Creamy sauces, savory soups, buttery ice cream, fluffy cakes, topping on pies, coffee, and pancakes – heavy cream is truly a staple ingredient for cooking and baking scrumptious dishes. It is a must-have ingredient in all kitchens. The catch? It is high in calories. Fortunately, there are various healthy alternatives you can use in almost all recipes. This article highlights some healthy substitutes for heavy cream, both dairy and non-dairy options.
Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
Following are some healthy dairy substitutes for heavy cream:
Whole milk is the best heavy cream alternative. It has about 3.5% fat content, making it a healthier version. It works as a great replacement for cream in mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. You can also stir it in a bowl of warm oatmeal.
Butter with Milk
This combination is a popular and the simplest substitute for heavy cream. You can combine milk and butter to use in baked goods and cooking. Here is how:
- Start by melting ¼ cup of unsalted butter on low heat.
- Pour in ¾ cup of milk while stirring constantly.
- Keep stirring till the mixture combines well.
You can use this in place of one cup of heavy cream for whatever recipe you are making. In case the mixture is not thick enough, you can add one to two teaspoons of cornflour to it.
This cheese is made using the curds of milk. It has a higher amount of micronutrients and protein, which makes it a great healthy replacement for heavy cream. You can use cottage cheese alone in various recipes to add thickness to the dishes.
If you need a creamier and smoother texture, then combine cottage cheese with milk. All you need to do is blend equal parts of milk and cottage cheese. Keep blending until all lumps are removed from the mixture.
Make sure to use cottage cheese in dishes that are compatible with the cheese flavor, like sauces and savory soups. Cottage cheese also has a high amount of sodium. Make sure to reduce the quantity of cottage cheese you use or adjust the salt amount in the overall recipe.
Skim Milk and Cornflour
Skim milk is another healthy option you can replace heavy cream with since it is fat-free. You can combine it with cornflour to get the thickness of cream. Here is how:
- Heat one cup of skim milk.
- Add two tablespoons of cornflour to it, stirring the mixture continuously.
You can also add the milk and flour to the blender and blend until you get the thickness you want for your recipe.
Combining whole milk and Greek yogurt is another healthier version of heavy cream. The high amount of protein in the yogurt helps increase the overall protein content of the recipe. Since Greek yogurt is thick in consistency, milk is needed to attain the right texture.
Blend equal amounts of milk and Greek yogurt until the right thickness is achieved. This substitute is ideal for dishes like sauces and soups. Avoid using it for desserts and baked good because it won’t have the same flavor or tenderness as heavy cream due to the low amount of fat in Greek yogurt.
Half-and-Half with Butter
Half-and-half is made using cream and whole milk and has one-third amount of fat of heavy cream. That makes it another healthy substitute for use in soups and sauces.
When you add butter to half-and-half, it enhances the fat percentage, making it suitable for desserts and baked goods.
To substitute one cup of heavy milk, combine 29 grams of melted butter and 232 grams of half-and-half cream.
Vanilla Extract and Evaporated Milk
There are two ways to use this combination in place of heavy cream.
The first method:
- Place the evaporated milk in the fridge for a few hours.
- Put some drops of vanilla essence.
- Whisk the mixture until it reaches the desired texture and taste.
The second method:
- Place whole milk on the stove and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat and keep stirring the mixture. The water quantity of the milk will start evaporating, making the mixture creamy and thick.
- Set it aside to cool down. The mixture will become creamier after cooling down.
- Once it has cooled down, add a few drops of vanilla extract to it.
This combination is a healthier and more delicious substitute for heavy cream.
Non-Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
If you prefer non-dairy options, then you can use the following substitutes:
Tofu and Soy Milk
The combination of soy milk and tofu makes an ideal vegan substitute for heavy cream. All you have to do is blend unflavored soy milk and tofu until the preferred consistency and texture is achieved. This mixture is one of the healthiest heavy cream replacements due to the high nutritional content of both tofu and soy.
Another great non-dairy heavy cream substitute is cashew cream. It is creamy and rich and can be used for almost all heavy cream recipes. Here is how you can make cashew cream:
- Raw cashews – 1 ½ cups
- Water – 3 ½ cups
- Water to soak the cashews
- Soak the cashews in water for three to eight hours.
- Drain the water and thoroughly rinse the cashews in cold water. There might be a layer of slimy oiliness around the cashews. Just properly rinsing it will remove it.
- Toss in all the cashews in the blender.
- Pour in 3 ½ cups water.
- Blend on high speed for around two minutes to create a mixture.
In case the cashews don’t get fully pureed, you can use a fine-mesh strainer to strain them and blend again. For achieving thicker consistency, you can add more cashews without changing the amount of water. This recipe can also be made with almonds for higher nutritional value, making it another good substitute for heavy cream.
Soy Milk and Olive Oil
This option is a vegan version of the butter with milk options mentioned in the dairy substitutes above. You can replace whole milk with soy milk and butter with olive oil.
You can make this mixture by combining two parts of soy milk with one part of olive oil. For instance, if you want to make one cup of heavy cream substitute, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil and 2/3 cup of coy milk.
This cream replicates the texture and flavor of heavy cream and can be used in baking. However, avoid using it as whipping cream. There are other vegan alternatives of butter you can use in place of olive oil as well, like vegan butter.
Nut milk, like hazelnut and almond milk, has become very popular in the past few years. However, many are still unaware of a slightly better option – macadamia milk. You can easily create macadamia cream at home as a replacement for heavy cream.
- Macadamia nuts – 1 cup
- Water – ½ cup
- Vanilla bean paste – ½ tsp
- Start by soaking macadamia nuts in water for at least 20 minutes. This step helps in softening the nuts.
- Drain the water and rinse them.
- Toss the macadamia nuts into the blender.
- Pour in the water and vanilla bean paste (you can also use a few drops of vanilla essence in place of the paste).
- Blend until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency.
This cream is a suitable heavy cream substitute that creates a creamier and thicker texture. You can make coconut cream by mixing four parts of coconut meat with one part of water. However, coconut cream is a lot harder to find than coconut milk. If you have coconut milk, you can combine equal parts of coconut milk and water to create a good substitute for heavy cream.
Heavy cream is an essential ingredient in various dishes, including desserts and sauces. It is highly nutritious, but also includes about 36.1 grams of fat content. The majority of the fat is saturated, and the rest is unsaturated, healthy fat. When this cream is used in moderation, it can be a healthy part of your diet. However, the high amount of saturated fat and calories can prove to be unhealthy.
Fortunately, with these healthy alternatives for heavy cream, you can enjoy your favorite dishes without worrying about the unsaturated content and calories. Most of these substitutes even add nutritional value to various dishes. However, make sure that the replacement you are using is compatible with the overall dish since they can alter the taste and consistency.