Food and Drink

What’s the UK Equivalent of Heavy Cream in the US?

heavy cream being poured into a bowl

If you’re an American expat living in the UK, or just looking at a recipe online that mentions ‘heavy cream’, you might be wondering where to find it. In this article, we discuss what heavy cream is, what the UK equivalent is, and how best to incorporate it into your recipes.

What is Heavy Cream?

Heavy cream is a type of cream that has a high butterfat content. In the US, heavy cream must have a butterfat content of at least 36%. It is a thick, rich cream that is often used in cooking and baking. 

Heavy cream can be used to make sauces, soups, stews, desserts, and more. It can also be used to whip cream for toppings or fillings.

Heavy cream is different from other creams, such as half-and-half and single cream, because of its high butterfat content. Half-and-half has a butterfat content of 10-12%, and single cream has a butterfat content of 18-20%. This difference in butterfat content makes heavy cream thicker and richer than other creams.

What is the UK Equivalent of Heavy Cream in the US?

The UK equivalent of heavy cream in the US is often referred to as double cream. Double cream has a butterfat content of at least 48%, which is higher than the butterfat content of heavy cream. This makes double cream even thicker and richer than heavy cream.

If you are looking for a UK equivalent of heavy cream that is whipped, you can use whipped cream, squirty cream, or spray cream. These products are all made with double cream, but they have been whipped and pressurised, so they come out of a can in a whipped form.

Alternatively, if you want a heavy cream substitute like-for-like in milk fat percentage, you can make your own. Simply combine milk and butter, however, keep in mind that it will not whip the same as heavy cream.

Can You Use Double Cream Instead of Heavy Cream?

Yes, you can use double cream instead of heavy cream in recipes. However, it is important to keep in mind that double cream is thicker and richer, so you may need to use less of it.

For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of heavy cream, you may only need to use 3/4 cup of double cream. You may also need to adjust the other ingredients in the recipe to account for the higher butterfat content of double cream.

Using double cream instead of heavy cream can give your dishes a richer and more decadent flavor. However, it is important to use it carefully to avoid making your dishes too heavy.

Cream TypeMilk Fat Percentage
Heavy Cream (US)36% (+)
Double Cream (UK)48%

Can You Use Single Cream Instead of Heavy Cream?

It is not recommended to use single cream instead of heavy cream in recipes. Single cream is too thin and has a lower butterfat content, so it will not produce the same results as heavy cream.

For example, if you try to use single cream to make whipped cream, it will not whip up properly. And if you try to use single cream to make a sauce, it will not be as thick or creamy as a sauce made with heavy cream.

Cream TypeMilk Fat Percentage
Single Cream (UK)12 – 18%
Heavy Cream (US)36% (+)
Double Cream (UK)48%

What is Heavy Cream Used For?

Heavy cream can be used for a variety of purposes in cooking and baking. It can be used to:

  • Make sauces, soups, and stews
  • Whip cream for toppings or fillings
  • Add richness and creaminess to desserts
  • Make ice cream, gelato, and other frozen desserts
  • Make cheese and other dairy products

Heavy cream can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. It is a versatile ingredient that can be used to create a variety of delicious dishes.

Here are some examples of desserts, meals and sauces that use heavy cream:

Desserts

  • Ice cream
  • Gelato
  • Cheesecake
  • Mousse
  • Crème brûlée

Meals (and Sauces)

  • Alfredo sauce
  • Carbonara sauce
  • Mac and cheese
  • Quiche
  • Soups and stews

Final Thoughts from UK vs. USA

So depending on what you’re looking to use heavy cream for, you can either substitute it for whipped cream or double cream. Alternatively you can DIY one with a mixture of milk and butter if you’re feeling fancy.

If you found this article on heavy cream helpful, you might also want to read our guide on the UK equivalent of half-and-half cream in the US.

Heavy Cream UK Equivalent FAQ:

What can I use instead of heavy cream in the UK?

You can use double cream instead of heavy cream in the UK. Double cream is thicker and richer than heavy cream, so you may need to use less of it. You can also use whipped cream, squirty cream, or spray cream instead of heavy cream. These products are all made with double cream, but they have been whipped and pressurised, so they come out of a can in a whipped form.

Is heavy cream the same as double cream?

No, heavy cream is not the same as double cream. Heavy cream has a butterfat content of at least 36%, while double cream has a butterfat content of at least 48%. This makes double cream thicker and richer than heavy cream.

Is heavy cream the same as single cream?

No, heavy cream is not the same as single cream in the UK. Single cream has a butterfat content of 18-20%, which is much lower than the butterfat content of heavy cream. Single cream is too thin and has a lower butterfat content to be used as a substitute for heavy cream in recipes.

Related Posts
What’s the UK Equivalent of Half and Half Cream in the US?
half and half cream

Half and half cream is rife in the United States but nowhere to be seen in Britain. We discuss this Read more

6 Differences Between English Mustard vs. American Mustard
american mustard bottle

English mustard vs. American mustard: What's the difference? This blog post compares and contrasts the two popular condiments, including their Read more