You’ve likely been mixing this popular dairy staple in your morning coffee for years. But do you really know what half-and-half is? Let’s break down the basics and learn how you can make your own half-and-half substitute within minutes!
It doesn’t matter how you like your wake-me-up whipped coffee in the morning. Or how cheesy thick you like your mac and cheese. With half-and-half, you can jumpstart your drinks and dishes from mundane to mhmm mhmm good. That can mean the difference between a grumpy morning and a mouthwatering creamy dinner.
Don’t cry over spilled milk. This guide will help you in finding the best half-and-half substitute to help you hit the ground running.
First Things First, What Is Half-And-Half?
Here’s the full answer: half-and-half is a mix of equal parts of whole milk and heavy cream. Simple, right? half-and-half is literally what its name says.
Thus half-and-half fits right in the middle between milk and heavy cream. The difference between heavy cream, light cream, and half-and-half is the fat content.
Half-and-half is lusher than milk but less thick than heavy cream.
What Does Half-And-Half Taste Like?
Half-and-half tastes like milk, but has a richer and creamier kick. Thus it has more flavor than milk but isn’t sweet. You probably wouldn’t want to drink half-and-half on its own. Instead, it is added to balance or enhance flavor in foods and drinks!
What Do You Use Half-And-Half For?
It is very difficult to make whipped cream with half-and-half due to the lower fat content. You’ll end up with a liquid no matter how hard you whip and mix. So no need to flex those kitchen muscles now. The same rule also applies to trying to use half-and-half to thicken sauces the way heavy and whipped cream holds structure well together.
With that said, half-and-half makes an excellent coffee creamer and there’s no wonder why it’s a key ingredient in coffee drinks. Aside from traditionally being used for coffee drinks, it can also be used for cold or hot teas. Most half-and-half users enjoy it for the perfect balance of richness.
You can also add half-and-half to:
- Sauces for a richer flavor
- Ice cream bases
- Quiche or pasta
- Desserts to achieve a smoother result
Is Half-And-Half The Same As Coffee Creamer?
If you’re wondering, “what’s the difference between half-and-half and coffee creamer?” Simply, these two popular mixtures are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably.
Though they are similar in content and uses. What separates half-and-half from coffee creamer is dairy content!
Half-and-half contains half parts milk. While coffee creamer is made up of water, sugar, and vegetable oil with no trace of milk to be found in the ingredients. The fat content of coffee creamer (depending on the brand), generally is lower than half-and-half.
Is Half-And-Half Keto Approved And Low Carb?
Unfortunately half-and-half is not keto-approved. Because half-and-half has 50% parts of milk, the lactose from milk comes in the form of sugar. This means an increase in more carbs and sugar – something to avoid when being on a keto diet. Plain half-and-half with no additives contains 0.7 grams of carbs for every tablespoon.
Best Keto-friendly half-and-half alternatives:
- Butter – butter is 80% fat. What’s nice about butter is it has zero carbs and sugars.
- Ghee – ghee is 99.9% fat with a fourth being short and medium-chain fatty acids.
- Heavy whipping cream – perfect for those with sugar withdrawals. Heaving whipping cream has fewer carbs than half-and-half.
- Coconut milk – very low on carbs with 0.5g of net carbs and packed with healthy fats.
- Bulletproof coffee – this is a coffee brand mixed with butter and MCT oil. It’s full of the keto fats you need!
What Is Fat-Free Half-And-Half?
Don’t be deceived by the name “fat-free” half-and-half. Generally the fat-free version contains unhealthy additives to make up for the taste of a regular version of half-and-half. While the calories of fat-free half-and-half are fewer (by not much) than regular half-and-half, it’s what’s promoted to make you feel guilt-free at your grocery.
I recommend regular half-and-half to get the real deal in your drinks and cooking. Because life is too short to miss out on delicious and real food!
Is Half-And-Half The Same As Heavy Cream?
Half-and-half compared to heavy cream can seem like the same thing, but both dairy staples serve different purposes. It’s the milkfat content that distinguishes the two from one another.
Heavy cream has no less than 36 percent fat. The fat content of half-and-half lies between 10 to 18 percent fat. Fat content gives each their ability to become thick like heavy cream or thin like half-and-half.
What to cook with heavy cream:
- Mac and Cheese In a Mug
- Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole
- Decadent Homemade Banana Pudding
- Crustless Asparagus Quiche
- Carrot Cake Dessert Dip
Light Cream VS Half-And-Half
Similar to why half-and-half and heavy cream differ, also lies the same difference that to of light cream. The fat content!
Light cream contains between 18 to 30 percent milkfat. Whereas you know half-and-half has 10 to 18 percent milkfat. This makes light cream richer and creamier than half-and-half but not as heavy cream.
You can also try adding light cream into:
- Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- Easy Chicken and Rice Bake Recipe
- Ninja Foodi Ultimate Cheesy Chicken Pasta Recipe
How To Make Half-And-Half Substitute
Now you understand the basics, let’s learn how you can make your own half-and-half substitute!
If you find yourself out of half-and-half but don’t want to run to the grocery, making it is always your best bet. Because the mixture only contains two ingredients, how to make half-and-half substitute is super easy! Not only is it simple to make, but different variations exist and allow you the option to customize it to your taste!
Here are 4 easy ways to make half-and-half substitute. The following half-and-half substitute recipes make one cup.
We’ll start with the standard half-and-half formula!
Traditional recipe on how to make half-and-half substitute
- Formula: Mix equal parts ½ cup of whole milk + ½ cup of light cream.
- Fat Content: ~15-19.75%
- Perfect for: coffee, most baking recipes, cooking recipes that call for a bit of richness.
For a creamier half-and-half substitute
- Formula: Mix ¾ cup of whole milk + ¼ cup of heavy cream
- Fat Content: ~10-11.5%
- Perfect for: a true mix that is heavier in consistency, richness, and flavor. Use this if you want to thicken things up!
For a lower fat content half-and-half substitute
- Formula: Mix ⅔ cup of low-fat or skim milk + ⅓ cup of heavy cream.
- Fat Content: ~10-11.5%
- Perfect for: a taste very similar to the traditional equal parts half-and-half recipe.
Half-and-half substitute recipe with no cream
- Formula: Mix 2 tbsp. of melted butter + 1 cup of milk
- Fat Content: ~10-13%
- Perfect for: most cooking and baking dishes like pasta that do not require half-and-half being the key ingredient.
What Can You Cook With Half-And-Half?
Because half-and-half sits in the middle of the spectrum between whole milk and heavy cream, this makes the ingredient versatile for many recipes! Add a splash of half-and-half for flavor in your drinks, favorite sauces, or make creamier scrambled eggs!
- Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
- Keto Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Shrimp Pesto Pasta Salad With Creamy Dressing
- Easy Caramel Apples
- Easy Peanut Butter Fudge
Now that you understand what exactly half-and-half is, you’ll be able to enjoy your morning coffee and dishes with confidence. Don’t be afraid to add a kick of flavor for more richness.
What are other recipes you use half-and-half in your cooking?
I am always excited to learn about new recipes, so please share them below!