11 Heavy Cream Substitutes for Pasta

Heavy Cream Substitutes for Pasta

Do you need a heavy cream substitute for pasta? Whether you’re vegan, lactose intolerant, or just trying to cut back on dairy, there are many options available to you. 

From plant-based milks to yogurt to some fruits, there’s sure to be a heavy cream substitute that will work for you. Keep reading for our top 11 picks!

The 11 popular heavy cream substitutes in pasta are as follows: Greek yogurt, coconut milk or coconut cream, full-fat milk and butter, milk and cornstarch, silken tofu, cream cheese, cheese and cauliflower, whole-milk ricotta, cottage cheese, pesto and avocado.

Top Heavy Cream Substitutes For Your Pasta

1. Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is the easiest substitute for heavy cream in many dishes. It comes for help with its creamy texture and tends to balance the flavor of sauces. While heavy cream has a  neutral taste, Greek yogurt adds a kind of tart and bitter flavor that perfectly works with savory dishes. 

Depending on the fat content, it can come in different textures. Choose the one with low fat content and a creamy texture for pasta. 

2. Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream

Whichever is available in hand you can use to replace heavy cream in pasta. Coconut milk is a less-cholesterol product than heavy cream. Canned coconut cream is thick enough to mix into a creamy texture. 

Both coconut milk and coconut cream are non-dairy substitutes for heavy cream and if you don’t mind a slight coconut flavor in your pasta recipe then this is another good alternative to consider. 

3. Full-Fat Milk + Butter

Full-fat whole milk blended with butter can provide a similar consistency as heavy cream. It is another easy alternative and you can consider it for pasta sauces whenever you run out of heavy cream.

If you think that this mixture is not as creamy as you want it to be, you can add a tablespoon of flour or cornstarch. 

4. Milk + Cornstarch

Here is the mixture of milk and cornstarch, in case you don’t have butter to mix with milk. This is a low-fat heavy cream and you can use either whole milk or skim milk. Both work great with cornstarch in creating creamy textures. 

This mixture comes with a neutral flavor and allows you to add seasonings and other ingredients to match with your pasta dish. 

5. Cheese + Cauliflower

This odd combination is one of the best, especially for Alfredo-like pasta sauce. Cauliflower is often mixed with dairy products and the result is awesome. When you add seasonings and garlic it becomes so tasty. 

So, give it a try. Mix mashed cauliflower with soft cheese and add it to your pasta along with seasonings and accompanied ingredients. 

6. Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is a versatile food and it is used in many ways. You can choose it instead of heavy cream and the result will amuse you. It tends to blend well into a creamy texture and has a delicate milky flavor. 

Make sure to season it with salt, pepper and other condiments to enhance the taste of your sauce. By the way, silken tofu is a great substitute for vegetarians as it doesn’t contain dairy. 

7. Cream Cheese

If you look for both a creamy texture and similar taste to heavy cream, then cream cheese is one of the most suitable options. It generally works as a one-to-one alternative to heavy cream in many dishes, and pastas are not exceptions. 

Cream cheese comes in different fat contents and depending on the texture you want to get for your sauce you can use the most suitable version.

8. Whole-Milk Ricotta

Between the most appropriate types of cheese to use instead of heavy cream, ricotta cheese has its special place. It’s an Italian whey cheese and it contains enough liquid to get a creamy texture for pasta sauces. 

Ricotta has a consistency similar to cream cheese but is rather grainy and moisty than creamy. Anyway you can use it in pasta sauces by stirring with hot pasta to get the desired sauce-like texture. 

9. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a rather affordable and easier substitute. It tends to become creamy when you mix it. It also has a subtle flavor with some saltiness.

Cottage cheese is perfect for savory dishes and can work well in pastas. When you add seasonings into it, don’t forget that it is saltier than heavy cream. 

10. Pesto

As for pesto, it’s a bright green sauce made of fresh basil, garlic, salt, cheese, olive oil and pine nuts. It tastes like parsley and garlic and is often served with pasta dishes. There is a pesto pasta dish in Italian cuisine. 

Overall, pesto is totally different from heavy cream but since it has a matching flavor for pasta, you can serve it instead of white heavy cream-based sauces. 

11. Avocado

Special for those looking for healthy vegan substitutes for heavy cream, there is avocado to add in pasta sauces. Of course it will change the color into pale green, just like in the case of pesto, but compared to pesto and heavy cream, it doesn’t contain dairy products. 

Mashed and pureed avocado is an excellent option to reach a creamy texture. On the other hand it’s diet-friendly. 


Can I substitute milk for heavy cream in pasta

Yes, you can substitute milk for heavy cream in pasta. The results may not be as rich and creamy, but it will still be tasty. Just make sure to use whole milk for best results. Skim milk can make the sauce watery.

What is the healthiest substitute for heavy cream in pasta sauce?

In our opinion: Silken Tofu, Avocado, Greek Yogurt and Coconut Cream work as the best replacements for heavy cream in pasta sauce.

Half-and-half vs heavy cream for pasta sauce

To get a thick and creamy sauce, you need to use either half-and-half or heavy cream. Half-and-half is a mixture of milk and cream that has been pasteurized. Heavy cream is the richest type of cream and is made from the top layer of milk that has been allowed to collect in a bowl. 

Both half and half and heavy cream will give you a thick sauce, but heavy cream will be richer and have a higher fat.

Final Words

With so many heavy cream substitutes for pasta, you can find one that fits your dietary needs and still enjoy a delicious dish. From vegan options to dairy-free choices, there’s something for everyone. Get your favorite substitute to make delicious pasta that no Italian restaurants would serve!

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