Although it's used in almost every baked potato dish, sour cream hasn't always been enjoyed like this. Sour cream was originally added to soups and some stews in Europe, but when immigrants brought sour cream with them to America, they started devising other uses for it, one of which was dolloping it on potatoes. Although that remains the most popular way to enjoy it, the many sour cream uses go far beyond enjoying it just as a topping.

Sour cream is extremely versatile thanks to its neutral, but tangy taste. It takes on whatever flavor you add to it, but provides a hint of acidity that adds a characteristic sour note and smooth texture to a dish without overpowering any other flavors. Sour cream can be your secret weapon while cooking anything from a baked good to a stew, and these 13 recipes showcase its many uses.

1. Classic Sour Cream Coffee Cake

cake, chocolate, banana, cookie
Maya Giaquinta

Coffee cake is the perfect treat to pair with your favorite cup of joe. The best coffee cakes I've ever had all require sour cream. It keeps the cake moist and fairly light, which is ideal since this type of cake can easily become dense and dry.

2. Tomato Soup

The addition of sour cream adds richness to tomato soup. Sour cream is perfect to add to any cream-based soup, not just tomato soup. Regardless if your recipe calls for it, you can always add it if your soup needs creaminess, depth, or thickness.

3. Taco Pizza

Taco pizza is Tex-Mex at its finest. I’m a baby when it comes to spicy food, so I love using sour cream in my Mexican food because it cools down the heat that peppers add. If you like it spicy, mix a little hot sauce with your sour cream for an extra kick.

4. Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Sour cream is the secret weapon in this recipe. Lather sour cream onto chicken breasts, then top the chicken with breadcrumbs, herbs, and cheese. The sour cream will act as the glue, holding the crust to your chicken while keeping it moist in the oven.

5. Sour Cream Doughnuts

Sour cream doughnuts taste like the cake version of a regular glazed doughnut. The sour cream makes the doughnut a little tangy and contrasts nicely with the sugary glaze. Despite what most people think, the doughnut ends up sweeter without being overbearing, which means you can eat more doughnuts without getting a sugar overload.

6. Sour Cream Lasagna

parmesan, lasagna, pasta, sauce, cheese
Christy Luong

Another stellar idea out of an endless supply of sour cream uses is to make lasagna with sour cream. The sour cream replaces ricotta, which is a good swap to know if you're not a fan of the texture of ricotta.

7. Enchilada Casserole

Sour cream tastes especially good when it's the key component in multiple layers of this Mexican goodness. If you're not fond of heat, this cheesy recipe is for you. However, if you wanted to add a little spice to your life, add cayenne pepper, enchilada sauce, or chilies to this recipe. 

8. Ranch dressing

Ranch is the ideal dip for all occasions—afternoon snacking, game days, parties—and you can make it last minute. Ranch is the perfect dip for carrots and over veggies, wings, pizza, and French fries (yes, really!).

#SpoonTip: If you like your food a little spicier, Sriracha and ranch are a mind-blowing combination.

9. 7-Layer Taco Dip

7-Layer dip is a classic potluck dish no tailgate is complete without. The sour cream adds a much needed creaminess that breaks up the rich guacamole and bean dip. 

10. Sour Cream Zucchini Bread

This sour cream zucchini bread recipe can be made slightly healthier if you use the suggested substitutions the author provides (like using applesauce instead of oil, a mixture of wheat and white flour, etc). With these substitutes, the sour cream ensures that the bread remains light and fluffy.

11. Loaded Deviled Eggs

In this deviled egg recipe, sour cream serves as the binder for the egg filling. Granted, I don’t make a lot of deviled eggs, but this recipe seems crazy simple if you have a last-minute potluck to attend.

12. Vanilla Bean Cheesecake

The addition of sour cream to this copycat Cheesecake Factory cheesecake provides some much needed tanginess to this rich dessert. Top with fresh fruit or a drizzle or chocolate sauce for a seriously sweet treat.

13. Mushroom Risotto

Sour cream makes risotto extra creamy and keeps the rice from clumping together. Just stir 1/2 cup to 1 cup of sour cream into any risotto and dig in.

#SpoonTip: This trick also works well when making grits.

If you don't happen to have sour cream in your fridge when making any of these recipes, it's no biggie because yogurt (regular and Greek) is a great sour cream substitute. It has a similar fat content, tang, and silky texture. But if you're baking, add baking soda to the yogurt to help with the rise so your baked good ends up super fluffy.