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Mar 8, 2005 01:51 AM

Heavy Cream?

  • k

I feel silly for asking this, but I cannot find this info anywhere on the web. When a recipe calls for heavy cream does this mean whipping cream? I cannot find "heavy cream" in my grocery stores, just half & half and whipping cream. Any help is appreciated!

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  1. you can use whipping cream; heavy cream has a higher butterfat content than whipping cream or light cream but they are both neat cream where half and half is of course half milk half cream. just think of it as the richest of the days milking.

    1. Hi Karen-san,

      The creams break down like this:

      half & half - butterfat content between 10.5 - 18%.

      Light cream = coffee cream = table cream - Butterfat content between 18 - 30% fat.

      Light whipping cream = whipping cream - Butterfat content between 30 - 36%.

      Heavy cream = heavy whipping cream - Butterfat content at least 36% fat.

      Source: The Cook's Thesaurus (Linked Below)



      1. In the restaurant industry, you can get either 30% or 40% heavy cream, for about the same price. The 40% is so thick that you don't even have to cook it down. I've only seen one type of heavycream/whipping cream in the grocery store, which is the 30%. Then they have light cream and half and half. I've never used light cream, not even sure what the advantage would be. The 40% is nice if you ever find it (look on the label).

        2 Replies
        1. re: coll

          The 40% cream is called "manufacturing cream" and is only sold by dairies directly to industry.

          1. re: Karl S.

            That explains why I've never been able to find the 40% on the shelves! It's available in the UK as double cream and is absolutely delicious.

        2. c

          This has come up before. Apparently, being able to buy "heavy cream" is a Northeast thing. I can't imagine not having access to it, but it seems the rest of the country does not. You can substitute whipping cream, though try to find whipping cream without added ingredients (stabilizers and what not). The brand of heavy cream I use is 50% butterfat, 40% for their whipping cream.

          3 Replies
          1. re: curiousbaker

            More importantly for flavor, try to find pasteurized rather than ultra-pasteurized. The latter is coming to almost eliminate the former from many markets. Sigh.

            1. re: Karl S.

              It's true. We may have heavy cream, but it's generally ultra-pasteurized. Heck, a lot of the milk available now is ultra-pasteurized. It's terribly depressing.

            2. re: curiousbaker

              And upper Midwest, or at least WI.

            3. Just a note about heavy cream in Southern California > curiousbaker says it is a Northeast thing and Andy P. posts that The Cook's Thesaurus defines heavy cream = heavy whipping cream > we have "heavy whipping cream" in So. California (Alta Dena dairy) and it says on the label it is 5% fat in one tablespoon.

              How can I find out the "percentage of butterfat" then (as it is not listed on the label in exactly those words)? And, the ingredients of the Alta Dena heavy whipping cream lists "heavy cream" and then "skim milk" and that is confusing as to The Cook's Thesaurus.

              Please advise.

              4 Replies
              1. re: kc girl

                Work back from pure fats, such as oils, which are 120 calories per tablespoon, for 100% fat. Divide the fat calories (*not* the total calories) per tablespoon for your cream over 120, and you'll approximate the % of butterfat.

                So, for example heavy cream may have about 50 calories of fat, which is just over 40% butterfat (50/120). Whipping cream tends to have about 40 calories of fat, which is about 33% (40/120). And so on.

                1. re: Karl S.

                  Btw, this is why creamy salad dressings often are lower in calories than classic (not-too-vinegary) vinaigrettes. It's counterintuitive for a lot of people who have been trained to think oil is better than cream in all things....

                  1. re: Karl S.

                    But you can't determine precise % b/fat from nutritional labels since there is a great deal of rounding involved in those numbers. You should be able tell whether something labelled simply "whipping cream" is the light or heavy sort, but I think you can probably assume that if it doesn't say "heavy," it's not.

                  2. re: kc girl

                    I grew up in Southern California and until about three years, you often had the choice of heavy or whipping cream. If you read the label, one had more fat.