Cooking substitutes 101 … cream


Cream is a staple ingredient in many dishes from soups to desserts because it adds richness and, well, creaminess to food. But what if you don’t have any cream or you are looking for a lower fat or dairy free alternative? We’ve got you covered with these five substitutes.

1.     Butter and milk – it makes sense that milk would be a good substitute for cream and adding butter to it helps by adding extra fat, making the total fat percentage more similar to cream. To make a cream substitute with butter and milk, add ¼ cup of melted butter to ¾ cup full fat milk. If you are using reduced fat milk, add a tablespoon of plain flour to help thicken the milk. While this works well as a substitute for recipes where cream is added for its flavour and creamy texture, it is not suitable to whip.

2.     Coconut cream – this is an excellent vegan alternative to cream. It can be whipped and has the same signature creaminess as the dairy version, however it may change the flavour of your recipe so bear that in mind when substituting. 

3.     Sour cream – like cream it has a high fat content and its thick texture means that it is a good substitute in dishes where its signature sourness is acceptable. You can add icing sugar to sour cream before whipping as a substitute for whipped cream.

4.     Olive oil and plant-based milk – if you are looking for a dairy-free and vegan alternative to cream, this works well. Olive oil adds fat to the milk to produce a substitute that can be used in cooking and baking, but not whipping. Combine 2/3 cup plant-based milk with 1/3 cup olive oil to replace 1 cup of cream.

5.     Cornflour and milk – if you’re looking for a lower fat, lower kilojoule alternative to cream, then try adding 2 tablespoons of cornflour to 1 cup of milk. The cornflour helps thicken the cream, giving a texture close to that of cream.

While all of these alternatives are great, you must remember that changing any ingredient in a recipe can result in a change to the texture and taste, so choose the substitute that is most suited to the recipe you are making.


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