The Easy Step To Make Mascarpone A Perfect Heavy Cream Substitute

You know what's the worst? When you're diligently following a recipe that requires heavy cream only to discover you don't have any in the fridge. While some home chefs opt to make their own using butter and milk, this process isn't the optimal choice. As Delish explains, the blend of butter and milk doesn't perfectly match the consistency of heavy cream. Instead, if you have a tub of mascarpone in the fridge you were saving for tiramisu, you can use that as a more fitting substitute. It works so well because it's thick and fluffy, with a similar texture to heavy cream. 

What exactly is mascarpone, you ask? It's an Italian cheese that's made by blending cream and vinegar or lemon juice. Although this is also how ricotta is made, mascarpone is much smoother and creamier. It's such a good heavy cream substitute because it has a similar fat content — mascarpone contains at least 44% fat (but up to 75%!) and heavy cream contains between 36% and 40% fat.

Not only can it be used as a cream substitute, but mascarpone can be even better to use in cooking than other heavy cream alternatives because it's both thicker and sweeter. Since mascarpone has a similar flavor profile to fresh cream and cream cheese, it works well in various sweet and savory recipes.

How to use mascarpone instead of heavy cream

Mascarpone is one of the best substitutes for heavy cream because it's so easy to use — you just have to use it in a 1:1 ratio. Simple! Now you just have to think about the consistency you want as your end goal because mascarpone can be quite stiff and thick. You can use mascarpone as it is if you want your recipe to be thick, but if you need to thin it out, such as if you're using it in a soup, you can add a bit of regular milk to it. 

Whether or not you require milk to be added to the mascarpone also depends on whether you are using it at a hot or cold temperature. Mixing it with milk to give it a thinner consistency is recommended if you're using it in a cold dish, while you don't have to mix it with milk if you're using it in a hot dish because the mascarpone will melt.

Ideas for using mascarpone instead of cream

Once you try mascarpone as a heavy cream substitute, you might never go back to cream because it's so delicious. When using mascarpone in sweet dishes, mix it with honey if a sweeter flavor is required. It works well in baked goods where cream cheese is mixed with cream — simply mix the cream cheese with mascarpone instead, and you'll get a thicker, creamier, and cheesier flavor. Yup, that means it's perfect in cheesecake. 

When it comes to savory dishes, a dollop of mascarpone is an indulgence in soups or stews and works well as a thickener. Mascarpone is delicious in other savory dishes, too, including potato gratin and pasta, giving them a creamy, rich texture. But you can also use mascarpone as a spreading cream — layer it on slices of toast or make a sweet grilled cheese for lunch.  

While mascarpone is a good replacement for heavy cream, you can also mix it with heavy cream itself to make whipped cream and add it to sweet or savory recipes for a tangy, creamy punch. With all the interesting and creative ways you can use mascarpone instead of heavy cream, you'll never make the mistake of thinking it's only meant for tiramisu again.