14 Best Substitutes for Heavy Cream

Best Substitutes for Heavy Cream
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya

Best substitutes for heavy cream? Let’s have them! Do you enjoy adding heavy cream to recipes but want a healthier alternative?

Heavy cream has many uses in the kitchen; it can make soups, sauces, and desserts creamy and luscious. 

Heavy cream’s texture, taste, and fat content make it popular. But not everyone wants the added calories that come with it.

Fortunately, several healthy and best substitutes for heavy cream can finish off just about any recipe.

If you’re looking for a low-fat option or vegan-friendly version of heavy cream, here is the rundown of some excellent alternatives that will satisfy just about any craving without all the extra calories.

1. Mascarpone Cheese

Mascarpone cheese is first on this list of the best substitutes for heavy cream as it has a higher fat content and a rich and creamy texture.

The cheese is made with just three ingredients: cream, citric acid, and salt, which gives it a light yet creamy flavor.

It can be used to make various dishes, from soups to desserts, due to its versatility and ability to take on the flavors of other ingredients.

It also provides an easy way for lactose-intolerant people to enjoy these recipes without ill effects.

Mascarpone into mousses, tiramisu, pasta sauces, and other dishes that traditionally call for heavy cream as it pairs wonderfully with fruit or sweet toppings or fillings.

Plus, being lower in calories than traditional heavy creams makes it an ideal substitute when indulging in the occasional sweet treat.

2. Macadamia Nut Milk

Macadamia nut milk is one of the best substitutes for heavy cream because it has a rich and creamy texture similar to that of heavy cream.

It is made from macadamia nuts, water, and sometimes additional ingredients such as salt, sugar, or natural flavors.

Not only does it provide a similar creaminess without the fat, but it’s also vegan-friendly and much lower in calories than most other dairy-based products. 

Furthermore, this type of nut milk pairs well with sweet and savory dishes, making it an extremely versatile ingredient in the kitchen.

Unlike other sources of plant-based alternatives to heavy cream, it doesn’t suffer from any off-flavors or strange textures due to its smoothness and subtle flavor.

This makes macadamia nut milk perfect for adding richness to all recipes without changing their overall taste.

3. Half-and-Half and Butter

Half-and-half and butter are among the best substitutes for heavy cream when you want to replace them in recipes due to their high-fat content.

Half-and-half is a combination of equal parts milk and cream, resulting in an ingredient that has an impressive 20% fat content. Meanwhile, butter has 82% to 86% fat content. 

To replace 1 cup (240 ml) of heavy cream, mix 5/8 cup (150 ml) half-and-half with 1/4 cup (60 ml) melted butter.

This substitution will provide the desired richness and thickness in heavy cream, making it perfect for sauces, soups, mashed potatoes, and more.

4. Cottage Cheese and Whole Milk

Cottage cheese and whole milk are the best substitutes for heavy cream. Cottage cheese is an especially good choice for those looking to substitute heavy cream in recipes that require thick consistency, such as sauces or soups.

It has a mild flavor and creamy texture pairs well with most dishes. 

To use it as a substitute, take one cup of cottage cheese and blend it with one-fourth cup of water until it reaches a smooth consistency.

This mixture should be added to the recipe like regular heavy cream for the best results.

5. Whole Milk

Whole milk is considered one of the best substitutes for heavy cream. Unlike heavy cream, with a high-fat content of 36 percent, whole milk has only 3-4 percent fat, making it a much healthier option for those looking to reduce their fat intake.

Whole milk also contains more calcium and other essential vitamins than heavy cream, with up to 8 grams of protein per cup. 

Additionally, its natural sugar content is much lower than that found in cream, making it an ideal ingredient for recipes that require sweetness without excess calories or unhealthy fats.

Because of its consistency, whole milk can easily be swapped into recipes that call for heavy cream without drastically changing the texture or taste. 

Furthermore, its lower fat content is often chosen as an alternative to heavy cream while whipping up desserts such as mousses and puddings.

Aside from being one of the best substitutes for heavy cream in cooking, one can drink whole milk alone or use it as a base for smoothies and milkshakes if a lighter but still creamy beverage is desired.

6. Creme Fraiche

Creme fraiche is a rich and creamy topping often used as an alternative to heavy cream or other dairy products.

It has been popular in French cuisine for centuries and has recently become increasingly popular in the United States.

Creme fraiche, on this list of the best substitutes for heavy cream, is made by combining high-fat cream and live bacterial cultures. 

The combination of cultures helps to thicken the cream, resulting in a smooth texture, pleasant aroma, and silky taste.

Creme fraiche is also much richer than traditional heavy cream, so it can be used as a substitute for recipes that typically require heavy milk and butter, such as sauces, pastries, soups, and more.

However, creme fraiche has some notable differences from heavy cream that should be noted when substituting. 

For example, creme fraiche will not whip properly like whipped cream because its higher fat content prevents it from forming stiff peaks when whipped.

Creaminess can be increased using half creme fraiche and half light cream instead. 

Also, because creme fraiche contains bacteria-rich cultures, it must be handled carefully to prevent spoilage – ensuring it is kept refrigerated before use and avoiding extended cooking times are key steps here.

Despite these minor considerations, using creme fraiche as a substitute for heavy milk dishes can easily make delicious French-inspired dishes without sacrificing flavor or quality!

7. Coconut Milk

Regarding excellent and best substitutes for heavy cream in cooking and baking, coconut milk is one!

Not only does it have a rich, creamy texture similar to cream, but it also adds an exotic twist to any recipe. 

Coconut milk contains many healthy fats, making it perfect for creating creamy-textured dishes such as custards, soups, smoothies, and even desserts. It can also add a light sweetness and nutty flavor to recipes.

As a bonus, coconut milk is vegan and lactose-free, ideal for those with dairy allergies or sensitivities!

8. Sour Cream

Sour cream is an excellent substitute for heavy cream in many recipes. Not only does it contain fewer calories and saturated fat than heavy cream, but sour cream also has a unique tangy flavor that gives dishes an extra depth of flavor.

It’s more versatile than heavy cream, too, since it can work as a topping on baked potatoes, tacos, burritos, and other savory dishes or as the key ingredient in creamy dressings, dips, soups, and sauces. 

Be sure to use full-fat sour cream or a reduced-fat option if you want to cut down the calories, but don’t use fat-free sour cream as it can curdle when heated.

Sour cream is a great alternative to heavy cream, whether you are cooking lightened-up favorites or luscious desserts.

You should consider sour cream when next the best substitutes for heavy creams pop into your mind!

9. Almond and Coconut Milk Creamer

Almond and coconut milk creamer are two of the best substitutes for heavy cream because they provide a creamy texture while being much lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than heavy cream.

Almond milk creamer is made with almond milk derived from ground almonds and water.

This combination provides a rich, creamy texture that many find comparable to the one offered by heavy cream but without all the added fats and calories. 

Coconut milk creamer, on the other hand, is made from coconut milk derived from grated coconuts mixed with water or nut-free alternatives like rice or soy milk.

It also provides a creamy consistency that is perfect for baking or adding to coffee.

When used in baking recipes, almond or coconut milk can often be swapped out one-for-one instead of heavy cream while still providing desirable results. 

Regarding health benefits, almond, and coconut milk have fewer saturated fats than heavy cream.

So those looking for more nutritious options may find these best substitutes for heavy cream more beneficial to their diet.

Also, due to their variety of flavors (like original, vanilla, unsweetened), almond and coconut milk are much more versatile than regular dairy products making them preferred choices when exploring vegan eating — as both kinds of milk don’t contain any animal byproducts. 

All in all, almond and coconut glasses of milk make great substitutions for traditional dairy products like heavy cream in almost any recipe — providing comparable taste with fewer calories and fats, thus making them ideal options for anyone looking for healthier alternatives without sacrificing flavor or texture.

10. Whole Milk and Butter

Whole milk and butter are often used interchangeably and are the best substitutes for heavy cream, particularly in baking recipes.

Whole milk is typically lower in fat than heavy cream, but the butter’s added fat helps mimic the richness that heavy cream normally brings to recipes.

When using this substitute, it’s important to carefully measure and combine whole milk and butter to achieve the desired level of richness. 

Most commonly, a ratio of 1 cup (240mL) of whole milk and 3 tablespoons (45mL) of melted butter is used for 1 cup (240 mL) of heavy cream in a recipe.

This can be adjusted depending on how thick or creamy the result needs to be.

It’s also important to ensure that when combining these ingredients, any lumps from the butter are fully blended for sauces or dishes made with this substitute to have a smooth texture. 

Whole milk and butter can effectively stand in for heavy cream when baking.

Further, when added properly, they help give baked goods an extra rich flavor without being too overwhelming in fat content.

11. Soy Milk and Olive Oil

Soy milk and olive oil make the best substitutes for heavy cream also. Soy milk is made from ground, soaked soybeans that are boiled and strained to produce an all-natural, lactose-free dairy alternative that contains significantly less fat than heavy cream.

It is a great substitute for creamy dishes such as sauces, soups, and mashed potatoes. Olive oil is another alternative to heavy cream that works especially well in baking recipes.

It has a rich flavor profile and the health benefits of consuming extra virgin olive oil, including anti-inflammatory properties, cancer prevention, and cardiovascular protection. 

Both soy milk and olive oil are healthy alternatives to heavy cream as they contain fewer calories, with olive oil being completely fat-free.

With these versatile ingredients at your disposal, you can easily substitute them into recipes in place of heavy cream while still achieving similar results.

12. Cream Cheese + Water

Cream cheese + water is a delicious and versatile ingredient used in various recipes to create creamy and delicious dishes.

It is an ideal substitute for heavy cream, as it has a similar texture, and its rich flavor adds depth to any dish.

Cream cheese is made from cow’s milk and contains more fat than most other types of cheese.

Its higher fat content provides a smooth and luxurious texture when whipped into dressings or sauces, making it perfect for substituting heavy cream.

It can be used for baked goods such as cakes, muffins, or cookie bars if you don’t have any cream.

This method works best if a liquid-based recipe calls for heavy cream, as the fat content helps provide the necessary moisture needed for baking. 

If using water, add 1-2 tablespoons of oil along with the water so that some additional fat is added to the mixture – this will help ensure that your cakes or cookies still turn out moist and fluffy after baking.

Additionally, adding cornstarch to thicken sauces or dressings created with water as an alternative to heavy cream can help achieve similar results. Still, want to know more best substitutes for heavy cream? Read further…

13. Coconut Cream

Speaking of not only amazing but the best substitutes for heavy cream, offering all the same richness, texture, and velvety mouthfeel you would expect, is coconut cream. It’s also a great vegan alternative or dairy-free ingredient.

Coconut cream is made by blending coconut flesh with water – freshly boiled mature coconuts or canned coconut milk – and then straining the liquid. 

This results in a thick, rich, creamy paste-like consistency that is perfect for use in everything from curries to desserts.

When using coconut cream as a substitute for heavy cream, it’s important to remember that it will add more of a tropical flavor to whatever dish you’re making.

Still, it provides all the fat (and even additional beneficial vitamins and minerals) you would expect with heavy cream while being much lower in calories. 

Additionally, like all other coconut milk and creams, coconut cream is lactose and cholesterol free!

All of this makes it one of the best substitutes for heavy cream when it comes to both nutritional value and taste.

14. Greek Yogurt and Whole Milk

Greek yogurt and whole milk are great alternatives to heavy cream. Greek yogurt is a perfect substitute for a cream with the same creamy texture but a much lower fat content.

It is also loaded with protein and calcium, helping to provide essential nutrients.

Additionally, it’s thicker than other types of yogurt and can easily be added to sauces or desserts instead of cream. 

Whole milk is another healthy and creamy alternative to heavy cream. While it may not produce the same richness and thickness as heavy cream, it can lighten up some recipes while contributing to a smooth consistency.

Whole milk also has fewer calories per ounce than heavy cream and is low in fat compared to other dairy products like ice cream or cheese.

Furthermore, whole milk can easily be frothed up with an espresso machine or added to coffee drinks instead of heavy cream for an indulgent treat without too much guilt!

We’ll draw the curtains on the best substitutes for heavy cream here!


It’s no secret that heavy cream is a popular recipe component for cooking and baking. But don’t panic if you run out of it!

There are various additional and best substitutes for heavy cream you can use in its stead, whether you’re seeking an excellent coffee creamer substitute or a heavy cream substitute for a recipe you’re working on.

If you open your fridge and discover you’re out of this dairy delicacy, check out our comprehensive list of best substitutes for heavy cream above.

Some are combinations of items that can be used in place of heavy cream, while others on this list are individual products that can be purchased at the grocery store.

Whatever heavy cream substitute you choose, those options above have you covered.

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