Last Updated on March 25, 2023 by Toya
Out of heavy cream? Making a creamy soup recipe that calls for it? Need a quick substitute for heavy cream in soup so you don’t have to make a different recipe? You’ll find everything you need to make a delicious creamy soup recipe without heavy cream from this list of 21 heavy cream alternatives!
Most cream soup dishes are made with heavy cream. I’ve used it to make all sorts of soups including mushroom soup, chicken soups, taco soup, creamy tomato soup, and more. Heavy cream works well in those recipes because it adds a nice creaminess and richness to a soup that is unmatched.
However, if you have none at the moment, there are other ways to add creaminess and richness to a soup without heavy cream. All the ideas I’ve used and liked are listed below.
What are the best heavy cream substitutes for soup?
- Heavy cream powder
- Heavy whipping cream
- Sour cream
- Cream cheese
- Light cream
- Greek yogurt
- Coconut cream
- Almond milk
- Coconut milk
- Evaporated milk
- Whole milk
- Crème fraîche
- Vegan heavy cream (almond milk + raw cashews
- Oil + plant-based milk
- Bechamel sauce
- Blended canned beans
- Double cream
- Powdered mashed potatoes
- Onion cream
- Garbanzo bean flour + water
Common ways to substitute for heavy cream in soup
Heavy cream powder
If you want something quick, that you can keep handy for a long time, then this heavy cream powder is the perfect heavy cream substitute for soup. I make sure to keep this handy at all times so when I’m out of fresh heavy cream and don’t want to run to the store, I have an alternative that works well and is always handy. It has a shelf life of about 1 year so I have plenty of time to use it up before I need to re-up it again. I get 2 pounds of heavy cream powder from amazon at a pretty unbeatable price. And I use it in pretty much everything that calls for heavy cream.
To replace 1 cup of heavy cream, you will need to blend 3/8 cup of heavy cream powder, in 1 cup of water and let the mixture sit for about 1 hour or in the fridge overnight so it fully rehydrates.
Heavy whipping cream
Heavy whipping cream is very similar to heavy cream. So, if you have some in your fridge, it can make a great 1:1 substitute for heavy cream in any soup recipe. The best thing about heavy whipping cream is that it will impart an almost identical flavor and texture to your soup.
In the absence of heavy cream, sour cream can be used to make creamy soups too. While sour cream has that extra bit of tanginess, it is also mild and rich and works very well in recipes like potato soup, chicken and rice soup, chicken soup, mushroom soup and so much more.
If you have it available, cream cheese can also make an excellent substitute for heavy cream in soups. In fact, I like using cream cheese in my soups when I’m going for something that has fewer calories but will also add a little tang, creaminess, and richness to the dish. As such, cream cheese is a great sub for heavy cream in soup.
When using cream cheese in a soup recipe, you want to ensure that no cream cheese chunks are visible in your soup. To avoid them, microwave the cream cheese for about 30-40 seconds. Also, ensure that you let the cream cheese cook in the soup for at least 5 minutes so it melts well.
Light cream is most popularly used in coffee, but in a pinch, you can use some to make a delicious soup too. It is not as rich as heavy cream as light cream is between 18-30% fat. As such, expect a soup made with light cream to be lighter, and to have fewer calories due to less fat!
Use a 1:1 substitute ratio here. You can use light cream for any type of soup, but it works really well in vegetable soups.
Like sour cream, greek yogurt can be used as a quick, easy, and healthy heavy cream alternative for soups. Greek yogurt is slightly tangy and rich and will work in pretty much any soup you can imagine.
Coconut cream is another amazing alternative for heavy cream in soup recipes. Coconut cream makes for a lighter soup, but it’s also better for you. Coconut cream is also an awesome substitute for heavy cream if you’re vegan.
Almond milk is not at all like heavy cream, but it can be used to add some richness and a bit of a creamy texture to soups. Also, a great choice if you’re vegan as it makes some really delicious pureed vegetable soups.
Coconut milk is the perfect ingredient to use in place of heavy cream in soups…especially vegan or dairy-free soup recipes. Coconut milk isn’t as thick as coconut cream, but it can make delicious light soups.
Have evaporated milk? Use it to make your soups instead. Evaporated milk is not as rich and not as creamy as heavy cream but it makes an amazing lighter heavy cream substitute for soups like chowder, slow cooker soups, tomato soup, and more.
Note: Ensure you heat the dairy milk gently over medium-low heat to avoid curdling.
Carnation milk is an amazing substitute for milk. It literally makes the BEST pancakes. But, it's also great for making creamy sauces for pasta too!
Carnation milk in the can is shelf stable, so I usually grab multiple cans and keep them in my pantry so I never run out.
On its own, whole milk is wonderful in soups. But, if you want a homemade alternative for your soup recipe that is closer to heavy cream melt ¼ cup of unsalted butter, let it come to room temperature, then whisk in into ¾ cup of whole milk. This makes the perfect substitute for 1 cup of heavy cream.
Have some creme fraiche on hand? You can also use this to make a great heavy cream substitute for soup. Creme Fraiche adds an extra tanginess to the soup and it will need to be added towards to end of the cooking process to avoid curdling. Also, add a little milk to thin out the creme fraiche and make the consistency closer to that of heavy cream. Use a 1:1 conversion ratio.
If you have half-and-half, you can use it to make soups too. As a sub for cream, it’s best to whisk in some melted butter into the half-and-half. That is, if you need an alternative for 1 cup of heavy cream, then whisk in 6/8 cup of half-and-half and 2/8 cup of melted, room-temperature butter. Use it in your soup just like you’d use cream.
Vegan heavy cream (almond milk + raw cashews)
On the off chance you have some cashews and a dairy-free type of milk on hand, you can use these two ingredients to make a fantastic vegan heavy cream substitute that works in soups.
To make it, you need a blender, 1 cup of raw cashews, 1 tbsp of olive oil, a few cloves of garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 cup of water. If you have a regular blender, you will need to soak the raw cashews for at least 4 hours or overnight. If you have a high-speed blender like the Vitamix or this Ninja BL610 Professional – which costs less than $100 dollars – then soaking isn’t necessary. Rinse the cashews, then place them in your blender, and process until smooth. Use this to add rich, creamy thickness to vegan soups, but also sauces, and even some vegan baked goods!
Oil + plant-based milk
Another simple vegan sub for heavy cream in soup is a mix of oil and some plant-based milk like coconut milk, almond milk, etc. To substitute 1 cup of cream in the soup, mix and use ⅔ cup of plant-based milk and ⅓ cup of oil instead.
Bechamel sauce is another simple, yet effective substitute for cream in soup. Becaheml sauce is a creamy white sauce made with butter, flour, milk, salt, black pepper, and sometimes nutmeg. Bechamel sauce is usually used to add richness to recipes like those made with pasta and meat, but it will also improve both the thickness and texture of soups too.
Blended canned beans
One simple dairy-free cream substitute for soups that is often overlooked is blended beans, particularly white beans like cannellini beans, navy beans, or even chickpeas. If you have a can sitting in your pantry, pour the beans and the aquafaba into a blender and puree. Add the pureed beans to your pot of soup a little at a time until you achieve the consistency that you like.
According to the Provision Trade Federation in the Code Of Practice On Compositional Standards For Cream Designation In The UK, double cream is a cream with 48% milk fat (1).
This means that double cream is a bit thicker and richer than heavy cream which has no less than 36% milk fat content (2). While the two creams vary in milk fat content, double cream will add richness and creaminess to your soup. Start by using less, then adjust if you find that the recipe needs it.
Powdered mashed potatoes
Powdered mashed potatoes can also provide a creamy texture to soups. If you have some, make it according to the package instructions, then add about a ¼ cup to your soup. Add more until the soup reaches your desired creaminess.
Onion cream is an excellent heavy cream substitute for soups.
To make onion cream cook a large chopped onion and a few chopped cloves of garlic in a little oil and water. Cook the onions for about 30 minutes on medium-low heat, covered. Once the onions are soft, pour them into an immersion blender and puree until you have onion cream.
This cream is quite versatile and can be used in dishes pasta, salads, and casseroles. It also works as a creamy base for soups. Since onion soup is made with only kitchen staples, it is one of your best bets in a pinch.
Garbanzo bean flour + water
Garbanzo bean flour mixed with water is the perfect way to thicken soups without heavy cream. Just mix equal parts garbanzo bean flour and equal parts cold water together until well combined. Pour the mixture into your soup to thicken and add some creaminess.
Garbanzo bean flour also called chickpea flour is a gluten-free flour made by grinding chicken peas into a fine powder. It is a great binder for cooking and baking, and it is known for thickening sauces, soups, and gravies easily!
Creamy soup recipe with heavy cream alternatives
- 3/8 cup of heavy cream powder
- 1 cup of water
- Blend 3/8 cup of heavy cream powder, in 1 cup of water and let the mixture sit for about 1 hour or in the fridge overnight so it fully rehydrates.
- Use in any soup recipe.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 270Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 18gCarbohydrates: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 6g