Malai Substitute

7 Instant Malai Substitute You Can Try Today!

One morning I was thinking of reviving my childhood memories by making malai kulfi. I guess there’s barely anyone who hasn’t loved eating kulfi (ice cream) at school or parks.

Unfortunately, my fridge was out of malai and couldn’t be found at the nearby stores either. I bet many of you have also faced this kinda disappointing situation once.

So, is there any malai substitute? 

Yes, you can mix butter and milk to make a malai substitute. Also, Greek yogurt with milk and cottage cream are very good substitutes. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative then go for olive oil and soy milk. And blend them together. Oh! Cornstarch and milk mixture is a wise option too.

Are you still sulking for your malai? Say no more- I’ve explained all the quick and simple substitutes here. 

So let’s just plunge in-

Let’s Clear the Malai and Cream Confusion First! 

Basically malai and cream are the same things. Malai is mostly used in Indian foods. Be it your Malai Paneer, Pista Malai Kulfi, or Malai Kebab, malai is an important element in Indian cuisine. 

Now you must be asking, what is malai called in English? In the USA or other English countries, malai is mostly known as cream. It’s like Nestle cream cans you’d use on top of your corn cake or in your Fettuccine Alfredo.

Now you know you’re actually looking for a fresh cream alternative. Which can be used for your sweet dishes and savory at the same time.

So, without any further ado, let’s find a substitute for fresh cream or malai cream- 

Quick and Easy Malai Substitutes 

All your guests are coming in a few hours. But your star dish isn’t ready yet! Why?

Because you don’t have enough malai or cream at home to prepare it. In that situation, you might be looking for a quick malai substitute.

Worry not! You already saw there are plenty of caramel extract alternatives. So, again here I’m to your rescue! 

Because I’ll be mentioning what to use instead of malai in the next section.

So let’s jump right in-

Substitute 1: Butter & Milk 

Mixing butter and milk together is easy-peasy. And it’s actually a solid way to replace malai. This method works for maximum recipes out there. 

You see, the butter here is adding additional fat to the milk. So the fat quantity ultimately matches with malai or fresh cream.

So, to make this substitute you’ll be needing only 2 ingredients-

Before going into the process you need to melt your butter. Then mix the melted butter with the milk. Don’t forget to mix them fully at low heat to get a creamy texture like malai. 

If it’s not thickening then use a food processor or a hand-held mixture. Blend until you’re getting the creamy texture.

However, I always use low-fat milk like Horizon Organic Milk. So, in case you’re like me then you can add 1 tablespoon of flour to the mixture. Because it’ll help to condense the cream more.

And there you have it! You can easily get 1 cup worth of cream here. 

Moreover, you can use this malai alternative for most cooking and baking dishes. However, it might not always give you a glossy texture like the malai cream.

Substitute 2: Cornstarch & Milk

If you’re always looking for healthy alternatives like me then this substitute is the one! Because this is a low-calorie and low-fat substitute for malai. Here the cornstarch is helpful to bring out the heavy texture in the milk. 

Again for this alternative, you’ll just need the following 2 ingredients-

Now, you need to grab a stainless steel saucepan first. Then pour a cup of milk and then add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. It’ll be best if you can mix the cornstarch with 5-6 tablespoons of water before.

In that way, the cornstarch will easily mix with the milk. Then thoroughly stir the mixture at low heat. Keep stirring until it gets heavy like cream.

Well, this substitute is good for cooking rather than baking dishes. Because it might change the texture of the food while baking.

Substitute 3: Olive Oil with Soy Milk

I hope you already know how beneficial olive oil is for health. And if you’re a vegan then this substitute is definitely for you! How? You’ll get to know soon.

Now, how many ingredients would you need for this one? Surprise….. again it’s 2 haha!

So, first, let’s order the ingredients from the following table-

To get 1 cup of cream mix the olive oil and soy milk at low heat. Stir until you get the thick consistency. 

However, let me inform you, this substitute is good for adding a tangy flavor to your dish. It’s better not to use this in a dish that needs whisking.

Substitute 4: Greek Yogurt with Milk

Here is another perfect substitute for your malai. This one will help you to instantly thicken up your dish.

Because Greek yogurt is heavy in texture and high in protein as well.

So let’s grab the ingredients first-

You can take the yogurt and milk in equal quantities. Then blend them together. See! You got your malai substitute in just 2 minutes.

This one would be a great choice for dishes like sauces or soups. However, as Greek yogurt isn’t high in fat it might not add the same texture as malai.

Substitute 5: Coconut Cream

This option is an extraordinary vegan substitute for malai. Moreover, you can buy it pre-made. Some coconut creams that I always love based on the quantity and texture are listed below-

However, if you don’t want to purchase the cream rather make it at home then you’re in luck. All you have to do is keep a can of coconut milk overnight in the refrigerator. 

Then the next morning, separate the liquid part into another bowl. Next, scoop out the thick coconut cream that’s remaining in the can.

You can use this cream if you want to sweeten your dark chocolate. You can also use this for your desserts as a delicious topping. However, it’s wise to use this cream in suitable dishes.

Substitute 6: Silken Tofu & Milk

This is another substitute that you can prepare in a jiffy. Just get the following ingredients and the rest will be assured in only 2 minutes!

You see silken tofu blends so easily as it has a fluffy consistency. Also, it’s filled with protein and dairy-free.

Now take equal parts of milk and tofu together. Then blend them with a handheld frother until it gets smooth and heavy. 

Guess what! You can use this in almost any of your special recipes. You can also add a little vanilla extract or a pinch of powdered sugar to make it a delicious dessert topping.

Substitute 7: Milk with Cottage Cheese 

You can actually make cottage cheese at home by using cow milk and vinegar. It’s so high in micronutrients and thick that it can be a good malai substitute alone.

However, if you aren’t familiar with cheese-making procedures then watch the following video.

Homemade Cottage Cheese | How To Make Cottage Cheese | Homemade Row Milk Cottage Cheese

You can also buy pre-made cottage cheese. Some best in quality cottage cheeses that I’ve tasted so far-

Nevertheless, if the texture of your cheese seems too heavy or dry you can mix 2-3 tbsp milk with it. Also, make sure you’re choosing the recipe that’ll be compatible with the cheesy flavor.


Are butter and malai the same?

Butter and malai are actually nearly similar. However, butter is the semi-solid structure of the malai. Whereas malai is basically milk full of butterfat.

Why isn’t my malai turning to butter?

If your malai fat is less than 35% then it won’t turn into butter easily. The butter needs high fat to form into a shape. That’s why you should use a cream that has enough fat.

Is malai a yogurt?

Malai isn’t essentially a yogurt. However, you can use Creme Fraiche in place of malai. If you’re used to a healthy diet then this substitute is perfect for you.

Parting Shot

Thankfully, if you’re short of malai then you’ll find a lot of malai substitute. Not only have I talked about some simple alternatives but they’re super healthy as well. 

However, there’s another thing you can use instead of malai. And it’s canned evaporated milk. Isn’t it great?

Happy feasting!

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