Can You Substitute Heavy Cream For Milk? Here’s the Truth

Substitute Heavy Cream For Milk

You’re in the middle of baking and are hyper-focused on getting everything right, grabbed your milk bottle from the fridge to add to your wet ingredients, but alas, you barely got a quarter of a cup.

Then at the corner of your eye, heavy cream calls you. The question is, can you substitute heavy cream for milk to complete your baking recipe? 

Yes, you can substitute heavy cream for milk for baking and cooking. Unless you want milk for drinking, heavy cream is a very good milk substitute for any type of cooking.

In that inconvenient circumstance that you run out of milk or don’t have enough left to complete your recipe, a diluted heavy cream can save the day. 

Additionally, using heavy cream in place of milk gives your recipe a luscious creaminess without affecting the texture too much.

We will also give you other milk alternatives that you may already have in your fridge or your cupboard. Read on below.

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So, how does heavy cream work as a substitute for milk?

Like milk, heavy cream is regarded as an essential ingredient in many cooking recipes. Heavy cream is made from the high-fat content of fresh milk. 

Since it has higher milk fat content than your regular milk, you need to dilute this with water so you can use it as a milk substitute for cooking.

Use 1:1 ratio – 1 part heavy cream and 1 part water to create a substitute for milk. Using more water will not give you the best results, instead, you will have a watery milk taste. 

Just remember that although this works in many recipes, this will not give you a preferable taste if you are looking to drink it. Heavy cream has a much thicker consistency than milk with a rich velvety mouthfeel even when diluted with equal parts of water.

Other Milk Substitutes

1. Evaporated Milk

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk has a longer shelf life than whole milk or your favorite fresh milk. Most evaporated milk comes in a can and you probably have one tucked away in your cupboard as many cooking recipes also call for this type of milk.

Evaporated milk is commonly used in soups, sauces, and baking as it gives richness and body minus the fat.

However, this milk is processed which removes much of its water or moisture content. To use evaporated milk as a milk substitute, you need to combine it with water.

If a recipe calls for a cup of whole milk, substitute it with ½ cup of evaporated milk combined with ½ cup of water.

2. Half and Half

Half and half – as the name suggests – is half whole milk and half heavy cream. This is also a favorite in many households for giving coffee and tea a creamy milky boost that regular whole milk can’t.

In many cooking and baking recipes, half and half give closer results to milk as a replacement all while adding luscious richness to baked goodies.

With its high-fat content, cooking your sauces, gravy, or soup with half and half make it less likely to curdle as it reaches boiling temperature.

You can use it as a cup-for-cup substitute or combine it with water to give it a closer texture to milk. For every cup of milk, use a combination of ¾ cup of half and half and ¼ cup of water.

3. Yogurt

Plain yogurt is a great milk substitute for creamy soups and sauces, baking, and mashed potatoes. You may use either plain yogurt or Greek yogurt.

Just remember that Greek yogurt is usually thicker and has higher fat content than traditional plain yogurt. 

Additionally, you need to “thin it out” with a bit of water as it has a thick consistency like the heavy cream. Add it to the soup or sauce off the heat so it doesn’t curdle. 

4. Powdered Milk

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk is dry milk that makes a great whole milk substitute. Like the regular liquid milk you love, powdered milk adds creaminess to savory sauces and soups and a creamy milky boost to protein shakes, smoothies, coffee, and tea.

You just need to follow the package instructions to reconstitute the powdered milk then use it as you would whole milk. It is important to note as well that just like whole milk, powdered milk comes in different levels of milk fat.

Non-Dairy Milk Substitutes

1. Coconut Milk

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk has become a crowd-favorite dairy milk substitute especially to vegan consumers or those who just can’t tolerate dairy products.

It has a creamy consistency with great texture and a hint of delicious coconut flavor. It gives a delightful creaminess to coffee, smoothies, and protein shakes. 

However, with its coconut flavor, coconut milk may not work in some recipes unless you love to have that flavor added. You can use coconut milk as a whole milk substitute cup-for-cup. 

2. Soy Milk

Soy Milk

Another popular and favorite vegan substitute for dairy milk is soy milk. Many coffee shops offer this substitute for lattes and coffee-based frappes.

It works really well with coffee and it also works wonderfully in many recipes in place of whole milk.

You can use soy milk as a cup-for-cup milk substitute. It is worth noting though that since soy milk doesn’t have the same milk fat content, it may alter the texture and taste of baked goods.

Depending on your taste preference, you will need to do some trial and error to get the perfect mix you prefer.

3. Oat Milk

Oat Milk

There is a growing love for Oat Milk from non-dairy and vegan followers. Oat milk isn’t only delightful for coffee and smoothies, it also has a great texture that is thick enough to use as a milk replacement for baking.

However, do note that oat milk has more starch content than whole milk so it may alter the final texture of baked goods. The key here is practice; you will get the perfect recipe as you go.

4. Almond Milk

Almond milk is another vegan option that is not only favored by people following the vegan diet but also those who are lactose intolerant.

Its delicate nutty flavor gives a unique but flavorsome taste to coffee, tea, smoothies, and even to baking. It’s highly recommended to get the unsweetened almond milk so it doesn’t affect the final flavor too much.

Do cream and water make milk?

No, it doesn’t when you’re looking for milk for drinking. But you can use this mixture in place of milk for cooking or baking when you run out of milk. 

Can you use milk instead of heavy cream?

Yes, you can. However, milk does not have the same consistency as it is more liquid. To use milk instead of heavy cream, you can mix it with butter to make a doable substitute.

To make a cup of heavy cream, first melt about ¼ cup of butter and then slowly add ¾ milk while whisking gently. It will work for many recipes but it will not be as dense and creamy.

How to make whole milk from heavy cream?

On the opposite side of the previous question, how can you make whole milk from heavy cream? To produce milk out of cream you would need to melt it and pull out the liquid from the soft creamy solid product. Don’t worry, it’s quite easy.

First, prepare about 25 ml heavy whipping cream and mix with 225 ml of cold water. You can add about 2 teaspoons of your preferred sugar or sweet additive. It’s recommended to use stevia or Erythritol sweetener.

Another way to produce milk from heavy cream is to dilute the latter with skim milk. Using skim milk instead of water can make a more full-bodied flavor. Note that heavy cream contains more fat than regular milk so be sure to control your intake to avoid diet problems. 

Can you substitute heavy cream for milk in mac and cheese?

Yes. Heavy cream also works well as a milk replacement for mac and cheese recipes. It will give you a creamier, richer mac and cheese as a result. It is recommended to start with a smaller quantity and adjust accordingly to your preferred texture.


Milk is a staple in almost every household – it complements just about everything! Can you substitute heavy cream for milk? Absolutely!

With heavy cream as a substitute and all the other milk substitutes listed above, you no longer have to worry about running out of milk while you’re knee-deep in cooking or baking. All these replacements work just as well as your regular milk – sometimes even better.

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