Whipping Cream vs. Double Cream

Cream is a beloved ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Its rich texture and flavor add decadence and creaminess to everything from creamy soups to luscious desserts.

Whipping Cream vs. Double Cream

However, walk down the dairy aisle at your grocery store and you'll find multiple types of cream available, which can get confusing. Two of the most common are whipping cream and double cream. But what exactly sets these two cream products apart?

Defining Whipping Cream and Double Cream

To understand the difference between these two creams, let's first define each one:

What is Whipping Cream?

Whipping cream, also called light whipping cream in some countries, is a cream with a milk fat content of 30-36%.

According to the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, whipping cream must contain at least 30% milk fat to use the labeling term "whipping cream" (1). This is why you'll often see "30% milk fat" on cartons of whipping cream.

Whipping cream can be easily whipped into soft, airy peaks due to its medium fat content. It makes a delicious dollop for hot chocolate, pies, and other desserts.

What is Double Cream?

Double cream is a richer type of cream that contains at least 48% milk fat, sometimes labeled as "48% milk fat." It's popular in the United Kingdom and other European countries.

According to UK standards, double cream must have a minimum milk fat percentage of 48% (2). Its high fat content gives it a thicker, richer consistency.

Double cream is the best choice for making perfectly stiff whipped cream or rich dessert sauces. It also adds indulgent creaminess to savory dishes like soups, pastas, and risottos.

Comparing the Nutrition of Whipping Cream vs Double Cream

The main nutrition difference between these two creams is their fat content, as defined above. Let's look closely at the nutrition profiles:

Whipping Cream Nutrition

Here are the nutrition facts for 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of whipping cream (3):

  • Calories: 51
  • Fat: 5.4 g
  • Saturated fat: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 0.4 g
  • Carbs: 0.4 g
  • Sugar: 0.4 g

As expected, whipping cream is high in fat, providing 51 calories and 5.4 grams of fat per tablespoon. The majority comes from saturated fat.

It's low in protein and carbs. The 0.4 grams of carbs comes from the naturally occurring milk sugar lactose.

Double Cream Nutrition

For comparison, here are the nutrition facts for 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of double cream (4):

  • Calories: 44
  • Fat: 4.6 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.9 g
  • Protein: 0.3 g
  • Carbs: 0.4 g
  • Sugar: 0.4 g

Double cream contains slightly fewer calories than whipping cream, owing to its lower fat content. Yet, it still provides 44 calories and 4.6 grams of fat per tablespoon.

Like whipping cream, it's low in carbs and protein and contains only naturally present lactose as the carb source.

Using Whipping Cream vs Double Cream in Cooking and Baking

Now that you know what distinguishes whipping cream from double cream, let's discuss how to use each one in cooking:

Cooking with Whipping Cream

The medium-fat content of whipping cream makes it light and versatile to use in recipes:

  • Add it to hot dishes. Whipping cream can be stirred into soups, sauces, oatmeal, etc. without curdling. For savory recipes, it provides a nice richness.
  • Whip it into soft peaks. Whipping cream whips up into billowy, soft mounds that work beautifully as a topping for pies, cakes, puddings, hot chocolate, and more.
  • Fold it into batters. Gentle folding preserves the airiness. Folded whipped cream lightens everything from pancake batter to brownie batter.
  • Drizzle it over fruit. Berries, baked apples, poached pears, and other fruits taste delicious topped with a drizzle of whipping cream.
  • Add it to coffee. Whipping cream is a popular creamer choice for coffee due to its richness and hint of sweetness.

Cooking with Double Cream

The high fat content of double cream makes it ideal for:

  • Making stiffly whipped cream. Double cream holds its shape better when whipped. Use it as a piping cream or when you need whipped cream to hold decorative shapes.
  • Enriching savory dishes. The ultra-richness of double cream makes it perfect for taking soups, risottos, pasta sauces, and gravies to the next level.
  • Adding indulgence to sweets. Double cream gives incredible richness, body, and velvety texture to desserts like custards, mousses, and cream fillings.
  • Finishing desserts. Generously pour double cream over pie, cake, fruit crumbles, and other desserts for a lavish finishing touch.
  • Making cream sauces. Hollandaise, beurre blanc, and other creamy sauces benefit from the thickness and richness of double cream.

How Do They Compare When Whipped?

One of the biggest differences between whipping cream and double cream is in how they whip up:

Whipped Whipping Cream

Because whipping cream contains 30-36% milk fat, it whips up into soft, fluffy mounds.

Whipped whipping cream has an airy, cloud-like texture similar to Cool Whip. It makes pretty dollops and piping, but doesn't hold its shape as sturdily as whipped heavy cream.

Whipped Double Cream

The higher milk fat content (48%+) allows double cream to be whipped into a thicker, more stable whipped cream.

Whipped double cream holds its shape better. It can be piped into decorative designs for cakes and desserts. The thickness also allows it to nicely coat foods like strawberries and cream.

Substituting One Cream for the Other

In a pinch, whipping cream and double cream can be used interchangeably in most recipes:

Subbing Whipping Cream for Double Cream

When swapping whipping cream for double cream, you'll get a slightly thinner, less richly creamy end result.

To prevent curdling, remove acidic dishes like tomato sauce from heat before adding whipping cream. Don't return to a boil after adding.

Whipped whipping cream won't be as stiff. For piping, stabilize it with gelatin or confectioner's sugar.

Subbing Double Cream for Whipping Cream

Using double cream in place of whipping cream makes dishes richer and thicker.

In cooking, this won't cause issues. But for whipping, double cream can over-whip and start to separate into butter. Beat carefully just until stiff peaks form.

Homemade Substitutes for Each

If you don't have whipping or double cream on hand, here are easy dairy-based substitutes:

Whipping Cream Substitutes

  • Heavy cream - Nutritionally similar to whipping cream, just make sure it isn't ultra-pasteurized.
  • Half-and-half - Thinner than whipping cream, but adds richness nonetheless.
  • Light cream - Very close in fat content to whipping cream, so it substitutes nicely.

Double Cream Substitutes

  • Heavy cream - The closest product available in the US. Adds similar richness at a slightly lower fat percentage.
  • Mascarpone - Provides an ultra-rich texture and tangy flavor like double cream.

For both whipping and double cream:

  • Milk and butter - Whisk 1 tablespoon melted butter into 1/4 cup milk.
  • Evaporated milk - Similar richness but distinct, more caramelized flavor.

Which Should You Choose?

So which cream is best - whipping cream or double cream?

For moderately rich recipes, lighter whipped toppings, and coffee, whipping cream is the way to go.

For ultra-rich dishes, stiffly whipped cream, and lavish desserts, choose double cream for its higher fat content.

But overall, they can be used interchangeably in most recipes with fairly similar results. Let your taste preferences and desired richness guide you.

Key Takeaway: Whipping cream has a lower fat content (30-36%) than double cream (48%+). This gives double cream a richer thickness ideal for stiff whipped cream and luxuriously creamy desserts. But the two creams can generally substitute for one another in recipes.


Is double cream the same as heavy cream?

No, heavy cream and double cream are different products. Heavy cream, also called heavy whipping cream, contains 36-40% milk fat. Double cream is even richer, with 48% or more milk fat.

Which is healthier - whipping cream or double cream?

Whipping cream is slightly healthier due to its lower amount of fat and calories per serving. However, both are high-fat dairy products that should be consumed in moderation.

Can you whip double cream?

Yes, double cream whips up beautifully into an ultra-rich whipped cream. Take care not to overbeat, as the high fat content means it can quickly become over-whipped and turn to butter.

What's the best cream for whipped cream?

Heavy cream or double cream both make excellent whipped cream that holds its shape. Whipping cream can be whipped into soft peaks but won't hold its structure as well long-term.

Is whipping cream or double cream better in coffee?

This comes down to personal taste. For a richer coffee creamer, opt for double cream. For a lighter, more subtle creaminess, use whipping cream.


Whipping cream and double cream are similar products used to add rich dairy deliciousness to recipes both sweet and savory.

While double cream is richer and better for making stiff whipped cream, the two can be used interchangeably in most cooking applications.

The milk fat percentage (30-36% for whipping cream and 48%+ for double cream) is the main distinguishing factor. So consider the level of richness you desire when deciding which cream to use.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions