Don't be caught off guard the next time you run out of your favorite cooking cream. Grab an easy cream substitute to keep on cooking and baking at home! Your family will be happy and your tastebuds will be pleased.

Flour, heavy white cream, eggs, and sugar from Shelf Cooking

Creams are such a versatile ingredient in a recipe. They can be used in the most savory of dishes, and then you can turn around and eat them in the sweetest of desserts. They're wonderful to always have on hand in the fridge!

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Unfortunately, it never fails that when you need some the most, you open the fridge and BOOM, gone! Lucky for you, we've got a great cream substitute for you that will work for any of the different types of creams. Come learn a little more about these versatile ingredients and find out the best ways to substitute them when you're in a pinch!


Have you ever realized that half and half cream is literally half whole milk and half light cream? Don't worry, our minds were blown when we first realized it, too! It doesn't matter when you realized it, as long as you know it now. Because once you know, then you can easily make an easy substitute for half and half without having to run to the store to get more.

To make one cup of half and half:

  • Combine ½ cup whole milk and ½ cup light cream.
  • Mix ⅞ cup milk with 1 tbsp butter or margarine.
  • Use 1 cup of undiluted evaporated milk.
  • Mix 3 Tbsp oil with enough milk to equal 1 cup.
  • Combine ½ cup coffee creamer plus ½ cup milk.

So easy! Now that you how how easy it is to substitute for half and half, you can easily do it the next time you're in a bind.


Love to use light cream in your drinks or your dessert, but don't love it when you run out right when you need it the most? Don't sweat it! Pick out a light cream substitute and you're good to go.

To make one cup light cream:

  • Combine ¾ cup milk and 3 Tbsp butter or margarine.
  • Use 1 cup of undiluted evaporated milk.

Regardless of what you need it for, sweet or savory, you won't ever have to sweat running out of it again.


Heavy cream substitute in soup, from Shelf Cooking

From a creamy chicken soup to homemade whipped cream, you can never go wrong keeping heavy cream in your fridge! However, it may be so widely used in your recipes that you occasionally run out when you need it the most. Don't worry, we've got you. Pick a heavy cream substitute that works for you and keep on keepin' on.

To make one cup of heavy cream:

  • Combine ¾ cup milk and ⅓ cup butter or margarine.
  • Substitute with 1 cup of light cream.
  • Add ⅔ cup buttermilk to ⅓ cup oil.
  • Use 1 cup evaporated skim milk.
  • Replace with 1 cup milk.
  • Combine ½ cup milk with ½ cup pureed cottage cheese.

Pro Tip: Use a food processor to puree the cottage cheese before adding it to your recipe.


This is one thing that you definitely don't want to run out of, especially if you're having something delicious like a fajita steak rice bowl. Use a sour cream substitute listed below using what you've got when you're in a pinch.

To make one cup sour cream:

  • Mix ¾ cup buttermilk with ⅓ cup butter or margarine.
  • Combine ⅓ cup buttermilk, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1 cup blended cottage cheese.
  • Use 1 cup of plain yogurt.
  • Add ½ cup blended cottage cheese with ½ cup plain yogurt.
  • Mix ¾ cup milk, ¾ tsp lemon juice, and ⅓ cup butter or margarine.
  • Combine 1 cup blended cottage cheese, 3 Tbsp milk, and 2 Tbsp lemon juice.

See, it really couldn't be any easier!


Whipped cream recipe in a mixing bowl from Shelf Cooking

Let's be honest, who doesn't love them some Cool Whip?! It goes great in our favorite fruit salad. But sometimes you really want to make something sweet without having to go to the store. Enter our favorite whipped cream recipe!

Whipped Cream Recipe

Forget store-bought, make this homemade whipped cream recipe and you'll forever be changed!
4 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • 1 cup heavy cream/heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp powdered or granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract, optional


  • Store metal bowl and mixer attachments in freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Using a hand or stand mixer, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed for about 3-4 minutes or until medium peaks form. (The cream will make a peak but the tops will curl over.)


Use immediately or cover in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Keyword cool whip, easy, quick

Easy as pie! Cream pie, that is. 😉


Here are a few other substitutions if you don't have any heavy cream to make your own:

  • Chill a 13-oz. can of evaporated milk for 12 hours. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice and whip until stiff.
  • Combine ½ cup ice-cold water and ½ cup nonfat dry milk. Slowly add ½ cup sugar while beating. Beat until stiff. Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice.
  • Use 1 cup of frozen whipped topping that's been thawed.
  • Substitute with 1 cup frozen yogurt.

Okay! You are now the master. Never be thrown off in a recipe again when you need to come up with a cream substitute. Just pull out this handy dandy list and you're set! 🙂 Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!

Cream in a cup with words that read "tons of easy cream substitutes" from Shelf Cooking

Want some more great ideas?

  • Now that you're the cream substitute master, go become the bread crumbs master and learn all that you can about the different tips, tricks and hacks!
  • The next time you run out of taco seasoning, try making your own instead of running to the store!
  • Did your favorite kitchen tools make it on our essentials list?