Can I Substitute Half and Half For Milk?

Published Categorized as Journal, Ingredients Tagged

If you’re wondering, “Can I substitute half and half for milk?” then you are in the right place. Half and half is used often in many kitchens around the globe, but how does it fare when swapped in for milk?

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In this post, I’ll take a look at what half and half is and whether or not it will make a good replacement for milk when cooking, eating cereal, drinking alone, or being used in various recipes.

Table of Contents

What’s the Difference Between Half and Half and Whole Milk?

Simply put, whole milk is milk that contains anywhere from 3.25-3.5% milk fat. During the skimming process, much of the fat that occurs in milk is skimmed off the top before it has been homogenized. It is when 3% of the milk fat is retained in the milk that the milk is deemed “whole” milk.

Half and half, on the other hand, is the whole milk that we just talked about blended with heavy cream. By comparison, heavy cream is the fatty portion that rises to the top of milk. When it is skimmed off, it is labeled as “cream”. As you can imagine, this cream contains a lot of fat since it is, in essence, the fat of the milk. This cream is often sold in stores as heavy whipping cream or it is sold as half-and-half when blended with whole milk to make it lighter and more palatable without sacrificing too much of its creaminess.

white cow on green grass during daytime

Can I Use Half and Half in Place of Milk?

So, can half and half be used in place of milk. Actually, yes! And typically, very few modifications need to occur while doing so.

Unlike substituting heavy cream for milk, you won’t need to dilute half-and-half much to get it to perform and taste like regular milk. In fact, you may not need to dilute it at all!

Adding half and half in place of milk will thicken and enrich any dish you place it in, which in most cases, will be an upgrade. In some cases, however, as we will see later, the richness that half and half adds may prove too much. Play around with half and half and see what you think. For many, the taste, texture, and mouthfeel of half and half boils down to preference, but the difference is hardly detected when substituted for milk in most recipes.

Is Half-and-Half Better For You Than Whole Milk?

In terms of fat and calories, half and half would be worse for you than whole milk, not better. Because half and half contains the cream of milk combined with the fat in whole milk, it is calorically more dense and contains more saturated fat.

Whole milk, on the other hand, only contains approximately 3% milk fat. So, for those watching their waistline, whole milk would be the better choice over half and half.

Still, when choosing between using half and half, milk, and creamer, you’ll want to pick either milk or half and half, as these options are less processed and contain more vitamins than you’d get with your standard dairy creamer.

drinking healthy milk

Can I Use Half and Half to Substitute For Milk in Cooking?

In most cases, you can absolutely substitute half and half for milk in cooking. But as you’ll soon see, this substitution is better made in certain recipes than others. Nevertheless, you can typically make a substitution for milk by using half and half undiluted at a 1:1 ratio, or, for a thinner option, dilute your half and half by combining ¾ cup half and half with ¼ cup water and replacing this mixture for 1 cup of whole milk.

Note: If you wish for your half and half “milk” to contain even less fat, continue to dilute your half and half with water until it reaches the consistency and overall fat content you desire. The more water you add to the half and half, the less fat per cup there will be!

Can I Use Half and Half Instead of Milk For Pancakes?

Half and half can be used instead of milk for pancakes; it will simply yield a slightly heavier texture. The flavor will be very enjoyable, and of course, the fat and calorie content will be higher.

As long as you don’t mind the aforementioned differences associated with using half and half in your pancakes rather than milk, you can feel free to substitute your half and half for milk at a 1:1 ratio. If you’d prefer a lighter texture and fewer calories, be sure to dilute your half and half with water using the method mentioned earlier in this article.

pancake stack

Can I Substitute Half and Half For Milk in Mac n Cheese?

Half and half is a great substitute for milk in macaroni and cheese.

To do this, feel free to substitute the half and half at a 1:1 ratio for however much milk is called for in the recipe. The results will be smooth and creamy mac and cheese, with a slightly heavier and more velvety mouthfeel.

Can You Use Half and Half Instead of Milk For Cereal?

Well…this is where things get a little dicey.

Of course, you can substitute half and half for milk in cereal. But the real question is, are you going to like it?

Because half and half and cream tend to taste heavier and may be unappealing to some when consumed as a stand-alone beverage, it will be up to the one eating whether or not half and half is a suitable replacement for milk.

Some people love half and half in cereal and even drink half and half straight. Others, however, are repulsed by the idea and would prefer to use half and half in recipes or in their morning cup of brew. No matter the case, the fact of the matter is that you’ll need to try half and half in your cereal to determine whether you love it…or hate it!

round blue ceramic bowl with cereal and milk

Can I Substitute Half and Half For Milk in Soup?

Yes! Half and half can be easily substituted for milk cup-for-cup for soups and stews.

In fact, you may love the substitution of half and half, in this case, more than the milk itself!

Can I Substitute Half and Half For Milk in Baking?

Can I Substitute Half and Half For Milk in Bread Recipe?

Yes you can use half and half in a bread recipe! Do so at a 1:1 ratio. Just know that there will be a level of richness added to the bread that may make it impossible to keep your hands off it!

Other Half and Half Substitutions

Can I Substitute Half and Half For Evaporated Milk?

Just like when compared to traditional whole milk, half and half is made up of more fat than evaporated milk. Still, you can easily swap half and half for evaporated milk at a 1:1 ratio. The recipe ought to turn out just fine.

glass of milk

Can I Substitute Half and Half For Whole Milk?

Remember that half and half can easily replace whole milk cup-for-cup, but with more fat and calories. You can dilute the half and half by adding half water. However, the caloric content will still be substantially higher than what you’d get from whole milk. Nevertheless, you may prefer half and half over whole milk in some recipes, especially soups, baked goods, and even your morning cup of joe. Feel free to experiment and see whether milk or half and half suits you best!


Does half and half last longer than milk?

Similar to milk, half and half will last up to 5-7 days after opening, and 1-2 weeks unopened. In this way, half and half isn’t much different from regular milk when it comes to expiry. 

Does Half and Half taste like milk?

Yes, half and half tastes like milk, but it is much creamier. Some even describe half and half as being more flavorful. Still, half and half isn’t often consumed as a stand-alone beverage despite its flavor and creamy texture. Instead, half and half is usually added to recipes and baked goods and is often added to coffee to add a rich and delectable body to the drink.

Substituting Half and Half For Milk Is Easy!

Not only can milk be substituted with half and half, but you may not even have to dilute the half and half before making the swap. Simply use your half and half at a 1:1 ratio in most recipes. You’ll have an easy substitute for milk when you’ve got none on hand.

Just remember that half and half is richer and that you may not enjoy it as a stand-alone drink. Moreover, keep in mind that half and half contains much more calories than standard milk. So you may wish to consume it at intervals rather than every day if you are concerned about weight gain.

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By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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