What Cream to Use for Pasta? [With Table and Examples!]

There is nothing more comforting than a mouth-watering creamy Pasta Sauce with your favorite Pasta in it.  Various creams like Dairy Creams, Non-Dairy Creams, and Vegan Milk Creams can be used to make Pasta. However, which is the right cream to use for making pasta?

Pasta Dishes are made with Half and Half or Fresh Cream as they do not have a very high-fat content and give a perfect balance of flavor and creaminess. Cream-based Pasta Sauces such as Alfredo, Parmesan, Creamy Truffle, Vodka Sauce, and a few wine-based sauces need heavy cream to impart creaminess.

Fat carries the flavor well and fills your mouth with the flavors of the sauce. It imparts deliciousness to the recipe. Adding Cream also mellows the acidity in the Tomato-based Pasta sauce. There are many options to choose from to make this heavenly delight.   

Creams to Use in Pasta Sauce

Here’s an overview of the different creams used for Pasta Sauce

Sr.No. Type of Pasta Sauce Most Common Cream Used
1. Bechamel Sauce Fresh Cream 
2. Arrabiata Sauce No Cream is used 
3. Tomato Cream Sauce Fresh Cream or Heavy Cream 
4.  Marinara Sauce No Cream is used
5. Alfredo Sauce Heavy cream 
6. Parmesan Sauce Heavy green 
7. Bolognese Sauce No Cream is used 
8. Creamy Carbonara Sauce Half and Half or Fresh Cream  
9. Truffle Cream Sauce Heavy Cream 
10.  Funghi e Piselli Fresh Cream  
11. Vodka Sauce Heavy Cream 
12.  Pesto Sauce No Cream is used 

Let’s dive into the details of various creams used in Pasta dishes.

Can Single Cream be used for Pasta? 

Single Cream is a richer version of Milk with a fat content of about 12 to 18% with a runny texture. It is used on a variety of dishes as a topping. It can be added to your coffee or a warm bowl of soup However, it cant be used in cooking as it curdles easily on heating and thus cannot be used in your Pasta dish. 

Can Heavy Cream be used for Pasta? 

Heavy Cream is also called Country Style Cream. It has a pretty high-fat content amongst the creams used for cooking. It can also be whipped but one easily runs the risk of over whipping and the cream falls flat.

This is one of the reasons why it is preferred to use in cooking where it has a better certainty of giving a thick creamy texture to your dish.  

Heavy Cream is one of the best options available to put in your creamy pasta dishes such as Alfredo Pasta Sauce, Tomato Cream Sauce, Parmesan Sauce, Vodka Sauce, and Truffle Cream Sauce. Since it is really thick even a little bit can be used to make a thick sauce. 

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It can also be used in combination with any other cream or with milk to adjust the consistency of the sauce required for your Pasta Dish.  

Heavy Creams are also used in wine-based Pasta such as Marsala Wine Pasta sauce ( which uses Marsala Wine to add to the creamy base of the dish) or White Wine Cream Sauce. 

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Can Whipping Cream be used for Pasta? 

The process of making Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream is the same that is by separating the cream from milk. They only differ in their fat content in that Heavy Cream has over 36% of fat whereas Whipping Cream has a little lesser fat content of about 30-36%.  

Whipping cream can be added to your sauces however it takes l little longer to cook than Heavy Cream. Thus, if using Whipping Cream cook for a little longer time than what the recipe calls for. Whipping Cream, however, is better for toppings on desserts for its light, creamy texture obtained after whipping. 

Image by lim_bau from Pixabay

Can Sour Cream be used to Cream a Pasta Dish? 

The lesser fat content of about 20% in Sour Cream makes it versatile for cooking. While Crème Fraiche can be boiled, Sour Cream will curdle if heated too high or quickly.  

Thus, one has to be careful while adding it. The generally recommended way is to bring the pan off the heat and add it to the Sour Cream. 

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Can Crème Fraiche be used for Cream Pasta? 

Crème Fraiche can be used to cream Pasta if heavy cream or any other cream isn’t available. It’s richer than cream so one has to be careful so as not to overdo it. It can be diluted with water, vegetable stock, or chicken stock. 

Can Cream Cheese be used for Cream Pasta? 

Cream cheese can be used for Cream Pasta. It gives a wonderful balance of creaminess and texture. Cream cheese isn’t essentially cream but soft usually mild-tasting fresh cheese made from milk and cream. 

Can Half and Half Cream be used for Pasta? 

Half and Half as the name suggests consists of one part Light Cream and one part Whole Milk. Generally, it has 12% fat content and can withstand cooking temperatures thus can be used for your Pasta Sauce

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It adds the perfect amount of creaminess. It is a good addition if you want a light creamy Pasta that isn’t too high in calories. Although you must avoid fat-free Half and Half.  

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Can Table Cream be used for Pasta? 

Table Cream is also commonly called “Coffee Cream”. It consists of about 18% fat content.  

It can be used for your Pasta dishes if you do not have any other creamers and are too lazy to run to the supermarket to get any. Table cream must always be heated on a low flame, always simmer, and must never be brought to a boil. Simmer the cream for not more than 3 minutes.  

However, recipes calling for thick creamy Pasta Sauce such as Alfredo Sauce will not do well with a Table cream as a base.  

Image by KANGHEE HAN from Pixabay

Can Milk be used to Cream Pasta? 

Different types of cheese and dairy impart a creamy texture to the Pasta whereas the butter or the oil gives it richness.  

Yes, milk can be used instead of cream to get the creaminess in the dish. You can use a variety of Milk for Pasta such as Whole Milk, Evaporated Milk, and Full Cream Milk if you do not have any Cream. 

Skimmed Milk can be used however it has to be combined with cream or cheese to get the desired texture. 

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Can Goat Milk or Goat Milk Cream be used in Pasta? 

Goat Milk can be used in your favorite Pasta recipe. Especially those people who do not like to use cow milk can use Goat Milk. Goat milk has similar tastes to regular cow’s milk.  

People who try Goat Milk for the first time are generally shocked to discover that it’s creamy, sweet, and mild – virtually indistinguishable from the best whole Cow Milk that they’ve tasted. 

Goat Milk can also be added with Goat Cheese for upping the creaminess of the dish. 

Can Plant-Based Milk be used to Cream Pasta? 

Using plant-based milk as a replacement for cream in Pasta is quite common. Plant-based milk is being used over the world to substitute Milk in Pasta.  

People who opt for a vegan lifestyle or cannot tolerate dairy can enjoy Creamy Pasta by using Plant-based Milk. Many parts of the world such as the South East Asian countries or Japan rely heavily on Plant Based Milk such as Coconut Milk or Soy Milk. 

Image by eladoadam from Pixabay

What is the various Plant-Based Milk that can be used to Cream Pasta? 

  1. Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream  
  2. Soy Milk or Soy Cream 
  3. Almond Milk or Almond Cream 
  4. Oat Milk 
  5. Cashew Milk 

Can Silken Tofu be used to Cream Pasta? 

Silken tofu can be used to cream Pasta. Silken tofu can replicate that super smooth, decadent experience. Pureed silken tofu can replace heavy cream or any other high-fat content cream to impart the creaminess. 

Can Vegetables be used to Impart Creaminess to the Pasta? 

People who are allergic to one or more “Allergic Food Groups” can absolutely enjoy creamy portions of pasta by adding vegetables such as Cauliflower and Avacado as the base of the Pasta Dish. 

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Can You Mix Two or More Creams for Pasta?

You can use a mix of two or more creams in your recipe. However, a blend of more than two creams isn’t ideal. Also, you need to be careful so as not to mix two conflicting creams together such as sour cream and cream as you run the risk of curdling it.

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