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What Are Good Substitutes for Heavy Cream?

I am a home cook on the weekends and a teacher and writer during the week. My favorite dish to make is ossobuco, my abuela's recipe.

Let's explore some alternatives to heavy cream!

Let's explore some alternatives to heavy cream!

What Is the Best Substitute for Heavy Cream?

If you're working with a recipe that calls for heavy cream and you don't have any, the easiest way to get the same taste and texture is to mix together 3/4 cup of milk and 1/3 cup of melted butter or margarine. This is enough to replace 1 cup of heavy cream. Whole milk is preferable, but if you use low-fat, non-fat, or 2% milk, add in no more than a tablespoon of flour to thicken it.

This heavy cream substitute works wonderfully with soups and sauces, and it even works in pastries that don't require the cream to be whipped. Since the fat content in this substitute is low, it won't be able to whip up in the same way that heavy cream does.

What Can I Use in Place of Whipped Heavy Cream?

To get the same texture and flavor as whipped heavy cream, the best stand-in is half-and-half. In order for the cream to hold stiff peaks, I recommend using cold, refrigerated half-and-half instead of room temperature. For even better results, freeze the mixing bowl and whisk before whipping.

Use evaporated milk to make a heavy cream substitute.

Use evaporated milk to make a heavy cream substitute.

Other Heavy Cream Alternatives

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is an easy substitute. Just replace 1 cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of evaporated milk in any recipe that calls for liquid heavy cream (not whipped). Evaporated milk contains less fat but is creamier than regular milk, so you'll get full flavor and body for fewer calories and less fat than regular heavy cream.

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese is a great substitute for frosting, sauces, and soups. You can swap an equal amount. Cream cheese is a bit sour, so keep in mind that it can change the flavor profile of your dish.

Cashew Cream

For a vegan alternative, try cashew cream. It works great in sauces like alfredo. You can make it by following these instructions:

  1. To replace 1 cup of heavy cream, soak 1 cup of unsalted cashews.
  2. Drain the cashews.
  3. Add the cashews, 3/4 cup of water, and a pinch of salt into a blender and blend until there are no chunks left.
  4. Refrigerate overnight and add into sauces or whip it up for desserts.
Cashew cream

Cashew cream

Coconut Cream

Use full-fat coconut cream as a one-to-one substitute. It whips up the same way heavy does, so you will get a similar texture, but the coconut flavor is not going to work in many dishes. If you're doing a dessert that calls for whipped cream and a coconut flavor might complement the flavor profile, then coconut cream is a healthy and comparable alternative.

Cottage Cheese and Milk

Use an equal amount of cream cheese and milk for a cup of heavy cream. Just mix 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and 1/2 cup of milk until all the lumps are removed. You can also just use plain cottage cheese with a bit of water to help with the emulsion, but milk will help with creating that creamy flavor.

Greek Yogurt and Milk

This combination is similar to cottage cheese and milk. Use the same measurement to replace heavy cream. Greek yogurt is sour though, so it will lend a sour flavor or change the entire flavor profile of your dish. It's a good alternative in soups and sauces, and it is a good source of protein.


You can puree a cup of tofu to get a smooth, creamy texture that can be used in sauces and soups. Tofu has a mild flavor that can be masked with strong herbs, so the flavor is nearly undetectable in some dishes.

Happy Cooking!

I hope these ideas help! Keep in mind that each ingredient offers a slightly different taste, so if you have a finicky recipe, be sure to give the ingredient a taste (and a sniff) before deciding to add it in.