Pasta is a traditional Italian dish that can now be found almost everywhere globally. A pasta dish is not complete without heavy cream.
Heavy Cream Nutrition Facts
Heavy Cream Substitute for Pasta
Pasta is a traditional Italian dish that can now be found globally. A pasta dish is not complete without a sauce, and the two common types of sauces used in pasta are white and red sauces. If you have ever made white sauce for pasta, you would agree that heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) is a very important ingredient in the preparation of this sauce.
Well, if you have some dietary restrictions or maybe you’ve run all out of heavy cream making white sauce for pasta would not be something you would consider, but what if there was a way to make white sauce for pasta without heavy cream?
Yes, there are some adequate substitutes for heavy cream in pasta that would also leave you with a fulfilling pasta dish, and I will be sharing some of these substitutes in this article, but first, let us take a closer look at what heavy cream is all about.
What is Heavy Cream?
In milk production, there is a process known as ‘homogenization’ which sees the fat contents of milk broken down into tiny droplets that are not visible to the human eyes. This homogenization process gives the milk its smoothness even consistency. One may ask, “what happens when the milk is not homogenized?” The fat contents will float to the top of the milk, causing a separation between fat and liquid (whey), and the fat suspended above the milk would be scooped up to make heavy cream.
Heavy cream could either be pasteurized or unpasteurized, but I typically use only pasteurized heavy cream in my home because it has less tendency to make you sick. The majority of the heavy cream you would find in the market has about 36% fat, and some can be up to 40% in fat content.
Uses of Heavy Cream in Recipes
Heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) can be used for various recipes. For example, you could whip up some heavy cream for a pumpkin pie recipe, hot chocolate, or a banana split recipe, and you don’t have to worry about it losing its shape because heavy cream holds its shape better than regular whipping cream when whipped.
Heavy cream can also be used in soups or sauces. Because cream does not solidify when boiled, it will act as a thickener in your soups or sauces. Another fantastic thing you could do with heavy cream is to use it as frosting for cakes, and they look beautiful on cakes.
Below are some examples of recipes that call for heavy cream.
- Caramelized cream eggs
- Drunken clams with sausage
- Apricot-almond baked oatmeal
- Chicken in red wine vinegar sauce
- Chicken tikka masala
- Herbed beef skewers with horseradish cream
- Baked pasta with chicken sausage
- Green goddess dressing
- French onion soup, the scorched way
- Scallion potato pancakes with vinegar cream
- Stovetop mac and cheese
- Mussels Dijonnaise (steamed mussels with mustard sauce)
- Penne allá vodka
- Clams with cream, farro, and baby kale
- Balsamic butterscotch sauce
Substitutes for Heavy Cream in Pasta
A pasta dish is not complete without a sauce of some kind. It may be red sauce, white sauce, or even a simple melted cheese. Whatever the sauce, it will require its unique ingredients, and if you are a pasta lover, you would know that white sauce is not complete without cream, not just any cream. We’re talking heavy cream.
If you didn’t get heavy cream for any reason, the best option would be to rush to the store to get some replacement, but if you don’t have time on your side, you can make do with these substitutes. The following substitutes will give your pasta a creamy texture and leave you with that fulfilling feeling.
At first, yogurt would not be something you would consider when looking for a substitute for heavy cream, but when you need something creamy for your pasta dish, your regular bowl of whole-milk Greek yogurt would be a good option.
Yogurt also has a tangy flavor to help balance other flavors present in your white sauce. And since yogurt is very affordable and always available in grocery stores, grabbing a bottle wouldn’t be a problem. There is even a chance you may have some left in your fridge. Why not grab that bottle of yogurt and make the swap?
When using Greek yogurt as a substitute for heavy cream, you should add a few droplets of yogurt because yogurt is right before serving.
When you think of white sauce, pesto may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Well, that is because pesto has a green appearance and adds a greenish hue to your pasta. But if you have some pesto left, you can easily use that in place of heavy cream in pasta. It is creamy, it is healthy, and it is delicious, so why not?
And just like heavy cream, pesto is pretty easy to get from your nearby grocery store. It is common too, so you already have a can of it. Simply use a 1 to 1 ratio when substituting for heavy cream.
Another vegan alternative to heavy cream is coconut milk, and it doesn’t contain any dairy because it is made entirely from coconut. Coconut milk is responsible for the creaminess of the famous Thai curry dish, so it will also lend its creamy texture to your pasta dish with a bit of hint of nuttiness that the coconut provides.
Use coconut milk as a direct substitute for heavy cream. That is for a half cup of heavy cream. Use a half cup of coconut milk.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I use milk in place of heavy cream in pasta?
You can use milk in place of heavy cream in pasta, but not just any milk, try using full-fat milk because the more fat in it makes it creamier than regular milk, and the creaminess is necessary for a creamy pasta dish.
Can I cook pasta with milk?
If you don’t want to go through the stress of making a separate white sauce for your pasta, instead of water, use milk to boil your pasta. This will make the dish’s creaminess to a new level.
Can I use avocado in pasta?
If you don’t have pesto but like the idea of having a green creamy pasta dish, then blending an avocado would be an excellent addition. Just like pesto but incredibly creamy without any added dairy, avocado is sure to step up your recipe.
Pasta is delicious when you have a sauce to go with it, red sauce, white sauce, or even green sauce would do just fine, and to make a delicious white sauce your heavy cream, but if you cannot get heavy cream, you can still make a white sauce with some of these substitutes.