Most of the information below on how to substitute cream for dairy-free diets is excerpted from my book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook. However, I’ve also added product reviews and a few fun recipes that are here on the website.
Quick Tips to Substitute Cream
Half & Half
Coconut Creamer: Allow a can of full fat coconut milk to settle for about 1/2 hour. If your room temperature is warm, place it in the refrigerator. The coconut cream will rise to the top and can easily be skimmed off. Blend one part coconut cream with one part unsweetened or plain soy, rice, or oat milk to create the desired amount of half and half.
Instant Soy Creamer: Blend one part silken tofu with one part unsweetened or plain soy, rice, or oat milk to create desired amount of half and half.
Light Dairy Cream
Low Fat Soy Cream Alternative: Blend Silken Tofu until smooth. This works as an excellent substitute for milk and cream when a thickener is needed in sauces and soups. Choose soft varieties for a lighter “cream”. Pureed tofu can be substituted for light cream using a 1:1 ratio and is a much healthier, lower fat option.
Milk + Oil Light Cream Equivalent: Blend 3/4 cup of soy or rice milk with 1/4 cup of melted dairy-free margarine or oil (we like extra light olive oil for cooking). This will equal 1 cup of light cream for your recipes.
Heavy Dairy Cream
Coconut Cream: Such a versatile food! Allow a can of full fat coconut milk to settle (about 1/2 hour). The coconut cream will rise to the top and can easily be skimmed off. To substitute cream in recipes, use equal parts coconut cream for the dairy cream. This work particularly well in sauces for seafood and poultry. Of course, already prepared Coconut Cream can be purchased in stores or online.
Low Fat Soy Cream Alternative: Blend Silken Tofu until smooth. This works as an excellent cream substitute when a thickener is needed in sauces and soups. Choose medium firm or firm varieties for a thicker “cream”. Pureed tofu can be substituted for heavy cream using a 1:1 ratio and is a much healthier, lower fat option.
Milk + Oil Heavy Cream Equivalent: Blend 2/3 cup of soy or rice milk with 1/3 cup melted dairy free margarine or oil (we like extra light olive oil for cooking). This will equal 1 cup of heavy cream for your recipes, but it will not whip.
Soy Sour Cream: Firm Silken Tofu has a wonderful sour cream consistency when blended, and can be used plain or jazzed up for a sour cream-like flavor. See the recipes below for several variations of tofu sour cream.
Nutty Sour Cream: For a delicious soy-free sour cream alternative, I like to make sour cream using cashews or sunflower seeds as the creamy base. See Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for my staple recipe.
Vegan Yogurt: Use a plain unflavored variety of dairy-free yogurt as a 1:1 sour cream substitute. Works best in dips and salad dressings.
Recipes: Homemade Cream Alternatives
Enjoy these dairy-free whipped cream, heavy cream, and sour cream alternative recipes from our expansive online recipe collection …
- Almond Cream
- Cashew Sour Cream
- Dairy Free Whipped ‘Cream’
- Regular and Thick Vegan Cashew Cream
- Soy Whipped Cream
- Tofu Creme Anglaise
- Tofu Sour Cream I
- Tofu Sour Cream II (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- Tofu Sour Cream III
- Vegan Cashew Whipped Cream
Products: Cream Alternatives at the Store
Below are the products we’ve had a chance to taste-test and review here on Go Dairy Free. For a more extensive list of dairy-free products to substitute cream, get one of our No Dairy Product Lists; they include thousands of dairy-free foods.
- Califia Farms AlmondMilk Creamer for Coffee and Tea
- Nutpods Dairy-Free Creamer
- Oat Supreme Non-Dairy Alternative to Cream (DISCONTINUED)
- So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
- So Delicious Dairy Free Almond Milk Creamer
- So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip Coconut Whipped Topping
- Soyatoo Whipped Soy Topping
- Trader Joe’s Soy Creamer (DISCONTINUED)
- Vivian’s Live Again Creamy Whipped Topping Mix
- Wayfare Dairy Free Sour Cream