Heavy Cream vs. Whipping Cream


Heavy cream… whipping cream… I get stumped every time I stand in the dairy aisle wondering which is best to use for certain recipes and what the real difference is between the two. With the help of joyofbaking.com, I learned that heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same thing: cream that contains 36 percent or more milk fat. Whipping cream is a bit lighter, with only 30 percent milk fat.

Heavy cream will whip better and hold it’s shape longer than whipping cream. Therefore, it is recommended more for piping, pastry fillings, and toppings. Whipping cream will still whip well, but it is likely to lose it’s loft and become liquid again more quickly.

Test Kitchen TIP: Chill your cream, bowl, and beaters before making whipped cream for a faster and better end product.

Photo: Courtesy Rhett Sutphin on Flickr.


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  14. savita

    i cant seem to find heavy whipping cream only could get olywhip but wasnt happy with the texture

    July 1, 2014 at 4:18 am
  15. The Editing Police

    The word “it’s” is a contraction; it always means “it is”. The word “its” is a possessive pronoun, like “his,” “hers,” “ours,” or “yours” (none of which have an apostrophe). In this article, “it’s shape” and “it’s loft” should have been the possessive form, “its shape” and “its loft.” I love Cooking Light, but please fix these errors. I’m not the first to point this out.

    June 25, 2014 at 2:26 pm
  16. lighteater

    I always try to use ‘light’ or ‘ultra light’ whipping cream. it whips fine if you’re bowl and beaters have been in the freezer for at least 10-15 minutes. if it breaks down after sitting, you can almost always re-whip it. You can always add a dash of cream of tartar. it TASTES lighter and doesn’t leave that fat film in your mouth.

    May 19, 2014 at 8:28 am
  17. Kate

    HEAVY CREAM IS YUMMY! Heavy cream is yummy! HEAVY cream IS yummy!HeAy cReAm Is YuMmY!

    May 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm
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  19. Nan

    If you want your Whippe Cream to last several days, Google “Stabilized Whipping Cream”
    I have used this method and the cream holds its shape and dose not “leak”.

    April 1, 2014 at 8:34 pm
  20. J

    Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream in soup?

    January 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm
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  22. Linda

    I need to disagree with the statement that heavy cream and whipping cream, heavy or otherwise are the same thing. I have a recipe for “Ice Cream” pie that calls for heavy cream, regular cream cheese and sugar. When mixed with beaters the standard recipe will thicken to the consistency of medium, hard ice cream. When I used the “heavy” whipping cream found in most stores now the consistency was that of a thick gravy. It did not result in the same thickness. Haven’t been able to get a straight answer on why the two different varieties do not act similarly in my recipe. When whipping heavy cream it will eventually turn to butter, whipping cream will not.

    November 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm
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    November 27, 2013 at 8:37 am
  24. Sharon

    I inadvertantly boiled some whipping cream just a few seconds. I was flavoring it with ginger. Will it still whip after being chilled?

    October 21, 2013 at 11:08 am
  25. Beverly Ikerd

    I have just whipped heavy cream and wondering if I can freeze what is leftover?

    September 25, 2013 at 10:06 am
  26. LSW

    I’ve found “heavy cream” at Trader Joe’s.

    August 25, 2013 at 7:00 pm
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    I can’t find “heavy cream” in the stores

    August 8, 2013 at 9:06 pm
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    i have been in many stores and I can’t find “heavy cream”

    August 8, 2013 at 9:05 pm
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    I always go for the heavy whipping cream. AND always choose certified organic…;-)

    June 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm
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    May 20, 2013 at 1:05 am
  33. Food n’ Focus

    This is a great article! I never knew the difference.

    March 11, 2013 at 7:06 am
  34. brenda

    can i use whipping cream in soups

    February 27, 2013 at 10:16 am
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    November 25, 2012 at 4:14 pm
  41. kav

    If you’re making homemade butter, the 30% actually works better! And not super cold. Fill a jar less than 1/4 with cream, and shake. First it will turn into whipped cream, then a few minutes later, butter! Yum! The heavy cream seemed to get so thick in the whipped phase that it took forever to transform to butter.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:27 pm
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  43. StonesToBones

    Haha Mike Hunt, I was going to right, oh, I mean write the same thing……

    July 1, 2012 at 9:13 am
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    Looks really tasty. Or am I just hungry? I don’t know. :D

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    Mike Murphy. Rhett provided the photo, not the written content. Therefore…

    January 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm
  46. Donald

    Heavy cream will whip better and hold it’s shape longer than whipping cream

    January 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm
  47. mike murphy

    Rhett : it’s = it is; its = shows possession; Therefore . . . it’s likely to lose its loft…

    February 5, 2010 at 11:41 am
  48. Barefoot

    whipping cream has additives in it (emulsifiers, etc.) and most people can taste the difference, and if you put whipping cream into your coffee, you can see the difference (you will get a “oil like” sheen).
    If consumers in the know were less tolerant of whipping cream, it would not be on the shelf, tolerant consumers have brought us the 1.57 quart “half gallon” ice cream containers.

    October 11, 2009 at 10:04 am
  49. rhodeygirl

    thanks i’ve always wondered about the difference!

    February 22, 2009 at 12:08 pm

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