2-Ingredient Heavy Cream Substitute

Heavy cream substitute recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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.


Click Play to See This Heavy Cream Substitute Come Together


  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter


Gather the ingredients.

Ingredients for heavy cream substitute
​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Melt the butter: You can melt the butter on the stove, constantly stirring 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. 

​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Cool melted butter, pour into the milk, and stir.

Whisk together
​The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

How to Use Heavy Cream Substitutes

Use one cup of your substitute in place of one cup of heavy cream.

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. If you used low-fat milk, your mixture would be a bit thinner than you want it to be. You can add a tablespoon of flour to thicken it.

Heavy cream substitute recipe
The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

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, 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 than 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 in the freezer for a little while before using. 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.

illustration showing heavy cream substitutes
The Spruce / Alison Czinkota

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

If you 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.

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. 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.