How to Make Heavy Cream with Half and Half

Heavy Cream made with Half and Half

Have you ever started making a recipe only to realize fifteen or twenty minutes into the process that you didn’t have all of the ingredients? It happened to me recently! That’s when I discovered how to make heavy cream with Half and Half.

So many recipes call for heavy cream. It’s a staple in many households and something I always keep in my fridge. Except for that one time when I didn’t realize we were out. We use it to make decadent sauces for pasta, creamy homemade caramels, frosting, and so much more, including the best-whipped cream you’ve ever tasted.


Learn How to Make Heavy Cream with Half and Half

Turning Half and Half into heavy cream is not technically possible, but it will work well as a one-for-one substitute in baked goods and sauces. Because it has a lower fat content, your sauce may not be as rich as you would like, or you may need to also add some butter.


What is Heavy Cream?

container of heavy cream

Heavy cream is made by skimming the fatty liquid off the top of whole milk in a processing plant. It doesn’t come straight out of the cow that way; it’s like taking the fat out of the milk with some liquid for a very rich, thick, creamy, and condensed milk derivative. The resulting liquid is 30-36% milk fat.


What is Half and Half?

container of Half and Half

Half and Half is actually a combination of equal parts whole milk and light cream. That’s why it’s such a great substitute for heavy cream. It is only 10-18% milk fat, so it is significantly lower fat.

In most cases, you don’t need to make heavy cream with half and half. You can simply substitute it one for one in your favorite recipes. In any recipe where an emulsion is desired, adding fat to your Half and Half will get it close to heavy cream’s consistency.


Ingredients to Make Heavy Cream with Half and Half

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Half and Half


How to Make Heavy Cream with Half and Half: Step-By-Step Directions

  1. To make one cup of heavy cream substitute, begin by melting ⅛ cup of butter. This is equal to ¼ of one stick of butter or two tablespoons. You can melt the butter in the microwave in your glass mixing bowl or melt it in a saucepan and then move it to a mixing bowl. Either method will work. Don’t overheat it, though – it needs to be just melted.
  2. Once the butter is melted, let it cool slightly but do not let it solidify. This step takes about one minute. Then pour ⅞ cup of Half and Half into the mixing bowl. Whisk the two ingredients together until they are completely blended and the butter is fully suspended in Half and Half. This increases the Half and Half fat content to make it more like heavy cream.
  3. Now you can proceed with your recipe as you normally would and make that whipped cream, frosting, or sauce without any worries. It’s not technically heavy cream, and the flavor will be slightly different. However, it is close enough that it will work almost perfectly as a substitute.


How to Make Half and Half from Heavy Cream

adding cream to a cup of coffee

Let’s say you have heavy cream and want to make Half and Half!  To do this, mix ¼ cup of heavy cream with ¾ cup of whole milk. Now you have light cream. Mix equal light cream with whole milk to make Half and Half. So that would be 1 cup of whole milk with 1 cup of the light cream you just made. Now you have Half, and Half you can use in your coffee!


How to Make Heavy Cream at Home without Half and Half

You can use milk and butter if you need heavy cream but don’t have any Half and Half on hand. Use ⅔ cup of whole milk with ⅓ cup of melted butter whisked together to create the correct fat ratio.  Follow the same process described above: melt the butter in the mixing bowl using your microwave, let it cool slightly, and then whisk in the milk.


So You Don’t Have Butter, and You Still Want Whipped Cream?

That can happen, and we’ve all been there when the recipe is crying out to be finished, and we just don’t have any of the right substitutes. So here’s the deal. You can make whipped cream from Half and Half. Of course, it will be more liquid and harder to whip. It will also not hold its shape well and turn into liquid over time, but it can be done with perseverance and effort. The main thing to know about making whipped cream from Half and Half is that you need to get that half and half as cold as possible and keep it cold. The cold will help the Half and Half whip and stay whipped longer. This is also a great way to cut fat if you are trying to limit your fat intake but still want to enjoy the occasional sweet.

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Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.