8 Heavy Cream Substitutes for Cooking & Baking

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In the event you requested me what I dream about at evening, the reply can be heavy cream in all its silky, creamy glory. Heavy cream is answerable for chart-topping recipes like Our Greatest Vanilla Ice Cream, Stovetop Mac & Cheese With Garlic Powder & White Pepper, Scalloped Potatoes with Caramelized Onions, and Heat Eggnog. If creamy consolation meals is my dream, then working out of heavy cream is my nightmare. Few issues damage my soul greater than pouring a beneficiant quantity of heavy cream into freshly mashed spuds solely to search out that there’s a drop or two left of the cream. What’s a lady to do? Cry. Panic. Name my mother. Or possibly do three minutes of breathwork after which open my fridge or pantry once more to seek for an alternative to heavy cream.

Alternate options for heavy cream could also be one other type of dairy product or they could be vegan. There are millions of recipes on our website that decision for heavy cream, like hen tikka masala and French onion soup and mac and cheese…however do you really need the cream? Are you able to exchange it with milk? Or coconut milk? Or one thing else totally? As we speak, we’re going to reply these questions and extra. Forward, discover the very best heavy cream substitutes that work each time…no tears essential (however I’m nonetheless going to name my mother).

However first, an ask-me-anything heavy cream lightning spherical! Let’s go:

What’s heavy cream?

Cream comes by the use of milk. As meals science authority Harold McGee explains it, “Cream is a particular portion of milk that’s drastically enriched with fats.” So, if you end up with a bucket of straight-from-the-cow milk, and also you let it hang around for awhile, the fats will rise to the highest, yielding a layer of cream.

In response to the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration (FDA), heavy cream shouldn’t comprise lower than 36 p.c milkfat. It’s both pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized, and could also be homogenized. So what about heavy cream vs. heavy whipping cream—the place does the latter match into all of this? Heavy whipping cream is definitely the very same product as heavy cream (that means that it additionally should comprise not less than 36 p.c milkfat), however manufacturers could name it completely different names. You may also see it beneath the title “whipping cream” and yep, that’s the identical factor, too.

Can I substitute mild cream for heavy cream?

Depends upon the recipe. Gentle cream usually has a fats content material of 20 p.c, whereas heavy cream is not less than 36 p.c. In the event you want the cream to whip, mild cream gained’t lower it (there isn’t sufficient fats to type a foam—attempt to say that 5 occasions quick). But when the recipe is extra forgiving (like a pureed soup or mashed potatoes), swapping in mild cream shouldn’t trigger any main points.

Can I make whipped cream with half-and-half?

Sorry, no. Half-and-half’s fats content material hovers round 12 p.c, which is nice for pouring into espresso and over contemporary fruit, however isn’t fatty sufficient for whipping.

Can I substitute whipping cream for heavy cream?

Ah-ha! Trick query. As beforehand talked about, they’re just about the identical. Just about as a result of whipping cream has a fats content material of not less than 35 p.c, whereas heavy cream (which additionally goes by heavy whipping cream) has a fats content material of not less than 36 p.c. Which is to say, each are good for a similar issues, like whipping, lowering in tacky gratins, and posset-ing.

Can I substitute evaporated milk for heavy cream?

Once more, depends upon the recipe. Evaporated milk is pressure-cooked till it loses roughly half of its water content material; the beige-hued outcome has a excessive focus of lactose and protein. In the event you’re making whipped cream or a baked good (say, cream scones or apple butter pie), keep on with what’s known as for. However, in case you’re working with a soup or saucy-something, you are able to do a 1:1 substitution of evaporated milk rather than heavy cream.

These are among the commonest cream replacements. We’ll get to know every ingredient, then learn to put them towards particular recipes within the part beneath.


Half cream, half milk, this dairy hovers between 10–12 p.c fats. It may well’t be whipped and shouldn’t be swapped into baking recipes, however is nice for enriching soups and mashed or creamed greens.

Gentle cream

Heavier than half-and-half, however lighter than heavy cream, with an 18–30 p.c fats content material. Nonetheless too lean to whip, however good for enriching soups and mashed greens, and can be utilized for sauces.

Complete milk

With about 3.5 p.c fats, that is the creamiest milk round, however nonetheless considerably leaner than heavy cream. Use for mashed greens or different forgiving cooking preparations. Attempting to scale back milk like cream would trigger curdling (although generally that is on goal).

Evaporated milk

This canned product has had 60 p.c of its water content material eliminated. To make use of as a heavy cream substitute, search for the whole-milk selection, which comprises not less than 7.9 p.c fats. It really works very properly in sauces, however has a barely cooked, caramelized taste.

Coconut milk or cream

Wealthy in fats, each of those merchandise are an ideal vegan substitute for heavy cream. Strive in sauces and soups; the cream will be whipped. Nonetheless, it doesn’t fairly have the physique that heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) has, so it gained’t ever type stiff peaks like whipped cream does. Keep away from mild varieties and don’t confuse with cream of coconut, which is sweetened.

Cashew cream

One other nice vegan substitute, with a a lot milder taste than coconut. You possibly can make your individual cashew cream by soaking nuts, then mixing them till easy. In the event you’re shopping for store-bought, be sure to keep away from sweetened varieties.

Onion “Cream”

Yep. This sorta-substitute, made by roasting and puréeing onions, is so on the market, it is Genius. Do not even consider using it for sweets, however “you possibly can swap it in for cream in your risotto, add to pasta with contemporary herbs for a more healthy, brighter, however nonetheless decadent-tasting dish, whip it into your mashed potatoes, or use it in a quiche to loosen up the bottom,” in line with its creator chef Grant Lee Crilly.

Now, onto some particular recipes. Under are six heavy-cream-loving dishes. We’ll break down whether or not or not you possibly can substitute, and which substitutes are your greatest wager.

Can I substitute the heavy cream in mashed potatoes?

Brief reply: Sure.
Really helpful substitutes: Complete milk, evaporated milk, coconut milk, onion cream.
Caveats: Dairy is a free-for-all in mashed potato recipes. In the event you learn sufficient of them, you’ll come throughout heavy cream, milk, cream cheese, goat cheese, bitter cream, butter, and infrequently the liberty to select your favourite (like when a recipe says “1/2 cup entire milk or half-and-half”). So, there’s numerous flexibility right here. Simply needless to say in case you go for a vegan choice, like coconut milk, you’ll discover its taste.

Can I substitute the heavy cream in soup?

Brief reply: Sure.
Really helpful substitutes: Evaporated milk, entire milk, coconut milk, cashew cream, onion cream.
Caveats: Loads of non-dairy milks are sneakily sweetened. Double examine the ingredient checklist to ensure you aren’t about to show your chowder into dessert.

Can I substitute the heavy cream in Alfredo sauce?

Brief reply: Technically, Alfredo sauce isn’t supposed to have heavy cream in it—in conventional variations, the creaminess truly comes from the starchy pasta water, butter, and cheese—however, sure, numerous modern Alfredo recipes do comprise cream, and sure, you possibly can substitute it.
Really helpful substitutes: Evaporated milk. Or, pureed cauliflower!
Caveats: Due to the best way it’s boiled down, evaporated milk has an virtually candy, caramely taste. To verify this isn’t too noticeable, don’t skimp on the Parm.

Can I substitute the heavy cream in quiche?

Brief reply: Sure.
Really helpful substitutes: Half-and-half or entire milk.
Caveats: Some quiche recipes name for all cream, some name for a mix of cream and entire milk (with a well-liked ratio of 1:1), and a few name for all milk. You possibly can swap out the cream for half-and-half or milk, however it is going to end in a much less flavorful, much less silky custard. Don’t use lowfat or nonfat milk, which might give the custard a blander taste and spongier texture, with the next danger of curdling.

Can I substitute the heavy cream in whipped cream?

Brief reply: Sure.
Really helpful substitutes: Coconut cream.
Caveats: When you can’t swap out heavy cream for a lower-fat dairy, like half-and-half or milk (it gained’t whip up), you possibly can flip to a dairy various: coconut cream. You possibly can both purchase this straight or refrigerate a can of coconut milk for not less than 12 hours, then scoop up the cream layer on the highest.

Can I substitute the heavy cream in ice cream?

Brief reply: Kind of.
Really helpful substitutes: Half-and-half. Or, go vegan.
Caveats: Many ice cream recipes name for a 2:1 ratio of cream to exploit. You possibly can exchange the cream portion with half-and-half, or you possibly can exchange each the cream and milk with half-and-half. Simply keep in mind that the much less butterfat your ice cream has, the icier and tougher it is going to prove (aka not creamy). To compensate for this, you possibly can swap out among the granulated sugar for a liquid sweetener, like corn syrup or honey, which can encourage a creamier outcome. On the alternative facet of the spectrum, you possibly can skip the dairy altogether and make a vegan ice cream with coconut milk or cashew cream as an alternative (right here is our full information on the right way to make dairy-free ice cream).

These Cream-Crammed recipe are the, ahem, cream of the crop

(However you possibly can nonetheless use a swap!)

Cream Biscuits

These biscuits name on heavy cream as an alternative of the basic buttermilk for a less complicated mixing course of, and a wealthy and tender ultimate product. In the event you don’t have heavy cream available, be at liberty to make use of half-and-half or milk, or higher but, simply return to fundamentals and use buttermilk for a tangier biscuit.

Pre-Seasoned Mashed Potatoes

By closely seasoning the cooking water for the potatoes with salt, garlic, peppercorns, and aromatics, you possibly can skip the step of seasoning after they’re mashed. These potatoes emerge from the water brimming with taste and completely cooked, that means you possibly can combine them much less, which lowers the chance of over-working your mashed potatoes right into a gluey, starchy mess. Simply add a bit of butter, cream, and plate up your potato-y perfection.

Rigatoni with Vodka Sauce

We love this recipe from editor Rebecca Firkser for a lot of causes. As Firkser writes, this vodka sauce will get the majority of its creaminess from “a mix of grated Parm and pasta water, each of that are extra salty and nuanced than cream.” Music to any lactose-intolerant ears! It does nonetheless name for some cream, which will be subbed for a bit of half-and-half or entire milk, with out compromising the entire dish (as is typical of cream-less makes an attempt at vodka sauce).

Creamy Mushroom Soup

This mushroom soup delivers on the promise of creamy, with an ultra-comforting, bisque-like consistency. A bit cream goes a good distance right here, as does a contact of cognac. For a extra subtle depth of taste, use a mixture of mushrooms: cremini, shitake, button, hen of the woods, oyster, and chanterelle will all do properly right here.

Apricot Almond Baked

When baked, oatmeal turns into the perfect antidote for a cold morning. Merely throw collectively a mixture of oats, spices, dried fruits, and nuts, then pour over some cream and milk and toss it within the oven. Inside thirty minutes, you’ll have your self a crunchy, creamy, candy, spicy breakfast.

Editor’s be aware: We have corrected the assertion that evaporated milk is also called condensed milk. As lots of you identified, condensed milk is sweetened and never the identical as evaporated milk.

How do you are feeling about heavy cream? Tell us beneath!

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