Heavy Cream vs. Thickened Cream

There is heavy cream, thickened cream, and whipping cream, but what is the difference between them all? The main difference between heavy cream and thickened cream is the % of fat content. Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream has the highest amount of milk fat, which is usually between 36- 40% and can go as high as 48% while thickened cream contains around 30-35% of fat but has additional ingredients such as gelatin or gum in the form of thickeners to help in maintaining the consistency of the cream.

Though virtually heavy cream and thickened both are the same but they are not. Types of cream depend entirely on the milk fat content and any addition to the cream will lower the % of the fat content.

Comparison Chart

 Basis Heavy Cream Thickened Cream
Definition Heavy cream is a term especially used in the US, to refer to a cream that contains more than 36% of fat Thickened cream is a term that is used in Australia to refer to a cream that contains around 30-35% fat but has additional thickeners added in it
Also Known As Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream that whips well and doubles in volume Thickened cream is also known as pouring cream as the cream is thin enough to be poured off
Shelf Life It has a long shelf life when kept in the fridge and it can even be frozen and used in recipes later on It has a short half-life
Additives It is naturally thick and has no additives added in it Thickened cream contains additives and thickening agents such as gelatin and vegetable gum to allow the cream to be whipped and also ensure that the cream does not separate or curdle
Melting It requires less time to melt and mix It requires more time to melt and mix
Price It is expensive It is cheaper than heavy cream

What is Heavy Cream?

“A cream that has a lot of butter and a smooth, satiny texture with the highest fat within its constituents as compared to the other dairy products.”

It is also called as heavy whipping cream (USA), pure cream (Aus), and full cream (Swiss).

Heavy cream is a staple ingredient in many cuisines from Italian American Fettuccine Alfredo to soup and broth. It is made from the high-fat part of fresh milk when it is left to stand a heavy cream rises to the top and can be scraped off.

It was originated in North America which is the thick part of the milk that rises to the top of the surface of the container in which the milk is kept due to its high-fat content and can easily be skimmed out of the box by churning milk in a centrifuge.

It is a cream that whips well and holds its shape which makes it easier for the cream for pastry fillings and used as piping for desserts like cookies and cakes. Heavy cream is a rich and creamy dairy product which enhances the richness and creaminess of dishes as it contains the 36 – 40% of milk fat that is responsible for creating a silky consistency in many recipes.

Even though it may not be the healthiest ingredient, heavy cream is an essential component of many recipes such as,

  • Panna cotta, a chilled dessert served in Italy when mixed with heavy cream and vanilla tastes wonderful.
  • From mashed potatoes to potato pancakes adding heavy cream to your dish will give it a rich and delicious flavor.
  • In biscuits and scones, heavy cream is added for a creamy and fresh flavor with an incredible texture.
  • In big bowls of ice cream top it with heavy cream for a divine after-dinner treat.
  • Give your wholesome breakfast a decent upgrade by adding a dash of heavy cream in your bowl of oats.

Heavy cream is gentler when you move a spoon through it, to make it harder keep it in the fridge for around 1 – 2 hour. When it is hard, start beating it, the more you agitate the harder it will be to move the spoon at this point you can add sugar to build the volume significantly more.

What is Thickened Cream?

“A cream with a fat content up to 30 – 35% that contains thickening agents to increase the consistency and stability is used for cooking, pouring over foods, and whipping”.

Thickened cream is also known as pouring cream that has at least 18% of milk within its constituents that becomes pasteurised and homogenised regularly. It is mostly used as a topping over cakes and pastries as it requires greater time to cook so it is mostly used in confectionery when the recipe calls for whipped cream or whipping.

Heavy cream and thickened cream looks very similar but they are not the same. Thickened cream is originated in Australia that contains gelatin, gum, and other thickening agents to make it easier for whipping and also prevent it from separating or curdling.

Thickened cream does not contain more quantity of milk within it and has a smoother surface that can be added in some dishes such as,

  • Thickened cream can be added in ganache, panna cotta, and pots de crème as a pillowy and scrumptious dessert topping.
  • From sauces and soups to casseroles and pasta, it can be added for a rich and creamy flavor.
  • A splash of cream can also be added to a mug of coffee to increase the richness.

Heavy cream is milder when you move a spoon through it and unlike heavy cream, when you begin to whip it, it will turn out to be smoother. The drawback of thickened cream is that it requires greater time to cook and mix but it is less expensive than heavy cream.

Key Differences between Heavy Cream and Thickened Cream

  1. Heavy cream is originated in North America that contains about 36 – 40% fat while thickened cream is originated in Australia with fat content up to 30 – 35%.
  2. As the name indicates, heavy cream has a significant percentage of milk around 30% within its constituents and has more nutrition and fats while thickened cream does not have much quantity of milk within its constituents and stays around 18%.
  3. Heavy cream has a smoother surface whereas, the thickened cream has a rough surface.
  4. The process of cooking heavy cream requires less time to complete since it melts and mixes faster while thickened cream takes a longer time to cook.
  5. Heavy cream is also famous as whipping cream while thickened cream is also known as pouring cream.
  6. Heavy cream is costly, and it is sold much more quickly while thickened cream is inexpensive and less used.

Comparison Video


Though both heavy cream and thickened cream looks the same but they are not! Heavy cream is a pure natural cream with the highest fat constituent while thickened cream is a cream that has additives and thickener agents in it with a less fat constituent.

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