12 Best Heavy Cream Substitutes

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is the heavenly form of milk with one of the highest fat content. No other dairy product comes close to heavy cream as it has around 35-40% of fat from whole milk.

Also, the awesomeness of heavy cream makes this staple ingredient run out soon. Sometimes, we forget to add this to our shopping list. What to do in case of these situations?

The next best thing would be a substitute. Can any alternative take the place of heavy cream and imitate the flavor and richness in delicacies? The answer is a yes.

Excellent substitutes for heavy cream include milk and butter, soy milk and olive oil, milk and cornstarch, coconut milk, cream cheese, or some of the following ingredients.

Read on to know more about each one!

Best Heavy Cream Substitutes

Preparing a batch of delicious melt-in-the-mouth brownies takes a scoop of heavy cream. The steaming tray of these brownies climbs another level with the addition of this high-fat content dairy product.

As mentioned earlier, substitutes are essential for people intolerant to dairy. Also, vegans refrain from consuming any by-products from animals. Hence milk/related products are a big no-no.

Let’s take a look at a list of heavy cream substitutes suitable for all who would like to change the traditional recipes. 

1. Milk and butter


Milk and butter are the best combination of substitutes to whip up heavy cream in a short time. With just these ingredients, you can easily make your recipes taste the same as with heavy cream added.

The ratio of milk and butter:

  • Take milk of your choice. Full cream milk would be the best option to get the same result as heavy cream. Nevertheless, you can add other thickening agents to the mixture to attain consistency. 
  • The correct ratio would be:  ¼ cup of melted butter and ¾ cup of milk gives 1 cup of heavy cream.

How to make and use it?

  • Melt the butter needed in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly to the bowl and start whisking at room temperature. 
  • Gently keep mixing till you get the desired consistency. 
  • Sweet recipes mostly need heavy cream, and this pair is an appreciable alternative during baking.

Tips while preparing:

  • Sometimes, the mixture might clump or seize up. To avoid this, try mixing it over a bowl of hot water. Keep mixing it till it becomes silky smooth. 
  • If using low-fat milk, thickening agents like flour help reach the needed consistency.

Things to note:

The disadvantage that might seem negligible but important in terms of texture is the stiff peaks. With the combination of butter and milk, the end product will not give stiff peaks.

Heavy cream is the one that does this job perfectly. It serves as the correct alternative for baking but not whipping. 

2. Soy milk and olive oil

Soy Milk

Are you looking for a vegan heavy cream substitute? If so, you are at the right spot.

Try the mix of soy milk and olive oil to have a palate free of animal products. Soy milk and olive oil behave similarly to milk and butter.

Olive oil is the fat contributing ingredient in the substituted pair here. One of the greatest vegan alternatives to heavy cream in baking and cooking recipes would be soy milk and olive oil.

The ratio of soy milk and olive oil:

  • The appropriate proportion is – get 1 cup of heavy cream by combining ⅓ cup of olive oil with ⅔ cup of soy milk. 
  • To put it in other words, 2 parts of soy milk with 1 part of olive oil gives heavy cream.

How to make and use it?

Take a bowl of ⅔ cups of store-bought soy milk. Add in the olive oil gently and keep mixing till you obtain the thickness of heavy cream. It aids in elevating the recipes that need heavy cream in baking.

Tips while preparing:

  • If you find it hard to get the whipping done with straight soy milk, combine silken tofu and soy milk (puree them) in the mixing bowl before adding olive oil. 
  • It is a superb combination to add tenderness to the dish.

Things to note:

It does not work as whipping cream, and the olive oil flavor is detectable easily. 

3. Milk and cornstarch


Heavy cream is rich in texture and calories. Thus, diet-watchers are always on the lookout to get substitutes that reduce the fat content but replicate the taste to some extent.

Milk and cornstarch is a healthy heavy cream substitute mix. Cornstarch is the thickening agent to give the thick creamy texture.

The ratio of milk and cornstarch:

  • Choose the milk you prefer. Low-fat milk pulls down the calories. 
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1 cup of low-fat milk gives 1 cup of a heavy cream substitute.

How to make and use it?

Use the low flame to heat 1 cup of low-fat milk. While heating, add the measured cornstarch and stir continuously without forming lumps. You will achieve a thick texture sometime.

Things to note:

You cannot use it as whipping cream, and when used in baking, the texture might not remain the same. 

4. Coconut milk

If you are dairy intolerant and looking for ways to substitute heavy cream in your baking recipes, you can use coconut milk.

It is one of the best heavy cream substitutes dairy-free. You can bring the creamy richness that everybody looks for in heavy cream.

The ratio of coconut milk:

No mixing of other ingredients takes place here. Thus, you can follow the same rules to make heavy cream from milk. Coconut cream is the result once you scoop out the cream from coconut milk.

Equal amounts of coconut cream are the apt substitute for heavy cream in baking and cooking.

How to make and use it?

  • Keep a can of store-bought coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. 
  • The next day, empty the milk into another jar. 
  • A thick layer of cream is still stuck to your can that you left to chill. 
  • Scoop them out and store them in a container for later use. 
  • It is a superb alternative to sweets and baked goods. 
  • Coconut cream is a delicious heavy cream substitute for ice cream.

Things to note:

  • Coconut cream behaves as a whipping cream well. 
  • Look out for the taste difference due to the presence of coconut flavor.

5. Cream cheese

Cream cheese

The cream cheese acts as a good alternative to get creamy texture and taste in soups and sauces. Only suitable recipes will work when cream cheese reciprocates heavy cream.

The ratio of cream cheese:

1:1 is the ratio of cream cheese to heavy cream. Cream cheese is a type of cheese obtained from milk and cream.

Things to note:

  • Cream cheese works well when used as topping or frosting. 
  • Not all recipes take cream cheese as the equivalent substitute to heavy cream. 
  • Whipping is not possible with cream cheese. 
  • Taste alterations happen when you swap cream cheese to heavy cream.

6. Cottage cheese

Cottage Cheese

Yet another healthy alternative to heavy cream would be cottage cheese.

It comes from cow’s milk curds. Raw cottage cheese can have lumps when made at home. However, processed cottage cheese is smooth and is usually available in stores.

The ratio of cottage cheese:

Equal parts of cottage cheese are the correct ratio to mix in place of heavy cream.

How to make and use it?

  • Blend cottage cheese in a blender to get the texture and richness like heavy cream. 
  • Blending is essential to remove lumps. 
  • For a creamier texture, add milk while adding cottage cheese to a blender.

Since it gives a savory flavor, it is best to make sauces with cottage cheese that serve as the heavy cream substitute for pasta topping.

Things to note:

  • A food processor also works to create the texture of heavy cream. 
  • Recipes that need the savory touch of heavy cream work well with cottage cheese. 
  • It also acts as a thickening agent in soups and sauces.

7. Sour cream

Sour Cream

Once you mix the cream with lactic acid, sour cream is born! Though the fat content is not equal to heavy cream, you can still go for this substitute in savory and sweet recipes.

The ratio of sour cream:

Use the same amount of sour cream in the place of heavy cream. When it comes to sweet dishes, powdered sugar reduces the sourness.

How to make and use it?

  • You can get sour cream when you mix any acidic agents with normal cream. 
  • Use it for sauces and baked dishes. Mashed potatoes taste heavenly when mixed with sour cream.

Things to note:

  • Sourness is hard to neglect when sour cream is the substitute. 
  • Avoid adding it directly when cooking dishes, as the recipe can curdle instantly. Instead, you can choose to mix when the dish is cool enough.

8. Creme Fraiche

Creme Fraiche has tanginess and is a bit heavier than sour cream. It is basically the same as sour cream but creamier due to the high percentage of fat content.

Creme Fraiche is yet another substitute for heavy cream as it borders on the flavor and texture well.

The ratio of Creme Fraiche:

Creme Fraiche works as an alternative to heavy cream when swapped in the same quantities.

How to make and use it?

  • Commercial production includes adding natural bacteria to unpasteurized milk to work its way to thicken and give a creamy texture. 
  • Moreover, the same method applies when made at home. 
  • Since it is less sour than sour cream, it makes a great addition to soups, stews, and sauces. 

Things to note:

  • Works well with savory recipes that need heavy cream to lift the richness. 
  • Sauces benefit heavily with the addition of creme fraiche.

9. Yogurt


Yogurt is similar to the family of sour cream and creme fraiche. The main difference is the basic makeup. Yogurt comes from milk, while the other two come from cream.

Sweetened and unsweetened yogurt help deliver the dairy taste to the recipe. Yogurt with powdered sugar gives a sweet kick to the baking recipes.

The ratio of yogurt:

When using Greek yogurt, mix equal parts of milk to get the correct consistency of heavy cream. Later, use in the ratio of 1:1 for yogurt versus heavy cream.

How to make and use it?

  • You can choose to make Greek or plain yogurt. The latter option is traditionally sweet, but the Greek one remains sour. 
  • Mix culture into warm milk and keep in a summery environment to get yogurt within hours. 
  • Are you planning on adding heavy cream to your drinks? Go the healthy way by adding unsweetened Greek yogurt, as it is one of the best heavy cream substitutes for drinks.

Things to note:

  • Combine greek yogurt with sugar to include in sweet baked goods. 
  • Whipping is not possible with traditional greek yogurt. 
  • The fat content is not high as compared to heavy cream.

10. Mascarpone


Mascarpone is way sweeter than sour cream or creme fraiche. Moreover, the fat content is around 44%, making it one of the heaviest and rich creams for various uses.

How to use it?

  • Mascarpone works wonders when used in stews, soups, and sauces. 
  • Store-bought mascarpone can be an ideal substitute for heavy cream since the texture and heaviness are similar. 
  • Additionally, you can further sweeten it for use in cakes and frosting. 

11. Half-half

Half and Half Milk

Half-half means the mix of milk with heavy cream in half parts. You can swap normal cream to heavy cream and further add butter to attain the heavy cream texture and richness.

The ratio of half-half:

Make 1 cup of heavy cream by adding ⅛ of melted butter to ⅞ of a half-half mix. Also, this ratio brings the alternative the closest to heavy cream.

How to make and use it?

  • Melt butter in a cup. 
  • Take half-half in a bowl and add the melted butter in parts. Keep stirring while adding it. 
  • The heavy cream texture comes with constant stirring. 
  • You can use half-half in practically all the recipes that need heavy cream. Soups and sauces can take this half-half without butter to make it healthier.

12. Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk

Evaporated milk is a canned product available in stores. They have milk with less than 60% water making it a thick creamy dairy product.

The ratio of evaporated milk:

Equal parts of evaporated milk to heavy cream is the preferred ratio when used in recipes.

How to use it:

  • Soups that require heavy cream can use evaporated milk. 
  • However, when you require to sweeten the recipe, sugar is the extra ingredient needed. 
  • For baked dishes that need heavy cream in liquid form, evaporated milk is the go-to choice.

Things to note:

  • Evaporated milk doesn’t whip well. 
  • The taste might vary as it has an already cooked tinge. 

Related Questions 

How do you make heavy cream if you don’t have any?

The easiest way to make heavy cream is to mix whole-fat milk with melted butter. The ratio will be to add ¼ cup of melted butter to ¾ cup of whole milk. Stir well to gain the creamy and thick texture of heavy cream. 

Can sour cream be substituted for heavy cream?

Sour cream is a viable choice instead of heavy cream. The fat content is not the same. However, you can mix in savory recipes that need heavy cream for the texture. 

Is heavy cream the same as whipping?

Heavy cream is known as heavy whipping cream with similar fat contents up to 36%. However, normal whipping cream and heavy cream are not the same since the former is lighter than the latter.

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