Let’s be real: “Heavy cream” and “healthy” aren’t typically used in the same breath. What’s not to love about the thick layer of cream that’s scraped off the top of fresh milk? It might taste like heaven, but it’s sky-high in calories and fat. That could make it a no-go food for some folks.

It also doesn’t fit into some common dietary patterns, like dairy-free and vegan diets. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your fave dessert recipe. We’ve got you covered, with a variety of healthy substitutes for heavy cream to make all your culinary dreams come true.

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Rich, creamy, and full of healthy fats, coconut cream is one of the top plant-based heavy cream subs out there for good reason. (Just ask your vegan friend.)

When to use it:

How to use it:

Simply buy a can of coconut cream, shake it up, and pour. Swap it 1:1 for heavy cream. When chilled in the fridge, it’ll even whip up like the heavy stuff.

You can also chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight, pour out the liquid the next day, and scoop out the thick, hardened coconut cream to use.

When to skip it:

It can impart a mild coconut flavor, so you might not want to use it for dishes where that wouldn’t be welcome.

Heavy cream who? Olive oil adds a little richness and thickness to your dish while providing a dose of healthy fats that heavy cream doesn’t have.

When to use it:

How to use it:

Combine 2/3 cup of any milk (regular, soy, oat, etc.) with 1/3 cup of olive oil. You can use this mixture as a sub for 1 cup of heavy cream.

When to skip it:

This won’t work for dishes that require whipping. That means it’s a no-go for that lemon meringue pie or frozen custard.

Grab your milk of choice (plant-based or dairy), thicken it up with some cornstarch, and voila! You have a pretty solid heavy cream sub.

When to use it:

How to use it:

Mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 1 cup of milk until thick. Sub for 1 cup heavy cream.

When to skip it:

This can change the texture of baked goods and won’t whip well. You’ll prob want another go-to for your tiramisu.

Tofu, but silky. Like all other types of tofu, the silken variety is made from condensed soy milk that’s formed into blocks — but it has a softer, smoother consistency.

When to use it:

  • desserts
  • whipped cream
  • sauces

How to use it:

Combine equal parts silken tofu and plant-based milk of your choice in a blender or food processor and process until it has a smooth, thick consistency. Swap the mixture 1:1 for heavy cream.

When to skip it:

If you don’t have silken tofu, def skip this method. It could get a little chunky with other types of tofu.

Mix up a little Greek yogurt with whole, skim, or even plant-based milk to thicken up your dish sans heavy cream. As a bonus, you’ll get some protein and probiotics.

When to use it:

  • soups
  • sauces
  • muffins

How to use it:

Combine equal parts Greek yogurt and milk to achieve a heavy cream-like texture. Sub 1:1 for heavy cream.

When to skip it:

This won’t work in recipes that need whipping. The relatively low fat content of Greek yogurt also won’t work well in desserts that require a lot of richness, like some cakes and pastries.

Cottage cheese: It’s not just for the ’80s. Made from the curds of cow’s milk, it’s packed with protein and other nutrients that make it a great good-for-you swap.

When to use it:

  • savory sauces
  • cheese
  • biscuits

How to use it:

In a blender, process cottage cheese to a lump-free consistency and combine it with a splash of milk. You can swap it 1:1 for heavy cream.

When to skip it:

Cottage cheese is high in sodium, so if you’re salt-sensitive, you might want to buy a low sodium variety, lower the salt content in your recipe, or skip this option altogether.

This combo should have a creamy, luscious texture similar to heavy cream. It’ll even whip up a bit.

When to use it:

  • pasta sauces
  • veggie soups
  • zesty treats (like lemon bars)

How to use it:

Combine about 3/4 cup of store-bought unsweetened vegan yogurt with 1/4 cup of your fave plant-based milk. You can use it as a 1:1 replacement for heavy cream.

When to skip it:

The tanginess of the yogurt might not be a good fit for every dish.

Since you won’t find cashew cream in most grocery stores, you’ll prob have to DIY this one. If you’re up for a little effort, it does make a tasty, delish, and believable substitute.

When to use it:

  • sauces
  • cakes
  • other desserts

How to use it:

You’ll need to soak some raw cashews in water overnight in the fridge. (Need a shortcut? You can boil them for 1 to 2 hours instead.) This will help soften them for easy blending.

Next, drain the soaked cashews and toss 3/4 cup of them in your food processor or blender with 1/4 cup of water. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Sub 1:1 for heavy cream in soups, baked goods, and sauces of all kinds.

When to skip it:

This def isn’t a quick fix, so if you’re short on time, this sub isn’t your best bet. Also, keep in mind that cashew cream has a slightly nutty flavor that might not work in every dish.

Milk + cream = the delicious stuff people spread on bagels and put into cheesecakes. In certain recipes, cream cheese is also a pretty legit sub for heavy cream.

When to use it:

  • icing
  • cakes
  • sauces

How to use it:

Swap it at a 1:1 ratio for heavy cream.

When to skip it:

While cream cheese does have fewer calories and less fat than heavy cream, it’s not considered low cal or low fat, so it may not be the best option if you’re looking to cut down on either of those. It also won’t work well for whipping.

Subbing milk and butter for heavy cream is a go-to hack people have sworn by for ages. And if you eat dairy, these ingredients are one of the subs you’re most likely to have on hand in a pinch.

The butter adds fat to the milk, increasing its fat percentage to one similar to heavy cream. That makes this combo a very believable swap for most recipes.

When to use it:

How to use it:

Combine 1/4 cup of melted butter with 3/4 cup of milk and mix thoroughly. You can also add a tablespoon of flour to thicken it further, which may be especially necessary if you’re using low fat milk.

When to skip it:

It won’t whip like heavy cream, so it won’t be helpful for any fluffier desserts. It also won’t win any awards for “healthiest” swap.

These days, there are at least a couple popular vegan heavy cream subs you can pick up at your local grocery store.

When to use it:

  • soups
  • sauces
  • desserts

How to use it:

Easy-peasy: You can swap this 1:1 in your recipes.

When to skip it:

It might be hard to find a vegan product that’s specifically meant to replace heavy cream.

Heavy cream is a staple in lots of recipes, but it doesn’t fit everyone’s dietary needs.

For a lower-fat option, try swapping it for the likes of milk combined with Greek yogurt, olive oil, or cornstarch. For a healthier vegan and dairy-free option, consider coconut cream, cashew cream, or silken tofu and plant-based milk.

Keep in mind that some of these swaps can change the texture or taste or some dishes, so do a little research (and maybe a little taste-testing) to find your perfect swap.