When it comes to cooking and baking, it’s no secret that heavy cream is a popular ingredient used for recipes. However, if you run out of it—don’t worry! There are actually several other alternatives for heavy cream that you can use in its place, whether you're looking for a good coffee creamer substitute or are in need of a heavy cream substitute for a recipe you're making.
So if you open your fridge to find you're all out of this dairy delight, check out our complete list of 16 substitutes for heavy cream below. Some are combinations of ingredients you can use in place of heavy cream, while other substitutes for heavy cream you can find in this list are individual products you can buy at the grocery. But no matter which heavy cream substitute you choose, these 16 options have got you covered.
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16 Heavy Cream Substitutes
If you make a thick macadamia nut milk yourself, you can use it to replace heavy cream in desserts. All you have to do is add the nuts to water and let them soak for about 20 minutes so they soften. Then, you just drain them and blend them inside a blender with a half cup of water with a half teaspoon of vanilla essence. The end result will be a creamy and thick mixture, which is great to use in dessert recipes or with tea or coffee.
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2. Coconut milk
If you’re vegan or looking for a keto-friendly alternative for heavy cream, use coconut milk. While it is thinner than heavy cream, you can make it a little thicker by letting it simmer over the stove on low heat until it becomes a thicker consistency. Then, you can use that in pretty much any recipe you want.
3. Sour cream
Don’t worry if you’re out of heavy cream or want to use a substitute for it, sour cream can be your new magic ingredient. It works best as a replacement in savory recipes, like chili or soups because of its sour flavor, but it can also be good in dressings, dips and sauces. Just keep in mind that it won’t work as an alternative in recipes that require whipped cream.
Stir together 2/3 cup of soy milk with 1/3 cup of olive oil to make a heavy cream alternative in no time at all. This combo is a good heavy cream replacement; however, it shouldn’t be used in recipes that require whipping. Also, make sure you use plain soy milk, not flavored soy milk.
5. Half-and-half + butter
Need a simple way to replace heavy cream when you run out? Try combining half-and-half with butter. Adding the butter is what helps thicken the half-and-half and makes it a great alternative for anything you want to make, even recipes that call for you to whip the ingredients.
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6. Cottage cheese + whole milk
Another healthy combination you can try to replace heavy cream is by whipping up a mixture of cottage cheese and milk. You’ll first want to blend the cottage cheese in a blender to smooth out its lumps, then mix it with equal parts soy milk to get a creamy texture. Remember that this alternative will have a slightly cheesy flavor, so only use it in recipes that it’ll be compatible with.
By adding a cup of almonds, two cups of water and a half teaspoon of vanilla bean paste into a blender, you can create almond cream. It has a nutty flavor, so keep that in mind when you’re picking what dish to include it in instead of using heavy cream.
If you have coconut cream in your house, it’s an amazing substitute for heavy cream. It’s keto-friendly, vegan-friendly and paleo-friendly. You can find cans of it at most stores and works really well when you’re baking desserts. Just let a can of it chill overnight in your fridge. The next day, drain the liquid from the can and scoop out the thick, heavy coconut cream that’s left and use it as a replacement for whatever recipe you need heavy cream in.
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9. Cream cheese + water
Cream cheese is a keto favorite and can be an amazing item to use instead of heavy cream in some recipes. You can even add a small amount of water to it if you want to thin it down a bit, but you don’t have to. One of the best things to use this alternative for is frosting, or a cream-based sauce, soup or dip. However, it’s not a good substitute for recipes that require whipping.
10. Greek yogurt + whole milk
If you blend together equal parts Greek yogurt and milk, you can easily use it instead of heavy cream. This combo can make dishes a little thicker, though, so be mindful of that. It’s a healthy alternative to heavy cream, but since it doesn’t have the same flavor, it may change the taste of any dessert you use it in.
Using half-and-half by itself can sometimes work as a heavy cream substitute if that’s all you have access to in your house. It all really depends on what you’re making. It works best as a solo replacement in sauces and soups.
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12. Whole milk + butter
One alternative for heavy cream is using a combination of milk and butter. Make sure you melt about 1/4 cup of butter and whisk in 3/4 cup of milk. Once it’s mixed together, put it in your fridge to cool. Once it’s ready, you can use it as a heavy cream replacement in any recipe. However, keep in mind that it won’t become as stiff as heavy cream would.
13. Cashew milk
If you don’t mind putting in the work to make cashew cream, it’s a good alternative to heavy cream. You make it by soaking cashews in boiling water for about 20 minutes (or if you want, you can let them soak for eight hours in room-temperature water). Once the time is up, you just need to blend them with whatever spices you want and then you can use it in stews, sauces or soups instead of heavy cream.
14. Whole milk
Do you have whole milk in your fridge? If so, you can use it by itself in place of your heavy cream in some recipes. It works especially well as a heavy cream replacement in scrambled eggs.
15. Creme Fraiche
If you’ve never heard of this cream, that’s okay. It’s basically a cream that has a bit of a tang flavor to it. You can use this instead of heavy cream if you want. It’s good in stews, soups and even puddings.
Talk about a great replacement for heavy cream! Mascarpone cheese is a thick dairy product, which makes its texture really close to that of heavy cream. You can use it in sauces, stews and soups.
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