At times, I have a batch of heavy cream lying in the refrigerator. I often wonder if it can be used in recipes such as macaroni and cheese. Since macaroni and cheese have cheese sauce as a base, let’s find out if the addition of heavy cream goes well with the sauce.
Heavy cream is full-fat milk with at least 36% fat content in the milk. It is remarkable in making any dish rich and decadent.
Heavy cream can be used instead of milk to make macaroni and cheese. It will make the dish super rich and decadent which works well if you are making macaroni cheese as a side dish. However, as the main meal substituting one part with whole milk or making it entirely with whole milk is recommended.
In this article, we shall understand if heavy cream can be added and also look into some of the substitutes that can be done for heavy cream.
What happens if you use heavy cream instead of milk?
Heavy cream is a good addition to macaroni and cheese as it will make your macaroni and cheese creamier. Macaroni and cheese are based on a cheese sauce with a creamy texture. Thus, heavy cream will give it the amount of creaminess required for the dish.
The only challenge while using only heavy cream in the dish will be the lack of moisture content, with the addition of pasta. As the sauce will be super thick and rich. Adding a little water to the dish will balance the moisture levels and the dish will not turn out dry.
Related Reading: Why Is My Mac And Cheese Dry? [And Here’s How To Fix It!]
However, some might find the dish to be really rich and heavy with the addition of heavy cream. It becomes too heavy to eat as a main dish. Although, it works well if you are using macaroni and cheese as a side dish.
If you find the addition of heavy cream in macaroni and cheese too rich. With a few tweaks can be done so as to get the desired flavor and texture:
- Skip adding milk altogether in the recipe. Only add heavy cream.
- Add 1 part heavy cream mixed with 1 part water.
- Substitute half the cream with half of the milk. The milk substituted can be full cream, low-fat, or skimmed milk.
Pro Tip: If you are only adding in the heavy cream then it is recommended to skip butter in the recipe.
Suggested Reading: What Cream to Use for Pasta? [With Table and Examples!]
Is evaporated milk or heavy cream better for mac and cheese?
Evaporated Milk as well as Heavy cream is a great addition to macaroni and cheese as they make the dish super rich and creamy. Evaporate milk is basically milk that is in concentrated form and does not have water. Thus, even a little amount goes a long way.
Related Reading: Do You Need Butter For Macaroni And Cheese? [Full Guide!]
Heavy cream also acts similarly, as a very little amount is needed. However, heavy cream is a better addition than evaporated milk as it results in a super smooth, rich, and creamy cheese sauce. Also, you can skip the addition of milk and butter while adding heavy cream.
Thus, heavy cream is a better addition than evaporated milk in macaroni and cheese.
Suggested Reading: Evaporated Milk In Macaroni And Cheese? [Here’s Why!]
Can I use heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream in mac n cheese?
Heavy Whipping Cream or commonly known as half and half is a great substitute for heavy cream in macaroni and cheese. Half and Half is made up of Half whole milk and half heavy cream.
Thus, it will maintain the moisture content in the dish, impart creaminess, and maintain the silky texture of the cream sauce. As, well as it will not become too dry with the addition of pasta.
Suggested Reading: Too Much Milk in Macaroni and Cheese? [Here’s How to Fix It!]
Since many of us have heavy cream at hand leftover from a baking project or from any other recipe. Kraft macaroni and cheese can be made with heavy cream instead of just milk. However, the dish will turn out to be extremely decadent, rich, and creamy.
To make it less rich, you can mix heavy cream with 1 part of milk, which is essentially half n half. Another option would be to substitute 1 part heavy cream with water. Evaporated milk mixed with water or Creme Fraiche is an alternative.
Can you use Buttermilk instead of Heavy Cream in Macaroni and cheese?
Buttermilk is a good substitute for milk, especially for people and children who cannot digest milk or are lactose intolerant. Buttermilk is thick enough to act as a base for macaroni and cheese. Although it will have a slight tang to it, it is a good enough substitute.
There are many who prefer the slight tang of buttermilk in macaroni and cheese. However, you will have to be careful while heating buttermilk. It has a tendency to separate. So, whisking constantly over low heat will enable the heat to spread evenly.
Suggested Reading: Why do Macroni and Cheese separate? [here’s What to Know!]
Best substitutes for Heavy cream in Macaroni and cheese
There are quite a few options that can be used to substitute heavy cream. Here is a list of a few options that can be easily substituted.
- Half n Half – It is one of the best substitutes for heavy cream in macaroni and cheese. As it is made of 1 part whole milk and 1 part heavy cream.
- Cream cheese
- Sour cream
- Cream Fraiche
- Mascarpone cheese
- Whole Milk
- Plant-based Milk
- Evaporate Milk
- Eggs with milk
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