Heavy cream powder is a versatile pantry staple that adds richness and creaminess to recipes.
However, you may find yourself needing a substitute for various reasons - maybe you ran out, have an allergy, or want a lower-fat option. Luckily, there are several alternatives that mimic the texture and flavor of heavy cream powder.
What is Heavy Cream Powder?
Heavy cream powder, also called dehydrated cream powder or sweet cream powder, is made by removing the moisture from fresh heavy cream. The resulting powder is shelf-stable and consists entirely of cream solids without any added sugar or stabilizers.
It has a rich, creamy flavor and can be used to add richness, texture, and body to recipes both sweet and savory. Heavy cream powder is convenient for baking since it has a long shelf life. It's also useful for making whipped cream and homemade ice cream.
When reconstituted with water, heavy cream powder becomes a liquid with a similar fat content and viscosity as heavy whipping cream. It can be substituted 1:1 for heavy cream in any recipe.
Why Substitute Heavy Cream Powder?
There are several reasons you may want or need to use a substitute:
- You're out of heavy cream powder.
- You want a dairy-free, vegan alternative.
- You'd like a lower-fat or lower-calorie option.
- You or someone you are cooking for has a milk allergy.
Substituting heavy cream powder allows you to still achieve a rich, creamy texture in recipes. With the right substitute, you won't have to sacrifice taste or quality.
Best Substitutes for Heavy Cream Powder
Milk and Butter
If you have milk and butter on hand, you can make a quick replacement for heavy cream powder.
- For 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder: Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter with 2 tablespoons milk.
The milk adds volume while the butter provides fat needed to replicate the richness of heavy cream powder. Use whole milk or half-and-half for best results.
This substitute works well in pan sauces, soups, mashed potatoes, and other savory dishes. It also adds tenderness to baked goods like muffins, scones, and quick breads. However, it won't whip like heavy cream powder.
Evaporated milk is concentrated milk that's had about 60% of the water content removed through evaporation. It has a creamy texture and slightly caramelized flavor.
- For 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder: Use 1 tablespoon evaporated milk.
Opt for whole evaporated milk rather than skim or lowfat varieties to better match the fat content of heavy cream powder. This substitute works well in recipes like chowders, curries, and cream-based soups.
With 10-12% fat, half-and-half can mimic the richness of heavy cream powder while being lower in calories.
- For 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder: Use 1 tablespoon half-and-half.
Half-and-half adds creaminess to recipes like mashed potatoes, pasta, and chowders without being quite as rich and heavy. It also works well in cream sauces and baked goods. However, it won't whip like heavy cream powder.
Blended silken tofu is a vegan way to replicate the thickness of heavy cream powder in recipes. Silken tofu has a custard-like consistency that lends richness without any dairy.
- For 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder: Puree 1 tablespoon silken tofu with 1 teaspoon water until smooth.
The pureed tofu can thicken and add body to recipes like soups, curries, gravies, and potato or pasta salads. For baked goods, you may need to experiment with the ratio to get the ideal texture.
Coconut cream is made from the thick, fatty layer that rises to the top of full-fat coconut milk. It's dairy-free and mimics the richness of heavy cream powder.
- For 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder: Use 1 tablespoon coconut cream.
Coconut cream works well in soups, curries, and chowders, adding body and a subtle coconut flavor. It can also be whipped. Just note that it solidifies when chilled, so thawed, liquid coconut cream works best as a powder substitute.
Heavy Cream Powder Alternatives
There are also several pre-made powder products that mimic heavy cream powder:
- Coconut cream powder: Adds coconut flavor; can be whipped
- Oat cream powder: Made from blended oats; may alter texture
- Rice cream powder: Neutral flavor; combines rice milk and oils
- Nut cream powders: Such as cashew, almond; may overpower delicate recipes
Follow package instructions for reconstituting these dairy-free cream powders. They work well in baking, drinks, desserts, and creamy soups and sauces. However, they won't have quite the same flavor as true heavy cream powder.
Milk and Oil
Another dairy-free option is to mix plant-based milk with oil to replicate the fat content of heavy cream powder.
- For 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder: Mix 2 teaspoons milk with 1 teaspoon oil.
Try refined coconut, avocado, or vegetable oil so it won't overpower other ingredients. Use plain, unsweetened dairy-free milk like soy, almond, oat, or rice milk. Whisk vigorously until well-blended before using.
This substitute adds richness to recipes like chowders, baked goods, and ice cream. But it won't whip like true heavy cream powder.
How to Substitute Heavy Cream Powder in Recipes
Heavy cream powder is reconstituted before using in recipes. The easiest method is:
- For every 1 tablespoon heavy cream powder, mix with 1 tablespoon water until dissolved.
Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to fully thicken before using as you would heavy cream.
When using substitutes for heavy cream powder:
- For butter and milk combinations, melt the butter first and let it cool slightly before mixing with milk.
- Powdered milk substitutes can also be mixed with water following package directions to get the desired consistency before using.
- For blended items like tofu or oils, mix well to fully combine before adding to recipes.
- Add extra liquid if needed to reach the thickness of heavy cream.
How to Store Substitutes for Heavy Cream Powder
Heavy cream powder substitutes like evaporated milk, half-and-half, and non-dairy milks typically keep for 5-7 days refrigerated. Butter and oils can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated for longer shelf life.
Coconut cream powder and other powdered dairy alternatives also have a long shelf life of 6 months to 1 year when stored in a cool, dry place.
For best quality and freshness, use heavy cream powder substitutes within the recommended timeframe after opening. Properly stored, they can be a handy way to mimic heavy cream powder in recipes when you run out or want an alternative.
Can I make my own heavy cream powder?
Yes, you can make homemade heavy cream powder by drying fresh heavy cream or whipping cream. Whip the cream to soft peaks then spread in a thin layer on a lined baking sheet. Dehydrate in an oven or food dehydrator 6-8 hours until completely dried. Break into a powder and store in an airtight container up to 1 year.
What can be used in place of heavy cream powder in recipes?
Common substitutes include butter and milk, evaporated milk, half-and-half, silken tofu, coconut cream, and dairy-free cream powders. You can also combine plant-based milk and oil. The best substitute depends on the recipe and whether you need something dairy-free.
Can heavy cream powder be replaced with milk powder?
Dry milk powder isn't ideal since it's much lower in fat than heavy cream powder. But in a pinch, you could experiment with mixing milk powder with butter or oil to increase the fat percentage. Expect a slightly thinner, less rich result compared to heavy cream powder.
Is heavy cream powder the same as dry milk?
No, heavy cream powder and dry milk powder are different products. Dry milk powder is made from skim milk or whole milk with the moisture removed. Heavy cream powder starts with heavy cream or whipping cream, so it's much higher in fat.
Heavy cream powder can be substituted in recipes by combining ingredients like milk and butter or by using alternatives like coconut cream, half-and-half, and silken tofu. With the right ratios, these swaps mimic the richness, body, and texture of heavy cream powder.
Consider the fat content and flavor profile needed for the recipe when choosing a substitute. Tested, well-measured substitutions using ingredients like evaporated milk, plant oils, and dairy-free cream powders can help you replicate the creamy goodness of heavy cream powder.