By Erin Huffstetler | 01/14/2020 | 2 Comments
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Making a recipe that calls for heavy cream? If you don’t have any on hand, or you aren’t able to eat heavy cream, try one of these substitutes. We’ve even included some options that will whip.
Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
Milk and Butter
Melt 1/3 cup butter on the stove, or in the microwave; allow it to cool slightly; then, slowly pour the butter into 3/4 cup milk, stirring constantly, so the milk doesn’t curdle. Add one tablespoon of flour to thicken the substitute, if using low-fat milk. This will help to bring it to the consistency of heavy cream. Use in place of one cup of heavy cream in any dish that does not call for the cream to be whipped.
Trying to cut fat and calories? Replace the heavy cream called for in your recipe with an equal amount of evaporated milk. This substitute works well in baked goods, soups and cream-based sauces, but it won’t whip.
Greek Yogurt and Milk
Mix equal parts plain Greek yogurt and milk to create a low-fat replacement for heavy cream. This substitute doesn’t whip, but works well in all other applications.
Half and Half
Have a carton of half and half in the fridge? Since it’s made from equal parts whole milk and light cream, it’s an excellent stand-in for heavy cream. And it’ll even whip, if you get it cold enough. To whip: place the half and half, bowl and whisk that you plan to use in the freezer long enough to get it ice cold, but not freeze. Then, whip it as soon as you take it out. Since half and half has a lower fat content than cream, it won’t hold stiff peaks, and will deflate quickly.
Milk and Cornstarch
Stir two tablespoons of cornstarch into one cup of milk, until dissolved. Allow the mixture to thicken before use. This will give you a low-fat substitute with the right consistency, but it’ll be a bit lacking in flavor, and it won’t whip.
Dairy-Free and Vegan Substitutes for Heavy Cream
Rice or Soy Milk and Oil
Combine 2/3 cup soy or rice milk with 1/3 cup cooking oil to create a non-dairy heavy cream substitute that can be used in casseroles, soups and creamy sauces.
Full-fat coconut milk is an excellent non-dairy replacement for heavy cream. It has a thick, creamy consistency, and it whips beautifully. Just place a can in the fridge long enough for the cream to separate from the milk and rise to the top. Then, pour the milk off, and reserve it for another recipe. Use the remaining cream as a one-to-one substitute for any recipe that calls for heavy cream. To whip: simply scoop the chilled cream off the top of the can, and whip it just as you would heavy cream. This substitute will add a coconut flavor to any recipe it’s used in, so consider whether that will work with what you’re making.
Puree a block of silken tofu to create a heavy cream substitute for sauces and soups that need thickening. For the best result, use firm or extra firm tofu. Since it contains less water, it’ll produce a thicker puree that more closely mimics heavy cream. Tofu can also be whipped.
How to Freeze Heavy Cream
If you’re hesitant to buy heavy cream because it always seems to go bad before you find ways to use it up, consider buying a carton for your recipe, and freezing the leftovers.
For small amounts, pour the cream into an ice cube tray; freeze it; then, store the frozen cubes in a freezer bag. One cube is equal to one ounce, or two tablespoons of heavy cream. If you’re adding them to soup, or another dish that will be simmering for a long time, you don’t even have to thaw them first. Just drop the right number of cubes in, and they’ll thaw as they cook. Here’s how to determine the correct number of cubes:
2 cubes = 1/4 cup
4 cubes = 1/2 cup
6 cubes = 3/4 cup
8 cubes = 1 cup
To freeze a large amount of heavy cream, just pop the whole carton in the freezer. Make sure there’s at least an inch of space at the top of the carton, so the cream will have room to expand as it freezes. To use, simply thaw the heavy cream in the fridge, and give it a vigorous shake to redistribute the fat.
Powdered Heavy Cream
Purchase a can of powdered heavy cream, so you can mix up a batch of heavy cream whenever you need it, and in whatever quantity you need it. Simply reconstitute it with water; allow it to chill in the fridge overnight, and it’s ready to use. You aren’t likely to find powdered heavy cream at the grocery store, but it’s available on Amazon.
- 1/3 cup butter
- 3/4 cup milk
Melt butter over stove, or in microwave. Watch it closely, so it doesn’t burn.
Allow to cool briefly. Then, slowly pour the butter into the milk, stirring constantly, so it doesn’t curdle.
Add one tablespoon all-purpose flour to thicken, if using low-fat milk.
Use in place of one cup of heavy cream, in any recipe that doesn’t require whipping.
More Heavy Cream Substitutes
- An equal amount of evaporated milk (will not whip)
- Equal parts Greek yogurt and milk (will not whip)
- An equal amount of half and half (will whip, if cold enough)
- 2 tbsp cornstarch + one cup of milk (will not whip)
- 2/3 cup soy or rice milk + 1/3 cup cooking oil (will not whip)
- An equal amount of coconut cream, skimmed off top of chilled coconut milk (will whip)
- An equal amount of pureed silken tofu (will whip)