Heavy cream, also known as heavy whipping cream, is a thick liquid dairy product with a high fat content, usually ranging from 36% to 40%. It is derived from the high-fat layer skimmed off the top of fresh, un-homogenized milk. Heavy cream is an essential ingredient in various cuisines worldwide, adding richness and indulgence to numerous dishes.
Used in both sweet and savory dishes, heavy cream is versatile and can be used for a dessert, or added to soups and sauces for a velvety texture, or combined with other ingredients in baking to create tender and moist pastries and cakes.
The most common usage of heavy cream is in baked goods, creams, soups, and sauces where it provides a rich and creamy texture. However, a common mistake is over-whipping it, which makes it grainy, or using it in high heat too suddenly, leading to the risk of curdling. To get the most out of heavy cream, use it at the appropriate temperature. If whipping, ensure your utensils are cold, which helps cream whip faster. Also, adding a tablespoon of powdered sugar while whipping can help stabilize it. Unconventional uses of heavy cream can also offer interesting results; try adding a dollop in mashed potatoes for extra richness, or using it to temper eggs before adding them to a hot mixture to avoid curdling.
Can I use heavy cream to make whipped cream?
Why did my heavy cream curdle in the soup?
Why didn't my heavy cream whip into stiff peaks?
Can I substitute milk for heavy cream in a recipe?
Can I freeze heavy cream?
What's the difference between heavy cream and whipping cream?
How to reduce heavy cream in a recipe?
Can I use sour cream instead of heavy cream?
How to make dairy-free heavy cream?
Do I have to heat up heavy cream before adding to coffee?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does heavy cream expire?
When unopened and refrigerated, heavy cream will typically last 7 to 10 days past the 'sell by' date printed on the packaging. After the cream is opened, aim to use it within 5 to 7 days for best quality and taste. Once whipped, homemade whipped cream should be used immediately but can last up to 24 to 48 hours in the fridge with some loss of volume and texture. If you've frozen heavy cream, use it within a month for optimal flavor and quality.
How do you tell if heavy cream is bad?
There are several signs to look out for when determining if heavy cream has gone bad. One of the most obvious is smell; heavy cream that is spoiled will often smell sour or off, similar to the smell of sour milk. Another sign is if the cream has become discolored or separated. Fresh heavy cream is a bright, clean white color. If it turns yellow or develops a clotted or chunky texture, it has likely gone bad. In this case, it's best to throw it out and start with a new container.
Tips for storing heavy cream to extend shelf life
• Keep your heavy cream refrigerated at all times.
• To extend the shelf life of heavy cream beyond the 'sell by' or 'use by' date, you can freeze it. However, bear in mind that freezing can change the texture and consistency of the cream, making it less suitable for whipping but still fine for cooking and baking. To freeze heavy cream, pour it into an airtight container, leaving some space at the top for expansion, and place it in the freezer.
• When defrosting frozen heavy cream, it's best to do this overnight in the fridge. This will help maintain the best possible texture and avoid separating.
• If you need to use heavy cream regularly but find it hard to use up a whole carton before it spoils, consider buying smaller amounts more often or switch to ultra-pasteurized cream, which has a longer shelf life.