The 8 Best Vegan Substitutes for Heavy Cream

vegan substitute for heavy cream
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / RitaE

Supermarkets offer ready-made vegan substitutes for heavy cream, but they’re expensive and full of additives. Better make all-natural substitutes yourself – from olive oil, plant-based milk, tofu, or other everyday ingredients.

Whether you’re trying to eliminate dairy from your diet, or you’ve simply run out, at some stage in your life you’ve probably had trouble figuring out how to replace heavy cream. Fortunately, there are several vegan heavy cream replacements available, and we’ve selected the eight best for you.

Folks who are unable or reluctant to use heavy cream should experiment with a variety of alternatives. There are dairy-free, vegan, and healthy alternatives to heavy cream that will provide a rich, creamy texture to savory and sweet recipes.

Before you begin cooking, remember to only choose an alternative that is appropriate for the meal at hand. Replacing heavy cream can reduce the amount of saturated fat and calories in a recipe while without compromising flavor or texture.

1. Cream From Olive Oil and Soy Milk

Olive oil and soy milk make a great vegan substitute for heavy cream.
Olive oil and soy milk make a great vegan substitute for heavy cream. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / bigfatcat)

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 to begin.

  1. Add 2/3 cup soy milk to 1/3 cup olive oil to achieve the same flavor and thickness as using 1 cup of heavy cream.
  2. After you’ve mixed your ingredients into a bowl, whisk or blend thoroughly until the mixture is completely smooth.

This heavy cream substitute can be used in soups and sauces. In cooking and baking, it works best when used to add tenderness and flavor, but it should never be used in recipes that call for whipping.

2. Silken Tofu as a Vegan Substitute for Heavy Cream

Silken tofu and just a splash of plant milk are an excellent vegan substitute for heavy cream. Even if it doesn’t whip up as well as real heavy cream, there are other aspects in which it’s similar. It also has a mild taste, making it well-suited for dishes where you don’t want to compromise the desired flavor.

  1. In a food processor or immersion blender, combine equal measures silken tofu and plant milk.
  2. Vigorously blend until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  3. For desserts, a dash of vanilla essence or a sprinkling of sugar wouldn’t hurt.

Silken tofu is a great alternative for heavy cream in recipes that call for richness and when you need to thicken a texture. It’s also suited for baked goods, soups, and sauces. If that wasn’t enough, the addition of silken tofu to a meal boosts the food’s protein content. 100 grams of silken tofu contain 4.8 grams of protein – and just 55 calories.

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 alternative. It’s also very rich, creamy, and fatty. If you choose to use canned coconut milk, make sure it’s unrefined and organic.

Keep in mind that coconut milk beverage is intended for drinking and cereal. It’s much too thin to use in a recipe that calls for coconut milk or cream. A simple replacement ratio of one can of coconut milk to one cup of heavy cream will suffice.

Although it might seem a little obvious, if you use coconut milk for the heavy cream, be aware that the dish will taste like coconut. It is necessary to first shake the cans properly in order for the coconut water and fat to mix together.

To make a great coconut vegan substitute for cream, proceed as follows:

  1. Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight in your refrigerator before opening.
  2. Drain the liquid, leaving just the solid coconut cream.
  3. Beat it with a hand mixer or blender, in a cold bowl.

4. DIY Cashew Cream

When buying cashews look for products with the Fairtrade seal.
When buying cashews look for products with the Fairtrade seal. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / PDPics)

If you’re looking for a soy-free and vegan substitute for heavy cream, then look no further! Cashew cream may be used in both sweet and savory dishes in place of heavy cream.

To create cashew cream at home, simply gather these simple ingredients:

  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 3/4 cup filtered water
  • some salt

The cashews should be soaked for roughly two hours before using. After draining the cashews, all you got to do is follow these steps:

  1. Combine your drained cashews with 1/4 cup of water in a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more water until it’s reaching the desired consistency you’re seeking.
  3. Mixing in a pinch or two of salt heightens the similarity to dairy cream.
  4. Store in the fridge to thicken.

Chilling cashew cream before whisking it softly with a handheld mixer or blender is the best way to whip it. We recommend using cashew cream as a tasty replacement in lieu of heavy cream in creamy soups and tomato sauces.

If you feel like experimenting, feel free to embellish the flavor a little 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. It’s a great choice to use when thickening any meal and 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
  • Water

All you have to do next is:

  1. Blend the cooked, drained beans with a small amount of water in your blender.
  2. 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. Vegan Yogurt: A Quick Substitute for Heavy Cream

Mixing vegan yogurt with plant milk can change the flavor.
Mixing vegan yogurt with plant milk can change the flavor. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / katjasv)

This alternative is akin to the previous entry regarding silken tofu. By combining vegan yogurt with 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 know 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 at hand but need a quick vegan heavy cream replacement, rice plus plant milk is an excellent option. As opposed to other fat-based cream substitutes, this one does not clump or curdle when allowed to cool, so it’s a better choice if you anticipate having leftovers.

To substitute one cup of heavy cream, simply take these steps:

  1. Cook 1/3 cup rice until it is extremely soft.
  2. Pour in a ½ cup of plant milk (we suggest using regionally produced, organic oat milk).
  3. Blend both ingredients together, adding more or less plant milk to get 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 does provide a little bit of extra richness to dishes. However, it doesn’t whip as well as heavy cream and doesn’t add as much fat to your meal as traditional heavy cream does.

8. Onion Cream: Savory Vegan Heavy Cream Substitute

Although it’s the last vegan heavy cream substitute on our list, it’s certainly not the least. When heavy cream is substituted with vegan onion cream in a recipe, the result may be an improved dish.

Adding vegetables to your cream can give your savory foods a powerful, flavorful kick. The flavor profile of many recipes can be influenced gradually by grains, just as legumes and vegetables can.

All you’ll need for one cup of vegan heavy cream are the following ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon juice

Once you’ve gathered all of these ingredients together, take the following steps to make flavorful onion cream.

  1. Roast your onions in the oven until they are well done and soft to the touch. (You can roast them at the same time as another savory dish you are preparing, to not waste any energy.)
  2. Once the inside of your onion is thoroughly roasted with a velvety-smooth in texture, you can take it out.
  3. After it’s cooled down, peel the onion and cut it into moderately sized pieces.
  4. Next, mix it with the garlic, olive oil, salt, lemon juice in a blender until it’s smooth.
  5. Add more dashes of salt, oil, or lemon juice according to taste.

A great aspect of this recipe is that you can always freeze it later if you wish to make more than one onion’s worth. Even though it requires a couple of extra ingredients and takes a little longer to prepare than the other vegan heavy cream substitutes on our list, it is unquestionably one of the most delicious.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a cream substitute you’d use in every dish. Even so, it’s a great addition to savory soups and sauces, especially those that call for onions.

Final Thoughts on Ingredients

While replacing heavy cream is usually a good idea since it is an animal product with no assurance of being cruelty-free, other options, such as soy milk or coconuts, are imported from distant nations, increasing the consumer’s CO2 footprint.

Similarly, several of the vegan heavy cream alternatives listed on this page are grown and harvested in economically underdeveloped nations. Unfortunately, this allows major firms to take advantage of inexpensive labor and pay unfair wages. Cashews, for example, are often a prime illustration of labor exploitation during the harvesting process.

As a result, if feasible, we advocate that you only use organic, fairtrade ingredients for their heavy cream alternatives and locally manufactured goods.

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