Lactose intolerant eaters experience unpleasant effects from consuming dairy products. Others avoid eating dairy for fear of excess calories or even chemicals that are often used on the cattle to keep them healthy. Environmental concerns have also been raised about dairy production, and some are concerned for the welfare of the animals. Whatever the reason, though, those looking to avoid dairy products can find some alternatives to heavy cream in recipes.

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream can be found on the shelves of health food stores and many supermarkets. It works well as a substitute for heavy cream. In a pinch, coconut milk can provide an alternative, but not as it comes from the container. Allow the coconut milk to sit for a half an hour and the cream will rise to the top. Just skim it from the top and use it. Substitute coconut cream for heavy cream in a 1-to-1 ratio.


Pureed tofu can substitute for dairy products. When it comes to heavy cream, choose medium firm or firmer to get the right consistency. Puree the tofu in a blender or food processor. Substitute one part pureed tofu for one part heavy cream in any recipe. In addition to other considerations, tofu is considerably lower in fat than cream is. It also serves well in recipes where the cream serves as a thickener.

Rice Milk or Soy Milk

While neither rice milk or soy milk will work as-is to substitute for heavy cream, a little alteration can fix that. Add a form of vegetable fat to the milk. One way to achieve that is to melt some margarine. Any type of vegetable oil will work, too, but less flavorful varieties will produce a more neutral taste. Use a ratio of 2/3 cup soy or rice milk to 1/3 cup vegetable oil or margarine to get 1 cup replacement cream.

Oat Supreme

Oat Supreme is a non-dairy product designed specifically to replace cream. For that reason, it is used in a 1-to-1 ratio. One of the advantages of Oat Supreme is that it can be used in applications that require whipping the cream. While soy or rice milk combined with vegetable oil or pureed tofu work for some recipes, those options won't whip, making Oat Supreme a superior replacement as a topping on desserts.