Skip to Content

Is Heavy Cream Supposed to Be Chunky? Best Thing to Know

Is Heavy Cream Supposed to Be Chunky? Any cream that has more than 36% milk fat content is considered a heavy cream in a host of countries. However, the percentage of classifications between the different nations may slightly vary but will largely remain within the 36%-38% range.

Although sometimes heavy cream has been referred to as heavy whipping cream, many people confuse it with a whipping cream labeled with 30% to 34% of milk content.

Heavy cream can be purchased from a local grocery or made at home by mixing a third of melted butter with a two-thirds cup of whole milk. Heavy cream can be used in dozens of recipes.

Is Heavy Cream Supposed to Be Chunky?

Heavy cream is supposed to be chunky and should be thicker than half-and-half, fresh cream, or whipping cream. All these creams have a lower milk fat content. High-fat content in the cream is necessary to hold the shape after beating, as with heavy cream. Besides, high milk content will change the texture of the cream, thereby increasing its thickness. In simple terms, heavy cream has a double amount of butter for the same amount of whole milk used for half-and-half cream. Since half-and-half is thicker than whole milk, now consider heavy cream twice as thicker.

Is Heavy Cream Supposed to Be Chunky?
Is Heavy Cream Supposed to Be Chunky?

Why My Heavy Cream Could Get Chunky

When making my heavy cream, I know those things will make it chunky. Although it’s perfectly normal to have chunky heavy cream, it’s not something I like!

That’s because the chunks are butter bits that fail to dissolve in the whole milk. The outcome of chunky cream could result from several things that happened during the processing, including:

1. Too Much Whipping

One way I always get my heavy cream chunky is extended whipping. Doing the whipping too long separates buttermilk from the butter grains. Sometimes when the chunks are too much, the only option is to discard the cream and begin the process again.

Overwhipping cream can cause it to separate and become chunky.
Overwhipping cream can cause it to separate and become chunky.

2. Overheating

While heating the heavy cream may be good in specific ways I intend to use it, overheating is problematic. Too much heating, especially at high temperatures, will cause curdling, creating chunks in the cream.

Although the texture changes appearance of lumps is quite different from thickening, which is my intention with the heavy cream.

3. Inadequate Mixing

Heavy cream is a result of mixing whole milk with milk butter. Poorly combining the two components means the resulting cream will have traces of small butter bits that form the chunks.

As such, I’m always cautious to thoroughly stir my cream to ensure the butter bits are fully dissolved.

How To Avoid Chunks in My Heavy Cream

Now that I have already noted what will lead to chunks in heavy cream, it will be easy to understand the techniques to get rid of them. The approaches are several, depending on each of the causes.

However, they are all simple and will give excellent results. If you have a chunks problem with your heavy cream, I advise you to use them.

1. Melt the Butter Completely

I have found a nuisance during heavy cream making by adding whole milk to the butter before it’s fully melted. That forces one to stir for a long, and even then, chunks will appear. My advice is to patiently wait for the butter to fully liquefy.

Melt the butter completely before adding the milk to prevent chunks in your cream.
Melt the butter completely before adding the milk to prevent chunks in your cream.

2. Use Medium Temperatures During Heating

Too much heat will result in curdling, which is not great for heavy cream. High temperatures and extended heating periods are significant causes of chunks in the cream.

3. Stirring the Mixture Thoroughly

I have learned to stir to mix the molten butter with the whole milk thoroughly. If the two are not properly mixed, there are chances the butter will solidify once again, forming chunks in the cream.

So, my advice is to stir until you can’t trace butter spots in the mixture.

Use medium temperatures during heating to prevent curdling.
Use medium temperatures during heating to prevent curdling.

How Do I Make Homemade Heavy Cream?

If your dream is to make yourself a heavy cream free of chunks, then I’ll be honored to guide you. I have done it several times, and the outcome is never disappointing.

I hope you get to do it right if you’re doing it for the first time. If you have done it before, don’t feel shy reading the recipe, too, you could scoop one or two ideas on how to improve your heavy cream-making process.


  • Three-quarters of a cup or about 180 mL of whole milk
  • A third cup or approximately 75 grams of butter


  • Step 1: Put the butter in a skillet and heat it at a low temperature of 82 °F to 97 °F. Let the butter completely melt.
  • Step 2: Put the whole milk in a medium bowl. Let the butter cool a little bit, then pour the melted butter into the milk.
  • Step 3: Thoroughly stir to mix the two until you can’t see butter parches. You can do this using a handheld whisker or an electric mixture.
  • Step 4: Put the heavy cream where it won’t be disturbed and cover it for about a day.

Congratulations, you have successfully made your first homemade heavy cream. After 24 hours, it will be time to use the heavy cream for whatever purpose you have made.

How Can I Turn Half-and-Half Cream into Heavy Cream?

There are two ways in which I turn half-and-half cream into heavy cream without risking the emergence of chunks.

First, I can choose to double the butter amount used in the half-and-half cream, or secondly, I can reduce the amount of whole milk used by half. In these two cases, the rest of the process of making heavy cream must be followed.

Half-and-half can successfully be made into heavy cream by using the correct butter to milk ratios.
Half-and-half can successfully be made into heavy cream by using the correct butter to milk ratios.

Frequently Asked Questions About Is Heavy Cream Supposed to Be Chunky

Are Whipping Cream and Heavy Cream the Same?

They are not the same. Whipping cream contains about 30-34% of milk fat, while heavy cream contains between 36% and 38% of the fat content.

Should I Throw My Heavy Cream Away If It Is Chunky?

You don’t necessarily have to. The only time you can think of discarding it is if it has an awful odor; otherwise, there are steps you can undertake to remove the chunks.

How Long Can I Store My Heavy Cream After Opening It?

That depends, but on most occasions, not beyond one month. Beyond that, it may have gone bad.

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.