Can I Use Heavy Cream to Marinate Chicken? (Detailed Guide)


If you are wondering whether to use heavy cream to marinate your chicken, look no further than this detailed guide.

Let’s dive right in.

Can I Use Heavy Cream to Marinate Chicken?

No, it is not a great idea to use heavy cream to marinate chicken because of its low acidic nature; it will not be able to tenderize the chicken properly. If you want to use dairy as a marinade, it is better to use buttermilk to marinate chicken.

The pH of heavy cream is 6.5-6.8, which indicates mild acid, while the pH of other dairy-based marinades such as buttermilk and yogurt have a pH of between 4.4-4.8; thus, they are much more acidic than heavy cream.

Table: pH Values of Various Marinades

MarinadepH (Acidity)
Apple Cider Vinegar3.0 - 3.2
Beer3.7 - 4.1
Bourbon 3.7 - 4.0
Butter Milk4.4 - 4.8
Carbonated Drinks3.0 - 4.0
Coffee4.9 - 5.1
Cranberry Juice2.6 - 2.8
Grapefruit Juice3.0 - 3.8
Heavy Cream6.5 - 6.8
Lemon juice2.0 - 2.6
Lime juice2.0 - 2.4
Orange Juice3.3 - 4.2
Pickle Juice3.2 - 3.7
Red Wine3.0 - 4.0
White Vinegar2.3 - 2.5
Yogurt4.4 - 4.8
Sour Cream4.5

Thus, if you use heavy cream, your meat will not be as soft as you may want it to be.

Another limitation will be that the seasoning and spices will not be infused in the chicken as well as you would expect them to be.

But, if you still plan to use heavy cream, there are some advantages too –

  • Heavy cream is not as acidic as buttermilk and thus does not break down the meat as much, but thanks to its high-fat content, it is an excellent way to insulate the chicken while cooking, thus extending the cooking time.
  • Another great aspect of heavy cream is that it can be coated very uniformly and nicely on the meat.
  • Based on the experience of a lot of chefs, this leaves your chicken silky in the end.

Thus, while you can use heavy cream, it is preferred as a marinade for already tenderized meat, such as ground meat.

How Long You Can Marinate Chicken in Heavy Cream?

According to USDA, it is safe to marinate chicken for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. The chicken needs to be marinated for a longer duration when in heavy cream as it is less acidic.

Make sure you apply the cream uniformly and keep it in freezer bags or plastic/glass containers.

Metal containers are not preferred for marination.

What is Heavy Cream?

heavy cream marinate for chicken

Heavy cream is a type of cream that has a higher fat content than other types of cream.

It is thick and rich and can be used in many different ways.

Heavy cream can be whipped into light, fluffy peaks and used as a topping on desserts, or it can be added to soups and sauces to thicken them up. It is also a popular ingredient in baking recipes.

Heavy cream vs buttermilk

Heavy cream is made from the high-fat content of milk, while buttermilk is made from the low-fat content. Heavy cream contains more saturated fat than buttermilk, which makes it richer and thicker.

Buttermilk also has a higher protein content than heavy cream, which gives it a slightly tangy flavor.

Buttermilk is much more acidic than heavy cream and thus preferred as a marinade when the meat is not already tenderized.

Final Words

I hope this helped you decide whether you can explore heavy cream to marinate chicken.

In case of any questions, please drop us a line

Do share this with chicken lovers, you know!

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About Karen Wilson

Karen is a foodie to the core. She loves any variety of food - spicy or junk! Her slender body and height are deceiving, as she enjoys eating hearty meals that would leave most people gasping for air. She has an appetite for life, and wants everyone around her to share in it too.

1 thought on “Can I Use Heavy Cream to Marinate Chicken? (Detailed Guide)”

  1. Hi Karen,
    I am on a low carb diet. I want to marinate chicken in buttermilk but buttermilk has too many carbs. I saw your discussion that using heavy cream doesnt work as well. I have seen recipes using heavy cream and vinegar to make a buttermilk, substitute, can I use this substitute as a marinade? I wasnt sure if leaving the vinegar in the heavy cream for about 24 hours was safe, opposed to using it in a recipe right away. Thanks in advance for your advise

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