22 Ways To Use Up Leftover Whipping Cream

The holidays are filled with good tidings, cheer, and whipping cream. This type of cream is often mistaken as heavy cream, but a mere 1% difference in fat sets the two apart. Whipping cream contains between 30 and 35% butterfat, making it a very rich addition to any of your cooking or baking needs. It's often sold in the grocery store as a pint, but may also be found in quarts, too. 

At home during the holidays, this ingredient is typically on hand for that one recipe — and is the serial offender for becoming the carton that always manages to get pushed to the back of the fridge. In an effort to limit food waste, here are some of the best ways to use this magic liquid up, whether that's a couple of teaspoons or upward of a whole container. For the purpose of this piece, all of the suggestions listed can use whipping cream and heavy cream interchangeably.

Make your own whipped cream

Transforming your leftover whipping cream from a carton to a plush pillow of sweet topping couldn't be easier. And you can put it on almost anything. The quick trick for making small-batch whipped cream is to add between ¼ cup to ¾ cup of cream — depending on how much you have left over — to a small cup or jar. This shape ensures that the entire mixture will be properly aerated, rather than if you added it to a bowl with a wider bottom. 

Add some small spoonfuls of granulated sugar to the concoction as you mix it with an immersion blender. Be sure to tip the container to the side so that you aerate all of the cream. You should also avoid over-whipping the cream because it will turn into butter; one to two minutes should suffice.

Add it as a creamer in your coffee

It might not compare to your daily cup of coffee at Starbucks, but it is an easy way to use up your leftover whipping cream and enjoy your morning cup of coffee. One of the key differences between half-and-half and heavy cream or whipping cream, is that when you add the latter to your hot coffee, you won't have to worry about the mixture curdling. However, if you like the milky taste of half-and-half, you can dilute your whipping cream with a bit of water or milk to get that thinner consistency. 

If you want to go a step above and beyond, you might also consider making your own coffee creamer with the leftover whipping cream. Mix it with a thick base, like sweetened condensed or evaporated milk, and add your sweeteners or flavor extracts of choice. 

Turn it into homemade ice cream

Your brain probably doesn't go straight to ice cream when you think of a low-effort way to use up the leftover cream in your container. But it should do — because you don't have to have a ton of fancy equipment to make homemade ice cream. 

You'll only need the cream and a bit of sweetened condensed milk to make your 2-ingredient ice cream recipe. Whip two cups of heavy cream or whipping cream until stiff peaks start to emerge, before adding in one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. Then, you can add in your flavorful ingredients to make your ice cream unique, like cocoa powder, sprinkles, or chopped-up pretzels, and freeze the ice cream in a container for 12 hours before enjoying it. 

Freeze it for later

If you can't think of anything creative to do with your leftover whipping cream, don't just toss it in the trash. Instead, freeze the whipping cream for up to around four months. For ease of use, we recommend placing the remaining cream into an ice cube tray before adding it to a freezer bag. That way, you can grab a cube out whenever you need it. 

If you have large portions of the cream, you can also freeze it in its original container. However, you should dump out a few tablespoons from the top of the container to account for the expansion as the liquid freezes. When you're ready to thaw out your container, keep it in the fridge to reduce the risk of pathogen exposure, and give it a shake to disperse the butterfat. Or for the cubes, pop them directly into a hot pan for the gravy or sauce of your dreams. 

Make your mac and cheese extra creamy

There's no recipe quite as homey and family-friendly as macaroni and cheese. And the best way to make your crock of mac and cheese extra special is to add a splash of whipping cream to it. Although this dairy product can make your mac and cheese magical, it also allows you to go overboard very quickly. Too much cream can ruin your mac and cheese, making your mixture too thick and rich. Since both whipping and heavy cream are so fatty, they will disrupt the balance of water and cheese in your sauce and make your dish stick to your ribs just a little too much. 

The standard creamy addition for this recipe is anywhere between ¾ cup to two cups. And remember, you can always add more later. 

Use it in your French toast or pancake batter

Whipping cream and breakfast food go hand-in-hand. If you have a few splashes left in your container, consider adding it to your French toast custard. The high-fat content of the whipping cream is valuable in making the absolute best French toast because it encases the bread in a protective seal that cooks it — which stops it from getting soggy. 

We can thank the Maillard reaction for this because it creates a chain reaction between the fat, lactose, and protein in the dairy product and gives your breakfast a delicious caramel undertone. If you're substituting whipping cream into your custard, you will need to use less than if you went with milk or half-and-half, which have a lower fat content.

Pour it into your crockpot for extra decadent chili

Whipping cream probably isn't on the list of ingredients your game-day chili calls for, but it should be. You can add a splash of whipping cream to your chili recipe, and amp it up even more with some sour cream. If you're cooking your recipe in a slow cooker, we recommend adding your dairy last — right before serving — to prevent any sort of curdling potential, and so that your soup's creaminess shines. Most recipes use less than a cup of whipping cream for white chili, which is perfect for helping you use up the last bit of your container. 

What we especially love about white chili is that it can easily be adapted for any type of protein you have available, including chicken, turkey, or plant-based soy curls. 

Make an ice cream sauce

Everyone's ice cream deserves a little bit of excitement, right? If you want to step up your ice cream sundae game, try whipping up a homemade sauce using your leftover cream. Our favorite is a bourbon caramel sauce, which marries the oakiness of the alcohol with the nutty flavor of caramel. The recipe calls for heavy cream, but whipping cream will work just as well. 

Start by mixing water with sugar on the stove before adding your maple syrup, cream, and bourbon to the mix. Once you've pulled your sauce from the heat, you can add a pat of butter and vanilla before serving at room temperature. This caramel sauce is an excellent pairing for many different ice cream flavors, including maple walnut, vanilla, and chocolate. We also love that you can make it up to a week before you intend to use it, and just store it in the fridge. 

Add it to your quiche or scrambled eggs for a softer bite

Cream and eggs are a match made in heaven. You can fry your eggs in cream rather than coating the bottom of the pan with oil. When the cream is placed in the pan, the water evaporates and leaves behind a fatty, buttery coating. You can also poach your eggs in your leftover heavy cream or whipping cream for velvety, smooth scrambled eggs inspired by Chinese egg drop soup.

Quiche is another great dish to add a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream to. You can add it to your egg mixture before popping it in the oven for a creamy, rich flavor that complements any meat or veggie addition you want to use. 

Mix it into your potato dish

There are many fancy potato dishes that can both upgrade your steak dinners and make use of your leftover whipping cream. One of our favorite recipes is Gruyère cheese baked scalloped potatoes, which uses an entire selection of dairy products including heavy whipping cream, milk, and grated Gruyère cheese. You'll want to cook down the milk and the cream with sliced garlic and thyme, and allow it to reduce for about 15 minutes. Then, top the cheese and potato mixture with your infused cream sauce, and bake until bubbly. 

If you like a crispy potato dish, you might also consider using your leftover whipping cream for potato gratín. You'll need almost two cups of cream for this recipe, so it's not one that you can just toss a few tablespoons in and hope for the best. 

Amp up the creaminess of your mashed potatoes

Only a few tablespoons of leftover whipping cream stand between you and delicious mashed potatoes. You can combine the whipping cream with butter for what might be the richest mashed potatoes ever created, or stay reserved with a mixture of whipping cream and plain milk. 

Extra cream pays off when storing mashed potatoes, too, because the fat in the cream adds a protective coating to the potatoes that is helpful for both refrigerating and freezing the side dish. Some outlets recommend adding a splash of cream to the top of the potatoes before storing them, while others advocate stirring the cream right into the potatoes before you whip them with an electric mixer, or go at them with a masher. 

Add it to creamy soups

A cold winter day is complete with a warm crock of soup. And if you're dreaming of a creamy chicken and dumpling soup, or a decadent clam chowder, you'll need to set aside that whipping cream to make them a reality.

There's a whole host of soups that use a splash of heavy cream or whipping cream to bring them together. There are also some soups that don't necessarily require whipping cream, but definitely taste much better when it's added. One of these is the classic potato leek soup. You can bring the flavors together by adding the cream to individual bowls right before serving ─ which also leaves it as an option for those who might not want their soup tainted with cream. 

Make a quick sauce with your pan drippings

Using your leftover whipping cream to make a sauce helps alleviate food waste in more ways than one. You won't have to throw away all of your precious pan drippings, and you'll have a delicious sauce to slather over your food to boot! 

The trick to making a pan sauce is to add some aromatics, like shallots and garlic, to the dirty pan before deglazing it with broth, stock, or wine. Once your mixture has thickened in the pan, pour in a few tablespoons of cream, and whisk until the mixture is thick. You can use this hack for your roasting pan or your cast iron skillets, and it works great for everything, from steak to chicken. 

DIY your own butter

Making your own butter isn't just a science experiment for kids; it also yields a flavorful product you can use daily in your kitchen. All you need to do is add your whipping cream to a bowl with your immersion blender and whip, whip, whip until the butterfat separates. The leftover liquid is buttermilk, while the chunky stuff is butter. You can use this byproduct to replace skim milk, but it won't have the same effect as the cultured buttermilk you'd use in a baking recipe. 

Once the two have separated, strain out as much buttermilk as possible, and rinse the butter under cold water. This step is vital in prolonging the shelf life of your homemade butter. From there, you can add salt, seasonings, or fresh herbs to make your butter unique. 

Make your own ricotta for a charcuterie night

Butter isn't the only thing that you can make from your leftover whipping cream. You can also craft homemade ricotta by mixing your cream with a coagulant acid, like vinegar, and a splash of regular milk. 

This is made by bringing the milk and the cream to a boil on the stove, cutting the heat off, and pouring in the acid. You'll notice the curds start to form in about five minutes, but you should let the mixture sit for a little while longer to allow the curds to separate from the whey (liquid) fully. Once this is done, you simply strain out your curds in a cheesecloth until they resemble your desired consistency. It's important to note that this mixture won't last as long as store-bought ricotta, so you'll have about five days to eat it. 

Indulge your homemade salad dressing

You can easily thicken your salad dressings with some help from leftover whipping cream — and the flavor possibilities are endless. For example, make a Dijon dressing for your roasted root veggies by combining the cream together with Dijon mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, seasoning, and garlic. If you're making a creamy dressing for a fresh tomato salad, consider adding some pesto and freshly cracked black pepper to the mixture. 

Or, if you want to keep things really simple, just mix a bit of vinegar with your cream, and some salt and pepper to taste. After trying this, we doubt you'll ever return to store-bought dressing again. The one drawback to making this at home, though, is that it doesn't store as well as commercial creamy dressings, so you're best off making it right before you need it. At least it only takes about two minutes to whip up and serve! 

Make your hot chocolate extra creamy

Hot chocolate is our drink of choice for cozy nights in. And while a pack of Swiss Miss in a mug of plain milk fits the bill, we're always looking for ways to upgrade our hot chocolate. Instead of using plain milk, we recommend trying a 2:1 ratio of milk to whipping cream. The extra fat will help make this cocoa all the more creamy. 

You can also make this recipe in a crockpot if you're serving it at a holiday party. For super-rich hot chocolate, combine your heavy whipping cream with plain milk, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and sugar for a few hours before serving. It's super hands-off and easy to entertain a crowd ─ just don't forget the marshmallows. 

Make a crème anglaise for your sweets

The best topping for your stack of French toast isn't maple syrup ─ it's actually crème anglaise. If you've never heard of this topping, fear not. It's the melted ice cream-like spread that's often used on top of bread puddings and breakfast food.

To make this fancy topping at home, simply combine milk together with heavy cream or whipping cream on the stove before gradually adding sugar. Once it's nice and thick, you can add it directly to a bowl with egg yolks before pouring it back into the heated pan. Stir for a few seconds before transferring it into a container over ice. This back-and-forth is critical to preventing the yolks from curdling. 

The delicious topping can also be used to make eggnog, a sauce to pour over cake, or the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of fresh berries.

Add it to your pasta sauce

Leave your store-bought pasta sauce on the shelf, and make it yourself with your leftover whipping cream. The exact steps of this process will depend on the sauce you're trying to make. For example, you can make a basic white sauce for your pasta by combining simmered whipping cream with freshly grated Parmesan and salt. Then, use the leftover pasta water to thin out your sauce as needed. From there, you can get creative with your dish and add aromatics like garlic, rosemary, and thyme, or ingredients like half-and-half, butter, or milk, to loosen the sauce to your liking. 

If your recipe calls for half-and-half rather than whipping or heavy cream, you can dilute your mixture with some milk or water to give it a similar texture. 

Use it in a frosting

Your leftover whipping cream is the secret to making a delicious frosting for a crowd or your personal mug cake. The easy way to do thisis to mix your chilled cream in a bowl with icing sugar until stiff peaks form. It's important to avoid overwhipping because you don't want to transform the mixture into butter. Then, add your creation to a chilled cake or cupcake. There are many other variations of this method; some use flavor extracts and even powdered hot chocolate mix to make unique frosting. 

The other frosting you can make with whipping cream is chocolate ganache. To make this delicious filling or topping for your cakes, pour simmered cream onto pieces of a chopped chocolate bar, allow it to melt, and stir.

Swipe it on your pie crust

Making pie wash is perfect for when you have a very, very small amount of heavy cream left after a recipe. It's important to pick the right wash for your pie crust because it will alter its luster and color depending on what you use. For example, since whipping cream has a high fat content, it will produce a shiny crust. But if you add egg yolks to your whipping cream, you'll get the shiny luster with a bright golden hue. You can play around with these ingredients to find the perfect ratio for your pie. 

When you apply this wash to your pie, do it sparingly and use a pastry brush to ensure it's well distributed. You can also use whipping cream to help your sprinkles stick to sugar cookies. 

Make dips even creamier

If you're often tasked with preparing the dips for game day, you're going to want to listen to this one. Adding your extra whipping cream to your dips is an easy way to make them perfectly creamy and ready for your tailgate. 

This ingredient is a perfect addition to sweet fruit dips as well as savory ones. For example, add a splash of cream to your queso after you sauté your desired veggies. Then, you can plop in your cheeses and extra additions as desired. Whipping cream is also a transformational ingredient for creamy spinach artichoke dip, or if you want to make your buffalo chicken dip a bit easier to scoop onto chips. On the sweet side of things, whip it with cream cheese and sugar to accompany fruit salad.