What Is Heavy Cream and How Do You Substitute for It in Recipes?

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Heavy cream is a whipping cream that has a milk fat content between 36 and 40 percent. It is a chef staple for use in sauces, cakes, soups and beverages. There are several substitution options to use instead of heavy cream in a recipe, including Greek yogurt and cream cheese.

A lower fat alternative that can take the place of heavy cream is low-fat half and half. It has fewer calories and less fat than heavy cream. To substitute half and half for 1 cup of heavy cream in a recipe, use 1/6 cup of butter and 7/8 cup of half and half. Melt the butter first and then stir in the half and half.

Another healthy alternative is Greek yogurt. To substitute Greek yogurt, use equal amounts of whole milk and Greek yogurt to substitute for the amount of heavy cream in the recipe. Use low heat when cooking with Greek yogurt because it tends to curdle quickly.

Another substitute is a combination of milk and butter. Melt 1/3 cup of unsalted butter and add to 3/4 cup of milk. When using low-fat milk, it is necessary to add 1 tablespoon of flour to thicken.

Low-fat cream cheese can substitute for whipping cream by using 1/2 cup of cream cheese for each cup of whipping cream.