You already know what time it is when adding a splash of heavy whipping cream to your meal – Mmm…things are about to get silky and delicious.
Heavy cream thickens and adds a magical touch from everything custardy dessert, sauces, ganache, decadent pasta sauce, vanilla ice cream, to soups and baked goods. But what happens if you’re running out in the middle of a recipe?
Sadly, swapping it for whole milk won’t cut it since it is light and contain less fat content. I’m guessing you need something that equates to the consistency of heavy cream that you can use immediately.
Well, have you tried using milk and butter in a pinch? That’s a fool-proof way to substitute heavy cream, and it works for most recipes.
Other great heavy whipping cream substitutes you can try include Greek yogurt with whole milk, Soy milk and olive oil, milk and butter, coconut milk, Half-and-half cream, evaporated milk, Cottage cheese and milk, milk and cornstarch.
Best Heavy Whipping Cream Substitutes
What makes this even interesting is that you could have at least one of these substitution items sitting dormant in the fridge.
Now, it’s time to get creative and economical.
Well, if you don’t, it’s high time you made your way to the grocery store. Don’t worry. All of these items are easy to find and pocket-friendly.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
1. Greek Yogurt and Milk
We’re coming in heavy with a more proteinous alternative for thickening your favorite soups or sauces. If you can grab a Greek yogurt with whole milk, you can make a healthy twist to just about any meal.
Just mix an equal quantity of Greek yogurt and whole milk. Mind you; your result will be thicker than heavy cream. So, add more milk to thin it out, and achieve a similar texture before doing a 1:1 ratio swap.
Sadly, the mix isn’t fit for whipping.
And since the yogurt has lesser fat, don’t expect it to provide the same flavor and tenderness as heavy cream in desserts or baked goods.
2. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is your best bet if you’re a vegan. It’s quite versatile and has similar properties to heavy whipping cream, even though the coconut flavor will get in the way.
If you are too lazy to make your Coconut cream, the pre-made version is always within your grasp.
Although, it is simple making yours at home using coconut milk.
But whichever you’re going for, make it a 1:1 ratio swap for cooked, sweet, and baked recipes.
You can also whip it as a tasty topping for your desserts or use it for your coconut ice cream.
3. Milk and Butter
Yes, milk and butter — a simple mixture that can hold the fort for heavy cream in almost all recipes.
Here is why it will work:
The butter will provide extra fat to the milk, giving a similar fat percentage to heavy cream.
For every 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream, all you need is a ¾ cup (178 ml) of milk and ¼ cup (57 grams) of melted butter thoroughly mixed.
Most people will thicken the liquid, especially if they are using low-fat milk. You, too, can do this by adding a tablespoon (8 grams) of flour to the mixture.
Again, this heavy whipping cream substitute is best left for cooking and baking recipes ONLY.
4. Soy Milk and Olive Oil
Soy milk and olive oil are dairy-free alternatives. So, if you are a vegan, you will appreciate this mix as there are limited options.
Like the milk and butter mix, the olive oil adds fat to the soy milk, making it taste and function like heavy cream.
Although the combination isn’t suitable for whipping, the tenderness and taste will answer all of your cooking and baking needs.
Therefore, mix a 1/3 cup (79 ml) of olive oil and 2/3 cup (159 ml) of soy milk to substitute for 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream.
5. Milk and Cornstarch
How awful it may sound, combining milk and cornstarch will still get you closer to the texture of heavy cream.
And it doesn’t matter if you are using whole milk or skim milk; either of them will help slash the calories and fat content of your recipe.
That said, this is a low-fat and low-calorie alternative. But it is most suited for cooking.
It won’t whip as heavy cream would. For baked goods, it is so-so because it may alter the texture of the final result.
Whisk thoroughly two tablespoons (19 grams) of cornstarch to 1 cup (237 ml) of milk to replace 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream in your recipe.
6. Half-And-Half + Butter
Half-and-half cream with butter can substitute heavy cream in many recipes.
Half and half is already a good substitute but not good enough because it only has about a third of the fat of heavy cream.
However, mixing butter makes it the best stand-in for heavy cream.
The butter will help increase the fat content, making the mix suitable for almost any recipe that demands heavy cream, including whipping.
If you are mostly concerned about your sauces and soups, you can omit the butter usage.
The proper measurement for 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream replacement is a mix of 7/8 cup (232 grams) of half-and-half with 1/8 cup (29 grams) of melted butter.
7. Evaporated Milk
In recipes where heavy cream serves as a liquid ingredient like in baked goods, evaporated milk would be your best option.
This canned, shelf-stable milk is thicker and creamier than regular milk because it has 60% less water content.
Although it may not provide the same consistency as heavy cream, it sure will cover most of your needs except whipping.
All you need is to do a 1:1 ratio substitute.
Bonus tip: adding a few drops of vanilla extract will help liven up the flavor if it is a dessert.
8. Cottage Cheese and Milk
We start nutritiously, and we are finishing nutritiously. Cottage cheese only is a rich source of protein and many micronutrients. It is made from the curds of cow’s milk, which makes it a healthy option for heavy cream.
Only it can replace heavy cream in recipes like soups and sauces. But the lumps have always been a bit threat. That is where the milk comes in. Mixing it with milk will help give a smooth, creamy texture like heavy cream.
Better still, we recommend blending it with a food processor or immersion blender to eliminate lumps.
Sadly, this mix isn’t friendly with all heavy cream recipes. So, pick recipes that welcome its distinct cheesy flavors like savory sauces and soups. Just mix equal parts cottage cheese and milk and blend till the lumps vanish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream The Same?
Whipping cream is like an identical twin to heavy cream. And just like every Identical twin, they look the same but aren’t the same. What sets them apart is their consistency.
Whipping cream is slightly lighter due to its less milk fat, between 30% and 35%. And no pie is ever complete without it! Meanwhile, heavy cream has much higher milk fat, no less than 36%. Also, you can make whipping cream from heavy cream.
The good news is:
You can’t go wrong using them interchangeably in cooking; only there will be a consistency change in your dish. Heavy cream will always produce a thicker and creamier result than whipping cream.
So, keep that in mind!
What Is the Difference Between Heavy Cream and Half And Half?
Half and half is a part-whole milk and part heavy cream mixture. Although, the percentage of fat may vary between 10.5% and 18% depending on the cream used. Remember, the cream contains 36% to 40% fat, which counts too.
But for more info, endeavor to read our article on What Is Half and Half? and what’s a substitute for it? On the other hand, heavy cream is skimmed off the fat that rises to the top of milk during processing.
It is a rich, thick, and pourable cream used to produce other milk products with different fat contents like half and half, butter, ice cream, and buttermilk. That said, heavy whipping cream has a much higher fat content, giving it a thicker and creamy texture than half and half.
Is there a Vegan Heavy Cream Substitute?
Yes, there is. Since you can’t use any of these dairy products, you can sure use a plant-based cream: coconut milk.
I said coconut milk, not coconut cream. Coconut cream is like cocktails, and it is loaded with sugar. The full-fat coconut milk is your best bet. All you need to do is let it chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
Once opened, skim the fat from the top. That you can use in place of heavy cream for your soups and pasta.
Can you use Cream Cheese instead of heavy whipping cream?
Cream cheese can stand in for heavy cream as long as you swap an equal amount. Unfortunately, it is best left for thick cream-based soups and sauces, not whipping. It is also a preferable alternative for frostings because cream cheese is made from milk and cream.
You will appreciate it as a key ingredient in cheesecakes or as a spread for bagels.
WARNING! You should have it at the back of your mind that using cream cheese in place of heavy cream will alter the taste and texture of the final product. So, it is best if you stick to suitable recipes. Do not go overboard!
The bottom line, all the heavy whipping cream substitutes on this page won’t fail to do justice — as long as you stick to the ratio and suitable recipes.
While some might not taste and feel exactly like heavy cream, they are reminiscent of it. Most even come close to the texture and lag the flavor notes. That is exactly what an alternative looks like. You don’t expect something identical.
However, our list is even more diverse, covering some low-fat or vegan alternatives and packed with additional protein or cut-out calories — like cottage cheese, silken tofu, and Greek yogurt.