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Do You Know ... the Types of Cream?

Cream is simple enough. And it’s so versatile you’re likely to cook with it or eat it this holiday season.

Cream is the fatty part in non-homogenized milk that floats to the top. With its smooth, velvety feel, it enhances coffee, pie, soup and more.

And that’s where things get nuanced — cream takes various forms, depending on its fat content and whether it’s been fermented or whipped, for example.

Name any dish and we’ll bet there’s a type of cream best suited to it. Because there are so many types! Here’s a guide to get you started:

Types of cream - clotted

Clotted cream: at least 55% milkfat

This British staple is rich and slightly sweet. It's created by heating cream in a shallow pan for hours, causing the creamiest of the cream to rise to the surface and clot.

Types of cream - heavy

Heavy cream: more than 36% milkfat

Also known as “heavy whipping cream,” this thick stuff contains no less than 36 percent milkfat and is perfect for making homemade whipped cream because it forms stiff peaks when whipped.

Types of cream - whipped

Whipping cream: 30% to 36% milkfat

This makes fruit prettier and desserts tastier. It’s that floaty, puffy stuff that can be sprayed from a can, spooned from a bowl or made at home.

Types of cream - light cream soup

Light cream: 18% to 30% milkfat

Containing 18 percent to 30 percent milkfat, this cream is also known as “table cream” and does just as well in savory dishes as sweet ones.

Types of cream - sour

Sour cream: at least 18% milkfat

Its vaguely tart flavor comes from the fermentation process. It has a cool, slightly gelatinous viscosity.

Types of cream - half and half

Half and half: 10.5% to 18% milkfat

Half whole milk, half light cream, this popular coffee companion is a fluid that, because  of its relatively lower fat content, cannot be whipped.

Types of cream - iced cream

Ice cream: more than 10% milkfat

Cold, sweet, thick and creamy, this one needs no definition.

Want to incorporate cream into your next dish? We recommend this cozy chicken and dumplings recipe from Go Bold with Butter.