Heavy Whipping Cream vs. Heavy Cream: Is There a Difference?

The answer might surprise you.

March 29, 2022

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Close up view of whipped cream on whisk with cream in background.


Close up view of whipped cream on whisk with cream in background.

Photo by: MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC/Getty Images

MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

You can’t make whipped cream without heavy cream. Or cream-based dishes like fettucine alfredo. And ice cream wouldn’t be ice cream without, you guessed it, heavy cream. But what about products labelled heavy whipping cream? Is there a difference? Can heavy whipping cream and heavy cream be used interchangeably? Read on for the answers—you might be surprised!

Is Heavy Cream the Same as Heavy Whipping Cream?

Yes, heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are the exact same thing. The confusion lies in the fact that they’re sold by different brands under two different names. According to the US Food and Drug Administration’s labelling standards, heavy cream must contain at least 36 percent milk fat. It is pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized and can be homogenized. The same holds true for products labelled heavy whipping cream. For a very detailed guide on heavy cream, what it is, and all its substitutes, head over to our story What Is Heavy Cream? And What Is a Heavy Cream Substitute?.

As for whipping cream (also called light whipping cream), that has a lower milk fat content, between 30 percent and 36 percent.

Putting a whipped cream on the cake


Putting a whipped cream on the cake

Photo by: Kinga Krzeminska/Getty Images

Kinga Krzeminska/Getty Images

Can I Use Heavy Whipping Cream and Heavy Cream Interchangeably?

Yes! Since they are the same product, you can use heavy whipping cream and heavy cream interchangeably. Both are a versatile, all-purpose product for adding thick, creamy elements to sauces to soups to desserts, so it’s worth keeping one on hand in your fridge. You can still use light whipping cream to make whipped cream, but because it has a slightly lower fat content, it tends to produce a more pillowy consistency and won’t hold its shape for as long.

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