What are the Different Types of Creams?

The cream is probably one of nature’s most delicious treats in life. You can pour it over a bowl of fresh fruits, add it to a sauce, or use it as a dip. It is a yellowish fatty component of un-homogenized milk that tends to form at the surface. When creams contain higher fat content, they usually taste better, have a richer texture, and don’t curdle easily, especially when used in cooking.

When you visit the supermarket or search online, you will find many different kinds of creams. It is important to understand their differences to be able to select the right cream for your needs. When it comes to manufacturing creams, each country has its own standards. With this, the term “cream” may mean different products. 

The name of a product differs depending on the milk fat content. For example, in the United States, for a dairy product to be called cream, it should contain at least 18% milkfat. On the other hand, cream in Europe only refers to products with a minimum milk fat content of 30%.

If you are curious about the different kinds of creams and what they are used for in cooking, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to give you a list of the different types of creams.

Main Types of Cream

Creams can generally be categorized into two types which are pasteurized and ultra-pasteurized.

1. Pasteurized Cream

Pasteurized creams are those that can provide a better flavor. They also whip up fluffier and can hold up longer.

2. Ultra-Pasteurized Cream

Ultra-pasteurized creams are those that have been heated to more than 280°F. to extend their shelf life. This type of cream is more unreliable when it comes to whipping. It will not work if frothing is required in the recipe that you are following.

Varieties of Cream

Here are the varieties of cream you might encounter in stores and how they are used.

1. Whipping Cream

This type of cream will whip to double its original volume. It is perfect for adding to dishes or recipes where a light result is needed. It contains 30% to 38% fat. You can use whipping cream for mousses, soufflés, filling cakes, decorating trifles, and as a topping for fruits and ice cream. Aside from that, it is also used to float on coffee and hot chocolate. 

Remember that once the cream is whipped, it cannot hold its volume for long. Therefore, it should be used immediately. If you wish to store it, you can keep it in the fridge for up to five days. Once it is opened, make sure to use it within 3 days. When lightly whipped, whipping creams can be frozen for up to 2 months.

If you want to make your own whipping cream at home, you might want to read our Ultimate Guide to Whipping Cream Dispensers.

2. Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream

This type of cream has the highest amount of milk, which is usually between 36 and 40 percent in the United States. In other countries, the fat content of heavy cream can be as high as 48%. It is mostly bought in gourmet food stores. It whips denser than whipping cream, and it can whip up well and hold its shape. When whipped, it doubles in volume.

3. Chantilly Cream

Chantilly cream is a vanilla-flavored whipped cream. It is made by folding whipped cream into the pastry cream in Italy. It is used in making a perfectly decadent mixture.

4. Double Cream

Double cream is also called country-style cream. It is probably the most versatile type of fresh cream because it can be used as it is or whipped. This type of cream contains 48% fat. You can use it to pour over fruits and puddings in cooking or incorporate it into dishes. If you whip a double cream, you can spoon it or pipe it onto cakes and other desserts.

You can keep double cream in the fridge for up to 5 days. Once you open it, you can use it within 3 days. If it is lightly whipped, you can keep it frozen for up to two months.

5. Single Cream

This type of cream is thin, and it is usually used for pouring and enriching cooked dishes. Single creams contain 18% to 20% fat, and it is also called light cream. You can use it for pouring over fruits and cooking soups and sauces. This type of cream is not suitable for whipping. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days and 3 days when opened. It is also not possible to freeze a single cream.

6. Half and Half Cream

In the United States, when you say half and half cream, it is a mixture of half whole milk and half cream. It is usually used as a creamer for coffee. It also does not whip, but you can use it in place of whipping or heavy cream in a lot of recipes, especially if you are looking for less fat content to incorporate in your dishes. You can also use it to replace whole homogenized milk in some recipes to achieve a fuller and richer flavor.

7. Clotted Cream

Clotted cream is also called Devon or Devonshire cream. It is a thick cream that is yellowish in color. It has a scalded or cooked flavor made by heating unpasteurized milk until a thick layer of cream is formed on top. After that, the milk is cooled, and the layer of cream is skimmed off. In Scotland, clotted cream is traditionally served with tea and scones.

8. Crème Fraiche

Crème Fraiche is a matured and thickened type of cream that has a slightly tangy taste, nutty flavor, and velvety rich texture. Its thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as margarine at room temperature. This cream is left unpasteurized in France. It contains the bacteria needed for it to thicken naturally. In the United States, all commercial cream is pasteurized. The fermenting agents needed can be obtained by adding sour cream or buttermilk. You can use crème Fraiche as a dessert topping or add it to cooked sauces and soups. It does not clot when boiled, making it great for cooking.

9. Channel Island Extra Thick Double Cream

This type of cream is thick and made using milk from Guernsey and Jersey cows. This cream can be used straight from the tub. It contains 48% of fat. You can spoon it over puddings and fruits or add it to sauces to give them a rich and creamy taste. It is also used in filling sponge cakes.

10. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a tangy type of cream made from fresh single cream. It is added with culture and heated to about 20 degrees Celsius for 12 to 14 hours to make it taste sour. This process produces lactic acid, which gives the cream a slightly sour taste and a thicker consistency. Sour cream has a fat content of 18%, and it cannot be whipped. You can use it to add flavor to soups, dressing, cakes, and casseroles. It is perfect for savory dishes and as a base for savory dips.

11. Flavored Creams

There are also different flavored creams that you can find in stores. They come in Brandy, Calvados, and cinnamon flavors, to name a few. They are usually made from a combination of sugar, double cream, and alcohol. Flavored creams are served with Christmas pudding, nut puddings, and apple tarts. You can spoon it over warm mince pies or fill brandy snaps.

12. Long Life Cream

Long-life cream is a type of cream that has undergone ultra-heat treatment or UHT to extend its shelf life. It is heated at high temperatures for a short period to stabilize it. You can buy this cream in cartons, and it usually contains 35% milk fat. You can whip it well if it is chilled and spoon it over desserts.

Types of Creams, Uses, and Butterfat Content

Cream Type

Butterfat Content

Uses of the Cream

Half and half 

12% fat 

In the USA, the term ‘half and half’ implies whole milk mixed with cream. It is widely used as a coffee creamer. You cannot whip half and half cream, but you can certainly use it instead of whipping or heavy cream in various recipes calling for creams with lower fat content. 

Single cream 


Single cream does not have a high-fat content. It is why single cream does not thicken when you beat it. You can use this cream type in desserts as well as savory dishes. Another name for single cream is light cream. 

Light cream 

About 20% 

Light cream is more or less similar to the half and half. It is also known as coffee or table cream. If light cream has more than 20% fat, you can quickly whip it, but there is no guarantee about the stability of its shape. Light cream is not readily available everywhere. 

Whipping cream 


Whipping cream is the ideal type of cream other than heavy cream that thickens when you whip it. It is due to the 30% fat content in it. 

Whipping cream works well for toppings and fillings. It is a product of ultra-pasteurization, claiming to increase its shelf life.  

Heavy cream/heavy whipping cream 


Heavy cream is the ideal whipping cream. It becomes dense when whipped and can easily hold its shape. The volume of heavy cream increases when whipped, so measure accordingly. It is usually used in desserts. 

Double cream 


Double cream is the alternative to heavy cream in Britain with a bit more butterfat than heavy or whipping cream. It is a rich cream that whips up ideally and becomes thick and fluffy to be used in pastries or cakes.  

Clotted cream 


Another name for clotted cream is Devonshire or Devon Cream. It is a thick yellow cream with a rich texture obtained by heating unpasteurized milk for a long time.  

It is used to make scones and served with tea in England.  

Crème Fraiche 


With a slightly nutty flavor, crème Fraiche has a velvety texture. It goes through a commercial process of adding fermenting agents such as buttermilk or sour cream. 

Crème Fraiche makes the ideal dessert topping. You can also use it to add thickness and depth to sauces and cream soups. 

These are some of the most popular types of cream and their uses. We hope this guide has helped you understand the various types of creams out there.