Food and Drink

What’s the UK Equivalent of Half and Half Cream in the US?

half and half cream

There’s nothing more British than a cuppa tea and milk. In the same way, Americans have creamer in their coffee. But are the two equivalent? Does the American “half and half” cream have a UK substitute?

Get the kettle on and mugs at the ready. Because we’re answering definitively whether there is a UK equivalent of half and half cream in the US (spoiler, there is).

What is Half and Half Cream?

Half and half cream is exactly as it sounds, half milk and half cream. Whole milk and light cream to be exact.

Half-and-half cream has a 10-12% fat content. This means it’s too light to be whipped so can’t be a substitute for double or heavy cream, but can add a nice richness.

pouring half and half cream

What is the UK Equivalent of Half and Half Cream in the US?

There is no direct equivalent or substitute for half and half cream (US) in the UK. The reason for this is down to the products available and their fat contents.

Each cream product has its own fat content which makes them useful for different things. Half and half cream in the US has a fat percentage that is similar to single cream in the UK but not quite.

Half-and-half cream has around a 12% fat content, while single cream has 18% fat content. Therefore putting single cream in your coffee, like Americans do with half and half cream would be too thick.

US and UK Dairy Products Fat Percentage 

To display the difference in fat content between American and British dairy products, below is a table with the product and its fat percentage. The dairy products that are related to the UK have been marked with a (UK), while US products have been marked with a (US).

Dairy ProductFat Content
Skimmed Milk< 0.1%
Semi-Skimmed Milk1.5-1.8%
Whole Milk3.5%
Custard (UK)4-6%
Half and half (US)10%
Ice cream14-25%
Coffee Cream (US)18%
Single Cream (US)18%
Soured Cream18%
Whipping Cream / Heavy Cream33-36%
Cream Fraiche (UK)30-46%
Double Cream (UK)48%
Clotted Cream (UK)55%

How to Make a Half-and-Half Cream Substitute

While there isn’t a direct equivalent in the UK for half-and-half cream, you can DIY one that tastes just the same. There are various ways to create half-and-half cream using a mixture of milk, butter, light cream, and heavy cream. 

Here are several ways to make a half-and-half cream substitute in the UK:

  • Mix ½ a cup of whole milk and ½ a cup of single cream
  • Mix ¾ of a cup of whole milk and ¼ heavy (double) cream
  • Mix ⅔ of a cup of skimmed or low-fat milk and ⅓ heavy cream
  • Mix 4 teaspoons of melted butter and whole milk to equal 1 cup

Easy Recipes using Half and Half Cream

Aside from adding half and half cream to your coffee, there are also numerous yummy recipes to look at too. From desserts to sauces, half-and-half cream is a notable ingredient in many dishes.


Here are six delicious dessert recipe ideas using half-and-half cream:

chocolate ice cream with half and half cream


Here are seven rich meal recipes using half and half cream:


Here are three yummy sauce recipe ideas using half and half cream:

pesto cream sauce with half and half cream


Here are four refreshing drink recipe ideas using half-and-half cream:

Final Thoughts from UK vs. USA

So while technically there is not a UK equivalent of half and half cream in the US, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your own. Why not have a go at making a half-and-half cream substitute and adding it to your coffee? Try it out for yourself.

If you liked reading about half and half cream in the UK, you’ll love our blog on the differences between British cheddar and American cheddar.

Half and Half Cream FAQ:

Can you buy half-and-half cream in the UK?

In the UK there is no half and half, coffee creamer or liquid coffee creamers. The UK only sells cream and milk separately, providing both single cream and double cream. However, there are online stores where you can buy half-and-half cream including Amazon, American Coffee Club, and Food Lion.

Is half-and-half cream a substitute for single cream in the UK?

Single cream in the UK is not a direct substitute for half-and-half cream in the US. The only difference is the amount of cream (butterfat) content vs. milk. Half-and-half cream is usually around 12% fat, while single cream is around 18%. But you can achieve a similar result by adding more milk to dilute the single cream.

Why is it called half-and-half cream?

The name half and half cream derives from the fact that it is made up of half milk and half cream content. Half-and-half cream is a good alternative if you need something thicker than milk but thinner than cream.


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