Anything sweet and creamy is just my weakness! So being a vegan, one of the first things I made sure to look for was vegan cream. And not just any cream, I was always on the lookout for vegan heavy cream substitutes! Do you know what’s the best thing about them? They also have less fat!
Are you yet to try out this animal-free creamy goodness? Or maybe you’re just looking for more alternatives? More importantly, do you want to know why it’s better than your typical cream? Don’t make a move, you’re in the right place! Just keep reading!
Animal Heavy Cream Vs Vegan Heavy Cream
Cream, as we all know it, comes from milk. Now to turn that into a thick, heavy cream, it needs a lot of the fat from the milk itself. Heavy creams would have anywhere between 36-40% fat in it, sometimes even more.
In a typical heavy cream made from animal milk, this can be as much as 60% saturated fat. That’s in every 100 grams of serving! I’ll talk about that more shortly.
Now onto the vegan substitutes!
First of all, you must know that NOT ALL non-dairy heavy creams are vegan. Although “non-dairy” does mean no milk, sometimes it contains milk derivatives like casein (tricky, right?). You’ll notice this with non-dairy creamers most of the time.
This is why, to make sure, it’s best to stick to the ones with a “vegan” label. If it says non-dairy, you still have to double check the ingredients!
Sources Of Vegan Heavy Cream
Vegan versions of heavy cream can be made from the following:
- Silken tofu
- White beans
As you might already expect, most of them are also the common sources of vegan milk. A combination of at least two of these are also common.
Now how does their fat content differ?
On the average, regular heavy cream contains 37g of fat per 100g. Vegan heavy creams are typically made from nuts because they are naturally fatty. However, this fat content is still significantly lower than dairy heavy cream. This can be anywhere from 10 to 25% only.
Although a high fat content is a must for a cream to heavy, many vegan counterparts can still whip up great despite its lower fat content. The best example? Vegan creams made from coconut milk!
Depending on the main ingredient, vegan creams may also have a better nutrient profile. For example, coconut milk also contain energy-boosting MCTs and immune boosters. Vegetable oils are also known to contain polyunsaturated fats, which are the good fats.
Dairy Heavy Cream
- High in saturated fat (bad fats)
Vegan Heavy Cream
- Lower saturated fat
- May be high in poly- and monounsaturated fats (healthy fats)
Saturated fats are actually considered as somewhere in between the good fats and bad fats. This is because they are not all the same. Depending on its hydrogen atom composition, they may be good or bad. In animal products, the type of fats it carries can raise bad cholesterol.
In plant sources, coconuts have the highest saturated fats, but they are different. How? Well because around 50% of that is lauric acid, which is a pathogen killer. Fats from coconuts are also known as medium chain triglycerides or MCTs, which is a great source of energy.
Although animal milk can boast other nutrients, its high levels of bad fats spoil it, don’t you think?
1. Is vegan cream a healthy substitute for heavy cream?
Because of the lower fat content, yes it is! Nut milks, on the other hand, although high in fat, contains more good fats. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to limit yourself with it! Creams are only for desserts or for thickening food, so consumption must only be moderate at the most.
2. What is a dairy-free substitute for heavy cream?
This is something vegans must be careful with since there are also non-dairy heavy cream products that are NOT vegan. Plenty of dairy-free cream products still contain milk derivatives. This is why, to me, only those made completely from plant sources are the real dairy-free ones.
3. Can I substitute coconut milk for heavy cream?
Yes! A lot of vegan heavy cream brands are in fact made from coconut milk. It’s one of the best substitutes since it is naturally high in good fats. This means it can whip up thickly too!
The Best Vegan Heavy Cream Brands
Since it’s easier to find whip cream than heavy cream, this list includes both. What’s the difference? Heavy cream contains at least 36g of fat while whip cream has 30g. Not so far off right? Also, you’ll notice that some heavy cream may also contain fat content that’s only around the whip cream level. In fact, even less, sometimes.
But anyway, if you want a thicker cream, the trick is to just chill and whisk it longer. You can also add a bit of cornstarch or vegan gelatin. It won’t affect the flavor, don’t worry!
Now let’s get to the brands! And of course, as usual, I did not include those that shares facilities with animal products.
Made from pure coconut cream, Gay Lea’s coconut whips are non-GMO, gluten-free and cholesterol-free!
Average Fat Content: 14%
- Real Coconut Whipped Cream
- Real Coconut Whipped Topping
Coming in tin cans, this brand is from a vegan founder! Their coconut whipping cream also has a hint of vanilla flavor. They’re perfect for baking and topping!
Average Fat Content: 20%
This popular brand now comes in non-dairy and vegan varieties! They’re soy-free and gluten-free, and only contain 10 calories per serving! No artificial flavors and sweeteners too!
Average Fat Content: 10%
If you want your vegan cream with higher fat for whipping, this might just be the perfect one for you! Their creams are also allergen-free, with no gluten and lactose. As a multi-purpose cream, you can use it for baking, cooking, whipping, and more!
Average Fat Content: 25%
This popular vegan brand also offers vegan cream from coconut that comes in original and lite version. Although coconut is known to be high in fat, the original flavor only contains 2% fat! And the even lighter version? Only 1%!
Both varieties are also non-GMO, gluten-free, and Kosher! They’re also low in sugar with zero sodium and cholesterol!
Average Fat Content: 8-17%
This vegan-friendly instant powder has a neutral taste which makes it a great thickener or any dish or dessert. It’s also non-GMO, plus it comes with free recipes!
Average Fat Content: 0.1%
While most of their products contain milk, it’s easy to spot their vegan cream by the label. There’s no mistaking the turquoise tub too! It’s also non-GMO, gluten-free, Kosher, with no HFCS and trans fat! It has soy though, so if you are avoiding soy, this is not the cream for you.
Average Fat Content: 21%
Vegan Heavy Cream Recipes
Need a vegan heavy cream for pasta night? Or do you just want to stock some up for your kitchen? These can do the trick!
Vegan Heavy Cream Substitute From Cashew Milk
From The Chopping Block
Yield: 4 cups
- raw cashews, 1 ½ cups
- water for covering cashew
- fresh water, 3 ½
- Place cashews in a medium bowl and pour enough water to cover it completely. Soak the nuts for 3 to 8 hours. If you don’t have time to soak, you can also just boil the nuts for around 10 minutes.
However, soaking is more preferable as it helps to neutralize phytic acid, which are enzyme inhibitors.
- Drain the liquid, then run cold water on the nuts to rinse it. It might feel a bit oily and slimy, but the cold water rinse should get rid of that.
- Put the cashews in your blender and add 3 1/2 cups of water. Blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until the nuts are pureed. You might need to go over 2 minutes if your blender is not powerful enough.
Use a fine strainer to get a better puree and to filter any remaining bits of cashew. This will be your cream so the finer the puree, the smoother your cream is.
- Pour into a container with an airtight lid. You can refrigerate this for 1 week or keep it in the freezer it for up to 3 months.
Almond Milk Heavy Cream
From Traffic Light Cook
Yield: 1 ¾ cups
- raw, whole almonds, 1 cup
- filtered water, 1 cup
- medjool dates, 2 pcs
- maple syrup, 2 tbsps (or your choice of sweetener, adjust to taste)
- vanilla extract, ½ tsp (optional, or your choice of flavor)
- ground cinnamon, ½ tsp (optional, or your choice of flavor)
- Cover the almonds in cold water and soak overnight. If you don’t have that much time, use hot water for soaking the nuts for a minimum of 4 hours.
- After soaking, boil water in a small pot and pour all the almonds in it. Continue boiling for 1 more minute. Use a colander to drain then rinse with water.
- To peel, gently squeeze the nuts between your fingers until the skin slides off. After peeling, put all the almonds in the blender. Add the water, pieces of dates, maple syrup, and the flavors you want. Blend everything until creamy and smooth.
In this recipe, vanilla and cinnamon was added but you can choose your own, of course.
- Now you can whip the resulting cream using a whisk or mixer (medium speed). Whisk until thick and smooth. This might take a minute or so.
- Before you use it, chill it in the fridge for no less than 30 minutes.
- Try other variations by using other sweeteners and flavors.
- For a low sugar cream, use half the amount of sweetener only.
✔ ¾ cup vegan milk and ¼ cup butter (for baking and sauces)
✔ ⅔ cup vegan milk and ⅓ cup light olive oil
✔ Full fat coconut cream: chill until firm (overnight), take the solid part and pour the liquid out. Put the cream in a bowl and mix or blend until smooth.
✔ Pureed white beans
You can adjust the proportions to get the thickness you want. You can also add flavors and sweeteners if you want.
Vegan heavy cream isn’t just for vegans, it’s also suitable for individuals who are:
- Lactose intolerant
- Allergic to milk and its products
- Nursing a child with lactose intolerance
- Avoiding dairy
BONUS: To learn more about how you can make your very own plant based cream substitute, check out the video below!
Unlike heavy cream from animal milk, vegan heavy creams are much lower in fat! Plus they’re easier to find these days! Just be careful when choosing new products especially when you only see “dairy-free” without the vegan label. And of course, check if they will suit whatever use you have in mind!
You can also just whip up your own vegan cream at home and have your way with sugar and flavors!
What’s your favorite brand of vegan heavy cream? Or do you prefer making your own? Share with us your favorite brands and recipes! Let me know in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article in your favorite social media platform.