Best Heavy Cream Substitutes and Recipes

A favorite of casual and professional chefs, heavy cream is a staple for use in sauces, cakes, pastries, soups and beverages. Many people want a healthier substitute for heavy cream precisely because of this high fat content. For others, it may simply be that they find they are out of heavy cream – just when in the middle of a favorite recipe! Learn how to substitute heavy cream with the best materials.

Heavy Cream Substitute

While it is easy to make a substitute for heavy cream using ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, the flavor and texture of the recipe may be slightly different than you would get using heavy cream. Be aware that a substitute must enhance the flavor of the dish and should not clash with other ingredients so some experimentation may be required. Also, none of these substitutes will whip like heavy cream.

1. Milk & Butter

This milk and butter recipe is great when you have a recipe that calls for heavy cream that does not need to be whipped. For each cup of heavy cream in the recipe, melt 1/3 cup of unsalted butter and add it to ¾ cup of milk. Note that if you use low-fat milk, you will want to add 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken the mixture. Stir until well mixed.

2. Skim Milk & Cornstarch

If you only drink skim milk, you can still use this as a basis for your heavy cream substitute. In this case, Use one cup of milk and add 2 tablespoons of corn starch or unflavored gelatin to allow the mixture to thicken. Using a whisk, mix the ingredients briskly for 3-4 minutes until the mixture begins to thicken.

3. Tofu & Soy Milk

If you are looking for a low fat or vegetarian substitute, try blending tofu with unflavored soy milk until the mixture is smooth. This substitute is a healthy alternative for heavy cream.

4. Cottage Cheese & Milk

Cottage cheese and no-fat milk powder can be mixed in equal amounts to create a low-calorie heavy cream substitute. If you do not have powdered milk for this recipe, you can use skim milk instead. In any case, mix the ingredients well until there are no lumps in the mixture.

5. Evaporated Milk & Vanilla Extract

For this substitute, first be sure the evaporated milk is chilled. After removing from the refrigerator, add vanilla to the milk to make it taste as you want. This mixture is a good one for soup recipes that call for heavy cream.

6. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt and can be used as a substitute for heavy cream while reducing the fat in the recipe. Be aware that if you are baking cookies or bread recipes that call for heavy cream, you may want to use half yogurt and half whole milk to preserve some of the taste of the fat. In recipes such as cheesecake where texture is critical, you may want to use half heavy cream and half Greek yogurt. Yogurt will curdle when heated too fast, so be sure to use low heat if you are making a sauce with Greek yogurt.

You don’t have Greek yogurt? Make your own by wrapping 2 cups of plain milk yogurt in a cheesecloth. Let the liquid drain off for several hours and you will be left with 1 cup of thick yogurt.

7. Half-and-half Butter

For each 1 cup of heavy cream in a recipe, you can use a substitute of butter and half-and-half. Melt 1/6 cup of butter and allow it to cool. Be sure it does not solidify during the cooling process. Put 7/8 cup of half-and-half into a bowl and stir in the cool melted butter until they are well blended.

8. Low-fat Cream Cheese

Finally, if you have recipes that call for heavy cream in soups or sauces, you can substitute low-fat cream cheese to provide the same consistency while reducing the calories and fat in the recipe. Be aware that you will only use half the amount that the recipe requires. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of heavy cream, use only 1/2 cup of cream cheese. The taste of the cream cheese is a little sour, so do not use it in recipes that need the sweetness of heavy cream.

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