Heavy Cream Vs. Half And Half – Which One Is The Best?

Heavy Cream Vs. Half And Half – Which One Is The Best? post thumbnail image

As the resident ‘foodie’ at my place of work, I normally field questions related to food. One of the most common questions I answer is, which is the best cream between heavy cream and half & half cream.

Many people ask me whether they can substitute either of these two for the other. The heavy cream vs. half and half debate has been on for quite some time now. Most folks are clueless on which of the two to use on which recipe.

Cream has remained an indispensable addition to countless recipes. The difference between different creams is the milk fat amount in each. Milk fat is a substance that rises naturally right to the top of unhomogenized milk. The cream – fat layer at the top – is separated from the milk and then pasteurized.

​You can buy creams in different grades based on fat content.

​The following are the most common cream grades:

Half And Half

Medline MMO100718 MINI MOOS HALFamp; HALF, 5 OZ, 192/CT, 5oz. (Container of 192)

Medline MMO100718 MINI MOOS HALFamp; HALF, 5 OZ, 192/CT, 5oz. (Container of 192)

This cream is a mixture of equal parts cream and milk. It is between 10.5 – 18% milk fat. Half and half cream is mainly used on cereal or coffee

Light Cream

Also known as table cream, light cream contains 18 – 30% fat. Table cream is served in coffee or over berries.

Whipping Cream

Whipping cream also goes by the name light whipping cream. It contains 30 – 36% milk fat. It is used in soups and sauces. You can also use it as a garnish for your desserts.

Heavy Cream

Heavy whipping cream is the other name that refers to heavy cream. It contains between 36 – 40% milk fat. Heavy cream is the richest cream available. It comes in handy for making desserts and thickening sauces. It is better compared to whipping cream when it comes to making whipped cream.

Heavy Cream vs. Half And Half – Which One Should Be Used Where?

The one you choose depends on what you intend to make. For savory recipes that call for cream like soups, cheese sauces, gravies or mashed potatoes where specific amounts of moisture are not crucial, then either of these versions will work.

In fact, they are considerably better compared to using milk. Nevertheless, it is always important to remember that regular whipping creams normally add some additional moisture.

When it comes to baked dishes like quiche, pot pies, scalloped potatoes or any other dish that additional moisture might result in the dish being watery, it’s prudent to use heavy cream.

For dessert dishes, half and half cream is the best.

​Having looked at the various instances to use either of these creams, let us now look at each one of them and unique features they boast. Read on.

​Heavy Cream

As indicated earlier, heavy cream boasts the highest milk fat content. For instance, in the United States, the content is between 36 – 40%. In some other countries, the content is as high as 48%.

This cream is commonly found in the gourmet stores. Compared to whipping cream, heavy cream whips denser. It is great at whipping up well and holding its shape. When whipped, heavy cream doubles in volume

Half And Half

Half And hHalf cream goes by the name coffee cream in some countries. Unlike heavy cream, you can’t whip half and half cream. In the U.S., people mix ½ cream and ½ whole milk in order to obtain half and half cream.

Typically, it’s used in coffee. While you can’t whip this kind of cream, you can use it in place of heavy cream in an array of recipes. You can also use it to replace whole homogenized milk in certain recipes for a richer and fuller flavor.

Recipe For Half And Half Cream

For your home cook, it’s always great to have cream on stock. Fortunately, the small pint containers retail at slightly over $1. What’s more is that you can use them in an array of dishes. However, half and half cream is something that you’ll never have to purchase at many times since it’s easy to make it at home.

You’ll need the following:

  • 2 ounces whipping cream
  • 2 ounches milk


  • 1.75 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 2.25 ounces milk


Add equal parts cream and milk inside a jar, cover with a lid and then stir/shake for 10 seconds for it to combine.

Recipe For Heavy Cream

Making heavy cream at home is a breeze.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Elbow grease
  • Butter
  • Whole milk

In order to make a single cup of heavy cream, mix 1/3 cup melted butter with 2/3 cup of whole milk. Really, it’s that simple. Alternatively, if you do not have milk at hand, you can mix 7/8 cup half and half cream and 1/6 cup butter.

Plenty of substitutes for heavy cream exist if rich stuff is not your thing. For instance, Greek yogurt is the best lighter option. It tends to have a little more thickness and tang compared to regular cream.

Are you lactose or vegan intolerant? If yes, then the good thing is that you can make your own blend at home using soy and tofu milk.


Whether added to a sauce or poured strawberries, cream is undoubtedly one of the most delicious treats nature has to offer. Unquestionably, life wouldn’t be the same without cream.

Simply put, cream is the yellowish fatty component of un-homogenized milk, which accumulates on the surface. The butterfat amount normally determines how well it’ll whip or how stable it’ll be.

When compared to low fat creams, the higher fat creams tend to have a richer texture and taste better. Additionally, this kind of cream doesn’t curdle easily when you use it in cooking.

Understanding the major differences between creams is very important since it helps you select the appropriate cream for your needs. You can obtain cream by skimming butterfat’s top layer from milk. The different amounts of fat content are what inform the major differences between creams.

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