A while ago I attempted to make the Better than Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce from food.com. One of the ingredients it calls for is heavy cream and as I live in Canada where they don't sell heavy cream I decided to substitute it for equal amounts whipping cream. The other ingredients called for are sweet butter (I used unsalted butter), minced garlic cloves, white pepper, grated parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and pasta.

The finished sauce was way to sweet and we didn't finish our plates let alone keep the leftovers. The only sweet ingredient I can see is the heavy cream so I am guessing the problem lies with that ingredient so I ask... Did I substitute the right ingredient for the heavy cream? Should I have changed the portions? What do you recommend.

  • Are you looking for an answer that balances or eliminates the sweetness?
    – mfg
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 15:53
  • At the minimal balances the sweetness though elimination also works....
    – Kyra
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 16:12
  • 2
    Heavy cream == whipping cream; 35%+ cream (around 45% is when you get into double/clotted cream territory).
    – daniel
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 16:46
  • 1
    As daniel says, they most definitely sell heavy cream in Canada, it's just called whipping cream. Go by the fat content and ingredients, not the name.
    – Aaronut
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 16:55
  • I made it again and it tasted WAY better. I used half and half (10%) instead of whip cream and added more salt.
    – Kyra
    Commented Nov 9, 2010 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


Unless there was sugar in your cream, there's nothing particularly sweet about this combination. Did you salt the pasta water to roughly seawater saltiness? If not, did you adjust salt before serving? If your pasta water was under-salted, that would explain the sweetness, since the only significant source of salt otherwise was the parmesan.

Heavy cream is equivalent to 36-40% whipping cream.

In the event that your cream was pre-sweetened, there's not much you could do except add salt and hope the sugar doesn't overwhelm. It's a fairly common technique to add sugar to a salty dish to make it taste richer, or salt to a sweet dish for a similar purpose. But it wouldn't work very well if the cream was very sweet. Since I've never seen sweetened whipped cream except in aerosol dispensers, I can't say for sure.


Whipping cream is sold in versions that contain sugar and versions that don't contain sugar. Did you use a version that contains sugar? If so, try the version without.

  • 4
    Yes: in the US, "heavy cream" is completely equivalent to "whipping cream". In fact, some cartons say "heavy whipping cream". None of them contain any sugar.
    – Marti
    Commented Nov 2, 2010 at 15:36
  • Sweetened whipping cream is a product, both in the US and Canada. altadenadairy.com/products/…
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Aug 13, 2022 at 5:02

Hypothetically speaking, if you are stuck with the dairy ingredients you have and are looking for a way to harness the sweetness, but don't want to add food ingredients, you could add sage and basil to make it more savory but keep to the sweet notes. While the sage gives you a nice base, basil will take you past the sweetness with its floral notes.

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