If you’ve been on the keto diet for a while, then you may have noticed that heavy cream is in a lot of keto foods. This is because it’s rich in dietary fat and very low in carbohydrates.
However, not everyone can digest dairy, which makes heavy cream off limits to some. Additionally, many brands of heavy cream are full of additives that are not healthy.
This article discusses the benefits of heavy cream on keto diet. We’ll also show you how to use it, the alternatives, and which brands are best to buy.
What is Heavy Cream?
Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream. It’s a dairy product that is made with cream, which is the top high-fat layer of milk that is skimmed off before it goes through the homogenization process.
Air cells are formed during the whipping process and become stabilized by fat globules when they meet at an air-water intersection. The globules attach themselves to air bubbles.
Once these molecules break, they form clumps of fat. As the whipping process continues, these air cells get smaller and begin to multiply. This causes more fat to clump together and results in a foamy cream that accumulates at the top of the milk (1).
Research shows that cream must be properly aged and cooled before it is whipped. Cream that is separated at temperatures of 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit and 150 degrees Fahrenheit whips better than creams separated at other temperatures.
Cream should also be aged for 24 hours before it is whipped. If it must be whipped before 24 hours, then cream should have a temperature as close to 0 degrees Celsius as possible (2).
Heavy cream should only contain organic grade A cream with very few (if any) other ingredients.
Some creams contain additives and emulsifiers to thicken the product and keep it “fresh.”
However, we recommend staying away from additives and buying heavy cream that comes from grass-fed cows only. It should not contain hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and GMOs.
Heavy cream should also be free from added sugars and artificial flavors.
A 100 ml serving of heavy cream contains the following (3):
- 333 calories
- 33.33 grams of fat
- 6.67 grams of carbs
- 0 grams of protein
- 33 mg of sodium
- 1333 IU of vitamin A
Heavy Cream Vs Heavy Whipping Cream (HWC)
Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream (HWC) refer to the same product. Both heavy whipping cream and heavy cream must contain 36% milkfat (4).
However, light whipping cream only contains 30% to 35% milk fat, which makes it a lighter product.
Because of this, heavy cream tends to have a thicker consistency and is used in many desserts while whipping cream is utilized in lower-calorie dishes.
A100 ml serving of whipping cream contains the following (5):
- 300 calories
- 30 grams of fat
- 6.67 gram of carbohydrates
- 0 grams of protein
- 667 IU vitamin A
- 133 mg calcium
Heavy Cream vs Half and Half
Half and half is made with equal parts of milk and cream. Because of its milk content, it contains more carbohydrates and sugar than heavy cream.
If you’re on a low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet, then we recommend staying away from half and half due to the higher sugar content.
A 100 ml serving of half and half contains the following (6):
- 133 calories
- 10 grams of fat
- 3.33 grams of carbs
- 3.33 grams of protein
- 50 mg sodium
- 167 mg calcium
Is Heavy Cream Keto-Friendly?
Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are keto-friendly as long as they contain only cream. Milk, sugar, preservatives and other additives are not keto-friendly ingredients.
Half and half is not recommended on the keto diet because it contains milk, which contributes to the sugar and carb content. For a list of keto friendly dairy products, check this guide!
Heavy cream should come from grass-fed cows that have not been treated with antibiotics or hormones. High-quality brands of heavy cream will list this information on their product.
The best heavy whipping cream should contain only organic non-GMO grade A cream. It should not contain antibiotics, synthetic hormones, toxic pesticides, GMOs, stabilizers, emulsifiers or preservatives.
Carrageenan is a popular additive found in many organic foods as a “natural” preservative because it is derived from seaweed. However, dietary carrageenan has also been linked to inflammation (7).
Research also shows that carrageenan has harmful effects on the gastrointestinal system in animal models. It has been shown to bring to the wall of the digestive tract and cause ulcerations and neoplasms (8).
For this reason, we recommend looking for a brand of heavy cream that does not contain carrageenan.
How Much Heavy Whipping Cream Can I Have On Keto?
Heavy whipping cream contains a very small amount of carbohydrates per serving. It’s also high in dietary fat. For this reason, heavy whipping cream makes a good addition to the keto diet.
However, heavy cream tends to be high in calories. It’s easy to consume more than you need. A one-half cup serving contains 400 calories.
We recommend using heavy cream in your low-carb meal plan in moderation. Add a small amount to your coffee in the morning or use a quarter-cup in your baked goods.
If you’re facing a weight loss stall, it might be a good idea to stop using heavy cream and dairy products for a few days or weeks to see if it could be the reason for your plateau.
Keto-Friendly Recipes Using Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is usually added to dishes to enhance the flavor and provide a creamy texture. Most people add it to desserts, soups, and coffee.
However, heavy cream can be added to main dishes, too. Here are some keto-friendly recipes using heavy cream that you can use.
This chocolate mason jar ice cream calls for one cup of heavy cream. You can also use coconut cream if you’re sensitive to dairy.
The heavy cream in this recipe makes the spinach extra creamy. It also brings together all the flavors in the casserole.
This keto collagen iced coffee calls for two tablespoons of heavy cream to enrich its thickness. You can also enjoy a hot version of this delicious coffee.
Most people only use heavy cream in dessert dishes. But it makes for an excellent marinade for chicken.
The combination of peanut butter and heavy cream in this recipe makes these balls extra decadent. It features MCT oil, almond flour, coconut flour and shredded coconut for an added helping of healthy fats.
Heavy cream and chicken broth are used as a base for this delicious soup. The healthy fats in the heavy cream also helps you absorb the nutrients from the spinach.
Heavy cream is combined with chocolate and coffee in this dedicant keto treat. Serve topped with whipping coconut cream for a nice finishing touch.
This recipe calls for ¼ cup heavy cream to turn this dish from dry and boring to creamy and delicious. You can use chicken instead of shrimp if desired.
This recipe features a creative way to use your avocado shell. It calls for one-half cup of heavy cream to help create the appearance of real ice cream.
Heavy cream works great in skillet dishes. It immediately adds to the taste and texture of any dish, even ones that contain meat!
What Is The Best Substitute for Heavy Cream?
Because heavy cream is dairy-based, many people with dairy sensitivities cannot consume it.
Coconut cream is made from mainly coconut milk and water. To have a thick consistency similar to heavy cream, sometimes a low-carb thickener such as guar gum is added.
You can buy canned coconut cream, which is a good option because it’s shelf-stable and lasts longer than refrigerated heavy cream. But be sure it does not contain added sugars or too many preservatives.
A two-tablespoon (30ml) serving of Native Forest organic coconut cream using non-GMO coconuts contains the following:
- 60 calories
- 6 grams of fat
- <1 gram of carbs
- 0 grams of protein
Other keto alternatives to heavy cream include sour cream, cream cheese, grass-fed butter, Greek yogurt, and olive oil. Keep in mind that using an alternative to heavy cream may change the flavor and texture of your recipe.
Top Heavy Cream Brands to Buy
When picking out heavy cream, you’ll want to look for a brand that comes from grass-fed cows who have never been given antibiotics, hormones, or harmful pesticides. You will also want to make sure your heavy cream does not contain added sugars or carrageenan.
Here is a list of keto-friendly heavy cream brands you can buy:
#1. Butterworks Farm
Butterworks Farm makes an organic heavy cream that comes from grass-fed cows. It contains pasteurized sweet jersey cream and nothing else.
The cream is flash-pasteurized, which means that the cream has been heated to high temperatures for a short amount of time to kill bad bacteria. This method helps ensure that much of the product’s nutrients remain intact.
Flash pasteurization also yields a sweeter, fresher tasting cream that doesn’t taste “cooked.”
Butterworks Farm is located in Vermont, which means that you may have to check and see if they ship to your area before ordering.
#2. Organic Valley
Organic Valley sells a brand of organic heavy cream that comes from grass-fed cows that have not been treated with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides or GMOs.
The product used to have a gum stabilizer in it, but it has recently been removed.
The only ingredient is organic grade A cream and nothing else. There are no preservatives, carrageenan or added sugars.
Organic Valley is sold all throughout the United States. You should be able to find this product in most health stores.
#3. Organic Pastures
Organic Pastures makes a raw cream from grass-fed cows that graze on organic, green pasture all year long. The cream is filtered, flash-chilled, tested and bottled. There is no heating involved, which allows the cream to retain it’s heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
The cream is 100% organic with no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, GMOs, or toxic pesticides. It also boasts an impressive 46% of raw butterfat.
This cream has a 16-day shelf life and is packaged with bottles made from non-toxic plastic that are BPA, BPS, and phthalates free. It comes in a 16 ounce and 64 ounce bottle.
Keep in mind that raw dairy may expose you to harmful bacteria.
#4. Kalona SuperNatural
Kalona SuperNatural organic whipping cream is made from pasture-grazed cows from small farms. It is non-homogenized, batch-pasteurized, grade A, USDA certified organic, and kosher certified.
A one-tablespoon serving contains 40 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbs and 0 grams of protein. The only ingredient is certified organic grade A cream.
Kalona uses a lower temperature pasteurization so that the milk tastes fresh. They also do not homogenize their whipping cream.
#5. Horizon Organic Heavy Cream
Horizon is a popular organic dairy brand that can be found in most grocery stores.
They make an organic heavy cream that is ultra-pasteurized and comes from cows that have not been treated with hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, or GMOs.
A one-tablespoon serving contains 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, <1 gram of carbs, and 1 gram of protein. Ingredients include organic grade A cream and gellan gum (stabilizer).
Heavy cream is a great keto food because it’s high in healthy fats and virtually free from carbs. You’ll want to make sure the heavy cream you buy comes from grass-fed cows and is free from antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and GMOs. Also, stay away from carrageenan and other preservatives that are meant to extend the shelf life.
If you’re sensitive to dairy, then try replacing heavy cream with coconut cream in your favorite recipes. You can also use sour cream, cream cheese, oil, and butter as alternatives. We’ve outlined some of the best heavy cream products you can buy. Use heavy cream or coconut cream to instantly enhance the flavor and texture of meat dishes, desserts, and coffee.