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I'm going to be making a chicken pot pie for a friend who is trying to eliminate dairy. Part of the instructions call for making a roux, then adding chicken stock (5 cups) and heavy cream (1/4 cup) to create the sauce for the filling.

I can substitute an oil for the butter, and I think that the relatively small amount of cream is more for appearance than flavor or thickening. If I use soy milk instead of heavy cream, will the consistency stay essentially the same? Are there going to be any impacts on the flavor?

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    As it's such a small amount of cream, why not just leave it out? I agree with you that it's most likely for appearance, and I don't think you'd miss it at all. – Cindy Oct 25 '17 at 12:51
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    If there aren't other food restrictions in play, I find coconut milk or coconut cream works better than soy milk or rice milk as a dairy replacement. Almond milk is also decent (better than soy or rice) – Joe Oct 25 '17 at 15:24
  • I just typed an answer, and then I saw @Joe 's answer. I second coconut milk or cream. – lspare Oct 26 '17 at 16:58
  • @lspare : you should submit the answer. It won't get flagged as having been answered if there's only comments. – Joe Oct 26 '17 at 17:00
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Yes, you can use soy milk, but it will definitely affect the flavor. If you like the flavor of soy milk, go ahead, but I don't find it that appealing.

Instead, I suggest using full fat coconut milk or coconut cream (you can find it in the international foods aisle in most grocery stores). I have used this subsitution several times before, and it will give a hint of coconut taste, but I think the overall flavor for your recipe would be richer.

Another alternative is to just use an additional 1/4 c. of broth and leave out the cream or any dairy substitute all together.

Edit: I'm not 100% sure on the texture, but soy milk is fairly "watery" compared to cream, so, again, I think a richer/fattier "milk" would be better.

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Soy milk/soy drink is, consistency wise, more of a milk than a cream substitute - but actual soy "cream" exists and is nowadays commonly found in many localities. It is undrinkably thick and creamy, like heavy cream. Ask your grocer if you have difficulties finding it. Read the ingredients lists, these products range from the simple to the very artificial.

There are also cream alternatives based on other non dairy ingredients (oats, rice, similar to what is used for nondairy drinks).

Probably the very best ones are based on almonds or cashews, but these are also going to be the most expensive. Both are actually traditionally accepted cooking ingredients (cashew pastes in indian cuisine, almond based in medieval european cuisine). Cashew based cream can be made at home if you have a high speed blender (just boil some cashews, and blend with the minimum amount of fresh water needed). Low end blenders can lead to a rather grainy result though.

  • I actually did buy soy cream from a local natural food store, but they stopped carrying it years ago -- I could have asked them to continue special-ordering just for me, but the price was pretty exorbitant. Homemade cashew cream may be the way for me to go in this case, as I need to make the chicken pot pie tomorrow evening :) Thanks! – Erica Oct 26 '17 at 21:27
  • Amazed - I thought if even in Germany you can at least 5 different brands of nondairy cream substitutes at a larger organic store, it would be 15 in the US because US .... – rackandboneman Oct 26 '17 at 22:58

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