Cooks use heavy cream as a sweet whipped topping, in moist baked treats and for creamy, savory dishes. Don't miss out when you go dairy-free and have to forego the heavy cream. You have plenty of options for non-dairy substitutes.
Full fat coconut milk adds a rich, creamy texture very similar to that of heavy cream, although it will give your recipe a subtle coconut flavor. To make this simple and effective substitute, refrigerate a can of coconut milk, then add a bit of powdered sugar or other sweetener and vanilla to taste. Whisk or mix the coconut milk with an electric mixer until you achieve a heavy cream or whipped consistency. This substitute is also effective in baked goods and sauces for savory dishes, such as poultry and seafood.
For a non-dairy heavy cream alternative that packs a fraction of the fat, simply puree tofu to make soy cream. For a substitute that mimics the thickness of heavy cream, use firm, thick tofu. This alternative isn't as rich as the real thing, but it's easy to prepare and works well as a thickening agent in baked goods and sauces.
A mix of two parts rice milk and one part melted, dairy-free margarine serves as a heavy cream alternative that retains much of the dairy's rich flavor. Use soy milk or substitute vegetable oil for the margarine. This alternative cream only works in recipes that call for the cream in its liquid state; it is not suitable for whipping.
Some specialty stores offer pre-made dairy-free whips, which feature ingredients such as soy, coconut oil and organic beet syrup. If you find yourself searching for non-dairy ingredients that thicken and enhance the richness of your recipes, nut butters, cornmeal and oatmeal may do the trick, as can pureed avocados or even refried beans.