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Heavy Cream Alternative

I was just perusing "16 Casseroles for Cold-Weather Dining" on Chow and, while many sound really great, many call for heavy cream. This is not something I normally have on hand and is something I would like to avoid for everyday meals.

Can I substitute half and half (which i normally have on hand) for heavy cream one-for-one? What about using evaporated milk? Anything else that you can offer?

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  1. I'd try nonfat sour cream, or pureed silken tofu.

    1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/513409

      depends on the recipe, but i often use evaporated milk, and many Hounds have said in other threads that they use half & half. things like sour cream and Greek-style yogurt can work too, but once again it depends on the application. you can also "make" your own substitute by combining 2/3 cup milk with 1/3 cup melted butter.

      2 Replies
      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        you can also "make" your own substitute by combining 2/3 cup milk with 1/3 cup melted butter.

        I've never heard of this and will have to give it a try. Wow! I learned something today. Made it worth getting up.

        1. re: al b. darned

          LOL! i don't know whether to be honored or concerned that my little tidbit of info made facing the day worthwhile ;)

      2. Evaporated milk straight from the can is an acceptable substitute, though the flavor is different. Heavy cream freezes well so you can always split a container into smaller measurements, freezing them in baggies, smaller containers, or use an ice cube tray, then freeze the cubes.

        1. again, depends what you are making, but in soups, low fat buttermilk is a nice sub

          1. You can finish with low-fat substitues, but nb. anything less than heavy cream will separate if you boil it, so just be careful with your heat.

            1 Reply
            1. re: monavano

              creme fraiche doesn't separate, and lots of older french casserole recipes calling for heavy cream are substituting for the original creme fraiche in the french recipe.

              often you can use a smaller amt of heavy cream and broth to make up the same amt of liquid. even just 1 or 2 tbsp of the heavy cream can create the rich flavor and mouthfeel you're going for.

            2. I sometimes use coconut milk depending on the flavors. I personally don't like evaporated milk, though it does work

              1. Here's a tuna noodle casserole recipe from epicurious that looks lighter. The sauce has chicken broth and milk, as well as well as some sherry and a small amount of soy sauce.


                And here's another recipe I've used: a bechemel made with olive oil and 1% milk:


                I've made this last one and frozen extra amounts to have on hand for stretching rice or noodles with leftover vegies.

                1. I use a lot of cream in my cooking, its very normal where I live and here we have cream with everything from 5 % fat to 40 % fat. The one with 5 % fat has some kind of thickener in it so it wont separate while cooking.

                  I think half and half is a good alternative if u dont want to buy heavy cream. If the recipe calls for some other liquid like water or chicken stock i would reduce that amount since half and half is much more watery then cream. And u might have to thicken ur sauce too.

                  1. Half-and-half will work fine. The finished dish just won't be as rich as with heavy cream.