I know the chief difference between light and heavy cream is the amount of fat in it. What I'm wondering about is the flavor. The fat will give it texture, but I'm not sure that in a soup it would make that much of a difference. When I'm searching for substitutions online the answer is along the lines of "Sure! Just use that ____ instead!" but that's not exacty what I'm asking for. High cholesterol runs in my family and I very much would like to use a lighter cream when possible, but that isn't always possible. I don't always have it, and I'm not in a position to run out and get some, like just now when I had a pot on the stove and it's late at night.

So the question is, will the flavor be the same if I use, say, a 1:2 substitution for heavy to light cream. That is, can I use half as much and still get the same flavor?

This is a general question, but if you want a specific example, I was making a potato, kale and sausage soup.

Also, know that I make my soups more like stew, with very little in the way of "free" liquids.

  • 2
    If you are worried about fat content, why use cream at all? Just take a cup of your soup (without the sausage), puree it, and add it back to the soup. While cream adds a richness you can't replicate, I doubt you would miss it.
    – moscafj
    Dec 3, 2017 at 12:19

1 Answer 1


For soups like this also consider evaporated milk. It contains only about 8% milkfat, so it has significantly less fat even than half and half, which contains between 10% and 18% (cream of course has more). Evaporated milk also comes in a can, so its easy to keep handy. Texture-wise, because its so much thicker than regular milk, it makes an excellent replacement for cream. As far as taste goes, I think in soups and other strongly flavored dishes where the cream is present only to provide creaminess you won't notice a difference. In something more delicate or where the cream itself is a flavor component you may need to do a little experimenting, but generally I would say you could substitute it 1:1 for cream.

For your original question: "will the flavor be the same if I use, say, a 1:2 substitution for heavy to light cream. That is, can I use half as much and still get the same flavor?" I think it would depend on the quantity. Generally, the larger the quantity called for in the recipe, the less heavy cream you might need to achieve the same result. So, if the recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons, I would bet that you would want to use the full amount. However, in something that calls for a cup of light cream, you may be able to get away with 1/2-3/4 cup of heavy cream, depending on the dish and your taste.

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