What You Should Know Before Substituting Milk For Heavy Cream

No matter how well you prepare before undertaking a cooking or baking project, sometimes a missing ingredient simply slips through the cracks. No blame here, as these things happen from time to time. That said, some missing ingredients can make things tricky. If your recipe calls for heavy cream, for instance, you might not be entirely sure as to what you should use in its place. Though some might think that milk is the next best thing, especially the full-fat whole stuff, that's not quite right. Milk alone will not make up for the fat content of heavy cream.

But fortunately, there is a successful way to substitute milk for heavy cream. You simply need to know how to add more fat to the thinner dairy product and how much to add. With the right technique and ratios, it's possible to make a pretty decent substitute for that missing heavy cream.

This is how to make a heavy cream substitute

According to The Pioneer Woman, you can actually combine milk and butter to create your very own heavy cream substitute. This version will work for almost anything that calls for heavy cream, such as pasta sauce, ice cream, or baked goods. Remember, the difference between regular milk and heavy cream is the amount of fat within each product. Milk ranges from 1% skim milk to around 4% whole milk. Heavy cream has anywhere between 36% and 40% fat, according to Kitchn. So, by combining milk and butter, you can reasonably make up for the difference in fat between regular milk and heavy cream.

As The Pioneer Woman points out, butter is 80% fat (the rest is water). That means when you heat the butter up to a sufficient temperature, the water will evaporate out and leave behind only the fat. Of course, be careful not to overheat the butter and burn the milk solids within. This allows you to combine it with whatever milk you have on hand, though The Pioneer Woman suggests using whole milk.

To create the substitute, melt ¼ cup butter, then stir in ¾ cup milk until the two are fully combined. This will replace one cup of heavy cream. Naturally, you can always reduce the amounts if you don't need a full cup of this heavy cream substitute.