Types of Milk

Types of Milk
Types of Milk

Ah milk, that delicious ingredient that most people partake in and cook with. Ironically, it causes great confusion and head scratching.

Before you run to the store to pick up a carton, bag,  or jug, make sure you know what you are actually getting. The labels such as Whole, Low-Fat, No-Fat, and Skim are not just buzzwords.

They are important because they ultimately tell you how a milk product will behave in a recipe.

A milk label will include the name as well as a percentage, which shows the amount of milk fat present.

A very common type of milk, 2%, is named this way because of the total amount of milk-fat content. In a 1 litre carton of 2% milk, 20 millilitres of that will be milk fat.

You would think that buying milk would be fairly straight forward. It would be if companies didn’t decide to be creative with their naming conventions. This makes things very complicated when trying to follow recipes. So many people end up searching the Internet trying to figure out what milk is used in a recipe.

We have compiled the most common names found in the dairy section to help clarify things.

NameMilk Fat Content
Double Cream48%
Manufacturer’s Cream45%
Heavy Whipping Cream, Heavy Cream, Thickened Cream*35%
Whipping Cream, Light Whipping Cream30%
Medium Cream25%
Light, Coffee, or Table Cream, Single Cream, Pouring Cream18-30%
Whole or Homogenized3.25%
Reduced Fat2%
Low FatAround 1%
Skim, Nonfat Milk0-0.5%

*Thickened cream has additional thickening agents added. If the label says “Thickened”, double check the fat content and what it uses as a thickener.

Points To Remember

  • In general, the higher percentage of milk fat, the thicker and richer tasting.
  • The names sometimes refer to their common use, so Heavy Whipping Cream is primarily used to make whipped cream. Coffee Cream is preferred for … coffee.
  • Anything with more fat than Whole Milk (3.25%) is usually not the best for drinking on its own.
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