difference between light cream and heavy cream

Key Differences Between Light Cream And Heavy Cream

The debate over light cream vs heavy cream comes down to one component only, the fat content. The soft and liquid nature of the light cream already sets it apart from the semi solid heavy cream.

Light cream and heavy cream have unique uses in food, but they can be used interchangeably as well. Keep reading to know more!


What Is Heavy Cream?

heavy cream

The United States Food and Drug Administration described heavy cream as a cream with at least 36% fat. If you try to whip this cream, it doubles in volume!

Due to the high-fat content, heavy cream is guaranteed to stay the way you want. This particular characteristic makes it widely popular for the early preparation of desserts and to create sharp toppings over all sorts of food. Also know the difference between heavy and whipped cream.


What Is Light Cream?

light cream

Light Cream has a lower milk fat (18%-30%). It is an excellent addition to your coffee if you are looking for a rich cup.

The fat content of light cream is far from enough for whipping. It also cannot hold a shape like heavy cream. If you are having concerns about the amount of fat consumption, swap heavy cream with light cream without any hesitation.

The best use of light Cream is a rich texture on savory dishes, such as mashed potato, buffalo wings, fries, etc. If you are preparing a sauce and have light cream at your disposal, you can add it at the end of the cooking process.


Light Cream vs. Heavy Cream

light cream vs heavy cream

According to the Food and Drug Authority of the United States, light cream has 18% to 30% milkfat. You cannot whip light cream due to its low-fat content. It goes perfectly with coffee, and Canadians call it “Table cream” for this reason.

What makes the heavy cream earn its name is the 36% fat composition. The presence of unsaturated fat and saturated fat allows it to form and hold a shape for even hours. If you are looking to whip cream, pick heavy cream without any hesitation.

Heavy cream and light cream strictly differ in fat content and texture. There is no question about keeping its shape for light cream since it has no particular shape. The high-fat content makes heavy cream an ideal choice for whipping cream, and light cream is often used as a rich addition to savory dishes.


Differences Between Heavy Cream and Light Cream: A Table

Parameter Heavy Cream Light Cream
Fat content It has at least 35% milkfat or more It contains 18-30% Milkfat
Whipping Heavy cream is ideal for whipping cream for its high-fat content Light cream does not whip at all
Cooking method You can add heavy cream while preparing soups and sauces You have to add light cream at the end
Texture It has a thick texture and keeps its shape Its texture is light, and it cannot keep a particular shape


Key Takeaways

  1. Heavy cream has 35%-38% milkfat, and light cream only has 18% to 30%
  2. Light cream is popularly used with coffee and side dishes, and heavy cream is used to prepare thick soups, sauces, ice creams or frozen custard and desserts.
  3. Heavy cream is the best cream to whip, while light cream cannot whip at all.



The winner of the light cream vs heavy cream debate is up to your preference. Heavy cream is definitely the best option to use if you are looking to whip the cream or use it to prepare desserts. However, if you do not want to consume a high amount of fat, light cream will be an ideal alternative for you.

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