Food Cooking Tips & Techniques What Is the Difference Between Heavy Cream and Heavy Whipping Cream? While the labels may look similar, do you know what makes each unique? By Kelly Vaughan Updated on March 11, 2023 Fact checked by Isaac Winter Fact checked by Isaac Winter Isaac Winter is a fact-checker and writer for Real Simple, ensuring the accuracy of content published by rigorously researching content before publication and periodically when content needs to be updated. Highlights: Helped establish a food pantry in West Garfield Park as an AmeriCorps employee at Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center. Interviewed Heartland Alliance employees for oral history project conducted by the Lake Forest College History Department. Editorial Head of Lake Forest College's literary magazine, Tusitala, for two years. Our Fact-Checking Process Share Tweet Pin Email With all the options available in the dairy aisle, it's understandable if you don't know the difference between heavy cream and heavy whipping cream. And where does simple whipping cream fit in? Their similar labels and placement next to each other on store shelves are confusing, even to advanced cooks. Ultimately they differ, and using them interchangeably will affect the consistency, texture, and flavor of certain dishes. Below, we explain the differences between heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, and whipping cream, plus how to decode the labels and best uses for each type of cream. 01 of 03 Heavy Cream vs. Heavy Whipping Cream Dotdash Meredith Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are actually the same product with two different names. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), heavy cream and heavy whipping cream must contain at least 36% milk fat. Their nutritional info is also the same—both contain about 50 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 3.5 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. Next time you see them displayed next to each other in the grocery store, you won't have to think twice about which one to pick up. Different labels, the same delicious dairy product. 02 of 03 Heavy Cream vs. Whipping Cream Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez Think they're the same? Think again. These seemingly similar varieties of cream contain different amounts of milk fat, which can create very different products. Whipping cream contains between 30 and 35% milk fat, which means that it is a lighter product than heavy cream and heavy whipping cream. Whipping cream contains only 45 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, and 3 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. Most packages list the milk fat content so if you're not sure which cream is right for your recipe, just read the label. The 5% difference may not seem like a big deal, but it can drastically change the richness and thickness of soups, sauces, and sweets. The lower fat content in whipping cream means that it won't ever achieve perfectly stiff peaks when whipped. So, for a truly impressive whipped cream topping on pies or cakes, use heavy cream. Whipped Cream Recipe 03 of 03 Cooking With Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream Diana Rattray The versatility of heavy cream makes it best for super creamy, rich recipes like tomato and shrimp bisque, scalloped potatoes, and classic butterscotch sauce. If you try to make whipped cream with heavy cream, it won't hold its shape as well when whipped. The end result will be similar to the consistency of Cool Whip, rather than a thick, creamy topping. Whipping cream is ideal for whipped cream. It has a lighter, airy texture due to the lower amount of milk fat. Whipped cream is made using whipping cream, not heavy cream; it's perfect as a dollop on ice cream or a garnish for meringues, berries, coconut cream, beautiful sheet pan pavlova, and more. The Bottom Line We recommend purchasing heavy cream for all of your cooking and baking purposes. It's a more versatile product than whipping cream and oftentimes easier to find. In terms of nutrition, there's hardly a significant difference between them. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources Real Simple is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy. FDA. Title 21--Food and Drugs, Chapter I--Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Subchapter B - Food for Human Consumption, Part 131 -- Milk and Cream, Sec. 131.150 Heavy Cream. Accessed March 11, 2023. USDA FoodData Central. Cream, fluid, heavy whipping. Accessed March 11, 2023. USDA FoodData Central. Cream, heavy. Accessed March 11, 2023. FDA. Title 21--Food and Drugs, Chapter I--Food and Drug Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, Subchapter B - Food for Human Consumption, Part 131 -- Milk and Cream, Sec. 131.157 Light whipping cream. Accessed March 11, 2023. USDA FoodData Central. Cream, fluid, light whipping. Accessed March 11, 2023.