HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Vegan (non-dairy) alternative to cream (for a cream sauce)

  • c

I'm lactose intolerant and have been pretty okay with giving up most dairy, but I keep having cravings for pasta with an alfredo or other creamy sauce. I even have a couple of great recipes lined up that I'd like to experiment with, but I have yet to find a good non-dairy cream alternative. I know it won't taste exactly right, but I'm willing to play around with this until I get it right.
Anyone have any good brands to recommend? I live in NYC so I have access to just about everything...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have a recipe for a tofu creme that mimics sour cream. I can post it tonight if you want. I haven't tried it yet, so can't verify how good it is!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Suzanne

      Yes, please do post! Thanks!

    2. If you're interested in a vegan bechamel sauce, there's a pretty good one in The Whole Soy Cookbook. This is actually part of a 'creamed' corn recipe, but you could just use the sauce.

      Soy Bechamel Sauce (paraphrased):
      Over med heat, melt 3 tlbs soy margarine in a saucepan; let it bubble. Gradually add 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, stirring constantly. Cook this for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture becomes pale yellow in color. Then slowly whisk in 2 1/2 cups soy milk (milk should be at room temp before adding it; I wouldn't use FF soy milk for this).

      After adding the soy milk, stir constantly and bring up to a boil; this should take 2-3 minutes, then remove it from the heat. (At this point you'd add the 20 oz. steamed corn for creamed corn.)

      I made a delicious deconstructed asparagus lasagna a few weeks ago w/ a dairy-based bechamel laced with nutmeg. I'll bet that would work wonderfully w/ this sauce, as soy milk has a slightly nutty flavor and would be good w/ the nutmeg and asparagus. If you eat meat, throw a little prosciutto into the lasagna folds when assembling and it would be fantastic.

      1. p
        pecan pie wife

        Years ago, Cooks Illustrated had a recipe for a lowfat alfredo sauce that used roasted garlic as an emulsifier to make up for the fact that lowfat dairy products lack body. It was delicious. I don't have the recipe anymore, but if you like roasted garlic, you could use this idea, combined with some of the other ideas, to give you the creamy texture you're looking for.

        1. If you're not satisfied with the vegan alternatives, I highly recommend goat's milk cream/milk/butter. It's known to go over well with the lactose intolerant.
          I've been buying goat's milk butter from Whole Foods. It is so good with bread in the morning.

          1. I normally use puréed silken tofu. However, Fat-Free Vegan had a recipe using puréed cauliflower that I'm dying to try...

            1. Hi I'm in a similar position to original poster CeeBee I need an alternative to cream for a chocolate cake topping recipe

              Here's recipe from http://howto.yellow.co.nz/food-drink/...

              Chocolate Cream Cake Topping
              This is a sumptuous topping that adds a creamy moistness to any cake.
              1 cup of single cream
              150 grams of dark chocolate
              Place the chocolate in a bain marie and melt over a low heat. If you don’t have a bain marie pour a few inches of water into a large saucepan and place a smaller saucepan so that it’s base sits in the water. Put the chocolate in the smaller saucepan and bring the water to a low boil. If you are tempted to just melt the chocolate in a saucepan over direct heat – don’t. The chocolate will melt, but it will also become stiff and coagulated and its flavour will be impaired.
              Once the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
              Transfer the mixture to a bowl and allow to cool.
              Stirring occasionally during the cooling process will help to keep the topping consistent.
              When the mixture has reached room temperature apply to your cake.

              If anyone has some ideas and brand names I'd greatly appreciate the information.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chocolatelover82

                I think coconut milk or coconut cream would substitute well for the cream. I use it all the time in baking, etc. where dairy is called for. For cream, I use canned unsweetened canned coconut, and for milk I use the stuff in cartons (either shelf-stable or in the dairy cooler).

                I haven't tried it, but Cook's Illustrated had a recipe for coconut whipped cream using coconut cream (not cream of coconut). Looks interesting.

              2. Soak raw cashews in water overnight, drain most of the liquid, then puree in a high-power blender like the Vitamix until smooth. You can do this in a food processor as well, just be aware you'll have to blend, scrape, blend, scrape for awhile until the mixture is totally smooth.

                You might consider x-posting on the Vegetarian & Vegan board.

                1. I have used hemp milk in mac and cheese. I like it better than soy milk. you might also try almond milk

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cheeseisheaven

                    I make a roux; whisk in broth, adding more until the desired consistency is achieved; season for the intended use and go forth!

                  2. Isn't heavy cream low in lactose? And aged cheese? Or how about using Lactaid milk?