Cream Types and Definitions



What is cream – Are you confused about the different types of cream available?

Cream is a dairy product that is composed of the higher-layer of yellowish fatty component that accumulates at the top surface of unhomogenized milk.  This is skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization.

The amount of butterfat contained in the cream will determine how well cream will whip and how stable it will be.  Higher fat creams tend to taste better, have a richer texture, and don’t curdle as easily when used in cooking.


Leftover Cream Tips:

If you have leftover cream that is close to the expiration date, just freeze it (making sure you leave at least 1/2 inch at the top of the container to leave room for expansion.  To thaw, refrigerate overnight.  It will probably separate, so shake it well to recombine it.

You can also whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.  Then spoon dollops onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze.  When the whipped cream dollops are frozen, pack them into an airtight container and freeze up to several weeks or until you need a dollop for dessert.  Just be sure to let them thaw for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving.


Different types of creams available:

TypeButterfat ContentUses
Half and Half12% fat (range 10.5-18%)In the United States, half and half is a mix of 1/2 whole milk and ½ cream, typically used as a cream in coffee. Half-and-half does not whip, but it can be used in place of whipping (heavy) cream in many recipes for less fat cooking.
Single Cream20%Cream with a low fat-content, which does not thicken when beaten. Used in both sweet and savory dishes. Also know as light cream.
Light Cream20% fat (range 18-30%)Pretty much the same as half and half. Also know as coffee cream or table cream. Will whip if it contains 30% butterfat but will not be very stable. Generally contains only 20% butterfat. Also know as single cream. Light cream is not available everywhere.
Whipping Cream30%Cream with enough butterfat in it to allow it to thicken when whipped. Does not whip as well as heavy cream but works well for toppings and fillings.

Almost all whipping cream is now ultra-pasteurized, a process of heating that considerably extends its shelf life by killing bacteria and enzymes.
Heavy Cream
Heavy Whipping Cream
36 to 38%This cream whips denser than whipping cream. Whips up well and holds its shape. Doubles in volume when whipped.

How to make Basic Whipped Cream.
Double cream 48%Double cream is the British term for heavy or whipping cream in the United States, but it is a little thicker than our whipping cream. It contains about 48% butterfat.

Double cream is so rich, in fact, that it is easy to over whip it and get it too thick.
Clotted Cream55 to 60%Also know as Devonshire or Devon Cream. It is a thick, rich, yellowish cream with a scalded or cooked flavor that is made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream sit on top. The milk is cooled and the layer of cream is skimmed off.

Traditionally served with tea and scones in England.

How to make a Mock or Faux Devonshire Cream
Creme fraicheIt is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream.

It is used as a dessert topping and in cooked sauces and soups, where it has the advantage of not curdling when boiled.

How to make a Mock or Faux Creme Fraiche.

Pasteurized and Ultra-pasteurized: Creams will generally be labeled pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized.

Pasteurized cream will provide a better flavor, will whip up fluffier, and will hold up longer.

As ultra-pasteurized whipping cream has been heated to above 280 degrees F. to extend its shelf life, it is more temperamental when it comes to whipping.Ultra-Pasteurized Heavy Cream “will not work” if peaks or frothing are required in your recipe.



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Comments and Reviews

5 Responses to “Cream Types and Definitions”

  1. Rachel

    Americans have been taught to be terrified of bacteria for purposes of greed by the Packaged Food & Pharmaceutical Industries
    Bacteria is as an integral part of our bodies as is blood cells, yeast, enzymes, microorganisms – we all have several pounds worth of bacteria in our gut & would die within minutes if we were devoid of this necessary life-sustaining force

    The body becomes weakened by man-made chemicals & unnatural, inbalanced, isolated food properties such as refined, hybridized endosperm wheat flour, sugar-cane isolates, hybridized corn syups, dairy products that have their natural enzymatic bacteria destroyed by pasteutization. These isolated compounds & dead foods no longer offer nutrition to the the human body
    Eating a diet of isolated compounds creates tremendous chemical inbalance & results in a weakened body that is using far too much of its energy to try & sustain a physio-chemical balance,
    which results in allergies, high blood pressure, arthritis, alimentary digestive problems, poor immune system

    By feeding our bodies the natural, whole food diet of living bacterias, yeasts, enzymes (vitamins + sunlight) they require, the human body can remain healthy
    By feeding the body dead food devoid of living compounds, the body starves, cannibalizes, weakens & becomes diseased
    Eating a diet rich in cultured, unpasteurized dairy products, fermented foods such as homemade kimchi & kombuca, unpasteurized (nonAmercan) beers & wines, living foods such as whole seeds & green herbs, unfrozen, uncanned, fresh-picked fruits & vegetables, even raw meats such as sushi & steak tartatre, vitamin-rich non-muscle proteins, will restore health
    Eating foods that have had the living bacteria killed by the heat of pasteurization or canning offers zero nutrition for the cells of our bodies
    The body’s cells require living enzymes to metabolize food – the body is unable to metabolize the chemical compounds in foods without the aid of enzymes, bacteria, yeast (another type of bacteria), microorganisms

    Thus, you must aid your body by feeding it living enzymes, bacteria, yeast & sunlight (an enzyme activator) as people on earth have always done for the past 200,000 years of humankind

    • Jacked Beanstalk

      The reason dairy is pasteurized in America has nothing to do with the industry “teaching” Americans to fear bacteria. It’s because people used to die from drinking raw milk.

      If the dairy cow has an infection or the raw milk is improperly stored then it is a deadly health risk. Europeans don’t deal with the same distances from farm to table as US did, and they have stronger cuisine traditions so their handling was always better.

      Fun fact: One of the reasons Americans can’t make good cheese is because it must be made with pasteurized milk.

      With modern animal husbandry and transportation/storage technology, raw milk could probably be permitted without being a severe health risk. But remember that every year people die in the US from eating produce that was improperly grown or handled. If raw milk were re-introduced, a small number of people would definitely die each year from drinking it. Is that an acceptable risk? Maybe, maybe not. Personally I wish we could get raw milk here in the US, but realistically it’s not going to happen.

  2. Janette Williams

    This above comment is foolish and ignorant to the point of being literally dangerous. There are bacteria, parasites, etc. that can make us very, very sick and even die – particularly children and seniors. This is the kind of stuff someone says because they are entitled and privileged, and have never experienced cholera, tuberculosis, e. coli, etc. It’s not magic, it’s not greed, it’s plain fact, and it has been demonstrated for over a century. Pasteurization and vaccination has saved countless lives. Ask anybody who has had to live with these diseases. Don’t be a dunce and fall for this hippy dippy woo woo just because this person knows some fancy words. I’ve been to countries where they don’t have these protections. The child mortality rate is so sad. If you love your family, do not ever give them raw dairy products. Do not trust that the milk is 100% safe and tested; you very well may never get anything, but if you don’t, think of the price you could pay. Don’t believe me? Go to your local library and look up tuberculosis, cholera, and e. coli outbreaks in the 1800s. You can’t blame those outbreaks on “a diet of isolated compounds” or “Packaged Food & Pharmaceutical Industries”.

    • Abo Fahad

      Well said Janette
      My uncle used to advocate for none pasteurize milk till he got sick (Brucellosis).


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