How to Make Heavy Cream

Heavy cream or heavy whipping cream is a key ingredient in both savory and sweet recipes. Heavy cream can turn everything into a tasty, rich, and creamy pleasure, whether you are making ice cream, cauliflower soup, or Bolognese sauce.

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Heavy whipping cream is not the same as just whipping cream, evaporated milk, or whole milk. It’s much thicker due to 36 to 40 percent of fat content. 

If you are in the middle of a cooking process and have no cream left, don’t worry! You can easily make your own at home with just two simple ingredients. Keep reading and learn how to add a satisfying decadence to basic weeknight meals with homemade heavy cream.

Useful Tips Before Making Your Own Heavy Cream

To make your own heavy cream, you need only two ingredients: milk and butter. If you want to get the best possible results with your cream recipes, follow the tips below:

  • Use only unsalted butter. A salted one will spoil the taste of your whipping cream, so always choose the unsalted option.
  • Before cooking, let your milk and butter come to room temperature to prevent curdling.
  • Don’t use homemade heavy whipping cream in recipes that require whipping.

The Process of Making Homemade Heavy Cream

Now, it’s time to start the cooking process. First, take the butter that has already reached room temperature and melt it. You can do it with at least two proven methods: on the stove or in the microwave. 

When using a microwave, put the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and wait for at least ten seconds until it melts. 

If you are melting the butter on the stove, place it in a heavy saucepan and turn on the low heat to keep it from burning. Butter melts between 82 and 97ºF. Observe it carefully and remove the butter from heat when about 3/4 of it has melted. Finally, take a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and spread the melted butter over the bottom of the saucepan.

For the next stage, take a separate container and a large measuring cup. 

Add one tablespoon of melted butter to the cold whole milk. ( If you prefer milk with a lower fat content or skim milk, you’ll need to add one tablespoon of flour to help your cream thicken.) This vital technique is called “tempering.” Don’t pour all of the melted butter into the milk at once, as it will heat up too fast and curdle. Do everything gradually. 

After that, pour all the tempered milk into the rest of the butter and cook it in low heat mode. Wait until milk starts to steam, stirring it often with a whisk. Mind not letting your milk come to a boil.

The last stage is mixing. The best equipment for this is a blender, but you can also use a food processor, an electric mixer, a handheld whisker, a spoon, or a fork. If you want to get a thick, creamy consistency, do it for a few minutes. Voila! Your own homemade heavy cream is ready. 

How to Store Heavy Whipping Cream?

Like all other dairy products, heavy whipping cream has an expiration date. So it’s important to store it properly. Put the cream into a sealed container, place it in the fridge and store it for no longer than three days. 

If you want to extend the storage time of your cream for a bit longer, move it to the back of the refrigerator instead of the door. 

Don’t freeze your heavy cream. This method will affect the texture of the product.

What Are Other Substitutes for Heavy Whipping Cream?

If your favorite recipe calls for a cup of heavy cream, but you don’t have any in the fridge – no worries! There are plenty of available options that will perfectly substitute your favorite ingredient in any cream recipe. 

The first heavy cream substitute on the list is coconut cream. This is an ideal healthy option for vegans and those having a dairy allergy. It also works well for creating a vegan, dairy-free whipped topping. Coconut cream commonly contains 20% fat. It has a similar creamy richness as heavy whipping cream. However, it has an intense coconut flavor, so consider it when choosing this as a substitute. 

The second option is much-loved greek yogurt. As it’s thicker than heavy cream, try adding a couple of tablespoons of milk to dilute its texture to mimic cream. Don’t use it for whipping, and don’t combine it with hot dishes to avoid curdling.

One more great heavy cream substitute is sour cream. It has a fat content of around 20%, which makes it a good substitute in cases where the sourness doesn’t affect the flavors of the dish. 

You can also sweeten it with confectioners’ sugar and serve it in place of whipped cream.

The Bottom Line

A combination of milk and butter can do wonders. For example, a mind-blowing heavy whipping cream that makes a perfect topping for cakes, pies, cupcakes, cheesecakes, crepes, trifles, and so much more. 

With these two ingredients, you don’t have to make a trip to the store at the peak of the cooking process. Just follow the instructions above and make your own mouth-watering heavy cream. 

If you are looking for good substitutes, the choice is excellent. Greek yogurt with milk, coconut cream, sour cream, and also evaporated milk, cream cheese, or soy milk with olive oil will accompany you in your favorite delicious recipes. Bon appetit!

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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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