No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (2024)

Save yourself a trip to the store with one of these handy ingredients.

By Kara Zauberman
No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (1)

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Ah, heavy cream. 🤤 There's nothing quite like it. The rich, decadent ingredient is a welcome addition to a morning cup of coffee and it's what makes ice cream so dang delicious (just look at Ree Drummond's vanilla ice cream). Not to mention, heavy cream is also a key ingredient in hearty dishes like fettuccine alfredo and creamy soups, like chicken chowder. So what happens when you reach into the fridge to find that your heavy cream is down to the last drop? Don't worry! There are actually plenty of heavy cream substitutes that can work for any recipe.

But first, what exactly is heavy cream, anyway? Heavy cream is the thick, fatty part of milk that rises to the top during production. It has over 36% milk fat (that's ten times the fat of whole milk!) making it decadent, rich, and ultra creamy. When deciding between heavy cream vs heavy whipping cream, the answer is simple: the two are essentially the same thing. Just note that if the carton says "light whipping cream" it will have less milk fat. Either way, try it along with our other heavy cream substitutes below!

Whether you're baking, cooking, or making whipped cream, these heavy cream substitutes will work in a pinch! There are even alternatives for heavy cream that are shelf stable. Once you pick the swap that's right for you, put it to good use in like cowboy quiche, rigatoni with pesto cream sauce, or strawberries and cream scones.

1

Light Cream

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (2)

Light cream contains less than 30% milk fat so it won't be as heavy as heavy cream. It still works as a great substitute in coffee and creamy soups, but just note that you'll get a lighter result.

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2

Mascarpone

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (3)

Similar to cream cheese, this thick dairy product is a great choice for both sweet and savory dishes. If it's too thick for your purposes, thin it out with a bit of regular milk to get the consistency you like.

3

Heavy Cream Powder

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (4)

This shelf-stable option is perfect for anyone who wants to ensure they have heavy cream available at all times! It adds a rich, creaminess to baked goods, soups, sauces, or even smoothies.

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4

Milk + Butter

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (5)

This sub isn't ideal if you're making whipped cream, but it'll do the trick if you're using heavy cream in baked goods, soups and casseroles. Butter is a whopping 80% fat, so combined with whole milk, it works as a heavy cream substitute. Just melt 1/4 cup butter, then whisk in 3/4 cup whole milk until smooth. You can use it in place of 1 cup heavy cream.

5

Coconut Milk

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (6)

This vegan substitute can even be whipped! The one thing to note is that this swap will add coconut flavor to a dish—this can work in some recipes, but not all. (Ree's butternut squash soup with bacon sounds great with coconut milk, but you may not want coconut flavor in potatoes au gratin with chives and gruyere.) For the best results, start with full-fat coconut milk (not the light stuff) and use the thick coconut cream that's at the top of the can. Also be careful not to use cream of coconut, which is sweetened.

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6

Soy Milk

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (7)

If you ever needed a reason to keep a carton of shelf-stable soy milk on hand, this might be it: When you combine two parts soy milk with one part olive oil, you end up with a vegan heavy cream substitute that can add a rich texture to both cooking and baking recipes (keep in mind that the olive oil will add some flavor). You can't whip straight soy milk, but you can try whipping silken tofu pureed with soy milk.

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7

Half-and-Half

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (8)

It's literally half heavy cream and half whole milk, so this sub is ideal for cooking—you won't even notice the difference in soups, sauces and other recipes where cream is used to add a bit of silkiness. It's not a great swap when it comes to baking recipes, however, where the higher fat content of heavy cream aids with structure.

8

Evaporated Milk

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (9)

Another shelf-stable winner, this canned good has about twice the fat of whole milk, making it great for soups and casseroles. It will add creaminess along with a slightly caramelized flavor.

9

Greek Yogurt

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (10)

Use full-fat plain Greek yogurt to add body to recipes like mashed potatoes and creamy soups and sauces—just add it off the heat to prevent curdling. Thin it with whole milk to more closely resemble the texture of heavy cream. Don't use Greek yogurt in dessert recipes that require whipping—but if you need a quick sweet topping, you can just sweeten Greek yogurt with a bit of confectioners' sugar.

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10

Cream Cheese

No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (11)

Tangy cream cheese and mascarpone can both serve as heavy cream substitute in a pinch. If stirring them into a hot recipe, they can be used as is, as they will melt into a creamy pool; for a consistency more closely resembling that of heavy cream, thin them with milk beforehand. You can beat cream cheese with a little confectioners' sugar to make a dessert topping (like cream cheese frosting), but it won't be nearly as light and airy as whipped cream.

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No Heavy Cream? No Problem: These 10 Substitutes Will Work in Any Recipe (2024)

FAQs

What can you substitute for heavy cream in a recipe? ›

You can make a stand-in for the heavy cream called for in a recipe where it will be mixed with other ingredients. Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter in a large glass bowl and gradually whisk in 3/4 cup whole milk or half and half. You'll end up with 1 cup of a cream substitute.

How do I substitute 10 cream for milk? ›

You can substitute heavy cream for milk by diluting it with a little water. Use half a cup heavy cream and half a cup water for every cup of whole milk. 1 cup whole milk: combine ½ cup heavy cream and ½ cup water.

Is evaporated milk the same as heavy cream? ›

Evaporated Milk – With a similar consistency, you can use a 1-to-1 swap of evaporated milk for heavy cream in most sweet and savory dishes. Its flavor is richer with unique caramelized tones and is not a lower-fat option, but evaporated milk makes do in a pinch.

How to make heavy cream DIY? ›

If you find yourself without heavy cream but need to substitute it in a recipe that calls for 1 cup of heavy cream, you can use 3/4 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of melted butter instead. However, it's important to note that this substitute won't whip into soft or stiff peaks regardless of how long you continue to whip it.

What is a substitute for 1 cup of heavy cream? ›

Heavy cream is practically milk with a high fat content so adding butter, which is just dairy based fat, to milk should work. To substitute for 1 cup (237 ml) of heavy cream, mix 1/4 cup (57 grams) of melted butter with 3/4 cup (177 ml) of milk. Well, Thick cream can be good substitute for heavy cream.

Are whipping cream and heavy cream the same thing? ›

The difference comes down to fat content. Heavy cream has slightly more fat (at least 36 percent) compared with whipping cream (at least 30 percent). Both whip well (and taste delicious), but heavy cream will hold its shape longer, while whipping cream produces a lighter, softer texture.

Can you use whole milk as a substitute for heavy cream? ›

Here's how. Melt 1/4 cup unsalted butter (that's 4 tablespoons or half a stick) and let it cool to room temperature. Then, whisk it together with 3/4 cup whole milk. This mixture is equivalent to 1 cup of heavy cream and can be used in almost any recipe that calls for heavy cream.

Is evaporated milk same as 10% cream? ›

Evaporated milk and cream are often used interchangeably, especially in older recipes; however, cream has a much higher fat content than evaporated milk. Evaporated milk has no less than 6.5% milkfat, where whipping cream has no less than 30-36% milk fat, depending on whether you use light or heavy whipping cream.

Is evaporated creamer same as heavy cream? ›

Evaporated milk is made by removing about 60% of the water from fresh milk, which concentrates the milk's flavor and sugar. It has a thicker consistency than fresh milk and a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It is also lower in fat than heavy cream, which is around 36% fat.

Can I use condensed milk instead of heavy cream? ›

Condensed milk is evaporated milk that has been sweetened with sugar. Evaporated milk can be used in place of heavy cream in most recipes, whereas condensed milk is best reserved for desserts.

What is a substitute for heavy cream in mashed potatoes? ›

You can make a similar heavy cream alternative using regular milk and butter. Whole milk has a fat percentage of around 3.5% and is preferable to lower-fat varieties, but you'll still want to use more melted butter than you would with half-and-half. For best results, try mixing ⅔ cup of whole milk with ⅓ cup butter.

How to make heavy cream in minutes? ›

Add butter to bowl and heat until butter is mostly melted. Remove bowl from heat, and continue to whisk until butter is smooth and just melted. Step 2Slowly stream milk into butter while whisking. Continue whisking until mixture is smooth, 2 to 3 minutes.

How to make 2 cups of heavy cream? ›

Use a 1-to-3 ratio of butter and whole milk in your recipe. For every 1 cup (237 mL) of heavy cream your recipe calls for, use 1/4 cup (57 g) of butter and a 34 c (180 mL) of milk. Simply place the butter on your counter and wait for it to become room temperature before stirring it into the whole milk with a whisk.

Can you make milk out of heavy cream for a recipe? ›

By diluting heavy cream with water, you can reduce the fat content and create a milk-like consistency. Ratio: To create a milk substitute from heavy cream, you can use a ratio of 1 part heavy cream to 9 parts water [1].

Can you substitute heavy cream for milk in a recipe? ›

Yes, you can often substitute heavy whipping cream for milk or half-and-half in baking recipes. Keep in mind that heavy cream has a higher fat content, so it might result in a richer texture and flavor.

Can I use sour cream in place of heavy cream? ›

Sour cream is an easy replacement for heavy cream. It can be easily stirred into a dish and offers another flavor profile to soups, stews and sauces. Plus, using it as a heavy cream substitute is a great way to use up that lingering tub in the fridge.

Can I use almond milk instead of heavy cream? ›

No milk (except for coconut milk) can replace heavy cream without the addition of a thickener, ideally a fat of some kind. To make a heavy cream substitute with almond milk, we recommend adding soaked nuts or vegan butter, or plain silken tofu to get the right texture.

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