Substitutes for Heavy Cream

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

Last updated:

Heavy cream is such a gem, right? That mild sweetness and smooth texture are surely the dynamic duo behind those airy peaks, a must-have buddy for all my winning dessert creations!

Substitutes for Heavy Cream

But hey, we all have those days when heavy cream is nowhere to be found, and heading out to buy more just isn’t an option. No need to put aside your baking adventures, by the way, because I’ve got not just one or two – but a whopping 10 incredible heavy cream substitutes that can step up for your recipes! 

Let’s check each of them out, shall we?

Understanding Your Heavy Cream

Heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream, as most of my baking friends love to call it) is a thick, luxurious dairy product loaded with fat content. It’s usually produced from fresh or pasteurized milk, separated from the lighter skim milk during cream skimming. 

Whipped Cream

Its richness (obviously thanks to the fat content) makes all your cake-whipping adventures quite a breeze. Trust me; this guy will give you those stable, lovely peaks that work extremely well for dessert toppings like whipped cream or mousse! 

It’s not just always about baking. Some bakers love stirring in a secret swirl of heavy cream into their coffee, tea, or even hot chocolate for that extra decadent touch. Who can blame them, though? The taste is pure heaven!

What Can I Substitute For Heavy Cream?

You can combine whole milk with butter or margarine, mix half-and-half with melted butter, or go dairy-free with olive oil and soy milk. Cornstarch and milk make a low-fat alternative, while milk and Greek yogurt add much more richness to the recipe! 

Other options are just as amazing: soy milk and silken tofu for a vegan take, creamy evaporated milk, Milk and cottage cheese, or coconut cream with a flavor twist. Cream cheese also rocks but might not whip well, so pick your recipes wisely.

1. Whole Milk and Unsalted Butter

Whole Milk and Unsalted Butter

Short on heavy cream in recipes? Then just grab a mix of whole milk and butter!

For each cup (or 237 ml) of heavy cream the recipe needs, grab ¾ cup (or 180 ml) of whole milk and ¼ cup (or 57 g) of butter. Leave the butter on your counter until it hits room temperature, then whisk it into the whole milk. Easy peasy! 

But what if margarine is all you’ve got? No worries! Mix ¼ cup (or 59 mL) of melted margarine and ¾ cup (or 180 mL) of milk for a quick heavy cream replacement that’ll save the day.

Overall, this combo certainly won’t whip up as well as heavy cream, but it’s a fantastic swap for nearly any other recipe you’re cooking up (well, except for a whipped cream finish). And by the way, I do have some bad news for my vegan fellas: this butter-milk mixture clearly won’t fit in! 

2. Half-and-Half and Unsalted Butter

Unsalted Butter

A blend of half-and-half and butter – truly an awesome substitute for heavy whipping cream! Here’s the scoop: mix your half-and-half and melted butter at a 7:1 ratio. Let’s say your recipe asks for 1 cup (or 237 ml) of heavy cream; simply combine ⅞ cup (or 210 ml) of half-and-half and ⅛ cup (or 30ml) of melted butter. 

This versatile swap can fit smoothly into any recipe you have in mind. And the best part? Unlike the milk-butter version, it works like a charm for whipped cream dishes this time!

3. Olive Oil and Soy Milk

Olive Oil and Soy Milk

Are you looking for a dairy-free, vegan swap? Olive oil and soy milk spell magic! 

Just like our beloved butter and milk combo, olive oil will kick in that extra fat content to the soy milk, giving you a wonderful texture and flavor quite close to heavy cream. To create the same thickness of 1 cup (or 237 ml) of heavy cream, just blend ⅓ cup (79 ml) of olive oil and ⅔ cup (or 159 ml) of soy milk!

This whipping cream substitute works wonders in baking and cooking alike. But remember, it doesn’t and will never whip up like real heavy cream, so do not throw it into recipes that require that airy, whipped texture! 

4. Cornstarch and Milk


A neat combo to consider if you’re seeking a low-calorie, low-fat alternative. We will use cornstarch to thicken the milk, mimicking that familiar heavy cream texture.

For every 1 cup of heavy cream you need in the recipe, here’s the hack: add 2 tablespoons (or 19 grams) of your cornstarch into 1 cup of milk (237 ml). Give it a good stir, and let the mix thicken up.

Even better, you’ve got options here. Whether you choose skim milk or whole milk, both will cut down on the fat content and calories in your precious dish.

This option mixes well in both baking and cooking (and is a surprising superstar for the latter), a two-way ticket to creamy heaven! But be warned: it might change the texture of your baked goods a little bit.

5. Milk and Greek Yogurt

Milk and Greek Yogurt

Blend milk and Greek yogurt to thicken the flavor, and there you go!

Let me tell you how: When your recipe craves that ½ cup (or 188.5 ml) of heavy cream, just mix ¼ cup of milk (59 ml) and ¼ cup of Greek yogurt (59 ml) together. Once blended, add this creamy combo right into your recipe.

Baked treats aside, this combo also fluffs extremely well in sauces and creamy soups. Keep this trick in your culinary toolbox whenever you yearn for that rich, thickened consistency! 

6. Soy Milk and Silken Tofu

Soy Milk and Silken Tofu

Much like its regular tofu cousin, Silken tofu starts off as condensed soy milk shaped into those familiar solid blocks. But here’s where it gets interesting: silken tofu brings a much softer consistency to the table, making it an excellent high-protein, dairy-free alternative to heavy cream.

To make this creamy substitute for cream, blend soy milk into your silken tofu in a 1:1 ratio. If soy milk isn’t your jam, no problem! Sometimes, I just opt for regular milk or any other plant-based milk in my fridge. 

Next, blend everything together like a pro using a food processor or immersion blender until you feel that luscious, thick, creamy texture. Finally, swap this blend for an equal measure of heavy whipping cream in your treasured baking recipes. 

But wait, there’s more! Add a little sugar or vanilla extract, and voila! You’ve got yourself a self-made, vegan whipped topping ready to transform your savory dishes. How cool is that?

7. Evaporated Milk

Evaporated Milk

Now, let’s talk about evaporated milk! This buddy is like regular milk but with much less water content, which makes it creamier and way thicker. You should find it hanging out comfortably in any can on the kitchen’s shelf!  

And the clever bit: it can step in as a lower-calorie heavy whipping cream substitute in certain baking recipes. Some brands even boost it with extra vitamin D and nutrients.

For a seamless swap, go one-to-one: substitute your cream with the same amount of milk. And if you’re whipping up a dessert, a dash of vanilla extract can sweeten the deal just right.

After some trial and error, I realized evaporated milk only works great as a substitute for recipes that only require heavy cream as a liquid (thankfully, that’s basically almost every bread and cookie recipe). Other than that, proceed at your own risk! 

8. Milk and Cottage Cheese

Milk and Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese, made from cow’s milk curds, isn’t just a protein powerhouse. This baby is also loaded with micronutrients, a healthy and excellent replacement for heavy cream!

Cottage cheese can be a wonderful heavy cream alternative when you’re flying solo in your baking adventures, especially in recipes that crave that extra density. Just blitz it with a food processor or immersion blender to smoothen it out perfectly.

Now, for that velvety vibe: let the milk join the party. Mix equal parts of both, then blend until it’s lump-free, and voila – magic! I often bring this delightful match to cake formulas with slightly cheesy flavors. 

But hey, cottage cheese may pack a bit more sodium than you would like. So, if you’re keeping an eye on salt intake, consider opting for a lower-sodium version or tweak the salt a little in the recipe to keep the flavors in perfect harmony. 

9. Cream of Coconut

coconut cream

Coconut cream is every kitchen’s all-in-one tool, especially if you’re exploring a vegan route instead of heavy cream.

And you’ve got choices here – either snag it ready-made or whip up some at home, all DIY. For the latter, just pop some full-fat coconut milk into the refrigerator overnight, then pour the liquid into a separate container the next day. What’s left will be that thick, lush coconut cream, ready to scoop out and be your heavy cream stand-in!

Replace heavy cream with an equal amount of coconut cream, and now you can get creative with all your baking recipes and desserts. Oh, and sometimes, I even use it to whip up mouth-watering coconut-flavor ice cream or turn it into a lovely topping layer for my sweet treats.

Note: While coconut cream mimics heavy cream in many ways, it might tinker with the taste. So, only stick to recipes that dance well with coconut tastes for the best results!

10. Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese

And how can we forget cream cheese, that bubbly blend of cream and milk that everyone adores? While it’s often the star on bagels (and the secret behind my heavenly cheesecakes), cream cheese also pulls off a fantastic stint as a replacement for heavy cream in some recipes.

How so? This guy will jump in to save the day for your frosting marathons and play an amazing texture enhancer in cream-based dishes. Even better, the cheese matches heavy cream one-to-one, making the swap more than a breeze.

However, note that it’s no sidekick for recipes that require heavy cream to be whipped into a fluffy delight. You should also expect a shift in flavor and texture – something cheesy and much more tangy.


There’s a bunch of heavy cream substitutes out there! Some might say they are not an exact match, but hey, at least your cake still turns out pretty tasty, just with a slight flavor twist.

Remember a few extra tips so these stand-in guys can blend well with the rest of your savory recipe. You wouldn’t want to feel queasy or unwell because of that horrible flavor contrast, would you? So, better play it safe! 

Shoot me a message if you still need more advice.

Share on:
Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

Leave a Comment