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Can You Put Heavy Whipping Cream In Coffee? #1 Best Facts

Heavy whipping cream is used a lot in recipes, especially desserts. Due to its high-fat content, it is rich and decadent and gives food a creamy richness and pleasant mouthfeel that enhances the flavor experience of the particular food that we are consuming.

Fat makes everything taste better, as they say. But does it hold true for coffee? Milk and half-and-half are typically added to coffee to make it creamy and delicious, so we know that some amount of fat works to enhance the coffee flavor.

What happens though, if you put something that contains a little bit more fat, such as heavy whipping cream? Will it become extra flavorful and delicious?

Can you put heavy whipping cream in coffee?

Can You Put Heavy Whipping Cream In Coffee?

You can put heavy whipping cream in your cup of coffee. Heavy whipping cream adds richness, creaminess, and a hint of sweetness to a cup of bold, strong coffee. 

Can You Put Heavy Whipping Cream In Coffee?
Can You Put Heavy Whipping Cream In Coffee?

Why Put Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee?

Coffee purists may disagree but sometimes you just need to add something to coffee to enhance its taste and texture. Milk or half-and-half is typically used, but if you want something more indulgent, you may opt to add heavy cream to your cup of black coffee.

So why put heavy whipping cream in your coffee?

Let’s look at some reasons below.

1. Heavy Whipping Cream Adds Richness and Creaminess

Nothing elevates the flavor and texture of a drink or a dish better than adding a little dose of fat. Heavy cream, with a milk fat content of 36%, adds a creaminess to your coffee that cannot be achieved with regular milk or even half-and-half, and just a little bit of it goes a long way.

Heavy whipping cream adds richness and creaminess to black coffee.
Heavy whipping cream adds richness and creaminess to black coffee.

2. Heavy Whipping Cream Adds a Subtle Sweetness to Coffee

Heavy whipping cream adds a subtle sweetness to coffee, which may be enough sweetness for some people to make adding extra sugar unnecessary.

3. Heavy Whipping Cream Enhances the Flavor of Coffee

Heavy whipping cream boosts the taste of coffee while rounding out its flavor and texture. Especially for coffee that is too strong and bitter, the addition of heavy whipping cream balances it out.

A small amount of heavy whipping cream in bold coffee allows you to enjoy a cup of rich, strong coffee without the harsh or bitter aftertaste of plain black coffee.

Heavy whipping cream elevates the texture of coffee and gives it a creamy taste and texture that cannot be achieved with regular milk. Half-and-half may give it a somewhat creamy texture but using heavy whipping cream elevates it to another level.

What Is Heavy Whipping Cream?

Cream is the fatty layer, known as milk fat, that floats to the top of milk when it is not yet homogenized. When this fatty layer is skimmed off, it is what is known as cream.

There are many different types of cream, and therefore many uses. It is usually graded and labeled depending on its fat content, the standards of which may vary from country to country.

Heavy whipping cream is one of the fattiest creams we can get, at least here in the U.S. According to the FDA, it needs to contain at least 36% milk fat. The higher fat content makes it creamier and richer, and ideal for use in the most decadent of desserts, including ice cream.

Heavy cream is also ideal for whipping since it will hold up its shape better due to the higher fat content, something that cannot be done with regular milk, half-and-half, and lighter creams.

Cream is the fatty layer that rises to the top of unhomogenized milk and skimmed off.
Cream is the fatty layer that rises to the top of unhomogenized milk and then skimmed off.

Why Does Heavy Cream Make Coffee Taste Good?

To answer this question, we have to understand how fat works with food and our taste buds. We always hear people say that fat makes everything taste better. But why is that the case?

Two reasons are likely.

1. Fat Concentrates Flavors

Our tongues can detect 5 types of taste – sweet, salty, sour, bitter and savory or “umami”.  Fats in themselves typically do not contain a lot of these tastes and flavor compounds but on a molecular level, they bond with the food molecules and proteins in food that do carry these tastes and intensify and prolong these flavors in our mouth.

In short, fats are flavor carriers and flavor concentrators. Many proteins are fat-soluble so the addition of fat in a recipe can unlock and intensify those otherwise hidden flavors in food. 

Fats are flavor carriers which is why dishes taste good when they are added.
Fats are flavor carriers which is why dishes taste good when they are added.

2. Evolutionary Preference for Fat

Fat has a high energy density, meaning, it contains more energy and calories per gram. It makes us full for longer, which in turn gives the body a feeling of contentment and relaxation. This positive feeling associated with the consumption of fat is probably why we have this innate predisposition to prefer fatty foods.

Aside from this, this preference probably also evolved from the days of our cavemen ancestors. Back then, food was scarce, so every time they got a chance to enjoy calorically dense, high-fat food, their chances of survival increased.

The food could keep them going for days. This then perhaps led to the preference for higher fat food over foods with lower energy density or caloric concentration, because of the need to survive.

Whichever the case, it seems that we humans have tastebuds that are predisposed to prefer food with some fat in them.

To apply these two reasons to our topic at hand, heavy cream makes coffee taste better because its fat content intensifies the flavor of the coffee and gives it a pleasurable mouthfeel that is deeply ingrained and linked to our evolutionary preferences.

Is Heavy Whipping Cream the Same as Heavy Cream?

Heavy whipping cream is the same as heavy cream, with a fat content of at least 36%. The term “whipping cream” though, may also pertain to light whipping cream, which has a fat content of 30-35%, less than heavy whipping cream.

Light whipping cream is different from heavy whipping cream, but it may be a suitable substitute depending on the recipe. It is not as stable when whipped due to the lower fat content, however, if you are looking for something lighter than heavy cream, but richer than milk or half-and-half, light whipping cream is the way to go.

Is Heavy Whipping Cream the Same as Half-and-Half?

Heavy whipping cream is not the same as half-and-half. Half-and-half is a mixture of half whole milk and half heavy cream with a fat content ranging from 10.5 to 18%. 

It has lower fat content than heavy whipping cream which has at least 36%, as it is “diluted” with milk. It is most commonly used in coffee but can be used for other things as well, such as pies and custards.

Can Heavy Whipping Cream Be Substituted for Milk In Recipes?

Heavy cream is essentially the fat skimmed off from milk, so they are technically the same product. This means that they can successfully be substituted for each other, with some minor tweaks.

Heavy cream has a thicker consistency than milk, so in recipes calling for milk, it needs to be diluted before it can be used as a substitute.

In general, for every cup of whole milk required, you may use ½ cup of heavy cream mixed with ½ cup of water.

If you need to substitute the other way around, meaning you need heavy cream but you only have milk, you may mix ¾ cup of milk with ¼ cup of butter to replace one cup of heavy cream.

Is Heavy Whipping Cream Healthy?

Heavy whipping cream contains at least 36% fat and is high in calories and saturated fat. While we need some amount of fat in our diet and heavy whipping cream contains some fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K, it is best to not go overboard with our consumption of heavy whipping cream.

A diet high in saturated fat increases the risk for high cholesterol and other health conditions. Consuming high-fat food in reasonable amounts, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, ensures that we are able to enjoy this delicious treat without putting ourselves at risk of developing serious health conditions.

Is It Better to Whip Heavy Cream First Before Adding to Coffee?

Whether you decide to whip your heavy cream first before adding it to your coffee or using it as is, it will still give your coffee more creaminess and richness than using regular milk.

Whipping the heavy cream though, allows you to incorporate more air into the cream, resulting in something lighter and fluffier. Depending on the type of coffee you are preparing, it may work better for you to use whipped cream rather than unwhipped heavy cream. 

For example, a hot café mocha would be delicious topped with light, fluffy whipped cream. Cold brew coffee’s flavor and texture is elevated when you add a dollop of whipped cream on top. The light texture of whipped cream gives it just the right level of creaminess without making it too rich and heavy.

Just keep in mind though, that whipped cream will lose its form and texture very easily, especially with hot drinks, so it is important to add the whipped cream to your drink at the very last moment.

You can also opt to add your heavy cream as is and pour it onto your coffee similar to how you would use milk or half-and-half. This gives your coffee next-level creaminess with a hint of sweetness.

Heavy cream may be whipped first before adding to coffee.
Heavy cream may be whipped first before adding to coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions to Can You Put Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee?

Is Adding Heavy Cream to Coffee Keto-Friendly?

Heavy whipping cream contains only about 1.75 grams of carbohydrates per ¼ cup, which means it can safely be used to enhance the flavor of black coffee on a ketogenic, low carbohydrate diet. It also adds a subtle sweetness to black coffee without having to add sweeteners.

Can You Use Heavy Whipping Cream Instead of Heavy Cream?

Heavy whipping cream is essentially the same as heavy cream, so they can be used in place of each other in recipes. If you are unsure, check the ingredients list to make sure you have the right cream for your recipe. Heavy whipping cream or heavy cream should contain at least 36% fat.

 Can You Use Heavy Whipping Cream Instead of Milk?

Heavy whipping cream is thicker and more viscous than milk but it can be used as a substitute for milk in recipes, provided it is diluted first. For every cup of milk, you may use ½ cup of heavy cream mixed with ½ cup of water.

Conclusion to Can You Put Heavy Whipping Cream in Coffee?

Heavy whipping can be a nice addition to coffee, especially bold, strong coffee if you want to round out its taste and give it a creamier, richer texture.

It enhances the flavor of strong coffee and gives it a creamy texture and pleasant mouthfeel. It also gives coffee a little hint of sweetness which lessens the amount of sweetener you have to add.

However, because it can be a bit indulgent due to its high fat and therefore high caloric content, adding heavy whipping cream to coffee should be done in moderation, ideally in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and diet.

Author Bio

Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)

Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.