The velvety texture and richness of heavy cream elevates many of my favorite dishes. But if heavy cream isn’t for you, you don’t have any on hand or you are simply looking for healthier or lactose-free alternatives? I’ve got you! This post dives into various substitutes for heavy cream, ensuring that your recipes always hit the mark!
Common Options: Half-and-half, whole milk, and evaporated milk.
Dairy is often the first go-to for many when it comes to mimicking the creamy texture of heavy cream. Here’s how our dairy substitutes work:
- Half-and-half – A blend of equal parts milk and cream! This is creamier than milk but not quite as thick as heavy cream. This will work well in soups, sauces, and coffees.
- Whole milk – This can be used as a replacement with our without the addition of butter. If you’re looking to keep the creamy texture, pair with butter. Because of this, it is ideal for baking and making light sauces.
- Evaporated milk – Evaporated milk has 60% of its water content removed, offering a concentrated milk flavor. It’s perfect for pies, desserts, and creamy dishes (I like to use it in mashed potatoes!)
Key Options: Coconut milk, almond milk, and soy milk.
Plant-based alternatives to heavy cream are great for those who follow vegan or lactose-free diets, but they’re also a great way to bring in additional flavor to your dish.
- Coconut milk – This possesses a distinct tropical flavor and is ideal for curries, soups, and desserts.
- Almond milk – When using almond milk, make sure to choose one that is unflavored! This can provide a nutty undertone and is super light. This works great in smoothies, cereals, and some baking recipes.
- Soy milk– You won’t find additional flavors with soy milk. It is neutral and versatile, making it a great substitute in both savory and sweet dishes.
Go-tos: Greek yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese.
Sometimes, it’s all about achieving that lush consistency and these substitutes won’t leave you hanging!
- Greek yogurt – Tangy and thick, this is excellent for dressings, marinades, and in certain baking recipes.
- Sour cream – When you’re using sour cream, you will notice a slight tartness. But it can be added to soups, dips, and baked goods extremely well to add moisture to whatever you’re making!
- Cream cheese – This is dense, rich, and well, creamy! Cream cheese is PERFECT for frostings, cheesecakes, and thick sauces.
Vegan and Lactose-Free Alternatives
Top Picks: Cashew cream, oat milk, and silken tofu.
For those eschewing dairy or embracing veganism:
- Cashew cream – Aptly named, this is made from blended soaked cashews and is incredibly creamy and versatile.
- Oat milk – This is naturally sweet and great for coffees, cereals, and sauces of all kinds!
While heavy cream may be a staple in many kitchens, it isn’t always a good fit for everyone’s dietary needs (or what’s in their fridge!). But don’t worry – you don’t have to pass up a recipe just because it calls for heavy cream! Give these potential substitutes for heavy cream a try and you’re bound to find one that suits your dietary needs, preferences, and desired flavor profile. Good luck!