Heavy cream is delicious and adds a richness to all sorts of sweet and savoury dishes, but it’s not something everyone keeps in their fridge at all times. So what can you do if you’ve got a hankering for a recipe that calls for heavy cream but don’t have any on-hand? As it turns out, you can use a combination of milk and butter as a pretty effective substitute.
You’re going to need ¼ cup of melted unsalted butter. Slowly and thoroughly mix in ¾ cup milk, et voilà—you’ll have the equivalent of one cup of heavy cream. However, as Real Simple points out, this version won’t whip up into satisfying stiff peaks, so don’t bother trying to use it to top a pie or sundae.
This concoction works because the butter adds the fat component present in heavy cream but not in regular milk. I tried this for making an Indian dish requiring heavy cream (lamb korma if you’re curious) and it worked really well. I’m curious to give it a go in our ice-cream maker. Is there anything butter can’t do?
This story was originally published in 2012 and was updated on 11/12/19 to provide more thorough and current information.