This time of year, I find myself making more dishes with cream, whether they’re savory dishes or sweet baked goods. And often, I’m left with some cream still in the fridge. You might be finding yourself in the same situation, so I’m here to help you with what to do with leftover cream.
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Different kinds of dairy
Upon standing, unhomogenized milk naturally separates into two layers – a butterfat rich cream on top, and an almost fat free milk on the bottom. Nowadays, milk is commercially separated by centrifugal force.
- Whole milk contains 4% butterfat
- Half-and-half contains 12% fat, and is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream
- Light cream (also called table cream) has around 20% fat
Anything less than 30% fat won’t make good whipped cream because it isn’t stable enough to capture air bubbles, so be sure to use full-fat cream (whipping or heavy cream)
- Whipping cream (also called light whipping cream) contains 30 to 34% fat
- Heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) is the richest with 35 to 40% butterfat
Because of the high fat content in heavy cream, it keeps much longer than milk or half-and-half. In fact, sometimes cream can last up to a month if you place it in the coldest spot in the back of your refrigerator. Be sure to check the expiration date and give it the sniff test.
It may form small chunks of fat that must be shaken out before using. Wipe the rim of the container to make sure you’re smelling the cream, and just give it the old sniff test, and if it doesn’t make your nose curl, it’s still good.
If you want to use up that cream, there are some pretty cool and easy ways to do so. You’ll find details for each use below.
- Morning coffee creamer
- Use it in Breakfast
- Make Fresh Whipped Cream
- Make Butter
- Add a splash or two to soups
- Drizzle some cream in sauce
- Mashed potatoes
- Turn it into dessert
- Freeze it for later use
Morning Coffee creamer
Of course, you can add a splash to your morning coffee.
Try adding some of those flavored syrups to the cream to save yourself some money and the trip to the local coffee shop.
Use it in Breakfast
I love adding a splash of cream to eggs before I scramble them. It makes them soft and fluffy as well as yummy.
Or, make your oatmeal extra special with some cream, either cooked into the oatmeal or added on top after it’s cooked. Or, top your morning oats with some fresh whipped cream!
Top your pancakes, waffles, or French toast with some whipped cream for an indulgent treat.
Add some cream to your morning scones. Try making my blackberry scones.
Make Fresh Whipped Cream
Did you know that whipping cream will double in volume when whipped?
I love fresh whipped cream on pies and cakes, and it’s great on hot cocoa and coffee drinks. Use whipped cream to top fresh berries, or to add some pizazz to your morning oatmeal!
But, I don’t always want to pull out the hand mixer or the whipped cream charger.
That’s where this amazing new (to me) mason jar whipped cream comes in. It’s so quick and easy, in less than 5 minutes you can have delicious creamy soft, billowy whipped cream. And, it’s portable, so you can take the cream to your cousin’s house for Christmas, make the whipped cream, and not dirty any of their dishes.
Mason Jar Whipped Cream
- Mason jar
- 1 cup heavy cream or whipping cream cold
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Close the lid tightly and vigorously shake the jar for 60 to 90 seconds. Check the consistency of the cream, if it’s not as stiff as you’d like, shake again for another 20 to 30 seconds until it reaches your desired consistency. The sound will actually change while you’re shaking it too, so keep an ear out for that!
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
And, just to be clear, this cream may never have the exact consistency of the squirty stuff from the can that you bought at the grocery store. This is softer, creamier, and way tastier!
You can even make flavored whipped cream by adding a little cinnamon, pumpkin spice, cocoa powder, peppermint extract, or lemon extract to the cream.
If you took that mason jar whipped cream a little too far, you’d get butter. Or, you could set out to make fresh homemade butter in the same manner, but with salt instead of sugar added to the cream in the mason jar. Want some more detailed info on how to make your own butter? Check out my friend Savory Experiments.
Add a splash or two to soups
Does a soup recipe call for milk? Make it richer by adding cream instead. It doesn’t have to be all one for one substitution, just a splash will be tasty.
Or, add some cream to store bought soups to make them tastier. Tomato soup becomes creamy, potato chowder thickens, butternut squash soup … well, you get the idea.
Drizzle some cream in sauce
Many sauces and gravys benefit from a little drizzle of cream. Turn marinara into a creamy tomato sauce with a splash or two of cream. Or make a homemade Alfredo sauce. Try my Sausage and potato pot pies; they have a beautiful creamy sauce.
A little cream makes pasta dishes richer as well. My White bean and sausage soup with pasta is a great way to use up a splash of cream for a richer dinner.
Use your leftover cream instead of milk in mashed potatoes to make a silky-smooth rich side dish.
Turn it into dessert
Take some whipped cream and fold in some melted chocolate for a simple chocolate mousse. Or, fold some lemon curd into whipped cream for a fantastic lemon mousse.
Make an ice box cake with whipped cream. Check out my easy & super delicious Chocolate raspberry icebox cakes.
It’s fantastic in homemade caramels.
No churn ice cream is rich and thick with some cream. Try my coffee toffee ice cream.
Freeze it for later use
While some cream varieties do not freeze well, heavy cream freezes and thaws wonderfully.
You can freeze the cream right in the container it came in too. No need to dirty another container. If the container is full, pour out an inch or so of the cream to allow room for expansion. Then simply place the carton in the freezer.
To use the frozen cream, place the container back in the fridge to thaw. Once it’s no longer solid, give it a good shake to redistribute the butterfat. Previously frozen heavy cream will behave the same way as refrigerated cream. Some creams you may notice some separation of the fat, in this case, you might want to use them in soups and stews.
You can also freeze cream in ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, store all the cubes in a plastic ziptop bag in the freezer until ready to use. Then use the cubes to drop into soup, pan sauces, or iced coffee.
Or, you can make fun drink toppers with frozen whipped cream! Create little mounds of whipped cream, either by dolloping the whipped cream with a spoon or by swirling it from a whipped cream dispenser or pastry bag onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pop tray with the mounds into the freezer. Once the mounds are frozen solid, peel them off the parchment and store them in a ziptop bag. Next time you make a hot chocolate, drop one into your cup for the perfect finish. It melts into your hot chocolate or hot coffee helping to cool it off beautifully!
Frozen whipped cream is best used within a month, but will keep for up to three months. You may notice that it picks up off-flavors from the freezer over time.
How else do you like to use leftover cream? Or is there such a thing in your life?