There are some key differences between these two commonly confused ingredients.

By Maryn Liles
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When you think of half-and-half or creamer, the first thing that probably comes to mind is coffee. This might lead to combining these two ingredients in your head, but they're actually not the same thing.

You’ve likely heard the terms half-and-half and creamer used interchangeably by others. You may even use the terms interchangeably yourself. But the truth is, there are major differences between these two products that you should know about. From having completely radically different nutrition profiles to being made using different techniques, half-and-half and creamer are totally separate entities.

Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between half-and-half and creamer:

What is half-and-half and how is it used?

Half-and-half is made of equal parts whole milk and heavy whipping cream. Usually, half-and-half products have no added flavors or sweeteners. In addition to being a coffee staple, having a pint of half-and-half in your refrigerator can serve many benefits. You can use half-and-half to churn your own ice cream, add a splash for fluffy scrambled eggs, or make your own Alfredo pasta sauce, just to list a few options.

What is creamer and how is it used?

Creamer, on the other hand, is a non-dairy alternative to half-and-half, though many varieties contain casein, a milk protein. Often creamers are stabilized with various chemicals, and some are sweetened with corn syrup or given added flavorings, such as French vanilla, Irish cream, or hazelnut. Despite its name, coffee creamer can be used in more ways than one, such as mixing a splash into hot oatmeal or pancake batter for added richness.

Can you substitute half-and-half in place of creamer and vice versa?

The answer depends on your end goal. Half-and-half creates richness in dishes without adding extra flavor or sweetness. Creamer can also add richness to a dish, but it will often make the finished product sweeter and possibly flavored. When in doubt, use half-and-half. But if you're wanting to experiment with fun flavors in a sweet dish, like a homemade latte or dessert, then creamer is worth a try.

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