Single and Double Cream: What’s the Difference?

Many recipes will call for the use of single cream or double cream, often to aid in the texture and richness of a dish. But what is the difference between them, and can they be substituted for each other?

We’ve answered your burning questions about cream below.

What is Cream?

Before we tell you the difference between single and double cream, let us first tell you how cream is made.

Cream is simply the layer of milk-fat that separates from fresh, unpasteurised milk, rising to the top of it. This layer of fat is then skimmed off and pasteurised to make it safe to eat, and that’s how we get our cream.

So, what’s the difference between single cream and double cream? It’s all in the fat content. Single cream contains 18% fat, whilst double cream contains 36% fat. This is what makes double cream generally thicker and richer than single cream.

Going back to the question, then, of whether they can be substituted for one another, quite simply put the answer is no. Since double cream has double the fat content of single cream, it can better withstand higher temperatures and is able to be boiled and whipped (whipped cream cannot be boiled as it will curdle) without breaking down and separating. This is why different recipes will specify one type of cream.

Putting Cream to Use: Single vs Double

Single Cream

Single cream is primarily used for pouring or enriching dishes – without being boiled, of course. It is perfect to serve over fruits, cakes, sweet pies and tarts, without being overly thick or sickly. For the coffee connoisseurs out there, you may even opt to put single cream in your coffee – it makes it heavenly rich and creamy (please excuse us for the bad pun).

If you love Baileys but don’t love the price, then you can use single cream to make your own Irish cream! It makes for the perfect gift or personal indulgence, or maybe you’re looking to sell your own alcoholic creations at a local Christmas fair.

In recipes, single cream is often used in soups. Our favourite, though, is to use it to enrich scrambled eggs.

Double Cream

Like single cream, double cream can also be used for pouring; it tends to be the go to choice for those who prefer a richer cream to accompany their desserts.

For most recipes that include cream, double cream will be the one they use due to its ability to heat and retain its molecular structure. A savoury example could be a potato dauphinoise, whilst a sweet example may be crème brulée.

Double cream can also be whipped to enjoy atop homemade hot chocolates or in pavlovas.

Wholesale Cream

Whether you own an artisan coffee shop, make your own local liqueurs or simply plan to make some cream-based desserts for your next family dinner, Freshways is the fresh cream supplier to go to. We are the UK’s leading supplier of dairy products, including fresh cream, milk and yoghurt.

Contact us to enquire about our products or alternatively place your order online. We deliver nationwide.