If you are vegan, you may find that you need a dairy-free heavy cream substitute for some recipes.
Heavy cream can be a difficult ingredient to substitute since it is often whipped up to create a light and air whipped cream. Usually, only store-bought vegan heavy creams are capable of replicating that (which is why I included one store-bought option!) However, there are still many alternatives to get the creaminess and richness of heavy whipping cream.
They may not be perfect replacements, but these vegan alternatives are still delicious and easy to make! Most of these alternatives will only yield the creaminess, thickness, or richness of heavy cream, which is great for all kinds of dishes such as creamy soups and rich curries.
1. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is by far the most common vegan heavy cream substitute. This is because it is also rich, creamy, and full of fat. Just make sure you use the full-fat canned coconut milk, not cartons of coconut milk. You will need to thoroughly shake up the cans to get the coconut water and fat to combine.
If you use coconut milk instead of heavy cream, just keep in mind that it might give the dish a coconut flavor. Coconut milk also doesn’t whip up like heavy cream when it’s room temperature. However, if you chill coconut cream or milk in the fridge, you can whip it up for a similar texture whipped topping.
You can use coconut milk for all kinds of dishes, check out this article on 10 unexpected ways to use coconut milk for more ideas. Check out a few recipes below that use coconut milk and cream:
- English Scones with Jam and Whipped Cream
- Red Lentil Cabbage Soup with Cilantro Oil
- Strawberry Shortcake Pancakes With Coconut Whipped Cream
- Pavlova With Coconut Whipped Cream
- Coconut Whipped Cream
2. Dairy-Free Whipping Cream
Silk Dairy-Free whipping cream is one of the only brands out there readily available to most. It is a vegan heavy whipping cream that actually whips up like the real thing! Another plus is that it does not have any distinct flavors like coconut milk does. If you are looking for a substitute that is as realistic as possible, this is the best option. You can also look out for a plant-based whipped topping or dairy-free canned whipped cream.
Check out these delicious plant-based recipes with whipped cream:
3. Silken Tofu
Silken tofu blended with a bit of plant milk is another tasty heavy cream substitute. It does not whip up like real heavy cream, but it can have similar effects in other ways. It is also relatively flavorless, which is great if you do not want to change the flavors of the dish.
Silken tofu is a great option if you need the richness of heavy cream for your dish. It’s best for sauces, soups, and certain baked goods. Check out these silken tofu recipes:
- Easiest Ever Silken Tofu Mousse
- Healthy Mocha Pots de Crème
- Banana Cheesecake With Mango Sauce
- Low-Fat Tofu Ranch Dip
- Souffle Omelet
4. Cashew Cream
Cashew cream is an excellent heavy cream alternative when it comes to richness. It is made by soaking raw cashews then blending them up into a smooth, creamy sauce.
This creates a very rich and creamy ingredient that can often take the place of heavy cream. It also doesn’t whip up, but it has a very light flavor that won’t affect your dish.
This is a great option for any recipe that does not require that the heavy cream be whipped. For more ideas on how to make creamy cashew dishes, read this article on 10 creamy and dairy-free cashew dips! Check out these recipes that use cashew cream too:
- Cheesy Cashew Cream Pasta
- Parfait With Berry-Cashew Cream and Homemade Granola
- Lasagna Soup with Cashew Cream
- Cardamom Chocolate Cake With Rose Cashew Cream
5. Plant Milk and Cornstarch
A combination of plant milk and a few tablespoons of cornstarch can also take the place of heavy cream. It is not the most realistic replacement, but it is a good option if you don’t have anything else on hand. This combination will recreate the thickness that the heavy cream gives. It won’t add richness or whip up, but it works in certain recipes.
6. Vegan Yogurt
This substitute is similar to the one using silken tofu. You can use vegan yogurt as a substitute for heavy whipping cream by adding it to plant milk. Use a no-sweetened and plain vegan yogurt and thin it out with some plant milk. This will recreate the thickness of heavy cream, giving your dish a creamy and luscious texture.
Some of the tanginess from the yogurt might be detectable, so make sure to not add too much.
Check out these creamy vegan recipes that use dairy-free yogurt:
- Dreamy Yogurt Cheesecake With Cocoa-Coconut Crust
- Healthy, Moist & Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cake
- Egyptian Eggplant Moussaka
7. Rice and Plant Milk
Blending together a combination of cooked white rice and plant milk can also substitute heavy cream.
This substitute is good if you don’t have much on hand but need an easy replacement. All you need to do is boil 1/3 cup rice until it is very mushy, then blend with 1/2 a cup of plant milk. This mixture is thick and creamy and can be used in dishes such as soups, sauces, and some baked goods.
It doesn’t have much of a flavor and adds a small amount of richness to recipes. It doesn’t whip up or add as much fat as heavy cream does, however.
Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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