What Is Clotted Cream?

And how to quickly make clotted cream at home.

February 23, 2023

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Photo by: christinepemberton/Getty Images

christinepemberton/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

If you’ve ever had a traditional English afternoon tea, you’ve likely encountered clotted cream as a quintessential spread for scones. But what exactly is clotted cream? And how else can you use it? Here’s everything you need to know about clotted cream, plus a step-by-step guide on how to make it at home.

What Is Clotted Cream?

Clotted cream is a smooth, thick English spread or topping with a mild, slightly sweet flavor and butter-meets-whipped cream texture. Clotted cream is said to have originated in Devon and Cornwall, so, depending on where it’s made, it’s also known as Devonshire clotted cream, Devon clotted cream or Cornish clotted cream. Clotted cream is made by heating milk or cream in a shallow pan for several hours. Once the cream rises to the surface and starts to thicken, or clot, it’s skimmed from the top and served as a spread or dessert topping.

How to Use Clotted Cream

Across the United Kingdom, clotted cream is typically served with scones, especially as part of traditional afternoon tea. In Devonshire and Cornwall, clotted cream gives afternoon tea its namesake of cream tea, where it's served with scones, light sandwiches and miniature desserts. Depending on where you’re having cream tea, the clotted cream is either spread on the scone and then topped with jam (Devon), or jam is spread on the scone first then topped with clotted cream (Cornwall).

You can also use clotted cream as a topping as you would whipped cream. In the U.K., it’s common to serve a dollop of clotted cream with fresh strawberries or other summer berries.

You can use clotted cream in place of butter to accompany baked goods such as muffins and quick breads.

Additionally, In the U.K., it's used to make confections such as fudge, ice cream and truffles.

How to Make Clotted Cream

It can be hard to buy clotted cream in the U.S., but luckily, homemade clotted cream is easy to make. It's an elegant accompaniment to all kinds of quick breads, scones and muffins. It’s even easier when you follow Alton Brown’s no-cook recipe for Clotted Cream. All you need is two cups of pasteurized cream, time and patience.

1. Set Up a Strainer

Line a coffee filter basket with a filter and set it in a strainer mounted over a bowl.

2. Add the Cream

Pour the cream almost to the top of the filter. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

3. Scrape Down the Basket

After 2 hours, the whey will sink to the bottom and pass through the filter, leaving a ring of clotted cream. Scrape this down with a rubber spatula and repeat every couple of hours until the mass reaches the consistency of soft cream cheese.

How to Store Clotted Cream

Clotted cream, whether store-bought or homemade, is highly perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator. Clotted cream will last up to three days in the fridge, but homemade clotted cream can be frozen for up to a year.

Recipes for Clotted Cream

Bobby Flay’s shortcut clotted cream approximates its flavor and texture by whipping together mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Then, he riffs on the traditional English dessert pairing of strawberries and cream by piping the airy, buttery spread into peak summer berries.

Valerie Bertinelli leans on store bought clotted cream, then swirls it with caramel sauce to make a delectable topping for bacon-studded “scuffins” (a scone-muffin hybrid). This application for clotted cream defies convention, but it really comes together in a stellar sweet-savory combination.

To create an elevated accompaniment to chocolatey scones, Bobby Flay mixes jarred clotted cream with grated chocolate and orange zest. We think it’d make a fine yet unexpected accompaniment dolloped onto squares of fudgy brownies, too.

If you need proof that clotted cream is a superior spread for baked goods, look no further than Bobby Flay’s oat cake, served with a warm mixed berry compote and a sidecar of clotted cream.

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