Both heavy cream and condensed milk are popular ingredients in all types of recipes. From pies to eggnog, to brownies, and pound cake.
If you are wondering what differences are between these two kitchen staple then read on for the complete story.
We will also let you know which one to use in your recipe and if they can be substituted for each other. Let’s get to it!
Heavy Cream or Condensed Milk Which to Use
When deciding whether to use cream or condensed milk in a recipe it’s important to understand the differences between the two and how they will effect your recipe.
Condensed milk is made by reducing a milk and sugar mixture. This creates a sweet and creamy product, in fact it is usually called sweetened condensed milk.
On the other hand, heavy cream is just that, a high fat dairy cream. There is no added sugar in heavy cream so they offer a very different flavor.
But, both can be used interchangeably. In fact, heavy cream and condensed milk can be used in baked dishes as well as mixed beverages. But some adjustments will need to be made when substituting one for the other.
When using sweetened condensed milk in a recipe that calls for heavy cream, you will need to reduce the other sugar in your recipe to account for the sweetness of condensed milk.
If you are going to use heavy cream in a recipe that calls for condensed milk then you will need to add some sugar or your results will lack in sweetness.
But what if you want to make a recipe that is less sweet? In this case substituting heavy cream for condensed milk without adding more sugar is exactly what you want to do.
As you can see, whether you use heavy cream or sweetened condensed milk depends on what you have on hand. Both can be used with minor recipe adjustments.
What is condensed milk?
Condensed milk is produced by combining milk with sugar. The mixture is then heated until about 60% of the moisture is removed.
This leaves a sweet and thick mixture that can be used in all types of baked goods. The sugar content of condensed milk produces a mixture that is quite sweet. Do not confuse condensed milk with evaporated milk. Evaporated milk does not contain added sugar and is not sweet.
Condensed milk has a long shelf life and can be stored in the can for many months. This is quite different than heavy cream, which must be refrigerated and has a much shorter shelf life.
What is heavy cream?
Heavy cream is the milkfat that is taken from milk. It is a thick and often referred to as heavy whipping cream.
It is often used to make whipped cream. It is chilled and then blended until stiff peaks form. It is also used in many baked goods recipes.
Heavy cream is a dairy product and must be refrigerated. It has a significantly shorter shelf life than canned condensed milk.
Related: Dairy Free Heavy Cream Substitutes
Heavy Cream and Condensed Milk FAQ
Can condensed milk be substituted for heavy cream?
Yes. Condensed milk can be substituted in recipes that call for heavy cream. You can use a 1:1 ratio when replacing heavy cream with condensed milk.
Because sweetened condensed milk has added sugar, you will need to reduce the other sugars in your recipe.
Can you use condensed milk instead of heavy cream in cheesecake?
Yes you can. Many cheesecake recipes use sweetened condensed milk instead of heavy cream.
When using condensed milk in a recipe made for heavy cream, you will likely need to reduce the amount of other sugars to account for the sweetness of condensed milk.