The Best Substitutes for Whipping Cream

whipping cream

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Whipped cream is a delightful topping to hot cocoa, ice cream sundaes, your favorite slice of pie, or even poured directly into your mouth. Whipping cream comes from the high-fat part of milk and is often light and creamy.

When fresh milk is left to stand, a fat layer will form at the top, which is scraped off and used to make whipping cream, heavy cream, half-n-half, and light cream. Whipping cream is usually 30 to 35% fat allowing for a light and fluffy whipped topping.

However, because whipping cream has a lower fat percentage than heavy cream (36% fat) it is not as stable and can lose its shape more quickly. This fact means it does not make for a very stable whipped cream. It also is not ideal for toppings that need to be piped and maintain their shape, like cake frosting and ganache.

Why Use an Alternative?

You may want to use an alternative to whipping cream if you have a dairy allergy or if you prefer a plant-based lifestyle. You also may need a substitute if you need to choose low-fat foods, or if your recipe calls for whipping cream and you do not have any available to you.

Having a dairy allergy is a common reason to seek an alternative to whipping cream. Because whipping cream is made using milk, it contains the same proteins in milk and other dairy products that people with a dairy allergy may react to.

Interestingly, heavy cream, whipping cream, and whipped cream contain very little lactose and would be safe for those with lactose intolerance. Because of this, you do not need to seek an alternative to whipping cream if you are lactose intolerant unless desired.

Following a plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan lifestyle is a common reason to seek an alternative to whipping cream. Fortunately, there are several dairy-free options to choose from. And, if your recipe calls for whipping cream but you just do not have access to any at the moment, there are alternatives for you too.

Whipping Cream Nutrition

The nutrition information for 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of light whipping cream is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 44
  • Protein: 0.3g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 0.4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 0.4g


Because whipping cream is mostly consumed as whipped cream, the nutritional information for 1 cup (120 grams) of whipped cream is also provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 350
  • Protein: 2.6g
  • Fat: 37g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugar: 3.5g

Whipping cream and whipped cream are both high in calories due to their high-fat content. Dairy fat has long been controversial for heart health. However, recent research suggests that dairy fat intake was associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk.

Whipping Cream Substitutes

Whether you need whipping cream for your recipe or want to use it as a whipped, fluffy topping, there is a whipping cream substitute that will work for you. Here are some alternatives to consider.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a vegan and dairy-free alternative for whipping cream and contains just the right amount of fat content to whip up nicely. The key to making perfect peaks with canned coconut milk is to chill the can overnight and beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft and fluffy. Sifted powdered sugar and stevia make the best sweeteners because they will not weigh them down.

Coconut milk compares to whipping cream nutritionally but will add a coconut flavor to your dish. According to the USDA, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of coconut milk provides 30 calories, 0.3 grams of protein, 3.2 grams of fat, and 0.4 grams of carbs. When compared to whipping cream, the nutrition values for coconut milk are quite similar.

Silken Tofu Pureed with Soy Milk

Another vegan and dairy-free alternative to whipped cream is vegan whipped cream made with a combination of silken tofu, soy milk, sugar, and vanilla extract. Because tofu is high in protein and low in fat, this whipped cream alternative is lower in fat than dairy whipping cream, yet higher in carbs.

To make this version of whipped cream, combine 1 pound silken tofu, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and 1/4 cup sugar in a blender or food processor until smooth. While the machine is running, gradually add the soy milk until light and fluffy. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Butter and Milk

Though this option is not any lower in calories or fat than whipping cream, it does work if you are in a pinch and need whipping cream for baking or cooking. Mix 1/3 cup softened butter with 3/4 cup milk using an electric mixer until the desired consistency is reached.

Dry Milk, Lemon Juice, and Vanilla Extract

You also can use dry (powdered) milk to make whipped cream. It is an excellent non-fat alternative to whipped cream and is easy to make.

Simply combine 1/2 cup cold water, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a large bowl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk over the water and beat with an electric mixer or beater for 4 minutes, or until stiff. Then beat in 1/4 cup granulated sugar until it dissolves and the mixture is smooth.

Chill the whipped topping for at least 30 minutes before using. Remember, powdered milk is dairy, so it is not ideal for plant-based diets or for someone with a dairy allergy.

Chilled Evaporated Milk and Lemon Juice

You also can use evaporated milk combined with lemon juice as a substitute for whipping cream. Simply take a can of chilled evaporated milk and combine it with 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Beat it with an electric mixer and it will whip up well and make a suitable replacement.

Banana, Egg Whites, and Sugar

For a simple, low-fat, dairy-free, vegetarian option, try whipping two large, ripe bananas with two egg whites and 3 teaspoons sugar until fluffy. Be careful not to overbeat, and stop when the desired consistency is reached.

Milk, Cornstarch, and Flour

Make a low-fat, low-carb version of whipping cream using 1 cup of almond milk, rice milk, or low-fat or nonfat dairy milk and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Combine with a whisk.

Continue whisking and add 1-tablespoon flour until combined and the mixture is smooth. This preparation is a good alternative to whipping cream when it is being used as a thickener in recipes.

A Word from Verywell

Whether you are looking for a whipping cream alternative because you do not have any or you are looking for a dairy-free swap there are plenty of options to choose from. You may have to do a bit of experimenting to find what works for your recipe and tastebuds, but the options are promising.

Because whipping cream is very low in lactose, people with lactose intolerance can use whipping cream at their discretion. The best substitutes for whipping cream are those with high-fat content to recreate the same fluffy volume provided from full-fat dairy. You may need to experiment somewhat to which options work best for which recipes, but rest assured you have plenty of options.

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4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. University of Virginia. Lactose content of common foods.

  2. USDA, FoodData Central. Cream, fluid, light whipping.

  3. Trieu K, Bhat S, Dai Z, et al. Biomarkers of dairy fat intake, incident cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: A cohort study, systematic review, and meta-analysis. Basu S, ed. PLoS Med. 2021;18(9):e1003763. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1003763

  4. USDA, FoodData Central. Nuts, coconut milk, canned (liquid expressed from grated meat and water).