations to consider:

  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest, or a little apple cider vinegar to get that sour cream tang.
  • Mix in a little cashew cream for a richer cream to serve to non-vegans.
  • Chop up chives or other herbs to turn it into a dip or spread.

Did you come up with a brilliant way to flavor and/or use this vegan alternative to sour cream? If so, let me know in the comments below or tag me in your social media posts (@healthyslowcooking) so I can cheer you on!

Expert Tips

This dairy-free sour cream recipe is about as straightforward as it gets. That said, I’ve learned a few things during my recipe development phase. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you let the roasted onion cool thoroughly before peeling and processing it. Even if you have potholders on hand, the juices may still squirt out and get you!
  • Use any resulting liquid that is leftover in the pan, even if it looks brown. It’s sweet and delicious, and not burnt-tasting whatsoever.
  • If you want a slightly smoky-tasting sauce, add the parts of the onion that get a little darker.
  • If you want a pure white sauce, leave out the burnt parts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best onions to use for this vegan sour cream alternative?

You can use either white or yellow onions that are still in their skins to make the lightest color.

Can I use sweet onions like Vidalia?

If you use sweet onions, I suggest adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste or it will not have enough tang.

What about using red onions?

You can use red onions if that’s what you have on hand, but note that the color will be much darker than cream if you do.

Can I freeze this?

You sure can! It will keep for up to ____ months.

More Dairy-Free Subs

If you tried this recipe, let me know how it turned out by giving it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or commenting below. You can also always feel free to tag me in your social media posts — I LOVE seeing what you make!

For even more healthy, plant-based, home-cooked recipe inspiration, follow me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest. You can also sign up for my email newsletter to get all of my newest content delivered straight to your inbox. Until next time, I wish you happy eating!

2 Ingredients dairy-free sour cream

Easy Air Fryer Onion Cream – Use Like Sour Cream! Dairy-Free & Oil-Free

Kathy Hester

This flavorful sauce is a great way to create cream soups and sauces. Mix in a teaspoon or two of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and top your burritos or tacos. You can even just blend it as is with salsa verde or pasta sauce!

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 45 mins

Total Time 55 mins

Course staple

Cuisine American

Servings 1 cup

Calories 45 kcal

Ingredients  

  • 1 large onion or 3 small onions
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

Instructions 

  • Set the whole unpeeled onion in a baking dish with an onion-size piece of parchment paper in it for easy cleanup. (Do not put directly in your air fryer basket, because it will be a mess to clean up!)

  • Cook on 400°F for 25 minutes, check and cook 20 minutes more. Carefully remove the pan and let the onion cool.

  • Once cool, peel the skin off, remove any dark or burned parts of the flesh and remove the ends.

  • Cut in half and put the pieces into your blender with salt.

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Video

Notes

Optional Variations

  • Add lemon juice, lemon zest, or a little apple cider vinegar to get that sour cream tang.
  • Mix in a little cashew cream for a richer cream to serve to non-vegans.
  • Chop up chives or other herbs to turn it into a dip or spread.
What are the best onions to use for this vegan sour cream alternative? You can use either white or yellow onions that are still in their skins to make the lightest color.
Can I use sweet onions like Vidalia? If you use sweet onions I would suggest that you add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste or it will not have enough tang.
What about using red onions? You can use red onions if that’s what you have on hand, but note that the color will be much darker than cream if you do.
Can I freeze this? You sure can! It will keep for up to ____ months.

This onion cream is used in the Vegan Mac and Cheese with a Surprise! recipe on page 103 of my book ____________. Use this when you’d like a creamy texture with no fat, or as a sour cream substitute.

Nutrition

Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 45kcalCarbohydrates: 11gProtein: 1gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 1167mgPotassium: 166mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 0.2mg

Keyword dairy-free sour cream, onion cream

Kathy Hester

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