Whipping Cream vs Heavy Cream
You’re at the supermarket aisle looking for a cooking cream to enhance your dish. You’re stumped by the variety of options — between cooking cream, whipped cream, crème fraîche and the others, which is the right one to use? And what’s the difference between all these?
Bookmark this article as your dictionary of cream. We’ve created this comprehensive guide for newbies and experienced cooks alike on the various types of creams and how to use them in your culinary journey.
1. Thickened Cream
Thickened cream = heavy cream. You may have seen this in countless recipes — think of it as an all purpose cream that can be used in everything from sweet desserts to savoury dishes.
Fat Content: Up to 38% fat. As a rule of thumb, the higher the fat content, the more decadent and rich in consistency the cream is. At a whopping 38% of fat content, thickened creams are a great choice for whipping as they hold the shape longer due to their high fat content. This cream is most ideal for forming stiff peaks which can be used for decorating cakes or even the shaping of meringue cookies.
Usage: Endless possibilities in both desserts and savoury dishes. Think toppings in cake, add a dollop of thickened cream to your breakfast eggs and make it fancy like a restaurant’s! Add a touch of it to your coffee or anything that requires a hit of velvety rich goodness.
We love pasta as our go-to Italian comfort food, check out our fusion of East meets West rendition of a Creamy Kimchi Seafood Pasta. Using thickened cream, it brings out the infused flavours of the kimchi and seafood concoction; oh so decadent!
2. Whipping Cream
Notice that there are several types of whipping creams, ranging from light whipping cream to heavy whipping cream. Well, the difference boils down to the fat content.
- Heavy Cream (Heavy Whipping Cream): 36-40% Milk fat
- Whipping Cream: 30-35% Milk Fat
- Light Cream (Light Whipping Cream): 18-30% Milk fat
Source: U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
*Some brands may offer a range of creams that contain lower fat content than indicated here.
Usage: Depending on the intensity of creaminess that you require for your dish, choose your whipping creams wisely! Mainly, you’ll find whipping cream on desserts like chocolate mousse or pies. Whipping cream comes in various forms such as in a carton box, a can and even a spray.
Tip: To make your own whipped cream quickly, place your bowl and beater for 5 to 10 minutes in the freezer. The cold temperatures of the tools help to firm up the fat molecules in the cream hence making your whipped cream more stable.
An easy recipe for the upcoming festive session: our Christmas Eggnog recipe using whipping cream, the foamy and stiff peaks remind us of snow-capped mountains. It’s not only aesthetically pleasing but the taste packs a punch too!
3. Crème fraîche
It looks like a tongue twister, but it’s actually just French for ‘fresh cream’. In terms of flavour profile, it has a slight acidity, perfect for dishes that are more delicate and have lighter flavours. It does not compete with but completes the dish! It can be served raw or heated, making it a versatile ingredient.
Fat Content: Around 30%
Usage: As it is non-curdling in nature, it is suited for both sweet and savoury dishes. It is an excellent thickening agent for sauces and soups. Add it to your eggs, serve it with scones or even mix with spices as a creamy salad dressing. The possibilities are endless!
Tip: If you’re interested in making Crème fraîche from scratch, we would recommend not to use metal containers as it interferes with the culture process. Use a glass mixing bowl instead.
4. Half and Half Cream
Consisting of equal parts of milk and cream, the texture of this cream sits in the middle of runny and rich. In other words, it is richer than milk but not as heavy as cream. This unique blend makes it a perfect add-on for the rich and smooth consistency for Butter Chicken.
Fat Content: 10-12%
Usage: Half and Half Cream can’t be whipped due to the low fat content, so you’ll find it used mostly for sauces and soups. Or you could add it to elevate your scrambled eggs and mashed potatoes for a creamier consistency.
Potential substitutes: Equal parts whole milk and heavy cream, or mix one or two tablespoons of melted butter with one cup of whole milk.
Tip: Do not boil half and half cream as it will curdle and cause separation. Add them as the last ingredient when you’re preparing soups or sauces.
5. Double Cream
Double cream, as the name suggests, has one of the highest butterfat out of all creams. This indulgent cream is made from the separation of milk fat, so you have a cream that’s velvety rich in consistency.
Fat Content: at least 40%-48% fat
Usage: Used in desserts such as crème brulée and custards, many chefs and cooks use it to thicken sauces and soups for a luxurious mouthfeel too.
Tip: Be warned that making your own double cream can be a workout, as it requires lots of shaking and adjustment to get the right texture. If you’re looking to save some time in your preparation process, we’d go for ready-made creams from brands like Bulla. With Bulla’s Double Cream, the double cream can be used straight from the tub with the perfect texture — no beating required!
6. Sour Cream
There’s a lot of debate on sour cream on the Internet (exciting, we know). The main question is, is it yoghurt, cheese or an imposter?
Long story short, sour cream is actually a fermented dairy product mixed with lactic acid bacteria (probiotics). After which, it is further enhanced with an acid such as vinegar in the fermentation process.
Fat Content: 18-35% fat. Ready-made brands like Bulla Sour Cream has both light and premium range to cater to your needs, or you could DIY by mixing equal parts of milk and heavy cream.
Usage: Sour cream can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes for its unique flavour or even as an aid to help moisten batter and dough (say goodbye to dry cakes and cookies!) The addition of sour cream elevates your base to produce a well-rounded and richer foundation.
Alternatively, use it as a finishing topping like we did in our Taco Sisig Recipe below. The cream brings a tanginess and adds flair to the overall dish.
7. Cooking Cream
Cooking cream, compared to its counterparts, has a thinner consistency, which makes it easier for it to seep into gravies, sauces and soups. As a plus, it contains emulsifiers and enzymes, it is a stabiliser and does not curdle when boiled.
Fat Content: 18% onwards. Contains higher fat content compared to regular milk.
Usage: Perfect for dips, pancake batter, casseroles and more. It helps to temper spices in soups and bring a luscious thick texture to the overall dish. Highly recommended for homemade gravy!
8. Clotted Cream
Image Credits: Mom loves baking
When we think of clotted cream, we think of it as a luxurious companion to scones during tea time. For the unique texture and flavour of clotted cream, the cream undergoes a slow cooking process by first heating cream and then allowing it to cool in a controlled way. In the cooling process, the cream rises to the top and clots.
Fat Content: around 55%
Usage: The rich buttery texture makes it delicious to eat on its own, though it is often accompanied by fresh strawberries and used as a spread for breads, pancakes and waffles. With its slightly nutty flavour, it helps to balance the creamy flavour profiles and brings a depth of flavour.
9. Dollop Cream
Dollop cream has a consistent shape that holds well and will complement your dessert. It gives a professional finished look which will impress your guests.
Fat Content: Around 35%
Usage: Use it straight out of the tub, as a perfect accompaniment to your dessert. The versatility goes beyond sweet dishes such as fruits or piping on cakes but extends to savoury recipes such as pasta and soups.
Recipe: A potential substitute for mascarpone, use dollop cream as an easy fix in this Rose Red Wine Poached Pear with Loquat Mascarpone recipe.
Best Cream for Cooking
There are so many types of creams, and it’s interesting to note that the terms of cooking creams are coined differently in different countries. For example, in Singapore and our Southeast Asian neighbours, heavy cream is often referred to as thickened cream or whipping cream. Regardless of which term you use, this guide lays out the various kinds of cream and how to use them.
Here at The Meatmen, we’ve been using Bulla Dairy Foods as our go-to cream when it comes to creating our recipes! With a diverse offering of different creams, you can get them with reassurance. They are also convenient to purchase from your nearest supermarkets.
Elevate your dish to the next level and be open to experimenting with different creams. Happy cooking!