How to Make Heavy Cream

This post contains affiliate links including Amazon affiliate links.

A lot of recipes call for heavy cream, but it is not an ingredient that very many people have in their refrigerators. If you don’t want to make an extra trip to the store, you can learn how to make heavy cream with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.

You might be allergic to dairy or eat a vegan diet. There are some options for you as well. Making heavy cream is quite simple. 

A glass pitcher filled with milk and a glass tea cup filled with heavy cream.
Photo credit: Pixlr AI image

Why heavy cream is necessary

Here are a few reasons you need heavy cream:

  • It helps thicken soups; because of its higher fat content, it won’t curdle.
  • It also helps thicken sauces.
  • Heavy cream can be used to make whipped cream. Because of its higher fat content, it will whip up with firm peaks.
  • Many ice cream recipes call for heavy cream. It makes ice cream creamier.
  • Frosting recipes often require heavy cream as well.
Heavy cream being poured into a glass bowl with pumpkin pie filling ingredients and a pie crust in the background.
Photo credit: Depositphotos Sarahdoow

Homemade Heavy Cream

It doesn’t matter if you are cooking, baking or making ice cream, these heavy cream substitutes will do the trick. 

A brick of butter cut into smaller pieces with a knife.
Photo credit: Unsplash Sorin Gheorghita

Milk and Butter

Milk and butter work well as a substitute in soups, baked goods, and casseroles. It’s not a great replacement when making whipped cream, though. Melt a quarter of a cup of butter and whisk in three-quarters of a cup of whole milk until smooth. This will replace one cup of heavy cream.


Half-and-half is half heavy cream and half whole milk so you won’t notice much of a difference in soups and sauces. It isn’t a good substitute in baked goods because the fat in heavy cream adds structure. Use the same amount of half-and-half as you would heavy cream.

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is shelf stable and has twice the fat of whole milk. It is great to use in soups and casseroles. Use the same amount of evaporated milk as you would heavy cream.

A cup with scoops of dairy-free chocolate ice cream and a plate with a spoon.
Photo credit: Carol Lovett

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream works with vegan, paleo, and keto diets. It works best in desserts. Let the can of coconut cream chill in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, drain the liquid and scoop out the cream that’s left. One cup of coconut cream replaces one cup of heavy cream. Be careful not to use cream of coconut, which is sweetened. 

Cream Cheese

Cream cheese works best in frostings, sauces, soups, or dips. It does not work well in recipes that require whipping, but you can beat it with a little confectioner’s sugar to make a dessert topping. It just won’t be as light and airy as heavy cream. One cup of cream cheese replaces one cup of heavy cream. You can thin it out with a little bit of water or milk, but you don’t have to. 

Light Cream

Light cream has a much lower fat content (about 20 percent compared to 36 to 40 percent in heavy cream), so it does not have enough fat to create a fluffy texture. It works well in coffee and creamy soups. One cup of light cream replaces one cup of heavy cream. 

Dairy Free Caramelized Onion Dip in a bowl with chips.
Photo credit: Ditch the Wheat

Sour Cream

Sour cream works best in savory recipes like chilis, soups, dressings, dips, and sauces. It won’t work in recipes that require whipping. One cup of sour cream replaces one cup of heavy cream. 

Soy Milk and Olive Oil

This combination works best in casseroles, soups, and pasta sauces. Stir together two-thirds of a cup of soy milk and one-third of a cup of olive oil to replace one cup of heavy cream. You can also use plain almond milk instead of soy milk.

“I favor a quick and easy method of skimming the cream off the top of fresh milk once it sits overnight in the fridge. All you need is a ladle or large spoon, depending on how much milk there is. Start by separating the cream into a clean glass container or bottle for storage if you don’t plan to use it right away. Keep scooping carefully until the milk peeks through. Watch out for the cream line, you’ll see the texture and color change when you reach the milk.”

— Jessica Haggard, Primal Edge Health

Cupcakes with Whipped frosting and lime zest.
Photo credit: Unsplash Rodolfo Marques

Whipped Dessert Topping

Whipped dessert topping can be used in icebox cakes, pies, and other no-bake treats. For every cup of heavy cream called for in your recipe, substitute two cups of whipped dessert topping, such as Cool Whip


Tofu works well for thickening soups and sauces. Purée firm or extra-firm silken tofu and use it as a one-for-one substitute for heavy cream. 

Greek Yogurt

Full-fat plain Greek yogurt can be used in mashed potatoes as well as creamy soups and sauces. Make sure to add it once off the heat to prevent curdling. It can be thinned with whole milk to more closely resemble the texture of heavy cream. One cup of Greek yogurt replaces one cup of heavy cream.

Heavy Cream Powder

Heavy cream powder is a shelf-stable option that can be stored in the pantry. Once reconstituted with water, it can be used in baked goods, soups, sauces, and smoothies. One cup of heavy cream powder replaces one cup of heavy cream. 


Mascarpone cheese is thick and its texture closely resembles heavy cream. It can be used in sauces, soups, stews, and baked goods. To thin it out, add a little bit of whole milk. One cup of mascarpone replaces one cup of heavy cream. 

Keep in mind

The texture, thickness, and/or taste of the original recipe will most likely be different when using a heavy cream substitute. Play around with different substitutes and find one you like. Don’t be afraid to try something new. 

This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.

More Food Substitution Ideas

Homemade Heavy Cream Recipe

Yield: 1 cup

Homemade Heavy Cream

Heavy cream being poured into a glass bowl with pumpkin pie filling ingredients and a pie crust in the background.

How to make heavy cream with two ingredients you have in your kitchen so you'll always have heavy cream. Dairy-free options are included.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1/4 cup melted butter, unsalted
  • 3/4 cup whole milk


  1. Add the melted butter and whole milk to a bowl.
  2. Whisk the two ingredients together until smooth.


This recipe replaces 1 cup of heavy cream that can be used in soups, baked goods, and casseroles. Please refer to the article for ideas on what to use in different recipes.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519Total Fat: 52gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 85mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 6g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

DISCLOSURE: Not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations is at the choice and risk of the reader. Ditch the Wheat is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only endorse products that I believe in.

An image of Heidi Bruaw wearing a grey shirt.
Heidi Bruaw
Real Life of Lulu | Website | + posts

Heidi is a Certified Elementary School Teacher in the Inland Northwest and has been teaching for 17 years. She is also a vintage recipe blogger at RealLifeofLulu.com, where she focuses on recipes that are at least 50 years old, many from her grandparents’ kitchens. When she isn’t teaching or baking, she loves spending time with her husband and three kids.

Gluten Free Resources

Do you need help with gluten free meals?
I recommend this meal-planning app. It makes cooking gluten free dinners extremely easy and family-friendly.
What gluten free snacks can I eat?
Lots! I have a ton of practical gluten free snack recipes in my cookbook.
How can I eat dessert on a gluten free diet?
You can 100% eat dessert while eating gluten free. Try my dessert cookbook for easy gluten free dessert recipes.
How do I know what is gluten free and what isn’t?
I have a whole section is it gluten free?
How do I make substitutions?
If you need substitution advice I created a ton of resources here.

A plate with a blue rim that is filled with monster energy balls.

No Bake Monster Balls

A baking sheet with 12 oatmeal raisin balls on it.

4-Ingredient Oatmeal Raisin Balls

Sheet pan nachos with salsa and sour cream.

A Nacho Bar Party Is The Party Trend You Need To Try!

No Added Sugar Popsicles Ditch the Wheat

7 Popsicle Recipes with No Added Sugar

THE BEST Dairy-Free Mint Chip Ice Cream - coconut milk, mint and chocolate chips! It's so delicious! THE BEST Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream!!! paleo ice cream, keto ice cream, keto dairy free ice cream, dairy free ice cream, dairy free ice cream, Vegan ice cream, vegan ice cream #paleoicecream #dairyfreeicecream #ketoicecream #veganicecream

Dairy Free Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Two white bowls with crispy garlicky kale chips covered in Parmesan cheese.

Crispy Garlicky Kale Chips

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *