What Is the Difference Between Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream?

While the labels may look similar, there's a big difference between heavy cream and whipping cream.

With all the options available in the dairy aisle, it's okay to contemplate 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, but 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.

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Heavy Cream vs. Heavy Whipping Cream

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 percent milkfat. 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, same delicious dairy product.

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Heavy Cream vs. Whipping Cream

Think they're the same? Think again. These seemingly similar varieties of cream contain different amounts of milkfat, which can create very different products.

Whipping cream contains between 30 and 35 percent milkfat, 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 milkfat content so if you're not sure which cream is right for your recipe, just read the label.

The 5 percent 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 or a truly impressive whipped cream topping on pies or cakes, use heavy cream.

RELATED: How to Make Whipped Cream

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Cooking with Heavy Cream and Whipping Cream

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 as a lighter, airy texture due to the lower amount of milkfat. Whipped cream made using whipping cream, not heavy cream, is perfect as a dollop on ice cream or a garnish for meringues, berries and coconut cream, beautiful sheet pan pavlova, and more.

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.

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