How to make a quick and easy half and half substitute with what you have in your fridge.
Half and half is a common enough ingredient in recipes but not something everyone keeps stocked all the time. If you come across a recipe that calls for it, but don’t have any in your fridge, not a problem.
There are a few half and half substitutions you can use in a pinch.
What is Half and Half?
Half and half is a light cream sold in the US with a milk fat content of 10.5–18%. For comparison, whole milk has 3.5% milk fat while whipping cream has a 30–36% milk fat content and heavy (whipping) cream has 36%+ milk fat.
It’s typically used in recipes where you want to add some creaminess without the heaviness and calories of heavy cream.
See Also: What to Do With Leftover Half and Half
How to Make Half and Half Substitutes
There are a few different ways to make half and half at home, but here are three of the most practical and common solutions.
The Easy Substitute
1/2 cup heavy cream* + 1/2 cup milk (any percent)
The easiest way to substitute for half and half is just to mix equal parts milk and cream. It will have a slightly higher fat content than true half and half (15-19.75%) so will yield somewhat richer results, but sometimes that’s just extra delicious.
Best for: Coffee and baking and cooking recipes where you don’t mind extra richness and you’re not worried about exactly accurate fat content and nutritional information.
*I’m using whipping cream and heavy whipping cream interchangeably here. While there is a small difference in milk fat (between about 1% to 6%), either will work just fine to make a half and half replacement.
The Accurate Substitute
3/4 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup heavy cream OR
2/3 cup nonfat milk + 1/3 cup heavy cream
This gives you a half and half substitute in the 10-11.5% range, making it a near-perfect replacement for actual half and half.
Best for: Coffee and recipes where you want that true creamy-but-not-to-rich half and half experience.
The No-cream Substitute
2 tablespoons melted butter + 1 scant cup of milk (preferably whole)
To make a half and half substitute without heavy cream, combine butter (salted or unsalted is fine) and scant 1 cup of milk. Add melted butter to a 1-cup measuring cup and fill it the rest of the way with milk. If using whole milk, this will put you at about 13% milk fat. It won’t taste quite like half and half but will yield richer and creamier results than just milk.
Best for: Pastas and cooking dishes where half and half is not the main ingredient. Should work fine in most baking recipes.
Recipes Using Half and Half
- Chicken and Broccoli Orzo
- Quick and Easy Fettuccine Alfredo for One
- Easy Chicken in Cream Sauce for Two
- Easy Creamy Chicken Pasta With Bell Peppers
Half and Half Substitute
Easy Half & Half Substitute
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk any percentage
Most Accurate Half & Half Substitute (With Whole Milk)
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
Most Accurate Half & Half Substitute (With Non-fat Milk)
- 2/3 cup non-fat milk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
Half & Half Substitute Without Heavy Cream
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 scant cup milk any percentage
- Combine ingredients and use as you would half and half from a carton.
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