The 7 Best Vegan Heavy Cream Substitutes (#2 Whips Perfectly)

7 of the best low-effort heavy cream substitutes you can use today.

We spent 3 days searching for the best vegan heavy cream substitutes. First, we looked at store-bought vegan heavy creams. We were left disappointed. There are very few options. And the one that was good – Silk Heavy Whipping Cream – is hard to come by. 

Naturally, our focus quickly turned to do-it-yourself. What heavy creams could we make with minimal ingredients? We had to find out. 

A common problem with many vegan heavy creams is that they don’t whip. While this kinda sucks, it also means that each substitute has its own list of pros and cons. 

If you want a cream that whips, skip straight to Coconut Cream (second on this list). If you want an overview of our favorite substitutes, read on. 

First up, a universal favorite…

Cashew Cream (3 simple ingredients) 

This is a great choice for those that don’t always love the coconut flavor that comes through with coconut cream. And it’s especially good for pasta sauces. 

Cashews have a “buttery” flavor that complements a lot of recipes. This makes them very versatile. 

We suggest using raw cashews if possible for the best taste. Yes, they’re often expensive, but buying in bulk will help keep the cost down. I also find that it works out cheaper than a lot of dairy substitutes from the store. 

You will need: 

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup water to blend
  • Pinch of salt

How to make your cream: 

  1. Soak your cashews in hot but not boiling water for 30 minutes. Make sure they’re completely covered. Then drain.

Note: If you’re soaking overnight, you can use cold water and put the bowl in the fridge. The longer you soak, the creamier your cream will be! 

  1. Blend soaked cashews and fresh water on high until a smooth but creamy (think thick yogurt) consistency is achieved. If your cream is too thick, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time. 

Pro tip: Pause the blender a few times and scrape down the sides to get maximum yield.

  1. Done! Store the cream in an airtight container in the fridge. It’s good for up to 7 days. 

Coconut Cream (It whips!) 

Without a doubt, the best vegan alternative for heavy whipping cream right now. 

The slightly sweet flavor is perfect for blending into desserts and curries. 

You’ll need one cup of canned coconut cream. It’s important that you use cream from a can and not a carton. 

Note: You could use full-fat coconut milk for this, but results vary massively depending on the brand. So it’s pretty hit or miss. We recommend buying canned coconut cream if you can find it. If you do want to try coconut milk, refrigerate the can overnight and be careful not to shake it. You’re looking for a hard layer of cream you can scrape off the top. 

Whip the cream to your desired consistency until there are no little chunks left. If your cream is chunky, add a tablespoon of water. Repeat as necessary. 

For a flavor boost, add in a little vanilla extract. If you want to sweeten, powdered sugar works great. 

Pro tip: Try out your coconut cream in a curry. If you don’t want the coconut flavor to be too strong you can put it in earlier and cook it for longer. 

White Bean Cream (Soups and stews)

Yes, it’s a sludgy mess. And less tasty than higher-fat creams. But in some recipes that can be a plus, especially when you’re on a diet. 

This one works particularly well in any soup typically made with heavy cream. Think “cream of” broccoli, cream of potato, and cream of mushroom.

It has a neutral, mild taste and smooth texture. 

It packs a BIG protein and fiber punch. 

You’ll need: 

  • 1 cup of cooked and drained cannellini beans
  • 3 tablespoons of water, plus a few more while blending 

How to make your cream:

  1. Blend the beans with the water. Add water as necessary until a thick but smooth consistency develops. 
  2. Done! Use your bean cream. 

Soy Milk + Silken Tofu (Baking, soups, lazy dessert)

Silken tofu acts as a blank canvas. It’ll take on any flavor that you give it. Add some soy milk and you’ve got yourself something smooth and VERY creamy. 

With a big protein boost to boot. 

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 block (around 350g) of silken style tofu
  • 2 tablespoons of soy milk
  • A blender or food processor 

How to make your cream:

  1. Blend the tofu with 2 tablespoons of soy milk. Add more (or less) soy milk depending on your desired texture. 
  2. Done. That’s it. Easy. 

Pro tip: Want a nice lazy dessert? Blend silken tofu with sugar-free pudding powder. Add some frozen fruits on top. 

Almond/Soy Milk + Vegan Butter (Baking)

This produces a very light, more neutral dairy-like cream compared to your typical coconut-based cream. 

It’s good for baking and probably not much else. Personally, we’d rather use Soy Milk + Olive Oil instead of this one (see below). 

You’ll need ⅔ cups of almond or soy milk and ⅓ cup of vegan butter. This yields 1 cup of cream. 

Melt the butter in a pan or microwave. Add the plant milk. Mix both ingredients until the consistency is smooth.

Soy Milk + Olive Oil (Baking, soups)

A quick and easy go-to. You probably already have the ingredients. 

It’s good for adding taste and texture in cooking and baking. Note that it definitely won’t whip! 

Use ⅔ cup of soy milk and ⅓ cup of olive oil. Mix together. 

Refrigerate any cream you aren’t using immediately and use it in your cooking throughout the week.

Oat Milk + Cornstarch (Soup and creamy pasta-like dishes)

This is a light cream rather than a heavy one, but we still want to include it because it’s a good low-fat substitute. 

How to make your cream:

  1. Use 1 cup of oat milk and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch for 1 cup of cream. 
  1. Whisk the mixture thoroughly until the cornstarch is dissolved into the milk. 

As the cornstarch thickens the liquid, it mimics the thicker, smooth silkiness that you get with dairy.

For a slightly thicker cream, you can add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch.

What’s next? 

Check out our ultimate guide to non-dairy yogurts. #1 is our top pick for cooking and making sour cream. 

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