Last Updated on January 14, 2023
If you have done any baking before, you’ve likely heard of heavy cream and whipping cream. However, many people don’t know the differences between whipping cream vs heavy cream. Both are common ingredients that can be found in different desserts and even in savory dishes.
Both heavy cream and whipping cream can be found at grocery stores in the dairy section. They are typically sold in cartons or bottles. When shopping, it can be confusing to know which one is the right one to buy.
The Differences Between Whipping Cream vs Heavy Cream
Though there are differences between the two, heavy cream and whipping cream are much alike. The thing that sets the two apart is the amount of milk fat each one has.
Heavy cream has the most milk fat, containing 36-40%. Whipping cream comes in slightly under, containing 30-35% milk fat. The higher percentage of milk fat allows heavy cream to hold its form longer and whip better than whipping cream.
Heavy cream and whipping cream are full of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health. They include vitamins A, K, D, and E in addition to calcium which is beneficial to your bones. However, heavy cream and whipping cream are high in calories.
In one tablespoon, heavy cream contains approximately 50 calories, five grams of fat, and three and a half grams of saturated fat. Whipping cream contains approximately 45 calories, four and a half grams of fat, and three grams of saturated fat in a tablespoon.
Due to their high-fat content, heavy cream and whipping cream can generally last for a month in the refrigerator. This is longer than other creams such as half-and-a-half and light cream.
Heavy Cream vs Heavy Whipping Cream Facts
To make it more confusing, there is also a product called heavy whipping cream. Heavy whipping cream is actually just the same product as heavy cream, it just is sold under a different name. Both must contain at least 36% milkfat and can be used interchangeably.
It can be confusing when shopping for heavy cream as there are different names for the same thing. It is alright to get heavy whipping cream if you are needing heavy cream.
Using Heavy Cream vs Whipping Cream
There are several uses for both heavy cream and whipping cream. Not only can they be used to make desserts, but they can also be used to make savory dishes. Typically heavy cream and whipping cream are not used interchangeably, though if needed you can use either one.
Heavy cream is often a popular choice in richer, creamier dishes. Whipping cream is used for lighter, fluffier dishes.
Heavy cream is used in many sweet and savory dishes. Heavy cream gives a rich and smooth texture to savory dishes like creamy soups, pasta sauces, bisques, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and salad dressings. It is also great for delicious sweet treats like ice cream, butterscotch sauce, chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, whipped cream, frostings, and creme brulee.
Whipping cream works great for homemade pies and can also be used for a lighter, less stiff whipped cream. It can work well if you are looking for a lighter whipped topping for adding to your desserts. Whipping cream is less commonly used in dishes than heavy cream.
Heavy cream is ideal for cooking and baking, as it has less water content and thickens quicker when simmered. Heavy cream also holds up better than whipping cream does, which is why it is ideal for many desserts, especially frostings.
When working with heavy cream and whipping cream, it is best to work with it while it is cold. Many dessert recipes will even say to chill your mixing bowl and whisk beforehand so the cream will whip and hold up better.
Uses for Leftovers
If you have any leftover heavy cream or whipping cream, you don’t have to worry about wasting it. There are some great ways to put them to use that will have your taste buds rejoicing.
You can use leftover creams as a simple coffee creamer, adding spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to give it some extra flavor. If you’re an iced coffee lover, you can pour cream into ice cube trays, freeze them and then add them to your freshly brewed iced coffee. The cream cubes will give you a deliciously creamy coffee.
The Best One to Use for Your Cooking and Baking Needs
If you are trying to decide which one to keep handy, heavy cream is your best choice. Heavy cream is versatile and is often easier to find, however, either will do just fine. The higher fat content in heavy cream makes it the ideal choice for many dishes, both sweet and savory.
Heavy cream is often the ideal choice to use when making homemade whipped cream. Since it has a lower fat content, whipping cream isn’t able to achieve the stiff peaks that are ideal for whipped cream.
Making Your Own Heavy Cream
If you’d like to make your own heavy cream at home, you can do it with only a couple of simple ingredients. Simply take a fourth cup of real butter, melt it and mix it with three-fourths of a cup of whole milk. It is important to thoroughly mix the ingredients before using them.
Homemade heavy cream should be kept in the fridge. However, it is likely to last one to two weeks, unlike store-bought, which can last up to a month.
Can I Use Heavy Cream Instead of Milk in Buttercream Frosting?
Heavy cream can be used in place of milk when making buttercream frosting. Many people actually prefer to use heavy cream over milk when making buttercream frosting.
Heavy cream can be used in equal portions in place of milk when making buttercream frosting. Heavy cream will give buttercream frosting a fluffy consistency that is super smooth. It adds more air to your frosting which is what allows it to have a wonderfully fluffy texture.
Using heavy cream is key to getting the luscious creamy consistency buttercream is famous for having. You can also use heavy cream instead of milk in icing and glaze recipes. It will provide a lovely flavor and texture to your glazes and icing.
Depending on the recipe, baking with heavy whipping cream can also be done as well. In fact, certain baked goods such as scones often call for heavy cream in the recipe to provide a great flavor and texture. It can also be used in other recipes as well such as mousse, pound cake, pies, pastries, cheesecakes, and more.
When making ganache, heavy cream is key to getting the right consistency, you can not replace it with milk. Not only does it help provide flavor and consistency, but the ganache will not set correctly if you use something else instead of whipping cream.
What is the Difference Between Buttermilk vs Heavy Cream?
Buttermilk is another ingredient that bakers often have on hand. While it can sometimes be used interchangeably with heavy cream, the two ingredients are different.
As stated above, heavy cream is 36-40% fat and is the thick part of milk that rises to the top due to its high content. Buttermilk, on the other hand, is fermented milk, traditionally the liquid left behind after churning butter.
Buttermilk has a tangier flavor whereas heavy cream has a slightly sweet taste and is creamier. Heavy cream has more fat and is thicker, with the ability to hold its shape after whipping, unlike buttermilk.
Buttermilk will react with baking soda, resulting in fluffy baked goods. This makes it a popular choice for making waffles, pancakes, and biscuits. Buttermilk is also used in marinades as well.
Heavy cream does not react with baking soda and typically does not do anything to leaven baked goods. Heavy cream is commonly used for frosting, cakes, scones, ice cream, soups, and sauces.
Which Whipping Cream is Best for Cake?
When making a cake, heavy cream tends to be the best option. The higher fat content can be beneficial for making flavorful cakes with a good crumb. While not every cake recipe will call for heavy cream, there are several that will.
When using heavy cream for baking, it is typically used cold unless otherwise specified. Use good-quality heavy cream for the best results in your recipe.
For best results, heavy cream will typically last for one month in your fridge. If it has an off smell, appearance, taste, or texture you should throw out your heavy cream. The same thing goes for whipping cream.
Choosing Your Cream: Whipping Cream Vs Heavy Cream
Most recipes will specify if you need heavy cream or whipping cream. However, if you are in a pinch, you can generally use either one. They are similar to each other and both give foods a delicious, creamy texture.
Heavy cream is the most commonly used of the two, so it’s a good one to have on hand for cooking and baking. It is more versatile than whipping cream thanks to its higher level of fat. It will hold up better and thicken better than whipping cream.
Please comment if you have any questions regarding heavy cream or whipping cream.
Karen is a passionate pastry chef who loves to create delicious baked goods. She has been in the culinary arts for over 10 years, honing her skills and perfecting her craft. Karen is known for her creativity and attention to detail, creating unique desserts that bring a smile to everyone’s face. She is always looking for ways to challenge herself and come up with new recipes that are both tasty and visually appealing. Karen loves to experiment with different flavors and textures, and she is committed to providing the highest quality of products to her customers.