Half and half is a dairy product produced by homogenizing whole milk and heavy cream in a blender.
Notably, half and half must have at least 10.5% milkfat, but not more than 18% milkfat, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
Read on as you learn more about half and a half and how it is used in cooking. I also included some fantastic half-and-half alternatives that you may use in a pinch if you have a recipe that calls for it.
What Are Half and Half
Half and half can be whole milk and cream mixed in equal amounts. When you need more richness than milk but not quite as thick as cream, this is what you use.
It can be found in silky sauces, soups, and desserts. Moreover, many people prefer half-and-half in their coffee because it achieves the ideal balance of creaminess and thinness they enjoy.
If you decided to travel deeper into the half-and-half, you would discover that whole milk contains only 3.25% fat. The fat content of half & half ranges from 10.5% to 18% – since cream contains between 36% – 40% fat.
Depending on the cream you use, you will get a varying fat percentage when you combine the two. Any store-bought product will suffice for any recipe that calls for half and half.
Half and half have a thicker, more luxurious texture than milk, but it is not as decadent and rich as cream. It is the ideal middle ground, and it is most likely what you will prefer in your coffee.
Remarkably, half-and-half from the store has been homogenized, which means it’s been emulsified, so it won’t separate when mixed with other ingredients.
Half and Half Uses in Recipe
Half-and-half is just whole milk mixed with half-and-half cream. When you need more richness than milk but not quite as thick as cream, this is what you use. It can be found in rich, velvety sauces, soups, and desserts.
See some delectable recipes you can use in:
- Homemade Whipped Cream
- Alfredo Sauce With Half and Half
- Rich ‘n Creamy Hot Chocolate
- Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
- Panna Cotta
- Homemade Mashed Potatoes
- Classic French Toast
- Seriously Good White Russian Cocktail Recipe
- Tomato Cream Sauce
- Extra Creamy Rice Pudding
- Espresso Breve Recipe
- Easy Caramel Sauce
- Italian Cream Soda
- Bread Pudding Recipe
- Cream Cheese
Substitutes for Half and Half in Recipe
Half and half are used in coffee; some recipes call for it, it may be used to make ice cream, and it makes a delicious custard when combined with eggs. However, when half and half aren’t available, what is a good substitute?
Yogurt is an easy 1:1 substitute for half-and-half in baking, but yogurt is tangier.
The slight tanginess and light, fluffy texture that yogurt delivers benefit bread, biscuits, muffins, and cakes. You may substitute yogurt for half & half in any bake-up recipe that asks for it.
However, yogurt can separate when cooked over direct heat, resulting in a chalky or gritty texture; thus, this alternative may not suit soups or sauces.
Substituting half-and-half for some or all of the half-and-half in a dish like ice cream will work, but it’s useful if milk or cream can be used for any part of a custard base prepared to overheat. After the base is chilled, mix in the yogurt before churning the ice cream.
This shelf-stable pantry item can be used in place of half-and-half, but due to the structure of evaporated milk and its somewhat caramelized flavor, the result may taste different.
This half-and-half substitute has a similar fat content – around 12% for the half-and-half and about 10% for evaporated milk – but evaporated milk is milk without the water.
Notably, evaporated milk takes up half the space of fresh milk while providing the same nutritious value. This makes evaporated milk appealing for various applications because it might have a shelf life of months or even years, depending on the fat and sugar content.
This made evaporated milk a popular pre-refrigeration substitute for perishable fresh milk because it could be quickly conveyed to areas without access to safe milk production or storage.
Whole Milk and Light Cream
Another efficient method to get a half-and-half substitute is to mix equal parts (½ cup each) of milk and light cream.
It is the same half-and-half formula – this is exactly what a half-and-half carton contains – but because home chefs are more likely to have heavy cream on hand than light cream, we believe the first technique is the best.
It is quite straightforward to substitute half and half since it is just a blend of two dairy products.
For a flawless half-and-half substitute in cooking, baking, and even coffee, you can combine equal parts whole milk and light cream.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is half-and-half cream suitable to use in cooking?
Half-and-half can sometimes be used in place of whipping cream in sauces, soups, batters, puddings, and fondues, though the final consistency will be thinner and less rich. Yes, in most cooking and baking recipes, Half & Half can be used for milk.
Is it possible to freeze half and half for later use?
Half-and-half can be frozen, especially if you want to use it for cooking rather than coffee. After thawing, please give it a thorough whisk or shake to redistribute any butterfat that may have separated during the freezing process.
Is it possible to make butter with half and a half?
You might be wondering if half and half can be substituted for heavy or whipped cream when making butter. The answer is no! Use heavy or whipping cream at all times for your butter recipe. Heavy cream contains roughly 35-40% fat, which is required to make butter.
Half and half are a common ingredient in recipes, but not everyone keeps it on hand all of the time. It is not a problem if you come upon a recipe that calls for half and half, but you don’t have any on hand.
In a pinch, you can make a few half-and-half substitutions. Notably, the ones enlisted in this article will work very well in recipes.