Tips and tricks

What Type of Cream Should I Use?

We break down the types of cream available in Canada, and explain which type to use in recipes.

How to use cream in recipes

Uh oh. Your recipe calls for heavy cream and you’re not sure—is that the same as whipping cream? Cream is generally categorized based on the percentage of milk fat (MF) it contains, but every country has different standards for the term “cream”. You’re likely to find  several different types of cream at your local grocery store, and may come across some different terms for cream in your favourite recipes.

This article will help you sort through all of the terminology that’s used for cream, so you know which type of cream to use in your next recipe.

Varieties of cream available in British Columbia 

These types of cream are commonly available in BC:

  • Light cream  – contains 5-6% milk fat and is typically used as a lighter version of either half-and-half or coffee cream
  • Half-and-half, or cereal cream – contains 10% milk fat
  • Coffee cream, or table cream –  contains 18% milk fat
  • Whipping cream – contains anywhere from 33-36% milk fat, and is used for making whipped cream. It can also be used in recipes that call for heavy cream. Not sure how to whip cream? Check-out our tips for making the best whipped cream.
  • Heavy cream  – contains at least 36% milk fat. It is available in BC, but may be harder to find than 33% whipping cream.

More terms for cream

Double cream – you will see this term used in recipes from the UK. This is cream with 48% milk fat, which is not available in BC. Use whipping cream instead.

Single cream – another term used in the UK. Single cream is equivalent to our 18% cream.

Light cream – this term can be especially confusing. In the US and Australia it means 18% cream. In Canada, light cream refers to a product with 5-6% milk fat. You can make your own light cream by blending milk with half-and-half.

Country cream – is a product found in Québec, which contains 15% milk fat. If you are using a recipe that calls for country cream, you may substitute 18% cream.

Crème fraîche –  this is a thick, rich, lightly soured cream with 30-40% milk fat. Unlike sour cream, creme fraiche can be whipped, like whipping cream. While this isn’t always easy to find at the grocery store, you can readily make this product at home.

Clotted cream –  Clotted cream is a thick, spreadable cream, the consistency of butter, with at least 55% MF. Clotted cream is traditionally served as a spread on scones, along with fruit preserves. The cream is made by slowly heating and cooling a very thick cream. The heating imparts a nutty, sweet flavour. You can make your own clotted cream at home.

Devonshire cream – Devonshire Cream is clotted cream made in the Devon region of England. Specialty stores and some supermarkets in BC sell Devonshire cream.

More about cream

  • Want to make sure the cream you are buying is Canadian? Learn how to find Canadian dairy products.
  • Want to learn more about other dairy terms? Check out the Dairy Dictionary.
  • Out of a dairy product when cooking and baking? Learn about dairy substitutions with this handy chart.
  • Have some cream on hand? Check out some of our delicious recipes that call for cream.

Recipes using cream

About BC Dairy

BC Dairy is a not-for-profit organization representing BC’s dairy farmers.