Nothing enhances a dish like heavy cream. Rich and decadent, heavy cream is a dairy product made from a butterfat layer skimmed off the top of milk. It contains a high amount of fat, and is used to enrich foods including ice cream, puddings, custards, cakes, soups, sauces, and stews. It is often added to coffee as well. Therefore, most people look for heavy cream substitutes for their daily coffee intake.
In addition to heavy cream, there are other types of cream like whipping cream, heavy whipping cream, and half and half that are also added to enhance the flavor and consistency of certain recipes. So, before we dive into discussing heavy cream substitutes, let’s understand the difference between heavy cream and the other types of cream available in the market.
Heavy Cream vs Whipping Cream
The key difference between heavy cream and whipped cream is the milk fat content. Usually, whipping cream is lighter than heavy cream.
Heavy cream contains between 36 and 40% milk fat while whipping cream has 30% milk fat. As a result, heavy cream holds its shape longer than whipping cream. Heavy whipping cream is another name for heavy cream.
Heavy Cream vs Half and Half
Again, the basic difference between the two is the milk fat content. Half and half contains equal parts of whole milk and light cream. It contains only 10 to 12% of fat, which is less than the fat content of heavy cream.
Thus, we can conclude that heavy cream is the most fattening of all the creams, and to consume it frequently is not good for both weight and overall health. Therefore, heavy cream substitutes are recommended for those who like extra cream in their daily beverages, like latte or cappuccino. Enjoying a spoonful of heavy cream on your custard, coffee, or cake once in a few months should be fine.
Heavy Cream Nutrition Facts
As we know, heavy cream is calorie-rich and has high amounts of saturated fat. It is extremely dangerous to people with high cholesterol, and should be avoided by those who are trying to lose a couple of pounds. There are some nutrients in heavy cream like good fats, vitamins A and D, as well as traces of other vitamins.
Heavy cream is also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and protein. However, we can get all these nutrients in many other food sources. So, why opt for something that is loaded with saturated fats, especially when there are healthier options?
Heavy cream contains significantly high amounts of calories and fat. One tablespoon of heavy cream will give you 51 calories and 6 grams of fat, of which 3.5 grams is saturated fat. The other harmful element in heavy cream is cholesterol. One cup of heavy cream contains 164 grams cholesterol, which is 55% of the recommended daily intake. So, heavy cream is not good for patients with cardiac disorders, hypertension, and diabetes. Even if you don’t have any of these ailments, you should not consume heavy cream frequently as it may lead to obesity, weight gain, and other health-related conditions.
The unwanted calories and fat content will quickly take hold of your body. But that isn’t to say that you cannot enjoy your creamy Alfredo pasta, or some dessert with cream toppings. You can choose to replace the heavy cream with healthy heavy cream substitutes.
10 Healthy and Simple Heavy Cream Substitutes
Heavy cream is an integral part of many delicious recipes as it enhances the taste and texture of the dishes. However, the fat content of heavy cream is a concerning matter, because over a period of time, the saturated fat accumulated on the linings of blood vessels may culminate into serious health problems. So for these reasons, it is advisable to swap the heavy cream with healthy and simple heavy cream substitutes.
For a heavy cream recipe substitute, whip 1% milk with a stick blender. Add some stevia sweetener to the whipped milk. This heavy cream recipe substitute will be frothy in texture and not as thick as typical heavy cream.
These heavy cream substitutes are much healthier and ideal to be added to pasta, soups, and sauces.
1. Milk and butter
This combination is simple and made from easily available ingredients. Take ¹⁄3 cup of unsalted butter and melt it. Add ¾ cup of low-fat milk and one tablespoon flour. Whisk the ingredients well.
2. Greek yogurt
This is thicker and healthier than regular yogurt. Combine equal parts of Greek yogurt and milk, and stir well. For extra thickness, add a small amount of heavy cream.
Tip: While using Greek yogurt as a heavy cream substitute in cheesecake, use low heat. This is to prevent the yogurt from curdling.
3. Low-fat cream cheese
For soups and sauces, use low-fat cream cheese. It provides the same consistency with less calories and fat.
Tip: Use half a cup of low-fat cream cheese for one cup of heavy cream. Cream cheese is a bit sour so avoid using it in sweet dishes.
4. Cottage cheese and milk
Prepare this heavy cream substitute by mixing equal amounts of cottage cheese with non-fat milk powder or skim milk. Stir well until a smooth consistency is achieved.
5. Skim milk and cornstarch
This mixture is also an excellent heavy cream substitute. Mix a cup of skim milk with two tablespoons cornstarch. Combine them well until the mixture thickens.
6. Evaporated milk and vanilla extract
Chill the evaporated milk in the refrigerator. Add a few drops of vanilla to it and whisk until the desired taste and texture is reached.
If you want to make this at home, heat whole milk and bring it to boil. Reduce the heat and stir continuously. The water in the milk will evaporate and will become slightly thicker and creamy.
It becomes more creamy once it has cooled. You can add vanilla extract or a sweetener to this. Add a spoonful of this to your recipe. It is fresh, healthier than heavy cream, and delicious.
Dairy-Free Heavy Cream Substitutes
7. Tofu and soy milk
For vegans, a tofu and soy milk combination can make the ultimate heavy cream substitute. Blend tofu and unflavored soy milk in a blender. This combination is the healthiest of all the heavy cream substitutes because of the nutritional contents of soy and tofu.
If you are allergic to dairy, then here’s a wonderful dairy-free healthy heavy cream substitute. Take one cup of cashew nuts and add one cup of water. With an electric mixer, blend them the mixture until smooth.
To achieve a thicker consistency, add more cashew nuts than water. You can substitute almonds for cashew nuts as well. This will further increase its nutritional value.
9. Coconut cream
Allow the coconut milk to sit for some time. It will take half an hour for the coconut cream to settle above the milk. Skim the cream and use it as a 1:1 ratio for a heavy cream substitute.
10. Oat Supreme
Made specifically to replace cream, Oat Supreme is a non-dairy product used widely by vegans. Most of the heavy cream substitutes lack the thick consistency of heavy cream.
Oat Supreme surpasses the other heavy cream substitutes in this regard. For recipes that demand extra thickness, Oat Supreme is an ideal whipped cream replacement. It is easily available in the market and can be used directly from the packet.
Make Your Own Heavy Cream Substitute
You can prepare heavy cream substitutes at home. It’s simple and easy to make with minimum ingredients. Here’s a simple recipe to make heavy cream substitutes.
- ¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
- ¹⁄3 cup (75 g) butter
Start by melting the butter on the stove or in a microwave. Microwave melting will take only 10 seconds, whereas if you are melting it over the stove, then keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Remove and let it cool.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the melted butter and whole milk. Add a tablespoon of flour and mix it well with an electric mixer. The consistency should be smooth and thick.
You can store the homemade cream for a couple of days in the refrigerator.
Heavy cream is loaded with saturated fats that are made of long-chain fatty acids. These long-chain fatty acids are easily broken down inside the body and quickly converted to cholesterol. This isn’t for our cardiovascular system, as the high amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream leads to excess deposition of fats in the lining of the arteries, the heart, and also throughout the body.
As a result, the arteries get blocked causing atherosclerosis, a condition that creates many heart-related problems. These include cerebrovascular disease (increases the risk of stroke or a transient ischemic attack), peripheral artery disease (progressive hardening and narrowing of the arteries in the legs and arms), arrhythmia (abnormal heart rates or rhythms), and angina (chest pain on exertion).
In conclusion, to reduce all the potential health hazards, it is better to adopt a healthy lifestyle and replace heavy cream with healthy heavy cream substitutes.
Hill, G., “Dairy Free Heavy Cream Substitutes,” LEAFtv website; https://www.leaf.tv/articles/dairy-free-heavy-cream-substitutes/, last accessed March 1, 2017
“Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis,” Mayo Clinic website; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/arteriosclerosis-atherosclerosis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20167022, last accessed March 1, 2017