Who doesn’t acknowledge the luxuriously nutrified addition of Half and Half, especially if you’re a coffee lover who takes pride in every sip?
A splash of this mix in your morning recipe could liven you up and set the perfect energy for the day. And we all know where to get the mixture — in the dairy aisle, next to the cream and milk.
But do you actually know what it is? Why is it called Half and Half? And are there any Half and Half substitutes you could use as a backup in case of necessity?
This article brings you a handful of solid alternatives to half and half, such as whole milk + light cream, whole milk + heavy cream, whole milk + melted butter, low-fat milk + heavy cream, and vegan half and half, some of which lie casually in the fridge or only a stone’s throw to the grocery store.
What Are Half and Half?
First of all, let’s get something straight by going down the rabbit hole.
Half and Half DOES NOT necessarily refer to the equal mix of two dairy products.
It is like the general name given to different foods and beverages made from an equal-part mixture of two substances. It could be from soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, food, or dairy products.
That is what Half and Half truly is. And not just part cream; part milk.
But for this article, we refer to the equal mix of dairy products.
Best Half and Half Substitutes
So now that’s out of the way, I’m handing over the five best Half and Half substitutes to you. All it would take to make a home version of Half and Half is just two regulars, a liquid measuring cup, and mix them.
Alright, let’s get creamy!
1. Whole Milk + Light Cream
This is the most popular half and half substitute. And all it takes is to mix two common dairy products, ½ cup of whole milk and ½ cup light cream. You should get the appropriate measurement with your liquid measuring cup.
Individually, these products are known for adding a rich, creamy taste to a wide variety of recipes. So imagine the combination, both working together taste-wise and nutritionally to achieve a common goal — enhance your meal.
The mix is good for coffee, cooking, and dessert. However, you might have a hard time finding light cream. It seems like it has virtually disappeared from the dairy aisle.
According to major dairy company executives, the reason is simply lack of demand. And I hope you did your little demand and supply.
2. Whole Milk + Heavy Cream
Second on the list is a creamier, tasty, and healthier combination: Whole Milk and Heavy Cream mixture. However, since heavy cream is denser, you won’t use equal parts of these dairy products.
Instead, you have to mix a ¾ cup of whole milk and a ¼ cup of heavy cream.
It is that simple!
Again, this mix is heavier in flavor and very creamy than your regular half-in-half, so a cup or less will substitute for it in any application.
The mixture is a must-have for coffeeholic, bakers, and chefs because it heightens the texture and flavor of their produce. But if heavy cream isn’t your thing, keep reading.
3. Whole Milk + Melted Butter
Yeah, this will work!
Even though the buttery addition might limit its uses, I have seen many home cooks veer to this alternative when all hope is lost. I mean, who doesn’t have a couple of butter sticks or cubes in the fridge ready for melt?
It is one of the cheapest and most available half and half substitutes for cooking and baking. I doubt if you’d like it on your precious coffee. But I’m definitely not adding this to my ice cream.
I’d suggest it be the last choice on this list.
Anyways, all you need do is to put four tablespoons of unsalted butter in a liquid measuring cup and melt in the microwave. Ensure it is nicely done before adding just enough whole milk to measure one cup.
But if this is your first time with this chemistry, chances are you will get an odd result. Either the cool temperature of the whole milk immediately hardens the butter into large chunks, or the butter never integrated; even when heated again, it floated on top.
Sounds frustrating, huh?
Well, a little trick could help avoid all these dramas. Just ensure the milk is slightly warm or room temperature when mixing the melted butter; otherwise, this might be your worst nightmare.
4. Low-Fat Milk + Heavy Cream
We’ve been mentioning whole milk. Whole milk. Whole milk.
Well, if you don’t have them on one, you can alternatively use low-fat or skim milk.
Don’t worry; it still tastes good. Surprisingly, it is one of many substitutes that taste the closest to regular half-and-half.
Grab the milk in the fridge measure 2/3 cup of it with 1/3 cup heavy cream for an equal half and half swap whether in your coffee, cooking, or baking.
Are you a vegan? This one is for you.
5. Vegan Half and Half
You know it. I know it. Like a vegetarian, vegans also express animal rights concerns with ALL elements of farming. And milk is a product from cows or goats, which is not a product for Vagan whether it is organically farmed.
However, various non-Dairy Half and Half substitutes are made with plant-based ingredients such as soy milk, coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and even pea protein.
But if you want some personal recommendation, I would suggest the Califia Farms unsweetened better half. It resembles Half and Half in taste and consistency but is made with coconut cream and almond milk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Substitute Half-And-Half For Milk?
Of course, it is an excellent cup-for-cup substitute if you have it on hand. Whole milk could be slightly richer, but you won’t even realize any difference.
Because if your mixture is 50% heavy cream and 50% whole milk, it provides a similar result as milk would — even adding richness to your recipes.
What Type Of Cream Is Best For Coffee?
While many will hesitantly use Half and Half or skimmed milk, PURE heavy cream will kick both to the curb.
It has more than 38% fat, which makes it the thickest alternative that adds a luxuriously creamy texture and a nourishing taste.
It is the most satisfying topping for your coffee. They are also perfect for topping a sundae since Half and Half do not have much fat to whip and hold peaks.
Can You Boil Half And Half?
While it adds an incredible richness to our recipes, cooking with part milk is a no-go area. The reason is that there isn’t enough fat in the mixture to stay homogenized. Hence, it will definitely end up with curdles.
You have seen it added to soups and sauces, but as the last ingredient when the recipe is finished. Right after being heated to a simmer, the mixture doesn’t curdle.
What Else Can You Use Half And Half For?
Besides adding richness to your morning coffee or baked goods, you can add half-and-half virtually in any recipe where extra creaminess and richness are needed. For instance, in cream sauce, creamy Mac and Cheese, Mashed potatoes, pasta recipes, and the list never end.
Where Did Half And Half Come From?
Half and Half wasn’t a thing you could buy at any store. It was a proprietary product invented by William A. Boutwell of Boutwell Dairy in Lake Worth Beach, Florida.
Between 1927 to 1956, the company began distributing the blend, and eventually, it caught on. Other reputable dairy companies started making it. So the story goes.
In conclusion, you might wonder if all of these half-and-half substitutes are nutritious. Well, for an ingredient that can sweeten your drinks, favorite recipes, and more, half and half mixtures may be considered a healthier option.
Firstly, it is less processed, lower in calories than any coffee creamer, and less likely to contain extra sugar and additives.
Opting for the fat-free half-and-half isn’t as nutritious as you had imagined. A fat-free Half and Half implies skim milk mixed with corn syrup and not cream. It may result in a final product lower in fat but higher in sugar.