I’m pretty sure you have come across light cream in a few of your recipes. Light cream is commonly used in desserts, sauces, soups, and coffees.
It enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to because of its rich and sweet taste.
There are several reasons why you may need to substitute light cream with something. Maybe you run out of it or you simply do not like the flavor of light cream.
So what exactly is light cream? Light cream is a cream that is made from milk. It contains 18 to 29.9 percent of milk fat.
It is also commonly referred to as single cream. It is lighter than whipping cream but heavier than half and half.
Light cream cannot be whipped because it lacks fatty solids. It also does not have the rich flavor of heavy cream which has 40 percent milk fat and 51 calories per tablespoon.
Each tablespoon of light cream contains approximately 30 calories.
Creams are naturally very versatile. Therefore, if you are looking to substitute light cream with something else for whatever reason, you will not have any problem finding a suitable substitute.
2 percent milk, full-fat coconut cream, evaporated milk, coffee cream, pureed tofu, whole milk mixed with butter and Half and half are all good substitutes for light cream. Alternatively, you can make your own homemade light cream.
You will only need two common ingredients and less than ten minutes of your time. Without further ado, let us discuss the details of these light cream substitutes and when to use them.
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- 2 percent milk
A lot of people are very skeptical about using 2 percent milk. However, I am here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with it. 2 percent milk has several nutritional benefits. Research has shown that consuming it can help prevent chronic diseases.
2 percent milk can be used as a substitute for light cream. I suggest using it in baking for the best results.
I don’t recommend using it in sauces and soups mostly because it has very low-fat content and the results may not be desirable.
When using 2 percent milk as a substitute for light cream, you should keep in mind that it is prone to curdling especially when heated at a very high temperature.
This is mostly because of its low fat content. The lower the fat content, the more likely it is that it will curdle when exposed to heat.
If you use 2 percent milk in soups or sauces and your dish does not have the thickness that you want, you can use cornstarch to thicken it as well as fix or prevent it from curdling.
Simply mix the cornstarch with a little bit of water then add it to your dish. The outcome will be good.
- Full fat coconut cream
Full fat coconut cream is another good substitute for light cream. Since coconut cream is made from coconuts, it has a very distinct coconut flavor. Therefore, it might not work well in all your dishes.
I suggest using coconut cream in baking. The sweet coconut flavor will complement all your baking ingredients.
- Evaporated milk
Evaporated milk is made by heating milk to a point where approximately half of the moisture in milk is removed. It usually has a very rich taste compared to whole milk.
It also has a distinct aroma. Evaporated milk is usually sold in cans and is readily available. You can buy it at any store near you.
Evaporated milk is a good substitute for light cream and it works well in most recipes. To use evaporated milk as a substitute for light cream, you first have to dilute it with whole milk. Do not dilute it with water if you want the best results.
To use evaporated milk as a substitute in baking, add a little butter to the evaporated milk, add a dash of water and mix it with your other baking ingredients.
The butter will mimic the fat content in light cream and it will tenderize your baked goods. It will also enhance the flavor of the baked goods.
- Coffee creamer
Coffee cream is another good substitute for light cream. It is usually sold in either liquid or powder form. A lot of people use coffee creamer instead of milk in their coffee or black tea.
Coffee creamer is the go to substitute for many people since it has a very long shelf life. Most varieties are actually dairy free. Most coffee creamers are made from oil, sugar, and thickeners.
I suggest using coffee creamer as a light cream substitute in all recipes apart from baked goods. Coffee creamer does not give desirable results when used in baked goods.
- Whole milk mixed with butter
If you want something that will work just as well as light cream, you should definitely try this combination. By adding butter to whole milk, the butter mimics the fat content in whole milk.
Whole milk mixed with butter works well in all recipes that call for light cream. I particularly love how it works in baked goods.
My kids actually enjoy baked goods more when I use this combination compared to when I use light cream.
- Pureed tofu
If you are looking for a dairy free substitute for light cream, then pureed tofu is exactly what you need. It has a very soft texture and can easily fall apart. It is usually made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it.
Pureed tofu works well in most recipes that require you to use light cream. It has low content and is very easy to use.
To substitute light cream with pureed tofu, use the ratio 1:1. For instance, if a recipe calls for two tablespoons of light cream, use two tablespoons of pureed coffee instead.
- Half and half
Half and half is basically a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream. It is made by mixing equal amounts of heavy cream and whole milk.
The texture of half and half is thicker than whole milk but lighter than heavy cream. It is a perfect balance. Half and half are mostly used in coffee as a substitute for whole milk.
When using half and half as a substitute for light cream, you should keep in mind that it tends to curdle when exposed to high temperatures. Therefore, you may have to use a certain technique to achieve the best results.
To use half and half instead of light cream in your soups and sauces, you need to temper it.
By this, I mean that you need to pour some of the hot soup or sauce into a bowl, add half and half, and slowly whisk the mixture.
Once your half and half has completely combined with the soup or sauce add the mixture to the rest of your soup or sauce.
Making your own light cream
Making your own light cream is pretty easy and you need only two ingredients that I am sure you have on hand.
If you do not have any light cream on hand, just mix these two ingredients for the perfect light cream substitute.
You will need:
- 4 cups of milk
- 3 tablespoons of margarine
- The first thing you need to do is melt your margarine. Make sure it is completely melted then let it cool at room temperature. If you do not have any margarine on hand, you can use butter. Do not use the butter while it is still warm because it will separate.
- Pour your four cups into a bowl and then add your cool melted butter. Whisk these two ingredients together until they are completely combined. At this point, your homemade light cream is ready for use.
In case you want to store this light cream for future use, pour it into an airtight container and store it inside your refrigerator. This homemade light cream will stay fresh inside the refrigerator for up to two days.
The light cream may also separate during storage. If this happens, simply remix the ingredients before adding it to your dish.
Homemade light cream can be used as a substitute for light cream in all the recipes that call for light cream. I love how my sauces and soups turn out when I use them. Chances are that no one will notice you used homemade light cream and not the store bought light cream.
Light cream is a very common ingredient. I have come across several recipes that call for light cream. Although light cream is a common ingredient that is readily available, you may not always have it in your kitchen.
This is why you need to know substitutes that you can use in its place. Evaporated milk, 2 percent milk, full fat coconut cream, and half and half are my favorite substitutes for light cream.
Whole milk combined with butter also works well, especially in baked goods. If you are vegan, you can use pureed tofu. It works quite well.
Try these substitutes and let me know the results.