When a recipe calls for heavy cream, it's bound to turn out rich and luxurious. Whether it's a savory egg dish, like Ree Drummonds sausage & kale quiche, or something sweet, like her homemade vanilla ice cream, heavy cream makes it silky and delicious. But what happens if you don't have any heavy cream on hand? Swapping the rich stuff for whole milk won't always cut it: Heavy cream has 10 times the fat of whole milk, so it makes dishes much silkier and creamier. But don't worry: These heavy cream substitutes will work in a pinch!
Unless you add a decadent splash of heavy cream to your daily coffee, you probably don't always have a carton on hand. You can technically freeze heavy cream, but it may separate as it thawsand it's very hard to make whipped cream from thawed frozen heavy cream. (Though if youre one of those unicorns who plans ahead, note that whipped cream freezes and thaws well.)
But fear not: Depending on what you're making, there are heavy cream substitutes galoreincluding ones for vegans and a few that are even shelf-stable. So when the craving strikes for Rees fettuccine alfredo or strawberries & cream scones, youll be ready, whether theres a carton waiting in the fridge or not.
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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.
This vegan substitute can even be whipped! The one thing to note is that this swap will add coconut flavor to a dishthis can work in some recipes, but not all. (Rees Butternut Squash Soup with Bacon sounds great with coconut milk, but you may not want coconut flavor in Potatoes au Grain with Chives & 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.
If you ever needed a reason to keep a carton of shelf-stable soy milk on hand, this might be it: When you combine 2 parts soy milk with 1 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.
It's literally half heavy cream and half whole milk, so this sub is ideal for cookingyou 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.
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.
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Use full-fat plain Greek yogurt to add body to recipes like mashed potatoes and creamy soups and saucesjust 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 whippingbut if you need a quick sweet topping, you can just sweeten Greek yogurt with a bit of confectioners' sugar.
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.
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