Can Buttermilk be Substituted for Heavy Cream?

Are you dismayed seeing your pantry run out of heavy cream? Or, you’re still skeptical about the question: “Can buttermilk be substituted for heavy cream?”

If you’re curious if buttermilk is an excellent substitute for heavy cream, the answer can be a yes in most instances.

However, if you decide to use buttermilk instead of heavy cream, you must make some recipe adjustments.

For example, a buttermilk substitute isn’t a good idea if you want to make whipped cream.

While heavy cream and buttermilk are both milk products, they have unique characteristics.

Learn more about these milk products to precisely determine when they’re substitutable and when they aren’t.                           

Heavy Cream Versus Buttermilk


Heavy cream generally consists of a slightly 36 percent butter fat, making it a tasty and super-rich alternative.

It originates from cow’s milk, although it can also come from sheep, goat, or buffalo milk.

Due to its whipped consistency and superior fat content, heavy cream is also called whipping cream.

Meanwhile, buttermilk is produced from pasteurized whole milk with added acid.

Typically, the milk is fermented to enable the lactic bacteria present in the milk to produce lactic acid, helping isolate the liquid from solids.

This method eliminates a significant amount of the lactose sugar in regular milk, retaining only two percent of it.

The outcome of this process is an aromatic beverage that appears similar to thin or plain yogurt, a cultured dairy product.

Drinking it all the way down is not advisable due to its low pH. You must dilute it with water before consuming it.

Please note that the usual serving size of buttermilk is 1 cup diluted with eight ounces of water.

When Should I Use Buttermilk in Recipes?

Using buttermilk is ideal if you plan to give your recipes a flavor similar to cheese.

This milk product is almost identical to sour Greek yogurt, which features a slightly tangy and sour flavor ideal for dishes that call for slight acidity.

Many bakers use buttermilk to make different types of cakes and bread, making them fluffier and softer.

On the other hand, chefs use buttermilk to fry the chicken to give it a nice crisp and make the meat tender.

Using buttermilk in mashed potatoes and soups is also ideal, making them healthier and producing a creamier texture.

If you’re into salads, you might also want to use buttermilk to give your favorite salad a unique tweak.

Interestingly, cheese manufacturers thicken or curdle buttermilk under maximum heat to make cheese.

READ MORE: Interesting Facts and Benefits of Buttermilk

When Should I Use Heavy Cream in Recipes?

Heavy Cream

Heavy cream, unlike other creams, comes with a sweeter taste, making it ideal for cooking main dishes, desserts, and appetizers.

You can also use heavy cream for various baked goods as one of the main ingredients or when adorning your bread and cakes.

It’s worth noting that heavy whipping cream makes it easier for you to decorate your baked goods since it lets them hold their shape accordingly.

If you want to make your crusts fluffy when making pastries and other baked goods, a heavy cream substitute is practical for that purpose.

Likewise, if you’re into pasta, heavy cream is an ideal ingredient. You can use it when making various pasta sauces or chowder.

Using heavy cream in pasta recipes and other dishes helps produce a uniquely sleek, thick, and creamy texture.

Alternatively, you can whip the heavy cream into ice cream. As you can see, you can use heavy whipping cream for several different purposes.

Things to Remember When Substituting Buttermilk with Heavy Cream

You can’t whip buttermilk, but you can whip heavy cream. Therefore, if the recipe requires whipping the heavy cream, you cannot use buttermilk as a substitute.

Buttermilk makes foods fluffy and light, while heavy cream, such as crème fraîche, makes foods creamy and flavorful.

Thus, if your recipe requires either one based on these unique characteristics, substituting them won’t do any good.

Buttermilk contains low fat, while heavy cream may contain approximately 36 percent of fat. Hence, if the recipe necessitates the richness of the heavy cream, using buttermilk won’t work.

Heavy cream is known for its sweeter taste, while buttermilk features a sour taste.

So, if you want to cook a recipe with something sour, such as biscuits and scones, you can’t substitute heavy cream because it doesn’t have the distinctive relish of buttermilk.

While heavy cream doesn’t react with baking soda since it’s not acidic, buttermilk does because it’s acidic.

As a result, this reaction urges any recipe you cook to rise, for instance, bread and cakes.

That said, if your recipe requires depending on buttermilk to act as a leavening agent, it’s unwise to swap it with heavy cream.

Is Buttermilk An Excellent Substitute For Sour Cream?


Yes. You can substitute buttermilk if you don’t have vegan sour cream in your pantry.

The truth is, buttermilk is a better alternative since it doesn’t contain more fat and it’s cholesterol-free.

Buttermilk is produced from whole milk, whereas sour cream is produced from moderately skimmed milk.

Therefore, you won’t go wrong with buttermilk if you prefer a tastier and healthier substitute for vegan sour cream, as it is low-fat milk.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, the primary differences between buttermilk and heavy cream are consistency and acidity.

For this reason, it’s critical to make the required adjustments when cooking different dishes, precisely when you prefer to make whipped cream or when leavening agents are involved.

While you can sometimes substitute buttermilk for heavy cream, this technique doesn’t work all the time.

Knowing the difference between these milk products can notably affect how you cook dishes, baked goods, pastries, desserts, and appetizers.

Which do you like better, heavy cream or buttermilk substitute?

Please feel free to leave us a comment below and kindly share our article about “Can buttermilk be substituted for heavy cream” with your followers if you find it educational.

Are you searching for an easier way to enjoy delicious and healthy meals? Look no further than Freezerfit! With access to more than 600 recipes, meal plans, and useful tips tailored for Keto, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten Free, and Vegetarian diets, this online service is just what you need.

Hi, I love to cook! I have been passionate about cooking for as long as I can remember. My favorite foods are Italian, Mexican, and Indian. I'm not afraid to share my love of cooking with my family, friends & the whole world.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.