5 Amazing Vegan Substitutes for Heavy Cream

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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There are many vegan substitutes for heavy cream if you are cooking for someone who has eliminated animal products from their diet.

Vegan Substitutes for Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is a staple baking ingredient that adds fat and moisture to many recipes. It is also used to thicken soups and sauces. Heavy cream is also used for making whipped cream for desserts and drinks. However, heavy cream is also full of saturated fats and calories, making it very tasty, but not very healthy. In addition to health reasons, many people choose vegan substitutes for heavy cream because of either lactose intolerance, allergies or special diets. Substituting one of these low-fat, plant-based alternatives can make your favorite recipe healthier without sacrificing flavor.

A mini white creamer filled with heavy cream kept on burlap

Heavy cream can make dishes taste and feel luxurious. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Coconut Cream

This high-fat coconut alternative provides all the creaminess and structure of heavy cream. It can even be whipped into peaks just like heavy cream. Coconut cream is often sold by itself in the grocery store, but if you can’t find it, don’t worry. Simply take a can of full-fat coconut milk and refrigerate it. The cream will solidify and eventually rise to the top.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is a very soft tofu that makes a great alternative to heavy cream in soups, sauces, and casseroles. If you want a very thick cream, choose a medium firmness of tofu instead. Puree the tofu to make it smooth and creamy. However, tofu is not appropriate as a substitution in desserts, as it will not whip up like heavy cream.

Alternative Milk and Oil

Choose any plant-based milk, such as almond or rice, and blend 2/3 of a cup with 1/3 cup of dairy-free margarine or oil. This will substitute for one cup of heavy cream in baking recipes, giving the recipe both fat and moisture. Be sure to get an unflavored plant milk. Heaver fat kinds of milk, like almond, cashew, or coconut will work best.

Avocado

For sauces and salad dressings, try using pureed avocado instead of heavy cream. Obviously, this will change part of the flavor of the recipe, but avocado is like milk, in that it tends to be a neutralizing flavor. Also, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can even add avocado to milkshakes to get a thick, creamy texture.

Close up of a halved avocado, resting on a whole avocado on burlap

Fresh avocado Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Cannellini Beans

These mild white beans can be pureed and added instead of cream as a thickener to soups and stews. Their flavor won’t overpower any of the other tastes, but cannellini beans give the broth a creamy body. Plus, they’re packed full of protein, as well as other nutrients.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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