Help! My cream has split

  Posted on   by   11 comments

In our slow cooking community we see members posting their concern over split cream in their slow cooked dishes.

What is splitting?

A lot of people will refer to dairy products that have split as being curdled. If you milk/cream etc ‘curdles’ during storage that’s a problem and you should throw it out, don’t use it.

However if it separates during cooking it’s more likely to be split and that is really only a change of appearance and texture. It’s still perfectly fine to eat 🙂

Why does it occur?

Sauces made with milk/cream can split for several reasons…
– low fat content: dairy products with higher fat content are less likely to split
– high heat: exposing dairy products to high heat, eg close to boiling, increases likelyhood of splitting
– high acidity: adding dairy products to recipes with higher acidic content can also cause this splitting to occur

How can I prevent it?

–  Choose higher fat versions of your cream/milk etc rather than the low fat varieties
– If possible add the cream/milk at the end of your cooking time rather than the beginning.  You can even take it off the heat
before you add.
– When adding cream early try whisking a tsp or so or cornflour into the cream first before adding it to your dish
– Choose ‘cooking cream’ or ‘Creme fraiche’  or double cream which are less likely to split.
(In Australia I use Bulla brand COOKING cream.  UK members report the crème fraiche is a similar product for them)
– Allowing dairy products to reduce slightly in temperature before adding them, eg not straight from the fridge, can also help
– Adding cream to a water based recipe can cause this splitting due to the combination of cream (oil) and stock (water).  Stirring regularly helps to avoid this.


What do I do once it’s happened?

Remember … it’s ok to eat.  While a dish with split cream may not look as nice it’s certainly NOT a reason to throw it out!
Sometimes, if the nature of the dish allows it, you could try giving it a really good stir/mix 🙂
You could also stir through a little cornflour/water slurry.
Don’t be discouraged!  Next time just try the preventative measures and if all else fails … eat this one with your eyes shut and you’ll never know the difference *wink*


Categories: Blog


  1. Chrissy Seymour says:

    Thank you. Exactly what I wanted to know.

  2. Jo says:

    I was just about to throw out a rice pudding but thanks to your advice I now know it is safe to eat! Thank you 🤗

  3. Belinda Beckman says:

    Would UHT cream/milk be similar as cooking cream due to them being heat treated?

  4. Kelly says:

    I was making a tandoori chicken recipe and this happened .
    I realized it was because I used low fat sour cream as a substitute . I am thinking I will still let the thighs slow cook for for the remaining time and see what happens maybe in the end just diacarding the curds … I did want a nice sauce though it’s sort of a shame because I marinated the boneless thighs all night :- /

  5. Mary Gow says:

    This is exactly the information I needed before I used my slow cooker for a dish for the first time. Very helpful and detailed.

  6. Annie Hooper says:

    I was making a pasta sauce using whipping cream when this happened to me. I called a friend who said to take a few tablespoons of the boiling water from the pasta pot and add it to the sauce and whisk like crazy. It was like magic – it all came together. Hope this helps someone.

  7. Carole says:

    Did recipe today with consists of reducing wine by half then add creme fraiche but every time it curdles into thick blobs what I am doing wrong splot a good dish

  8. Zhakz z says:

    I want to make butter cream and you’re saying there is no way of fixing it????😭😭😭

  9. Cassie says:

    My God I am glad I found your post I was about to throw out my whole dinner worried that it had gone bad 😀 thank you thank you thank you for posting

  10. Tracy says:

    With adding cornflour to cream how much would you recommend for 600mls? I’m using a lactose free cream and want to make a potato bake

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