Half and Half

Half-and-half is an equal blend of cream and milk that will range between 10.5% and 18% in fat content. It is commonly treated like light cream and included in coffee and cereal, or over fruits. If handled carefully, it can be used in recipes that require heating.

Outside of the U.S., it is the equivalent of single and reduced-fat pouring cream; also called “half cream.” Regular “light” or “coffee” cream has a higher fat content.


  • In the U.S., most half-and-half products are “ultrapasteurized.” They are boiled to prolong shelf life, and when heated again, can impart that flavor.
  • In some regions, organic and fat-free half-and-half products are sold.
  • Sour half-and-half is also available. (In fact, low-fat and light sour cream products are made from half-and-half.)

Storage Tips

  • Always keep refrigerated. Ultrapasteurized products will last several weeks.

Usage Tips

  • Half-and-half can be whipped following this method: Add one teaspoon gelatin to one tablespoon cold water in the top half of a double boiler. Add water to bottom half (by itself) and let simmer. Wait five minutes and begin heating the dissolved mixture. Stir to reach a clear liquid. Combine with one egg white and beat into one cup half-and-half. Beat to reach desired stiff peaks.
  • Add to soups, puddings, fondue, and some sauces where consistency will not be an issue.
  • If a binder or thickening agent is included, half-and-half may be adequate in recipes that require heavier creams.
  • Should not be used to make ice cream or most candies.
  • Use only the freshest half-and-half when adding to hot coffee. The acid in the caffeine can curdle product that has had a long refrigerator life.
  • It’s a wonderful additive to recipes that call for whole milk for deeper, richer flavor. As an alternative, blend with skim milk instead.