Mastering the Art of Thickening Heavy Cream: 5 Best Methods

5 Best Ways to Thicken Heavy Cream

Heavy cream is a versatile ingredient used in a variety of recipes, from soups and sauces to homemade butter and ice cream. However, there are times when heavy cream doesn’t thicken as desired, which can be frustrating. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to thicken heavy cream. In this article, we will explore the five best ways to achieve the desired thickness for your heavy cream.

1. Keep it cold

One of the simplest and most effective ways to thicken heavy cream is to keep it cold. When heavy cream gets warm, it doesn’t thicken or stabilize in the same way. By storing your heavy cream in the refrigerator and removing it only when needed, you can improve its thickening ability. The cold temperature helps the cream achieve a nice, fluffy texture and overall better thickening results.

2. Boil it

Another method of thickening heavy cream is to boil it. However, care must be taken to avoid burning the cream and altering its flavor. Boiling heavy cream requires constant monitoring and whisking from start to finish. It is important to heat the cream slowly and maintain a continuous whisking motion to prevent curdling. When the cream reaches boiling temperature, you will notice that it thickens. Continue whisking until the desired thickness is achieved.

3. Try adding gelatin

Using unflavored gelatin is a lesser-known but effective way to thicken heavy cream without affecting its flavor. Unflavored gelatin can be found in the baking aisle of most stores. When adding gelatin to heavy cream, start with small amounts and increase as needed. It is important to follow the instructions on the gelatin package to ensure consistent thickness. Be sure to mix the gelatin slowly into the cream for better integration and smoother results.

4. Add flour

Adding flour is a common and convenient way to thicken heavy cream, especially when you need a quick solution. All-purpose flour or any other type of flour can be used. The choice of flour does not significantly affect the thickening results or the flavor. To effectively thicken the cream, make a paste-like mixture by combining the flour and cold water. This mixture can be gradually added to the heavy cream while stirring continuously until the desired thickness is achieved.

5. Use cornstarch

Cornstarch is another popular thickening agent that can be used with heavy cream. To thicken heavy cream with cornstarch, make a slurry by mixing cornstarch with cold water. Add the slurry gradually to the cream, stirring constantly. As the cornstarch heats up, it will thicken the cream to the desired consistency. Cornstarch is a reliable option for thickening heavy cream and is widely available in most kitchens.

Bottom line

Thickening heavy cream is a common challenge in the kitchen, but with the right methods, it can be easily overcome. By keeping the cream cold, boiling it, adding gelatin, using flour, or incorporating cornstarch, you can achieve the desired thickness for your heavy cream-based recipes. Each method offers its own advantages, and the choice depends on personal preference and the specific recipe you are preparing. Experiment with these techniques to find the one that works best for you. With these five best ways to thicken heavy cream, you can confidently create delicious dishes that require a thick and creamy texture.


Why does my heavy cream not thicken?

There are several reasons why heavy cream may not thicken as desired. It could be due to improper refrigeration, inadequate whisking, or using low-fat cream. Experimenting with different thickening methods may help you achieve the desired consistency.

Can I use whipping cream instead of thickened heavy cream?

Whipped cream and heavy cream have different textures and purposes. While whipped cream is light and fluffy, heavy cream has a denser consistency. It’s best to use the appropriate type of cream based on the requirements of the recipe.

Can I thicken heavy cream without changing its taste?

Yes, there are several ways to thicken heavy cream without significantly affecting its flavor. Techniques such as chilling, boiling, adding gelatin, flour or cornstarch can help achieve the desired thickness while preserving the original flavor of the cream.

How much gelatin should I use to thicken heavy cream?

The amount of gelatin needed to thicken heavy cream depends on the desired consistency. Start with a small amount, such as 1 teaspoon, and increase as needed. It’s important to follow the instructions on the gelatin package for best results.

Can I use gluten-free flour to thicken heavy cream?

Yes, gluten-free flour can be used to thicken heavy cream. The choice of flour will not significantly affect the thickening process or the flavor of the cream. Use the same amount of gluten-free flour in your thickening mixture as you would with regular flour.

Can I reheat dishes that have been thickened with heavy cream?

Yes, dishes thickened with heavy cream can be reheated. However, it’s important to heat them gently so that the cream doesn’t curdle. Use low to medium heat and stir continuously to ensure even reheating without affecting the texture.