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Don’t have heavy cream for pasta and realized you’re all out while you’re making your pasta dish? Here are the best ways to substitute for heavy cream in pasta!
Many delicious pasta recipes are made with creamy sauces – mac and cheese, Alfredo sauce, vodka sauce, and cheese sauce. A lot of these recipes require heavy cream as an ingredient, but, if you have no heavy cream, what else can you use?
You don’t have to skip on your favorite pasta dishes, as there are several other ingredients that you can use to make a creamy pasta dish if heavy cream is not available without sacrificing taste.
In fact, you may never have to use heavy cream for pasta again once you try out a few of these cream substitutes for pasta!
It is important to note that no other alternative is an exact match for heavy cream, but, these are quite close to the flavor and consistency of heavy cream and will help you to make a delicious creamy pasta.
Best substitutes for heavy cream in pasta
Milk is the easiest substitute for heavy cream in pasta sauces as most people will already have this ingredient in the fridge.
When using whole milk to replace heavy cream in a creamy pasta recipe, butter, and all-purpose flour are also required to make a creamy pasta sauce.
It is customary to use 1 cup of milk, for every pound of creamy pasta. You can also see exactly how to make homemade heavy cream for pasta here.
Also, read more about the top milk substitutes for creamy pasta here.
Heavy whipping cream
If you do not have heavy cream, the next best thing is heavy whipping cream. Use heavy whipping cream in the exact same way you would use heavy cream in pasta at a 1:1 substitution.
Heavy whipping cream looks and tastes like heavy cream which makes it an amazing cream alternative for pasta. You can see how The Salty Marshmallow makes a yummy alfredo pasta with heavy whipping cream here.
If you’re British, and you’re looking for an alternative to heavy cream in pasta, then double cream is a great option.
Double cream is basically the British version of heavy cream, but it is richer than heavy cream since it contains 48% milk fat. Therefore, keep this in mind if you’re using double cream as a heavy cream alternative for pasta as it will result in a richer pasta sauce recipe.
Cream cheese is a great heavy cream substitute for pasta as it brings both a creamy consistency and a cheesy flavor to sauces.
Cream cheese works because it is thick like heavy cream and can be used at a 1:1 conversion ratio.
When using cream cheese as a heavy cream substitute for pasta sauce you will need to ensure that it is properly melted before it is added to the sauce. The heat from the cooking sauce and constant stirring will help you achieve this
Also, check out this article where I share some of the easiest swaps for cream cheese in pasta recipes here.
Another good alternative for heavy cream in pasta dishes is creme fraiche. Creme fraiche has a similar creamy taste and consistency to heavy cream with an extra slight tang, but, it works great in pasta.
Typically, 1/2 cup – 1 cup of Creme fraiche is used for every pound of pasta in the dish. Check out this creme fraiche pasta dish to see how to use this ingredient to make creamy pasta recipes.
Another way to make creamy pasta without heavy cream is with some plain greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt works well and can make rich, creamy pasta without all the calories and fat.
Most recipes use anywhere from 3/4 cups to 1 ½ cups of greek yogurt with every pound of pasta. If you want to see a real-life example of how to make creamy yogurt pasta, check out this 15-minute creamy pasta with yogurt recipe.
Evaporated milk is another ideal heavy cream replacement for pasta. Evaporated milk gives you the opportunity to enjoy creamy, lighter pasta without all the richness one can expect in a typical pasta recipe made with heavy cream. I personally use evaporated milk in most of my creamy pasta recipes.
Use 1/2 cup – 1 cup of evaporated milk for every pound of pasta, or check out this recipe to see how to make a baked pasta dish with evaporated milk.
Full cream coconut milk
If you don’t mind a little coconut flavor in your pasta, then you can use full-fat coconut milk as a heavy cream replacement.
This alternative is ideal for people who follow a vegan and dairy-free lifestyle. Healthline.com lists coconut milk as one of the best heavy cream substitutes.
Consider using 1 – 1 ½ cups of full-fat coconut milk for every pound of pasta in the dish.
As suggested by the name, this is half cream and half whole milk. It is similar to heavy cream, but half-and-half has about one-third of the fat content.
This is an ideal substitute if you want the creamy taste, but also want to reduce calories and fat. Use the same amount of half-and-half as you would heavy cream for a pasta dish.
Cottage cheese is another great substitute for heavy cream in pasta. It is made from milk curds and has a thick, lumpy texture.
As with cream cheese, it adds creaminess and cheesiness to your pasta or pasta sauce. Blend the cottage cheese to remove the lumps before substituting it for heavy cream.
Most recipes use anywhere from 1 – 2 cups of cottage cheese for every pound of spaghetti or pasta.
How to find a non dairy substitute for heavy cream in pasta
Above you can find coconut cream which is a great vegan heavy cream substitute for pasta. However, beyond coconut cream here are a few other good non dairy substitutes for heavy cream worth checking out:
There are quite a few non-dairy milk options that can be used as vegan heavy cream alternatives in pasta. These include almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, cashew milk, hemp milk, and soy milk to name a few. I enjoy using almond milk whenever I’m looking for a healthy substitute for heavy cream in pasta recipes. Learn how to make creamy vegan pasta with non-dairy milk here.
Nondairy milk + cornstarch
Another easy vegan way to replace heavy cream in pasta is with a combination of non-dairy milk and cornstarch. The cornstarch will help produce a thicker pasta sauce. To make it you will need just 1 cup of non-dairy milk plus one tablespoon of cornstarch.
For this, I prefer to use unsweetened non-dairy milk like almond milk or oat milk. It is also best to use nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese here if you want a nondairy substitute for heavy cream in pasta.
Vegan heavy cream
For this substitute, you will need about ⅔ cup non-dairy milk and ⅓ cup oil or melted vegan butter. Mix the two ingredients together until properly combined, then use as a 1:1 replacement for heavy cream in pasta.
Vegan sour cream
Another effective vegan substitute for heavy cream in pasta is vegan sour cream. Any brand of vegan sour cream will make a good heavy cream replacement. You can read here to see how to make creamy vegan pasta recipes with vegan sour cream instead of heavy cream.
White bean cream
An unconventional heavy cream substitute that is vegan is a combination of cooked white beans, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, and some other seasonings that can be blended together, then used to make a creamy vegan sauce for any pasta dish.
This is a great healthy substitute for heavy cream in pasta that works great when you want a lighter dish. Also, read more on how you can use those ingredients to make creamy vegan pasta here.
Cashew cream also makes a good vegan substitute for heavy cream in any pasta recipe. To make cashew cream, blend 3 parts soaked cashews and 1 part water until a creamy mixture is formed, and mix it into your favorite pasta dish for creaminess. A 1:1 ratio of heavy cream to cashew cream is ideal as a suitable vegan heavy cream substitution option for any pasta recipe.
So, if anyone has ever wondered,
What are the best heavy cream substitutes for pasta?
The short answer is:
- Whole milk
- Cream cheese
- Crème Fraiche
- Greek yogurt
- Evaporated milk
- Coconut milk
- Cottage cheese
- Nondairy milk
- Nondairy milk + cornstarch
- Vegan sour cream
- Vegan heavy cream
- Cashew cream
- White bean cream