If you need whipping cream for a dessert, drink, sauce, or other recipe, but all you’ve got is half-and-half in the fridge, no problem.

Cream is the portion of fresh milk that floats to the top after standing for 24 hours, according to Irma S. Rombauer, author of “Joy of Cooking.” It rises to the top because it has a higher fat content than the rest of the milk—between 32 to 40 percent butterfat. Half-and-half is a mixture of cream and whole milk, with a butterfat content of 12 percent. Here’s how to sub it in for whipping cream.

Things You'll Need

Use the same amount of half-and-half as whipping cream for sauces and main dishes. Add in a teaspoon to a tablespoon of unsalted butter for additional creaminess if you wish. Exactly how much you add depends on the richness of the dish and the amount of the whipping cream being substituted. For 1 cup whipping cream, use 1 tablespoon melted butter and 1 cup half-and-half.

For dessert recipes like ice cream, mousse, or a bombe, add the combined total of milk and cream called for in the recipe. Substitute an equal amount of half-and-half. For example, if you need 1 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk, use 1 1/2 cups half-and-half. It’ll just be a little less rich because you’re cutting down on the fat.

Whipped cream made with whipping cream doubles in volume and retains the volume. Supplement half-and-half with gelatin to get this effect. Add a teaspoon softened gelatin to 2 tablespoons cold water. Combine with 1/2 cup half-and-half that’s been heated then cooled. Add 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Chill overnight. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, then whip on high speed for 7 to 8 minutes.


  • Chill all utensils, the bowl, beaters, and the cream for the best results when whipping cream.