Don't get heavy cream confused with whipping cream! Heavy cream is thicker and consists of a substantial amount of butterfat. Due to the exceedingly high measure of fat in it, heavy cream can achieve an intense, luxurious texture in foods. It's also used to produce a smooth consistency, since liquids containing more fat are more resistant to curdling when heated.

What do people even use heavy cream for anyway?

  • Pasta Sauce - Attention pasta lovers! This Alfredo Sauce recipe will add the BEST flavor to your bland noodles.
  • Custard Dessert - Feeling like having a fancy dessert at home? This Crème Brûlée recipe will put your leftover heavy cream to good use.
  • Cheese - Have some chips at home but nothing to dip them in? Check out this creamy White Queso recipe.
  • Caramel Sauce - Want to add a delicious topping on your ice cream? This Salted Caramel Sauce recipe is calling your name!

You may find yourself in a pickle when a recipe calls for heavy cream, and you, unfortunately, don't have any. Luckily, there are many substitutes for heavy cream!

Heavy-Cream Substitutes

pitcher of milk

1. Milk And Butter

Substitute a mixture of three-fourths of a cup of milk and one-fourth of a cup of melted butter for one cup of heavy cream.

Milk and butter are number one on our list because they're the most likely to be found in your fridge on any given day. They can be whipped up into your homemade substitute in no time without a fuss. Keep in mind that this method isn't suitable for whipping; if your recipe calls for heavy whipping cream, however, it will be an excellent substitute, since it will deliver that rich flavor.

2. Half And Half

pouring half and half

Substitute a mixture of two tablespoons of cooled, melted butter and three-fourths of a cup and two tablespoons of half and half for one cup of heavy cream.

When you find yourself without heavy cream, half and half may be the best substitute. Half and half has a thick consistency and luscious flavor, but it doesn't come with the calories and fat of heavy cream (half and half is about 12 percent fat). The texture and flavor of this substitute will remain similar to the texture and flavor of heavy cream. Note that this substitute isn't suitable for whipping, however.

3. Rice Milk Or Soy Milk With Vegetable Oil Or Margarine

soy milk

Substitute a mixture of two-thirds of a cup of soy or rice milk and one-third of a cup of vegetable oil or margarine for one cup of heavy cream.

This dairy-free substitute is mixed the same way as the milk-and-butter substitute on our list. Non-milk cannot stand alone as a substitute for heavy cream; it needs fat to be added to it.

4. Milk And Cornstarch

cornstarch pouring on table

Substitute a mixture of two tablespoons of cornstarch and one cup of milk for one cup of heavy cream.

A milk-and-cornstarch mix is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a healthier alternative to whipping cream. The cornstarch in this substitute acts as a thickener to reproduce the smooth texture of whipping cream. It won't provide the rich flavor of products that contain more fat, however.

5. Greek Yogurt And Whole Milk

Greek yogurt and raspberries

Substitute a mixture of one-half of a cup of Greek yogurt and one-half of a cup of whole milk for one cup of heavy cream.

If you happen to have some Greek yogurt on hand, you can pair it with whole milk to make another substitute for heavy cream. Greek yogurt will add some thickness to your recipe; however, the same amount of whole milk will need to be added to get that rich taste and to thin the mixture out. Since Greek yogurt has a subtle sour flavor, you can sweeten it with a sugar of your choice if you wish.

6. Evaporated Milk And Vanilla Extract

evaporated milk

Substitute a mixture of one cup of evaporated milk and one teaspoon of vanilla extract for one cup of heavy cream.

If you have a can of evaporated milk and some vanilla extract, you can use them in place of heavy cream. This substitution works best in soup recipes. Start by chilling the evaporated milk, and then add vanilla extract to achieve the desired flavor.

7. Cream Cheese

cream cheese on a bagel

Substitute one-half of a cup of low-fat cream cheese for one cup of heavy cream.

Another exciting substitute for heavy cream is low-fat cream cheese. The cream cheese will provide the consistency of heavy cream without the calories and fat. Due to the sour taste of cream cheese, this substitution may alter the taste of your final product.

8. Coconut Cream


Substitute one cup of coconut cream for one cup of heavy cream.

While not everyone will have coconut cream sitting on their pantry shelf, if you do, you could easily substitute it for heavy cream. If you don't have a can of coconut cream, you can use coconut milk. Coconut milk cannot be used as a heavy-cream substitute in liquid form, however. Allowing coconut milk to sit out on the counter for half an hour will cause the cream to rise to the top, and then you'll have coconut cream. Simply remove the cream from the top and substitute it for heavy cream in a one-to-one ratio. Coconut cream is an excellent non-dairy alternative, but it will alter the taste of your dish slightly.

9. Silken Tofu

Using a blender or food processor, mix in silken tofu and soy milk until the consistency starts to get smooth and thicken.

Silken tofu’s rich and fatty flavor comes from the fact that it’s made from solidified soy milk. This substitute is perfect for those who are dairy-free! If you’re looking for a vegan whipped cream, you can add in some vanilla extract or a sprinkle of sugar and put it on top of your desserts!

cream on whisk and strawberries

The next time you find yourself in the middle of preparing a dish and realize you don't have any heavy cream, don't panic -- just use one of the substitutes on this list. The best alternatives are most likely already in your refrigerator or pantry.

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