Half and Half Substitute

Half and Half Substitute. Photo © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    2 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    2 min
  • Yield
    1 cup

Making a substitute for half and half is as simple as mixing two everyday ingredients together. Here's what you need to grab from the fridge to save yourself a trip to the store, and still keep your recipe on track.


  • Milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted


Replace one cup of half and half with one tablespoon of melted butter, plus enough milk to equal a cup. Need more or less than a cup? Just maintain the same ratio, and your recipe will turn out great.

Note: This substitute works well in baked goods, soups and other cooked dishes. It will not whip, and therefore should not be used in any recipe that calls for whipping half and half (ex: homemade ice cream).

How to Make Real Half and Half

If you have milk and cream in the fridge, you can make your own half and half by mixing the two together in equal parts. Commercially-produced half and half is between 10.5-18% milk fat, so just about any type of milk and cream that you have on hand will get you close to this percentage or past it. If you only have non-fat milk and light cream in the fridge, you'll come up a smidge short (that combo will give you 10% milk fat), but in most cases, that'll be close enough to get the job done.

Wondering if the heavy cream in your fridge is still good? Here's how to tell.

Save a Little Money

Half and half is a convenience item, and you'll pay a premium for it. Just keep milk and cream in the fridge, and mix up your own half and half as you need it. You'll have one less container taking up space in your fridge, and one less thing to worry about using up before it spoils.

If you only need half and half or heavy cream occasionally, just keep some heavy cream in the freezer, and pull it out as needed. It freezes beautifully. Here's how to freeze heavy cream. If you're using your half and half to make sauce or another dish that you'll be heating up on the stove, you can even add the frozen cream and milk directly to the pan.

It'll thaw as the dish cooks (creating your half and half), and save you the step of having to thaw the cream.

Another option is to keep powdered heavy cream in your pantry. It can be reconstituted to create heavy cream or half and half in whatever amount you need. You won't find it in your grocery store, since it's such a specialized item, but it's readily available online.

Buy Powdered Heavy Cream on Amazon