Sometimes working with cream can be challenging. Some recipes just require you to add the flour and stir, while others thicken things with it.
There are many ways to use high fat cream, from ice cream to sour cream, soups to sauces, and even to make homemade butter.
I find it extremely frustrating when the heavy cream does not thicken up as you need it to. However, heavy cream can sometimes disappoint you when it doesn’t thicken as expected.
However, if you are having trouble thickening your heavy cream, you can try some DIY methods.
What are the best ways to thicken heavy cream? Boiling heavy cream or storing it in a cold place are effective ways to thicken it. Also, gelatin, flour, and cornstarch can be added to thicken it.
We will consider five methods for thickening heavy cream in this guide. You can use some of our helpful tips to improve the consistency of heavy cream, as well as add some ingredients to thicken the cream without changing its taste.
With these simple methods, you’ll enjoy a cream thick enough for you within a matter of minutes instead of wanting to throw out the whole thing.
Get tips on thickening heavy cream and more from us.
What Is Heavy Cream?
Most grocery stores carry heavy cream in their dairy section.
Each of these creams has its own distinct taste and look and there are some similarities between them, but they are also each individual.
The recipe will probably call for heavy cream, but you may also be able to use a substitute for heavy cream that will thicken as well. Obviously, it depends on the recipe you’re using.
It is also known as whipping cream or heavy cream, and both terms are interchangeable.
It is removed from the milk (because it contains a high fat content) when it is made, since the fat floats to the top. This is heavy cream. It usually contains 36-40% fat.
It contains the most fat of all dairy products. Only about 30% of whipping cream comes close, so it’s still a lot less.
Cream thickens up or can be used to thicken things because of its fat content.
Heavy cream whips up well and tends to keep its shape well because of the fat content.
If you are looking for thick cream or whipping cream, this is the greatest choice. Aside from its long shelf life, heavy cream is also known for its ability to be frozen and used later.
Heavy cream has a variety of uses.
- Sour cream
- Whipped cream
- Ice cream
- Biscuits and scones
- Chowder or bisque
- Various soups
- Creamy sauce
- Potato recipes
- Irish cream
- Homemade butter or cheese
Heavy cream can also be used for many other things besides these, including fillings and casseroles, and more.
5 Best Ways to Thicken Heavy Cream Explained
As you now know, heavy cream can be used for a variety of purposes. We will discuss how to thicken it if, for whatever reason, it isn’t thickening.
There might be tips about thickening agents or best practices for handling instead.
Consider checking out some of our options even before thickening your cream because we have plenty.
Be aware of how thickening the heavy cream might affect your recipe before you start adding any thickening ingredients.
According to the recipe and other ingredients in it, you may choose some specific thickener to thicken your cream.
1. Keep It Cold
To keep your heavy cream cold is one of the best practices that you can follow.
To ensure that you are able to thicken the cream as needed, you need to chill the cream before you pull it out.
Warming causes the fat content in cream to change so that it does not thicken or stabilize like cold cream does.
Having worked your arm up and whipped and killed it, you are still disappointed in its results.
The cream needs to be cold if you want it to thicken and become fluffy.
If you want to store heavy cream in the fridge, don’t just let it sit out for long periods before using it. That’s one of the simplest steps you can take.
It thickens much more well when it’s cold. Heavy cream handling mistakes such as this are among the most common and a lot of people do not realize how important it is.
2. Boil It
Heavy cream can be boiled and then whipped into shape. If you decide to follow this process, you will need to be very careful because it is not as simple as just putting it on the stove and boiling it.
The danger of boiling heavy cream is that it can burn, as well as change its flavor a bit.
This method will help you get the thickening going and it will change the flavor only slightly.
It is unlikely that you will burn heavy cream if you pay close attention and monitor it closely, but you still have to be vigilant and cautious since it is very easy for it to burn.
This process can sometimes be tedious and time-consuming, as well as highly involved. A lot of monitoring is required during this process.
During the heating process, it is vital that you whisk the heavy cream constantly from the beginning until the end.
Constant whisking will prevent the cream from becoming burned as well as ensure the flavor remains undamaged.
The steps involved in this process are fairly simple, despite the fact that it is labor intensive and time-consuming.
Getting the right texture and thickness of the dish depends on how long it’s heated and how frequently it’s whisked.
For a curd-free cream, be sure to heat it slowly. If it boils, do not stop whisking. When it thickens, you will actually notice it.
While you whisk the cream, it thickens more the longer it remains at boiling, so just keep whisking until it reaches the thickness you want or until your arm is aching from it.
It’s possible that your flavors will change a little bit, but probably not much. Burned cream tastes bad, so you should avoid burning it.
3. Try Adding Gelatin
When thickening heavy cream, unflavored gelatin is commonly used.
This works quite well, and most people do not even consider it. Unflavored gelatin can usually be purchased in the baking section.
You can use this method if you want to thicken heavy cream as quickly as possible without altering its flavor. To get the best results, use gelatin that is unflavored.
Finding out how much gelatin you need is the most challenging part of the process.
Start with a small amount and add more as needed if it doesn’t thicken as you would like it to.
To ensure that you get consistent results and you don’t mess with your texture, refer to the instructions that come with most unflavored gelatins before adding them to heavy cream.
When you don’t follow instructions or add the right amount of gelatin to the cream, it can go bad very easily.
The cream may become thicker but only in specific areas instead of all over, causing an inconsistent change in texture.
In either of those scenarios, your heavy cream would be adversely affected and may have to be changed entirely.
Adding gelatin usually requires adding some water.
As a final note, mix the gelatin slowly into your heavy cream rather than all at once. By adding it as you go, it mixes better, resulting in smoother, more consistent results.
Consider Knox Unflavored Gelatin if you are looking for an unflavored gelatin.
One pound of this powder is packaged in an airtight package that can be stored. The substance is tasteless and odorless as well, so it is great for thickening.
4. Add Flour
The addition of flour is also a common method for thickening heavy cream. In case of an emergency, you probably have flour on hand in your pantry, so this can be an excellent solution!
Also, adding flour is a simple process that won’t alter the flavor of your dish. What you use depends on what works best for you. You can use all-purpose flour or another flour variation.
You can use any type of flour and you will get pretty similar results. You should get the same results with either heavy cream or sour cream so use whatever you have available.
To thicken and not mess up your texture, you will also need to mix flour and water together.
Water should be cold. First you will make a paste by mixing flour and water together and mixing it into heavy cream after that.
To make the sauce, mix flour with water and then pour in heavy cream.
Your flour and water should not clump up since you mixed them before hand. Slowly add it while you whisk so that a smooth texture is obtained.
The flour and water mixture should be added about 1 teaspoon at a time. If you need it to be thicker, you can add more as you go.
To achieve the desired thickness, you can add and then mix until you’ve reached the desired level.
Having the heavy cream simmer after mixing shouldn’t significantly affect the flavor, but some people prefer it to avoid the floury taste.
It is a great option to use King Arthur All-Purpose Flour for baking.
It’s reasonably priced as well, and it’s made with unbleached flour. All the ingredients are high quality and there are no preservatives in it.
5. Add Cornstarch
As a last option, you can add cornstarch to your heavy cream to thicken it. As with flour, cornstarch can be added in a similar manner.
While cornstarch could affect the flavor of heavy cream, it shouldn’t have a significant impact.
Mix your cornstarch with cold water first, then add 1 teaspoon of this paste to your heavy cream at a time, until your desired consistency is reached.
It is possible to simmer your heavy cream for a few minutes if your flavor is off.
This is a great cornstarch to keep in your pantry if you need one.
Pure, organic cornstarch is used here. Because of its pure and natural design, it is one of the highest quality corn starches available.
I hope you find this guide to thickening heavy cream helpful. Any of these options could be beneficial to you, so you can try them all.
Check out our questions and answers section for some extra details that might also be helpful for you.
Why Is My Heavy Cream Not Thickening?
Heavy cream is often not cold enough, which is one of the most common mistakes.
In most cases, you can thicken heavy cream without a thickener if you chill it and use it when it is cold.
Additionally, make sure you whisk the mixture enough and well, be patient, and always use heavy cream as well as the proper ingredients.
Is Heavy Cream The Same As Whipping Cream?
No, it isn’t. Although they have similar fat content, heavy cream contains 36-40% fat while whipping cream only contains about 30%.
The fat content helps heavy cream thicken better and retain its shape longer.
Will Heavy Cream Thicken When Heated?
It is possible to get your heavy cream to thicken by boiling it and whisking it continuously. Here are the steps you need to follow.