2 Ingredient Heavy Cream Substitute Recipe

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Picture this. I’m standing in my kitchen, about to make my Copycat Olive Garden Chicken Alfredo for dinner. I reach into my fridge to grab the heavy cream needed and much to my un-surprise I find that I’m out of heavy cream. That shouldn’t surprise me though since I rarely buy the real stuff. It’s so expensive and when I do buy it, I usually don’t get it all used up before it goes bad. Since I don’t like wasting money, I don’t buy it unless I absolutely have to. Instead, I use a homemade heavy cream substitute in the majority of my recipes.

Need heavy cream for a recipe but don't have any? This 2 ingredient heavy cream substitute recipe will work just as well! You'll never know the difference!

This heavy cream substitute can be used in almost any recipe that you would use store bought cream in with one exception. It will not whip. It’s awesome in every other recipes I’ve tried, but if you’re making homemade whipped cream, you’ll have to use the real stuff. Otherwise, you’re good to go to use it normally.

Homemade Heavy Cream Substitute Recipe

When you make it, be sure that you don’t let the milk scorch. It will very easily and since saving money on milk is hard enough, scorching the milk isn’t a good thing. You’ll also want to use unsalted real butter over margarine. Margarine really is worse for your health over real butter and in this recipe, the fat that butter contains is needed to mimic real heavy cream. This will keep for a week or so in the fridge as long as you store it in an air tight container. Before you use it though, you’ll want to give it a very good shake. The butter and milk will separate as it cools so by shaking it back up, it will help it combine again. If it absolutely won’t mix back up and I’ve only had that happen once, put it on low heat or zap it for a few seconds in the microwave until hot then stir and mix well again. Just for reference, this recipe makes 1 cup of heavy cream substitute.

You will need:

  • 3/4 C Milk (I use 2% or whole milk)
  • 1/3 C butter (no margarine…margarine is bad.)


In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Be careful not to let it brown or burn. Remove from the heat.

Once the butter is melted, add a couple of tablespoons of the cold milk to the hot butter to temper it. Do not skip this step. If you do skip it, your milk will likely curdle.

Once you’ve tempered the butter, slowly pour in the remaining milk stirring as you pour.

Return the saucepan to low heat and whisk until the mixture is fully combined and hot.

Add the butter and milk mixture to a medium mixing bowl and beat on medium with a hand mixer until it’s thick.




2 Ingredient Heavy Cream Substitute Recipe

Need heavy cream for a recipe but don't have any? This 2 ingredient heavy cream substitute recipe will work just as well! You'll never know the difference!
Author: Stacy Barr


  • 3/4 C Milk I use 2% or whole milk
  • 1/3 C butter no margarine…margarine is bad.


  • In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat.
  • Add a tablespoon or two of the melted butter to the cold milk to temper it. Please do this step. If you don’t? You’ll cause the milk to curdle.
  • Add the remaining butter to the milk and return to low heat. Cook on low heat and stir with a whisk until the mixture is hot and well combined.
  • Add to a mixing bowl or blender and mix under thick.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.


To use, just shake well and use in place of real cream! This will make 1 cup of the heavy cream substitute.


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Stacy Williams

Stacy Williams is a 37-year old wife to a USAF Gulf War Veteran, mother of two teen girls and fur-mamma to a rescued pit bull. The face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family, she also owns and manages Long Haul Wife, Republic Preparedness, The Genealogy Queen and a handful of others sites. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome a drinking problem, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence, and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

Learn how to earn a full-time income from home by learning how to start a blog just like this one! Click HERE to check out Stacy's step-by-step tutorial.
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  1. Hubby enjoys Alfredo sauce so I’m looking forward to trying this in recipes. Thanks for sharing this tip. [Aso, I think when you typed “Add to a mixing bowl or blender and mix under thick.”, perhaps you meant “until thick”?]

  2. How fab! Would it work to make ganache with this substitute?
    Have you ever tried?
    Thinking of giving it a shot, heavy cream is always expensive as you know and I don’t always keep it in my fridge.
    Thanks for posting!

    • Elena, I have not tried it with a ganache, but am curious! Let me know if it works out! We mainly use it for sauces.

  3. Coconut milk is also an excellent substitute, although its not really cheaper. But coming from a dairy free home it is a perfect substitute. haven’t used in anything that it hasn’t worked for. Never tried making whipped cream though.

    • I’ll have to try using coconut milk Laura. I use it in a lot of places here at our house, but have never tried it as a heavy cream substitute. Thanks for the tip!

  4. I do buy heavy cream (36% fat version) for a recipe but if I have any left over that I know I won’t need. I will whip up some butter from it and what is left is actually skim milk to be used for cereal or coffee. Now for ganache: depending on if I am trying to impress someone or if it’s for kids, the recipes I use calls for butter, milk and bittersweet chocolate (the good stuff) or a cheaper version of cocoa powder, butter and milk.

    • I have no idea how I totally skimmed over making butter with the left overs but I did! That’s an excellent idea! Thanks Maryann! You’ve reminded me of a way to be more frugal and I appreciate it 🙂

  5. Just a note: in order to temper the milk and butter, always pour small amounts of the hot into the cold, otherwise the bit of milk would curdle in all the hot butter. Same as tempering eggs.

  6. Omg, you saved me, I was panicking cause I had no heavy cream for my recipes, haha.
    Also, can this heavy cream be used on homemade ice cream?

  7. Peter Bassett says

    The instructions at the top say “add a couple of tablespoons of the cold milk to the hot butter to temper it” but in the recipe box it says the opposite – “Add a tablespoon or two of the melted butter to the cold milk to temper it”

    • Stacy Barr says

      Semantics Peter. Either way it should be fine. I’ve never done it the way you suggest but I can’t see as how it would be any difference. Also, I’m not certain what recipe box you’re speaking of.

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