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The 5 Best Substitutes for Half and Half in Soup

Creamy, rich half and half is a popular ingredient that adds a luxurious touch to soups, turning a simple dish into a comforting and indulgent treat.

But what if you don’t have half and half on hand or need a dairy-free or lower-fat option?

What are the best substitutes for half and half in soup? The best substitutes for half and half in soup include whole milk, evaporated milk, heavy cream, a mixture of milk and butter, or non-dairy alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, or cashew cream.

Whether you’re in the middle of making a soup and realize you’ve run out of half and half, or you’re looking for a healthier or dairy-free alternative, these substitutes will ensure your soup is still creamy and delicious.

Ready to explore these options? Let’s dive in!

Why Use Half and Half in Soup?


Half and half is a popular ingredient to use in soups for several reasons.

  • First, it adds a rich, creamy flavor and texture to the soup, making it more filling and satisfying.
  • Second, it can help to thicken the soup, giving it a smoother consistency. This is especially true for smooth soups, such as tomato soup or cream of broccoli, where half and half is the ideal thickener.
  • Additionally, it can be added to a pot of hearty vegetable soup or even a chilled summer soup, such as cold beet or strawberry soup.

From a health perspective, half and half is a better choice than heavy cream, which is higher in fat and calories.

The percentage of fat in half and half varies between 10.5% and 18%, depending on the brand and type of cream used.

When mixing cream and milk together, you get a different percentage of fat depending on the ratio of the two.

It’s important to note that half and half is not the ideal thickener for very delicate soups, as it may curdle if boiled or if used in combination with acidic ingredients.

To avoid curdling, it’s recommended to use full-fat cream, half and half, or whole milk, and to avoid boiling the soup.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Half and Half in Soup

Half and half can be a great addition to soup, but it isn’t always available.

Fortunately, there are several substitutes that will work just as well.

Here are five of the best options:

1. Whole Milk

Whole Milk

Whole milk is an easy and accessible option when looking for a substitute for half and half in soups.

It has a lower fat content than half and half, which means that it will not provide as much richness or creaminess to your soup.

However, whole milk is still an excellent choice to add a smooth and velvety texture to your dish.

To make up for the difference in fat content, consider adding a small amount of melted butter to the whole milk before incorporating it into the soup.

This will increase the richness and enhance the overall flavor of the dish.

By using whole milk, you will still achieve a creamy consistency in your soup while using an ingredient that is likely already in your refrigerator.

2. Evaporated Milk

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated milk is another great substitute for half-and-half in soups.

It is made by removing approximately 60% of the water content from whole milk, which results in a thicker and creamier consistency.

Due to its concentrated nature, evaporated milk adds a rich and velvety texture to soups, similar to that of half and half.

Make sure to use unsweetened evaporated milk, as sweetened varieties are not suitable for savory dishes.

To use evaporated milk in place of half and half, simply substitute it in a 1:1 ratio in your recipe.

With its similar consistency and ability to elevate the flavor profile of your soup, evaporated milk is a reliable alternative to half and half.

3. Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream

If you’re looking for a richer and more luxurious substitute for half and half in your soup, heavy cream is an excellent choice.

With a higher fat content than half and half, heavy cream contributes a velvety and indulgent texture to soups.

Due to its richness, you may want to use slightly less heavy cream than the amount of half and half called for in your recipe.

Consider starting with a 1:2 ratio of heavy cream to half and half, and adjust according to taste.

By incorporating heavy cream into your soup, you will not only achieve a creamy consistency but also create a more decadent and satisfying dish.

4. Mixture of milk and butter


A mixture of milk and butter is an excellent substitute for half and half, especially when used in soups.

To create this substitute, combine equal parts whole milk and melted unsalted butter.

For instance, if a recipe calls for one cup of half and half, mix half a cup of whole milk with half a cup of melted butter.

This combination provides a creamy and rich consistency that is similar to half and half, without sacrificing taste or texture.

The milk and butter mixture can be easily adjusted to suit your desired thickness by adding more or less butter.

When using this substitute in soups, the milk and butter mixture should be added slowly and stirred continuously to ensure a smooth and even incorporation.

5. Non-dairy alternatives (almond milk, coconut milk, cashew cream)

Coconut Milk

Non-dairy alternatives can also be used to replace half and half in soups for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, or simply prefer a dairy-free option.

Almond milk, coconut milk, and cashew cream are popular alternatives that provide a similar consistency and flavor to half and half.

Almond milk is a lighter option and has a slightly nutty flavor.

It can be used in a 1:1 ratio as a direct substitute for half and half.

Coconut milk has a rich and creamy texture that works well in soups, with a more pronounced coconut flavor.

For a milder taste, use coconut milk from a carton rather than a can.

Cashew cream, made by blending soaked cashews with water, offers a thick and velvety texture that is perfect for creamy soups.

Adjust the thickness by varying the amount of water used during blending.

Each of these non-dairy alternatives can be seamlessly incorporated into soups, providing a delicious and creamy texture without the use of dairy products.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you replace half and half with milk in soup?

Yes, you can replace half and half with milk in soup. However, keep in mind that milk has a lower fat content than half and half, so the soup may not be as rich or creamy. To compensate for this, you can add a tablespoon or two of butter to the soup to increase its richness.

What can I use instead of half and half in a soup (non dairy)?

If you’re looking for a non-dairy alternative to half and half in soup, there are several options available. One popular option is coconut milk, which has a similar creamy texture and can add a slightly sweet flavor to the soup. Other non-dairy alternatives include almond milk, cashew milk, or soy milk. Just keep in mind that these alternatives may change the flavor of the soup, so it’s best to choose one that complements the other ingredients in the soup.


In conclusion, half and half is a popular ingredient to use in soups for its rich, creamy texture and ability to thicken the soup. However, if you’re looking for a non-dairy alternative or simply don’t have half and half on hand, there are several options available.

Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, and soy milk can all be used instead of half-and-half in soups. While these alternatives may change the flavor of the soup, they can still provide a creamy texture and satisfying taste.

So, whether you choose to use half and half or a non-dairy alternative, you can still enjoy a delicious and hearty bowl of soup.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Half and Half in Soup

The 5 Best Substitutes for Half and Half in Soup

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • Whole Milk
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Heavy Cream
  • Mixture of milk and butter
  • Non-dairy alternatives (almond milk, coconut milk, cashew cream)


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.