Mastering the Art of Cream Thickening: Discover the 3 Best Methods

How to thicken cream: 3 best methods

Cream is a versatile ingredient that adds richness and texture to both sweet and savory dishes. Whether you’re using it as an ingredient or a topping, you may find that you need to thicken your cream to achieve the consistency you want. In this article, we will explore three simple and effective ways to thicken cream: heating, adding gelatin, and using flour or cornstarch.

Heating the cream

Heating cream is a traditional method of thickening cream. By evaporating the water content, the cream becomes thicker and more concentrated. Although this method requires attention and time, it can be a reliable way to achieve the desired consistency.

Step by step instructions

  1. Begin by gently warming the cream over low heat. Be careful not to let it boil, as high heat can affect its texture.
  2. Stir the cream constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon to prevent curdling and burning.
  3. If the cream begins to boil, immediately reduce the heat or remove from the heat.
  4. Check the thickness of the cream every 10 minutes to avoid overcooking. The longer the cream is heated, the thicker it will become.
  5. When you have reached the desired consistency, reduce the heat and allow the cream to cool.
  6. After it has cooled slightly, taste the cream to check for any significant changes in flavor and to determine if it is suitable for your recipe.

It’s important to note that heating cream may cause a slight change in flavor, which is normal when heating dairy products. However, burnt cream has a distinctly bitter flavor, so be careful not to overheat it.

Adding gelatin to cream

Another effective way to thicken cream is to add gelatin. Gelatin is a protein-based substance that can add thickness without changing the flavor of the cream. It is a simple and quick method that can be completed in minutes.

Step by step instructions

  1. Determine the appropriate amount of gelatin needed to achieve the desired thickness.
  2. Follow the instructions provided with the gelatin to prepare it for incorporation.
  3. Take a small bowl of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin evenly on top, allowing it to absorb the water and thicken. This process is called blooming.
  4. Slowly add the gelatin mixture to the cream, being careful not to add too much at once, as this can result in an undesirable texture.
  5. Continue to beat the cream while incorporating the gelatin to ensure an even thickness throughout.
  6. Proper incorporation of the gelatin is essential to avoid uneven thickness in the cream.

It’s important to note that if the gelatin and cream are not fully incorporated, the texture of the cream may be affected and certain areas may become thicker than others. It’s important to mix thoroughly.

Adding Flour or Cornstarch to the Cream

Adding flour or cornstarch to cream is perhaps the easiest way to thicken it. Both ingredients act as thickeners and have a similar effect on the cream. This method is convenient because you can choose whichever ingredient is readily available or more convenient for you to work with.

Step by step instructions

  1. Make a flour or cornstarch batter by mixing equal parts of each ingredient with cold water. Make sure there are no lumps in the mixture, as they can affect the texture of the cream.
  2. Gradually add the slurry to the cream, about 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing thoroughly to achieve a smooth and even texture.
  3. Continue adding the slurry until you reach the desired thickness.
  4. After thickening the cream, you may want to do a taste test to check for any raw flour flavor. If present, simmer the thickened cream for 2-3 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.
  5. When the cream is ready, it can be used in your recipe.

Both flour and cornstarch are effective thickening agents, and the choice between them is a matter of personal preference and availability.


Thickening cream is a simple process that can be achieved by a variety of methods. Heating the cream, adding gelatin or using flour or cornstarch are three effective ways to achieve the desired consistency. Each method has its own advantages and considerations, so it’s important to choose the one that suits your needs and preferences.
By following the step-by-step instructions in this article, you can successfully thicken cream and improve the texture of your dishes. Remember to pay attention to the cooking process to avoid burning or curdling the cream. With practice, you will become more familiar with these methods and find the one that works best for you.
Experiment with these techniques and enjoy the enhanced richness and texture that thickened cream can bring to your culinary creations.


What is the purpose of the thickening cream?

Cream thickening helps achieve the desired consistency for various recipes, whether it’s to add richness to sauces, create a stable whipped cream or enhance the texture of desserts.

Can I use any cream for these methods?

Yes, these methods can be applied to various types of cream, including heavy cream, whipping cream, or even light cream. Keep in mind that the fat content may slightly affect the final result.

What if I accidentally overheat the cream while using the heating method?

If the cream is overcooked or burnt, it will develop a bitter taste. It’s important to monitor the heat and remove the cream from the heat immediately if it starts to boil.

Can I use gelatin in non-dairy alternatives to heavy cream?

Gelatin is derived from animal sources, so it may not be suitable for non-dairy alternatives. However, there are vegan-friendly alternatives, such as agar agar, which can be used as a thickening agent.

Do I have to use both flour and cornstarch, or can I choose one?

You can use either flour or cornstarch. Both work well as thickeners for cream. The choice depends on personal preference and dietary restrictions.

How long can I keep thickened cream?

Thickened cream can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. It’s important to note that the texture may change slightly during storage, so it’s best to use it as soon as possible for optimal results.