What is Heavy Cream
Heavy Cream (also referred to as heavy whipping cream) is a source of dairy that has been separated from milk. Heavy cream contains a high amount of fat, calories, and has a milk fat content of 36%-40%. You can use substitutes for heavy cream to avoid negative health aspects.
This will allow you to get the same amount of rich flavor and texture while reducing the fat content and calories that you put into your body. These alternatives are highly versatile and can be used in pasta sauce, soups, and baked goods. It is important to note that some substitutes will not work with the nitrous oxide cream chargers and whipped cream dispensers. This is because the nitrous oxide in cream chargers dissolves under pressure in the fat of the heavy cream when it is in the dispenser and expands (thus creating bubbles and ‘whipping’ the cream when it comes out of the dispenser back to normal atmospheric air pressure). Anything that is whipped with nitrous oxide cream chargers must have a high fat content to be able to be whipped properly.
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Substitutes for Heavy Cream
There are various substitutes for heavy cream and you may need to change the main ingredient depending on your recipe. Because of this, we have prepared a complete list of the healthiest and tastiest alternatives for heavy cream.
If you are planning on storing your substitute in the fridge for a while, make sure you use ultra-pasteurized milk.
1. Half and Half
In a pinch, you can use half and half instead of heavy cream. Sometimes simply referred to as half cream, this is a mixture of equal parts whole milk and light cream. With a lower fat content and fewer calories, this is a great alternative.
It is available in most supermarkets, and only contains 10%-12% fat; which is more than half the amount of heavy cream. For this substitute, we will be using a 1:7 ratio of half and half to butter.
- 7/8 cup half and half (a little more than 3/4 cup)
- 2 teaspoons of butter
For a lateral replacement for one cup of heavy cream:
- Melt butter and let it cool slightly
- Add melted butter to half and half
- Mix until well combined
2. Greek Yogurt and Whole Milk
Greek yogurt is a great ingredient to have on hand and is much thicker than normal yogurt. This makes it a great alternative to heavy cream when added to whole milk.
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- Mix together whole milk and Greek yogurt in a bowl
- Blend it until well combined
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3. Milk and Butter
This is a great substitute for heavy cream, and one of my personal favorites. This works wonderfully for both baking and cooking and is the most common substitute for heavy cream available.
To utilize this substitute, all you need to do is melt 1/3 cup of unsalted butter in a 3/4 cup of milk. To use this, you can replace the same amounts of cream. So for instance, if you are using one cup of cream, you can use one cup of this substitute.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
- Incorporate the melted butter into the milk (this can be done over the stove or in the microwave)
- Blend the milk and butter mixture well
- For a thicker substitute, you can add 2 teaspoons of corn starch.
4. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is a versatile cooking ingredient and makes a great substitute for heavy cream. If you use low-fat cream cheese, you are able to further cut down on the fat content and calories. You can use this substitute for any recipe, and it is especially good for sauces and soups.
- Ingredients 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese
- Sweetener (I like to use honey or stevia)
- Mash or blend 1/2 cup of cream cheese (room temperature be easier to work with) until smooth.
- Add your sweetener of taste to the cream cheese to cut down on the natural sour flavor tones
5. Skim Milk and Cornstarch
This may come as a surprise to some considering that skim milk is fat-free, but it makes a great substitute. A lot of people will have skim milk on hand already, making this a great go-to for a heavy cream substitute.
- 1 cup of skim milk
- 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
- Take your cup of milk and place it into a container
- Add 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
- Mix or blend it for 3 minutes to get the desired thickness and consistency
6. Evaporated Milk and Vanilla
Also known as unsweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk is a great substitute for heavy cream. You can use this in any recipe, and it is especially good for sauces, cakes, and ice cream. When vanilla is added to evaporated milk, it is ready to be used for toppings and desserts as well.
- 1 Cup Evaporated Milk
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- Refrigerate the evaporated milk for several hours before use
- Add vanilla extract, starting with 1 teaspoon and adding more as needed
- Mix until well combined and use it in place of heavy cream
7. Tofu and Soy Milk
Sometimes called bean curd, tofu is often used in Asian cooking and is high in both protein and iron. To make a heavy cream substitute, combine equal parts tofu and soymilk.
- 1/2 cup Tofu
- 1/2 cup Soy Milk
- In a pan, place 1/2 cup of tofu
- Add in 1/2 cup of soy milk
- Simmer on low heat until combined
8. Cottage Cheese and Milk
It may surprise some, but cottage cheese and milk make a great substitute for heavy cream.
- 1/2 Cup Cottage Cheese
- 1/2 cup whole or skim milk
- Using a blender, combine milk and cottage cheese until there are no lumps
Whipping Cream VS Heavy Cream
The only difference worth mentioning between whipping cream and heavy cream is the fat content. Whipping cream will have slightly less fat; 30% instead of 36-40%. This makes it a slightly healthier option, although the fat in heavy cream does make it easier to whip. Either way whipped cream is a great way to creamify your cake, baked goods or other desserts.
Because heavy cream has a higher fat content, it does add more flavor to your dishes. However, this can easily be rectified by using spices or even adding another lighter source of fat; such as olive oil.
Heavy Cream Vs Heavy Whipping Cream
A lot of people may find the difference between heavy whipping cream and heavy cream confusing. There is actually no difference between the two; they simply have different names.