Supermarket dairy-free heavy cream substitutes can be pricey and unhealthy. However, you can easily make all-natural vegan heavy cream substitutes yourself! Here’s how.
Whether you’re trying to go dairy-free or you’ve simply run out of “regular” heavy cream, at some point, you’ve probably had to figure out replacements for heavy cream. Fortunately, you can throw together several vegan heavy cream substitutes quickly and easily. We’ll discuss the eight best options below.
People who are unable or reluctant to use heavy cream can experiment with alternatives. There are a variety of dairy-free, healthy and vegan substitutes for heavy cream that still provide the rich, creamy texture you want in savory and sweet recipes.
Before you begin cooking, remember to choose an appropriate alternative for your specific dish. Replacing heavy cream can reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories in a recipe without compromising flavor or texture.
1. Cream From Olive Oil and Soy Milk
Like butter and milk, olive oil adds fat to soy milk, giving it a flavor and texture similar to heavy cream. Thankfully this vegan substitute for heavy cream doesn’t require a lot of prep.
- Add 2/3 cup soy milk to 1/3 cup olive oil to achieve the same flavor and thickness as 1 cup of heavy cream.
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl, then whisk or blend thoroughly until the mixture is completely smooth.
You can use this vegan heavy cream substitute in soups and sauces. In cooking and baking, it works best to add tenderness and flavor, but you should never use it in recipes that call for whipping.
2. Vegan Heavy Cream Substitutes: Silken Tofu and Plant Milk
Silken tofu and just a splash of plant-based milk are excellent vegan substitutes for heavy cream. Even if it doesn’t whip up as well as dairy cream, it’s similar enough to be a great choice. It also has a mild taste, making it well-suited for dishes where you need to be careful not to compromise flavor.
- In a food processor or immersion blender, combine equal measures of silken tofu and plant milk.
- Blend on high or pulse until the mixture is smooth and thick.
- For desserts, a dash of vanilla essence or a sprinkling of sugar doesn’t hurt.
Silken tofu is a great vegan alternative for heavy cream in recipes that call for richness or when you want to thicken the texture. It’s also well-suited for baked goods, soups, and sauces. If that wasn’t enough, adding silken tofu to a meal boosts its protein content. Every 100 grams of silken tofu contains 4.8 grams of protein and just 55 calories.
For more some tasty and sweet recipes that use silken tofu, check out The Only 6 Silken Tofu Dessert Recipes You’ll Ever Need and our special Homemade Vegan Tiramisu recipe.
3. Coconut Cream for Soups and Other Dishes
Since it has a similar consistency to heavy cream, coconut milk is the most popular vegan heavy cream substitute. It’s rich, creamy and fatty. If you choose canned coconut milk, try to buy an unrefined and organic variety.
Keep in mind that “coconut milk beverage” is intended for drinking and use on cereal. It’s much too thin to use in a recipe that calls for coconut milk or cream. Furthermore, and it might seem obvious, but remember that if you use coconut milk to replace heavy cream, the dish will taste mildly of coconut. If you’d like a lighter milk instead of cream, try making coconut milk at home.
To make a delicious coconut vegan heavy cream substitute, proceed as follows.
- Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight in your refrigerator before opening.
- Drain the liquid, leaving just the solid coconut cream.
- Beat it with a hand mixer or blender in a cold bowl.
Do you love all things coconut? Utopia has the information and recipes you need to fill right up. Here’s a taste:
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4. Vegan Heavy Cream Substitutes: DIY Cashew Cream
If you’re looking for a soy-free and vegan substitute for heavy cream, look no further! You can use cashew cream in sweet and savory dishes to replace heavy cream.
To create cashew cream at home, gather these ingredients:
- 1 cup soaked raw cashews
- 3/4 cup filtered water
- Pinch salt
Soak the cashews for roughly two hours before draining them and to use in the recipe below.
- Combine the drained cashews with 1/4 cup of water in a blender and puree until smooth.
- If the mixture is too stiff, add more water until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Add a pinch or two of salt to heighten the similarity to dairy cream.
- Store in the fridge to thicken.
The best way to whip cashew cream is to chill it before whisking it softly with a handheld mixer. We recommend using cashew cream as a tasty replacement for heavy cream in soups and tomato sauces.
If you like experimenting, feel free to embellish the flavor with some natural spices.
5. Heavy Cream Alternative for Stews: White Beans
A rich, heavy cream flavor and consistency can be achieved using a regional vegan substitute: beans. Beans are a great choice for thickening the texture of many dishes. It is also lower in fat than some of the other substitutes we’ve talked about. The protein and starch in beans help to thicken the liquid to the point that it has the consistency of heavy cream.
White beans are ideal for vegan cream because of their mild flavor and silky texture. In any case, you can buy canned white beans that have been reduced in salt. Or you prepare your own from scratch. That may take a little bit longer but will produce less waste.
To reproduce one cup of heavy cream, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- 1 cup of white beans, cooked
All you have to do next is:
- Blend the cooked, drained beans with a small amount of water in your blender.
- Keep adding water until the mixture is thick but smooth.
We recommend this substitute not just because it’s delectable in savory stews and soups, but because of its protein value: One cup contains 19 grams.
6. A Quick Dairy-Free Heavy Cream Substitute: Vegan Yogurt
This alternative is somewhat similar to using silken tofu. By combining vegan yogurt with the plant-based milk of your choice, you may use it in place of heavy whipped cream. Use a basic, unsweetened vegan yogurt and thicken it with some plant milk. This will give your dish a creamy and luscious texture by mimicking the density and thickness of heavy cream.
It’s crucial to understand beforehand that combining vegan yogurt and plant milk can lead to a tangier flavor that may not be ideal for use in all meals that traditionally employ heavy cream. For instance, while this vegan substitute for heavy cream may be used in baked goods, it is not suggested for whipping.
7. Rice and Plant Milk for Sauces and Baking
If your back is against the wall and you don’t have many ingredients on hand, and you need a quick vegan heavy cream replacement, rice and plant milk is another suitable option. Compared to other fat-based dairy-free cream substitutes, this one does not clump or curdle when cooled, so it’s a better choice if you anticipate having leftovers.
Instructions to replace 1 cup of heavy cream:
- Cook 1/3 cup of rice until it is very soft.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of plant milk (we suggest using regionally produced, organic or homemade oat milk).
- Blend the ingredients together, adding more or less plant milk to achieve the desired consistency.
That’s all there is to it. Use this rich, creamy combination in soups, sauces and even certain baked products.
Although it doesn’t have a strong taste, it provides a bit of extra richness to dishes. However, keep in mind it doesn’t whip as well as heavy cream and doesn’t add as much fat to your meal as traditional heavy cream.
8. Onion Cream: A Savory Vegan Substitute for Heavy Cream
Although it’s the last vegan heavy cream substitute on our list, it’s certainly not the least. When you substitute heavy cream with vegan onion cream, the result can be much more flavorful. Adding vegetables to cream gives savory foods a tasty kick and expands their flavor profile.
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- olive oil
- pinch salt
- Roast onions in the oven until they are well done and soft to the touch.
- Once the inside of the onions are thoroughly roasted and have a velvety-smooth texture, remove them from the oven.
- After they’re cool, peel the onions and cut them into medium-sized pieces.
- Mix them with the garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
- Add salt, oil or lemon juice to taste.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can freeze it for later if you wish to make more than one meal’s worth. Although it requires a couple of extra ingredients and takes a little longer to prepare than the other vegan heavy cream substitutes, it is unquestionably one of the most delicious choices.
While this isn’t the best dairy-free cream substitute for every dish, it’s a great addition to savory soups and sauces, especially those that already have onions.
Final Thoughts on Ingredients
Replacing heavy cream with a dairy-free product is typically a good idea since it is an animal product with no assurance of being cruelty-free. However, some options—such as soy or coconut milk—are imported over long distances, increasing the average consumer’s carbon footprint.
Similarly, several vegan heavy cream alternatives listed on this page are grown and harvested in economically underdeveloped nations. Unfortunately, this allows major corporations to take advantage of inexpensive labor and pay unfair wages. Cashews, for example, are a prime illustration of labor exploitation during harvesting.
If feasible, we advocate only using organic, fairtrade ingredients and locally manufactured goods.
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