substitute for heavy cream in soup

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Don’t have heavy cream and realized you’re all out while you’re making a soup recipe? Here are the best ways to substitute for heavy cream in soup recipes!

substitute for heavy cream in soup


If you’re making a creamy soup recipe, then heavy cream is usually your go-to. Heavy cream is usually used in recipes like creamy mushroom soup, creamy broccoli soup, creamy potato soup, chicken gnocchi soup, creamy tomato soup, and more. 

It is used to add some thickness, creaminess, and flavor to many soups.

But, if you have no heavy cream in your refrigerator, what else can you use?

Thankfully, you still have the option to make your favorite creamy soup recipe as there are quite a few ingredients that can take the place of heavy cream. The best part is that the flavor of your dish will not be sacrificed!

So, what are the best heavy cream substitutes for soup?

The best substitutes for heavy cream in soup are half-and-half, whole milk + flour, sour cream, cream cheese, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, greek yogurt + milk, and crème fraîche.

ingredient substitute prints


Ways to substitute for heavy cream in soup




One of the best substitutes for heavy cream in soup recipes is half-and-half. In fact, half in half is used just as much as heavy cream is used when one wants to make a creamy soup.

Half-and-half will help to thicken up a soup, but not as much as heavy cream would. In fact, a creamy soup may taste very similar to one made with heavy cream, but it will be significantly lighter in terms of consistency. 

Therefore, some people use a mixture of half-and-half and butter to help get a similar consistency to heavy cream. For this mixture, you will need to whisk about ¼ cup of butter into ¾ cup of half-and-half to help increase the thickness. Substitute on a 1:1 ratio.

Whole milk + flour

whole milk + flour


Another substitute for heavy cream is a combination of whole milk and flour. This substitute is great as it may be available to almost everyone. While whole milk can be used on its own, the consistency of the soup will be significantly thinner.

You can see how to use whole milk and flour in a soup by checking out this creamy milk and flour soup base here. 

You can use whole milk and flour for any type of soup including cream of mushroom soup, creamy chicken soup, 

Sour cream

sour cream


Sour cream will also work in place of heavy cream in soup. Most times when sour cream is used to make a creamy soup, it is used together with eggs.

You will need about 1 cup of sour cream at room temperature, 3 large cloves of garlic, and 3 large eggs at room temperature. Mix these together until a homogeneous mixture is formed. Add this mixture to your soup to add creaminess.

Use this mixture to replace 1 cup of heavy cream in a soup recipe like creamy chicken soup for example.

Note: Sour cream can easily curdle if not handled the right way. Therefore, to avoid curdling, stir the sour cream into the heated soup,  lower the heat and cook until it is heated. Make sure this is one of the last ingredients added to the soup and also avoid boiling to prevent curdling.

Cream cheese

cream cheese


You can also use cream cheese instead of heavy cream in a soup. Cream cheese will make any soup creamy and thick once the cream cheese has melted.

For a good ratio, 1 cup of cream cheese is ideal as a replacement for 1 cup of heavy cream or a 1:1 ratio.

Also, see how to use cream cheese in soups by checking out this recipe for creamy taco soup with cream cheese here. 

Almond milk

almond milk


Almond milk is a great dairy free substitute for heavy cream in soup. Almond milk is thin, a lot thinner than heavy cream so you will need to find a way to thicken it up if it’s to be a viable alternative. 

For almond milk to work, you will need to use it with a thickening agent like cornstarch. To use, you will need 1 tablespoon of cornstarch for every 1 cup of almond milk used in the soup recipe. Mix the cornstarch into the almond milk, then stir this mixture into the soup.

Coconut milk

coconut milk


When it comes to soups, coconut milk is usually used to make Thai coconut soup or coconut curry soup. However, it can also be used to make other soups in place of heavy cream.

Coconut milk will make for a thinner soup, but in many cases, it works quite well. Especially if you’re looking for a dairy free alternative or if you’re making a vegan soup and thus need a vegan substitute for heavy cream in soup.

Also, if you have cornstarch or even some all purpose flour on hand, then you can use this ingredient to thicken up the coconut milk and ultimately the soup. 

1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk is enough to substitute 1 cup of heavy cream or a 1:1 ratio.

Coconut cream

Coconut cream


Coconut cream is another ideal vegan or dairy free substitute for heavy cream in soups. Coconut cream is a thick cream made of 4 parts shredded coconut and 1 part water and usually guar gum.

Coconut cream has a higher fat content than coconut milk and is a lot thicker.  In fact, it has a consistency that is similar to heavy whipping cream and can be used for all types of soups, especially vegan or dairy-free soups.

Use 1 cup of coconut cream as a substitute for 1 cup of heavy cream.

Greek yogurt + milk

Greek yogurt + milk


Greek yogurt is also a good heavy cream substitute for soups. It is best used together with milk. To use in a soup, mix ½ cup of greek yogurt and a half cup of whole milk together until you get a consistency similar to heavy cream and use in any soup recipe.

Note, that this mixture does have a different flavor to heavy cream, but in terms of consistency, it is very similar. Also, you can always help adjust the flavor of your soup with herbs and spices. Substitute on a 1:1 ratio.

Crème fraîche

Crème fraîche


Creme fraîche can also be used as an alternative for heavy cream in most soups as it is a great ingredient for thickening soups and adding some delicious creaminess. 

This substitute has a similar texture to sour cream, although it contains more fat, so it is possible for it to curdle. So, like sour cream, add it in at the last minute, turn down the heat, and do not let it come to a boil.

Creme fraîche is great for butternut squash soups, carrot soups, beetroot soups, broccoli soups, and many other soup recipes.

Oil + plant based milk

Oil is another ideal heavy cream substitute for soups. This is so because oil can be used to add some fat to dairy free soup recipes.

It is usually used in combination with a plant based milk like almond milk or coconut milk.  A good substitute is ⅓ cup of oil + ⅔ cup of plant based milk for every cup of heavy cream.

But, in some cases, like in this dairy free Zuppa Toscana soup, oil can be used on its own! 

FAQs about heavy cream replacements in soup

Final thoughts

There are quite a few substitutes for heavy cream when preparing soup and this list shows you some of the best options.

So, whether you’re looking for lower calorie options, vegan options, dairy free options, or even some healthier options, there is something for everyone on this list! The best part s that many of the ingredients listed hers are very easy to access or in your kitchen right now!

Also, if you’re looking for more ways to substitute for heavy cream in other recipes, check out the substitutes for heavy cream in chicken marsala, replacements for heavy cream in mashed potatoes, heavy cream substitutes in vodka sauce, heavy cream alternatives in pasta, as well as heavy cream substitute ideas in Alfredo sauce.  

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