Can You Substitute Milk For Half And Half?


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Half and half is luxurious and creamy and gives recipes a thicker texture and richer taste. It is basically half whole milk, and half cream. It is often used in coffee as well as sauces, soups, and deserts. 

When you need something richer than milk but not as thick as cream, use half and half. It is heavy in flavor and texture and is used a lot of the time in baking and cooking. It is really easy to substitute for half and half since it is pretty much just two dairy products mixed together. 

But, what if you are out of half and half and need some for a recipe? Can you use milk instead?

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Milk by itself cannot be substituted for half and half. You can use milk however you will have to add in an additional ingredient. When using milk as a substitute for half and half you will need to add light or heavy cream, or melted butter in with the milk. 

When you realize you are out of half and half and need a substitute, you probably won’t want to make a trip to the store for that one ingredient. So, you will try to just use whatever you have on hand. 

Most of the things that can be substituted for half and half you probably have in your kitchen already. Milk can be used as a substitute for half and half however it doesn’t work as a substitute by itself. 

Half of the half and half is milk, making milk makes a good partial substitute for half and half. You will just need to add some ingredients to the milk when using it as a substitute for half and half. 

You can do this by mixing milk with the following: light cream, heavy cream or melted butter, you can also use a low-fat milk mixed with heavy cream for a half and half substitute. Or for a dairy-free version, try a vegan half and half substitute made from nut milks and coconut cream. 

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Is Half And Half Similar To Milk?

Since milk is used to make half and half, it can be used instead of half and half as long as you add in cream or butter. If you don’t usually use half and half and don’t have any on hand, there are some things you can substitute for it. Most of them include milk. So, is half and half similar to milk?

Half and half is somewhat similar to milk except it is thicker and richer than milk. Half and half contains milk that is mixed with cream to create this luxurious and creamy liquid.

Since half and half contains milk, you can use milk as a substitute for half and half by mixing it with cream. 

Did you know that you can freeze half and half as well? It actually freezes really well because of all the fat it contains. The best way to freeze it is to portion it out and freeze for up to 3 months before using it. 

Let the half and half thaw out in the refrigerator overnight and it will be ready to use the next day. Whole it may separate a little bit because of the freezing process, frozen half and half may not be the best for coffee but it can definitely be used in cooking and baking. 

Freezing some half and half will be helpful if you need some for certain recipes. 

If you don’t plan on using half and half often but use heavy cream, then this can also be frozen. This way, you can have it available to you if you need to make half and half. Just defrost and mix with milk for a great half and half substitute. 

According to The Spruce Eats in their article, 3 Ways to Make a Substitute for Half-and-Half , “If you only need half-and-half or heavy cream occasionally, just keep some heavy cream in the freezer and pull it out as needed. It freezes beautifully—just pour it into an ice cube tray. If you’re using your half-and-half to make sauce or another dish that you’ll be heating up on the stove, you can even add the frozen cream and milk directly to the pan. It will thaw as the dish cooks, creating your half-and-half, and it will save you the step of having to thaw the cream.”

Can I Substitute Milk For Half And Half In A Recipe?

By just using milk alone, your recipe will lack the richness and creaminess given by half and half. So, try mixing milk with some other things to create the right consistency. So, how can you use milk as a substitute for half and half?

Milk can be substituted for half and half in a recipe as long as you mix the milk with cream or melted butter. Since milk is used to make half and half it can be used in place of it in recipes when you add in the cream/butter. 

Half and half is whole milk and light cream so when you mix equal parts of these together you can use it as a substitute for a carton of half and half. Milk and heavy cream can also be used as a substitute for half and half. 

Just mix ¾ cup of whole milk and ¼ cup of heavy cream to use as a substitute for 1 cup of half and half. Another substitute for half and half is whole milk and melted butter. This one isn’t good to put into your coffee but can be used in cooking or baking. 

Mix enough room temperature milk with 4 tablespoons of melted butter to measure out to 1 cup and substitute this for a cup of half and half. 

Then for those who are lactose intolerant or vegan, a substitute for half and half would be a vegan half and half. There are many options for this at grocery stores. Vegan half and half is made with nut milks like almond milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, soy milk, and sometimes pea protein mixed with coconut cream to form a good substitute for half and half with flavor and a thick consistency. 

Evaporated milk can also be used as a substitute for half and half or even cream in recipes by using the same amount that the recipe calls for.

Final Thoughts

Milk can be used as a partial substitute for half and half since milk is used to make half and half. You can use whole, low fat, or nut milks as a substitute for half and half mixed with cream. Just add cream to the milk and you are ready to add it into your coffee, cooking, or baking. 

The other half of half and half is cream. Light or heavy cream can be used together with the milk to make a half and half substitute. 

So, when you are out of half and half, make your own with ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Most everyone has some type of milk and butter in their fridge and milk and butter combined can be used as a substitute for half and half. 

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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