Rushing to find a half and half substitute? Here are 8 of the best dairy and non-dairy substitutes that will have the same creamy texture as a cup of half and half. For the best results, read through each substitute to know how to best use it in your favorite recipes!
What is half and half?
Half and half is a mixture of half whole milk and half light cream. Its consistency is right in between the two.
It has more fat content than regular milk, but not as much as heavy cream: half and half has a 10.5% maximum of milk fat while whole milk only has 4% and heavy cream has 36%.
Many people use half and half as a healthier alternative to heavy cream in sauces and desserts. Some might say that all of these dairy products can be used interchangeably with a few tweaks, and it isn’t a bad idea!
8 Best Half and Half Substitutes
With most half and half substitutes, you need to increase the fat content without altering the flavor too much. Take a look at these simple staple items that will make great alternatives!
Whole Milk & Butter
Whole milk and unsalted butter is a great substitute because you’re likely to always have these on hand. This substitute works best in baking, and will not be the best substitute when it comes to coffee creamer. While heavy cream forms stiff peaks when being whipped, whole milk and butter don’t.
In order to combine these two components well, mix these in a blender before adding into your recipe. To make 1 cup of half and half, use 1 cup whole milk and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. It’s also recommended to add 1 tablespoon of flour to the mixture to thicken it up.
Whole Milk & Heavy Whipping Cream
A simple substitute to use in place of half and half is whole milk and heavy cream. Unlike milk, heavy cream might not be a refrigerator staple, but if you happen to have extra on hand, this will do.
You’ll need to thin out the thick consistency of the heavy cream with the whole milk. You will not be using an equal amount of both while combining the two, so use ¾ cup whole milk and ¼ cup heavy cream to yield 1 cup half and half.
Plain Yogurt OR Greek Yogurt
Another good substitute is yogurt—plain or Greek. The consistencies between the two differ, so choose to thin out the thick Greek yogurt with milk or water. This substitute is a great way to thicken soups and sauces.
If the recipe calls for one cup of half and half, you can add exactly that same amount of these substitutes. The flavor can be slightly different, but you shouldn’t be able to tell in your overall dish.
Coconut cream is one of those dairy-free alternatives that adds more than just a creamy substitute to your recipe. The coconut will add flavor to dishes like curries and even baked goods. Coconut cream also has a thick consistency that you’re looking for in a half and half substitute.
You can thin it out with water if it’s too thick for your liking. Add the same amount of coconut cream that the recipe calls for.
Another suitable substitute for half and half are pantry staples like heavy cream powder or evaporated milk. Evaporated milk is heated until 60% of the water content evaporates, so it’s a thicker and slightly sweeter milk. Adding vanilla extract to your evaporated milk in your morning coffee is a great pairing. You can use the same ratio of evaporated milk with this substitute.
On the other hand, heavy cream powder can be another great substitute. Simply mix ½ cup heavy cream powder with 1 cup water for the right consistency.
Low-Fat Milk & Heavy Cream
If you have any kind of low-fat milk, it’s a great substitute when paired with heavy cream. The heavy cream counterbalances the absence of fat content in the low-fat milk.
Whether it’s 1%, 2%, skim milk, silken tofu, or soy milk, you can use all of the same measurements. Use ⅔ cup heavy cream with ⅓ cup low-fat milk to reach 1 cup half and half.
Crème Fraîche / Sour Cream
Even though sour cream does not have a similar texture to half and half, its creaminess makes it an easy substitute. It is quite tangy compared to half and half because of the lactic acid used to make sour cream. This can adjust the flavor in your dish.
Sour cream is mainly used in baked goods and sauces. Use the same amount of sour cream that the recipe calls for. You might want to add a tablespoon of water to thin it out to your desired consistency.
Vegan Half & Half
A great dairy-free substitute is any kind of vegan half and half brand like Ripple, Elmhurst, and Silk. They each provide a similar creamy and rich consistency to regular half and half.
Because they are dairy-free, they could alter the flavor of your recipe, so keep that in mind. You can use the exact ratio as the recipe calls for, and it’ll taste like the real thing!
Which substitute is the best for half and half?
There isn’t a “perfect substitute” when it comes to half and half because it depends on your personal preference and recipe. If you are baking, choosing substitutes like these are your better options:
- Sour cream
- Coconut cream
- Greek yogurt
- Evaporated milk
If you’re cooking, choose these substitutes instead:
- Vegan half and half
- Low-fat milk and heavy cream
- Milk and butter
- Whole milk and heavy whipping cream
What is a healthy substitute for half and half?
Substitutes like low-fat or non-fat milk, soy milk, and coconut milk are great healthy options. These alternatives cut the fat content to almost nothing, while still having the same consistency as half and half.
Favorite Half & Half Recipes
Try one of these recipes that include half and half OR will do great with ANY half and half alternative:
If you’re in need of other food substitutions, check out these posts that will answer all of your questions:
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