2-Ingredient Heavy Cream Substitute

Heavy Cream Substitute
Heavy Cream Substitute. Envision/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Need heavy cream for a recipe you're making? Use this cheap and easy stand-in, so you won't have to run to the store for any. It requires just milk and butter -- two ingredients you probably have in your fridge.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter

Preparation

1. Melt the butter. You can melt the butter on the stove, stirring constantly over medium heat, or melt it in the microwave by heating it for 10 seconds at a time. Cut it into small pieces, so it melts faster. Butter burns easily, so remove it from the heat when most of the butter has melted, and stir until the remaining portion has melted. 

2. Pour the melted butter into the milk, and stir.

3. Then, use your substitute in place of one cup of heavy cream. If you used low-fat milk, your mixture will be a bit thinner than you want it to be. Just add a tablespoon of flour to thicken it.

This will give you a replacement for your heavy cream that has the right flavor, thickness and volume, so it's perfect for use in sauces, casseroles and soups. Just be sure to note that this substitute will not whip, so you'll be deeply disappointed if you try to use it to make ice cream, or whipped cream. If you're working on a recipe that calls for whipping cream, use the substitute below, or buy a bottle of the real thing.

How to Use Half and Half as a Heavy Cream Substitute 

If the heavy cream is being used to add a thick, creamy consistency and flavor to a sauce or pot of soup, half and half can be used in place of the cream. It's just half whole milk and half light cream, so it makes a good stand-in. To make this substitution, simply replace the heavy cream with an equal amount of half and half. It'll cut the calories and fat in your recipe, without sacrificing flavor.

Half and half can also be whipped, but because it contains a lot less fat that heavy cream, it needs to be ice cold to whip. Even then it won't hold stiff peaks, and will be quick to deflate. For the best results, place the half and half, the bowl and the whisk that you plan to use to whip it, in the freeze for a little while. Just don't leave them in there long enough for the half and half to freeze.

Making butter? Unfortunately, half and half won't work as a substitute. You'll need real cream for that.

How to Use Greek Yogurt and Milk to Make a Low-Fat Heavy Cream Substitute

If your don't need your heavy cream substitute to whip, mixing equal parts plain Greek yogurt and milk will also give you excellent results. It'll lend the right creaminess and thickness to your recipe, without adding a bunch of fat. Plain Greek yogurt can also be used as a substitute for sour cream. Keep a container in your fridge, and you'll have several dairy products covered.

Looking for a Heavy Cream Substitute Because Yours Has Been in the Fridge for a While?

Heavy cream has a pretty long shelf life, so it may actually still be good. Here's how to tell if yours is still good.

Never Run Out of Heavy Cream Again

If you never seem to have heavy cream when you need it, buy a carton and freeze it. Here's the best way to freeze cream. Another option is to add a container of powdered heavy cream to your pantry. It works just like powdered milk. Measure out what you need; add water; and you're off and running. Since you can make just the amount you need, there won't be anything to worry about using up or wasting. While you probably won't find this product at the grocery store, it's readily available online, and well worth the purchase.

You Have to Try This

The next time you buy heavy cream, use some of it to make your own sour cream. It puts the store-bought version to shame. Then, use the rest up with these recipes that call for heavy cream.