Milk And Butter Are The Key To Makeshift Heavy Cream

It happens to the best of us. We're in the kitchen, ready to cook, only to realize we have forgotten one of the key ingredients. The question flashes across our mind: Is it worth going to the store or do we just wing it with what we've got in the cupboard?

Heavy cream is a versatile tool to have in your culinary inventory, used to prepare a variety of dishes like a fettuccine Alfredo recipe or a cream of onion soup recipe. It's also the key ingredient to composing a delicious, homemade whipped cream recipe. There are a wealth of substitutes for heavy cream if you're in a pinch and most of these replacements are grocery store staples or easy to dig out of the fridge.

In terms of ease of access, a combination of milk and butter is by far your best bet to replicate heavy cream or come close if you find yourself without the genuine article. Let's face it, though; if you're out of milk and butter, your kitchen stock situation is far more dire than a lack of heavy cream.

Make heavy cream with milk and butter

To make a heavy cream replacement, start with 1 cup of heavy cream and mix ¼ cup of melted butter with ¾ cup of milk. How you mix those ingredients depends on how thick you want your faux heavy cream to be. If you want a super thick consistency akin to whipped cream, dig out a blender or an electric whisk to save your arms and cut down on time. 

However, if you're only looking for a straight swap, using a hand whisk or a big fork will do just fine. Mix your ingredients in a large bowl until you reach a nice, thick consistency with no lumps. If your cream is a bit thin, mix in a bit of flour and whisk to ensure your result is lovely and smooth. 

The reason this works so well is down to how heavy cream is made, by skimming the thickest layer off of whole milk and processing it with stabilizers and thickeners to get that creamy consistency. You already have the milk and the combination of butter's fat content and rich texture create a mixture that, while not identical to heavy cream, is very similar. 

The lack of processing does mean this substitute has its limitations. The stabilizers in store-bought heavy cream mean it retains its shape, particularly when whipped, in a way that a homemade alternative cannot compete with. This means you're probably better off using this version to enrich sauces rather than garnish cheesecake.