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.


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.




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.


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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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.


Coconut Milk

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.



Soy Milk

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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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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.


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.


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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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.


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


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

What Can I Substitute For Heavy Cream? You can combine whole milk with butter or margarine, mix half-and-half with melted butter, or go dairy-free with olive oil and soy milk. Cornstarch and milk make a low-fat alternative, while milk and Greek yogurt add much more richness to the recipe!

What can I use in a recipe if I don't have heavy cream? ›

Similarly to half-and-half, milk makes a good heavy cream substitute when it's combined with melted butter. Combine 3/4 cup milk and 1/4 cup melted butter for every cup of heavy cream.

What is a substitute for heavy cream dairy free? ›

What Do Vegans Use Instead of Heavy Cream? Fortunately, nearly any plant-based milk can be made into a heavy cream substitute. Nut milks, including hemp milk, oat milk, coconut milk and soy milk can all be used as the base for a heavy cream substitute with the addition of the right fats.

Can I use condensed milk instead of heavy cream? ›

Can sweetened condensed milk be used as a substitute for heavy cream in recipes? If so, how much would be needed per cup of heavy cream called for in the recipe? Yes, in a 1:1 ratio. However, remember that it is heavily sweetened, so you'll need to reduce the sugar accordingly.

Can I substitute sour cream for heavy cream in baking? ›

Sour cream has a high enough fat content—about 20%—to make it a good substitute for heavy cream in some savory recipes, such as soups or chili. However, while some chefs swear that sour cream is a key ingredient for a killer whipped cream, it generally can't be used on it's own to make whipped cream.

Is heavy cream and heavy whipping cream the same thing? ›

Yes, heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are the exact same thing. The confusion lies in the fact that they're sold by different brands under two different names. According to the US Food and Drug Administration's labelling standards, heavy cream must contain at least 36 percent milk fat.

Is there a non-dairy heavy whipping cream? ›

Silk® Dairy-Free Heavy Whipping Cream Alternative.

What is the creamiest dairy free milk? ›

“Hemp milk is the thinnest of the non-dairy kinds of milk, with a close second being rice milk. Hemp milk can be used in coffee, yet if you're looking for a rich and creamy milk to add, coconut milk would be best. Leave hemp milk for drinking or adding to hot tea. Try it with my Super Seed Muesli with Hemp Milk.”

Can you turn evaporated milk into heavy cream? ›

Evaporated milk is an ideal heavy cream substitute in recipes that use heavy cream as a liquid. It won't whip well, but it's a great way to add moisture to baked goods. Substitute an equal amount of evaporated milk for heavy cream.

Can I substitute heavy cream for evaporated milk? ›

With its very similar consistency, 1 cup of heavy cream can replace 1 cup of evaporated milk in sweet and savory dishes. While the flavor will be blander than evaporated milk's unique caramelized tones, the texture will be noticeably richer.

Can I substitute evaporated milk for heavy cream in soup? ›

Evaporated milk works well as a substitute for heavy cream in sauces or soups calling for whole milk. In the making of evaporated milk, regular cow's milk is pressure-cooked until it sheds about half of its water content, making it thicker in consistency. For a healthy substitute, try evaporated skim milk.

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.

How to make heavy cream at home without milk? ›

Blend 1 cup of cashews with ¾ cup of water in a high-speed blender until super smooth, and voilà: You're left with a versatile heavy cream substitute that complements countless dishes.

Can you substitute heavy cream for milk? ›

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 milk instead of heavy cream in pasta? ›

Whole milk is an excellent substitute for heavy cream. It adds richness to your pasta sauce without the excess fat. Simply simmer your favourite pasta sauce with whole milk until it thickens to your desired consistency. The result is a velvety and indulgent sauce that pairs beautifully with pasta.

Is half-and-half the same as heavy cream? ›

According to the FDA, half-and-half contains between 10.5 percent to 18 percent milk fat, while heavy cream contains between 36 percent and 40 percent milk fat. Because heavy cream contains more fat, it is thicker and has a richer taste and a creamier mouthfeel than half-and-half.

Can I substitute half-and-half for heavy cream in Alfredo sauce? ›

Ingredients you might need to pick up

Half-and-half – If you don't have half-and-half, you can use traditional heavy cream or even whole milk. If you're using heavy creamy, omit the flour from the recipe.

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