15 good substitutes for heavy cream
What would your soup, sauce, salad dressing, or ice cream be without heavy cream? This rich, delicious ingredient is one for the ages!
However, we may need a substitute for heavy cream if we’re lactose-intolerant, don’t consume animal-based products, or don’t have access to fresh milk or heavy cream in nearby stores.
Heavy cream is made from fresh milk. When milk is left to stand, a heavy cream rises to the top. This fermented goodness is rich, a little sour, sweet, creamy, unctuous, and ever so flavorful.
It has about 40% fat, so it’s no wonder! But while you may not have fresh milk or heavy cream in your grocery store or you may want to limit your intake due to dietary issues, there are ways to mimic its flavor and properties. So, here is how to substitute heavy cream regardless of your reason.
You can always choose a substitute for heavy cream from the list below!
Can I substitute whipping cream for heavy cream? Could I possibly find a vegan sub for heavy cream? Is there a way to get the same taste and consistency with a lactose-free ingredient? If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, fret not! We covered every angle and more!
1. Milk & Butter
“Can I use milk instead of heavy cream?” you may ask yourself. If you pair it up with its fatty brother, butter, oh, yeah!
This combo is a foolproof option for cooked and baked recipes since it will provide flavor, creaminess, and richness, just like heavy cream. Still, as it is in a “raw” state, this combo will not whip nor mix the same way heavy cream does.
You need about ¾ cup of milk and ¼ cup of melted butter to substitute 1 cup of heavy cream.
2. Soy milk and olive oil (vegan options)
Check out this mixture! It’s ideal for vegan dishes, is lactose-free, and is filled with fatty richness.
Olive oil provides the fatty, rich part, just like butter, and soy milk provides some heavy cream flavor. While it may not be the same aroma and consistency in cooking and baking, it will work. Just don’t expect this blend to work in recipes that require whipping.
Mix together ⅔ cups of soy milk and ⅓ cup of olive oil to replace 1 cup of heavy cream.
3. Evaporated milk
Canned evaporated milk is shelf-stable, and it is as the name says: milk with lower water content. About 60% lower in water content, for that matter.
So, its consistency is creamy and thick, while it doesn’t have the same fat and calorie count as heavy cream. Quite the option for a healthier version! Keep in mind that this mixture is more liquid, so use it in sauces, or soups, or baked goods, but be cautious when whipping it.
In terms of ratio, a 1:1 substitution will do great.
4. Cornstarch and milk mixed together
It’s low fat, it’s low-cal, and it will work fabulously as a heavy cream alternative. Skim milk, whole milk, no matter, both will do the trick. Just don’t expect it to work in batters or whipped stuff. Stick to cooked dishes, and you’ll be fine.
1 cup of milk and about 2 tablespoons of cornstarch will create a thick mixture, creamy enough to replace 1 cup of heavy cream. If you use this replacement in dishes that won’t be cooked, heat up the milk, mix the starch into it well, and then whisk frequently to get a thicker consistency. Let it cool down, and then it’s ready!
5. Silken tofu and soy milk
As you probably know, silken tofu is made from soy milk. With a soft, creamy, and a more liquid consistency, silken tofu is the rich part of vegetal milk. Use this blend in cooked, baked recipes, such as sauces or stews, but also in dessert toppings after whipping it.
To obtain the feel of heavy cream, blend together equal parts silken tofu and soy milk blending thoroughly with an immersion blender to get that smooth, rich, thick consistency that heavy cream has.
6. Greek yogurt + milk
An option that is rich in lactose and fats, this mixture will thicken your dish. The great thing about Greek yogurt is that it’s fatty, rich, and quite thick in consistency, and that’s why milk will help to balance the texture.
Use this liquid in cooked and baked dishes, but do not expect the same results in terms of consistency and flavor when whipping it because Greek yogurt is thinner than heavy cream.
Mixing equal parts of Greek yogurt and milk will get you the same heavy cream feel and rich in protein content.
7. Cottage cheese and milk
This combo is great as a sub for heavy cream. Since cottage cheese is made from cow’s milk curds, it brings a milky richness and sweetness. Not to mention, it is high in protein!
What you have to do is blend the cottage cheese well to get rid of the lumps and replicate heavy cream’s smooth, fine, and creamy texture. The milk makes the blend more liquid. Make sure to use this swap for savory dishes, especially soups and sauces or casseroles.
You need equal amounts of cottage cheese and milk to get that creamy consistency of heavy cream. Use a 1:1 ratio.
8. Half-and-half & butter
Half-and-half is fatty but not as rich as heavy cream. Butter adds extra fattiness. This mixture is a great alternative to heavy cream in all recipes, including the ones that require whipping.
In soups and sauces, you can even forget about butter and just add half-and-half, and you’ll get the same effect as heavy cream.
For 1 cup of heavy cream, you need to combine ⅞ cups of half-and-half and 1 cup of melted butter.
9. Coconut cream or coconut milk
Those on vegan and lactose-free diets can consume this one. It whips amazingly too. Coconut cream is a fab vegan substitute for heavy cream! Not to mention the extra flavor and richness, the nutty aroma, and the sweetness and freshness of it.
Another great thing about it: it’s lighter and easier to digest than heavy milk! Place a can of coconut cream or coconut milk in the fridge overnight, and the next day you’ll have a thickened, hardened, and rich heavy cream sub.
This option is ideal for sweets, ice cream, and baked goods since it’s naturally sweet.
Go for a 1:1 ratio with this one, and you’ll be good!
10. Cream cheese
Cream cheese is a type of fresh cheese made from a mixture of milk and cream. You may know it from bagel spreads, but it can go with soups and sauces too. Just make sure you don’t count on this one for whipping!
As usual, a 1:1 ratio is good with this ingredient.
11. Sour cream
Sour cream is a good option to replace heavy cream, just as long as the tangy flavor doesn’t offset the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
A 1:1 ratio will suffice with this alternative.
12. Crème Fraîche or Mascarpone
Crème fraîche, just like sour cream, has a mild tanginess and a light texture, lighter than heavy cream, that’s for sure. It’s a great substitute for heavy cream in pasta, soups, stews, puddings, and anything savory.
Mascarpone, on the other hand, is a lot richer, thicker, more unctuous, and has a pronounced milky flavor with a sweet taste. It can be a good alternative for both savory and sweet foods. Extra tip: even simple, basic yogurt will do the trick!
Again, a 1:1 swap can do the trick.
13. Heavy cream powder
Maybe you won’t get the same fluffy texture, nor will you get the same fresh, milky vibe, but heavy cream powder is a great option to keep around the kitchen. You’ll never run out of heavy cream ever again!
Just follow the instructions on the package and get ready to enjoy your dish!
14. Chicken stock
A lactose-free substitute for heavy cream that is rich in protein is homemade chicken stock. It can replace heavy cream in sauces, soups, pasta, or mashed potatoes. It’s more viscous, more aromatic, and healthier than the store-bought one, and you’ll love using it as a swap.
In terms of the amount you should use, it’s “taste and adjust” with this one.
15. Cashew cream
It’s rich, decadent, tasty, creamy, rich in nutrients, and amazing in vegan or healthier diets. Maybe you’ll have to whisk it thoroughly in your gravy, or maybe it won’t be ideal as frosting, but a dollop of cashew cream is perfect in your soup, tart, or casserole.
Not to mention its rich, nutty, earthy aroma adds more depth and savor to its cheesy, milky feel.
Add cashew cream in equal amounts as the recipe asks for heavy cream.
What would pastries, rich soups, thick sauces, fresh dips, dressings, puddings, ice cream, or other desserts be without heavy cream? Not the same, that’s for sure! Well, it seems that with a little creativity and know-how you can find more than one suitable substitute for heavy cream!