How to Cook with Cream

how to cook with cream

Fat is a great way to add heft, flavor, and satisfaction to our food. Yes, fat! Don’t run away. For years, fat has been a threatening ingredient, one that people avoid. But, as any chef knows, meals get a lot of their flavor from fat. Imagine quesadillas without cheese or pad Thai without peanuts; these are not pretty thoughts. We’re on a mission to show you how to fearlessly use fat in your cooking. Today’s focus us how to cook with cream.

Cream can be a luxurious addition to dinner. If you pour your cream judiciously, you’ll wind up with a rich and flavorful dish that’s still fresh and bright. Though there are a few types of cream to use, today we’re focusing on heavy cream, with a spoonful of sour cream on top.

A Guide to Cooking with Cream

Creamy Salad Dressing

For most vinaigrettes, we drizzle olive oil into vinegar, or a mix of vinegar, mustard, and garlic. But oil doesn’t have to be the only fat used here. You can substitute cream for some of the oil in a vinaigrette to wind up with a more decadent drizzle for your greens. The dressing on our Crispy Chicken Chopped Salad uses buttermilk, but you could substitute cream to an even more delicious effect.

Creamy Sauces

Creamy pasta sauces are some of the best sauces out there. (No offense to tomato sauces.) One of our all-time favorites is pasta primavera. After sautéing some vegetables, we simply pour in heavy cream. On the heat, the cream reduces into a sauce in just a few minutes. Once you add fresh pasta to the skillet, you’ll find that the sauce coats each strand of spaghetti beautifully. But you don’t need the pasta. Cream also turns chicken, fennel, and tomatoes into a lusciously creamy dish of Chicken with Tomato, Fennel & Creamy Tarragon Sauce.

Creamy Soups

Much as in creamy pasta sauces, creamy soups need just a dash or two of cream to both thicken and enrich the broth. In our Corn & Vegetable Chowder, cream turns a sauté of corn and radishes into a bonafide, and yummy, soup. This is a place where you can add as little or as much cream as you’d like–it’s up to you how rich you’d like your soup to be.

Creamy Garnish

how to garnish with sour cream
Don’t skimp on the sour cream

When using cream for garnish, the best–and most obvious option–is sour cream. That’s what we turn to for our fajitas, as well as for dishes like Mushroom Stroganoff that can use a bright and creamy topping. And hey–for dessert, there’s always whipped cream, too.

Now that you know how to cook with cream, try our guides for cooking with nuts, butter, cheese, and oils.

Fried Chicken with Spicy Honey

The secret to our best fried chicken recipe is in the batter: the lactic acid in the buttermilk marinade tenderizes the meat, while the seasonings infuse it with flavor. Also, double dipping the chicken created a thicker, flakier crust — just be sure to dredge the chicken once you’re ready to fry, so it can go directly into the hot oil. We love this fried chicken warm, at room temperature, and even cold from the fridge the next day.

Fried Chicken with Spicy Honey

Serves: 6
Time: 2 hrs 30 mins + marinating time


3 cups buttermilk 
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder 
1 teaspoon mustard powder 
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
4 pounds dark meat chicken, drumsticks, and thighs 
About 4 quarts neutral oil (canola or vegetable)
⅓ cup honey
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
5 cups all-purpose flour  


1. Marinate the chicken:
In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, 2 tablespoons of salt, and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Add the chicken and toss to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 to 12 hours (or up to overnight) to marinate. 

2. Make the spicy honey: 
In a bowl, combine the honey and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like

3. Coat the chicken:
Set a wire rack on a large sheet pan. One hour before cooking, remove the marinated chicken from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Reserving the buttermilk marinade, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate (letting any excess marinade drip off).  In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt, and ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper; evenly divide between 2 bowls. In a large, heavy pot, heat 3 inches of oil on medium heat until it reaches 350°F degrees. Once the oil is ready for frying, working 1 piece at a time, return the chicken to the bowl of reserved buttermilk to coat (letting the excess drip off). Transfer to one of the bowls of seasoned flour and toss to thoroughly coat. Return to the buttermilk, then back to the other bowl of flour. 

4. Fry the chicken:
Working in batches, immediately add the coated chicken to the hot oil. Cook, turning often, 9 to 14 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest piece of the chicken should register 175°F). Transfer the chicken to the prepared wire rack; immediately season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with the spicy honey. 

Chef’s Tips
— Make sure to return the oil to 350°F between batches. Be sure not to overcrowd the pot, as the temperature of the oil will drop with each addition.
— Separate the chicken into small batches of thighs and drumsticks. Frying the same cuts at the same time ensures they finish at the same time.
— Don’t be afraid of the craggly bits or extra coating sticking to the chicken after it’s coated. No need to “tap off any excess” here!
— Seasoning immediately after frying. Salt absorbs better with hot oil.   

Simple Roast Chicken

There are thousands of decisions to make when roasting a chicken — baste? butter? brine? high temp? low and slow? spatchcock? truss? — and we’ve made them all, over and over, in the hunt for the perfect recipe. Perhaps unsurprisingly, our favorite follows a very simple formula, combining high heat, a well-tempered and trussed bird, generous resting time, and just olive oil, salt, and pepper for flavor. We think you’ll love it as much as we do — and hopefully appreciate that we made all the hard choices for you.

Simple Roast Chicken

Serves: 4
Time: 2 hr 50 minutes


1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


1. Prepare the chicken:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels inside and out. Season with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Use butcher’s twine to truss the chicken. Transfer to a wire rack set on a sheet pan and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. While the chicken is tempering, place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 475°F.

2. Roast the chicken & serve your dish:
Rub 1 tablespoon of olive oil all over the chicken. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a generous amount of pepper. Roast for 65 to 70 minutes, or until well-browned and the juices run clear when the skin is pierced between the thigh and leg (an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh, without touching the bone, should read 165°F). Remove from the oven. Let the chicken rest for 35 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish or, if desired, a cutting board to carve before serving. Enjoy!

Homemade Biscuits with Strawberry Jam

Biscuits with Strawberry Jam | Blue Apron

Stop what you’re doing. Put down what you’re eating. The best biscuit recipe you’ve ever encountered is at hand, and it’s time to make biscuits for breakfast. To pair with the rich, flaky breakfast breads, we’ve got a pared-down version of homemade strawberry jam.

Biscuits with Strawberry Jam | Blue Apron
Biscuits with Strawberry Jam3

What makes a great biscuit? The quality of its flakes. That means that when you pull apart the two halves of a biscuit, the crumb tears into flakes. Biscuits should be light, yet rich. The outside should be crisp and golden, while the inside must be soft and, as already mentioned, flaky. 

To achieve these requirements, a few tips. First, you must use cold butter and buttermilk. By keeping the butter very, very cold (as in, straight from the fridge), you make sure that little crumbs of it remain isolated in the dough, separating the flour into “layers.” Keeping the buttermilk cold helps preserve the cool temperature of the biscuits–until they hit the oven. Then, when the butter crumbs finally melt, the flour “layers” turn into those precious flakes.

Biscuits with Strawberry Jam | Blue Apron

We cut our biscuits out with a small round cutter–but you could use a glass.

Biscuits with Strawberry Jam | Blue Apron

While the biscuits are baking, cube a lot of strawberries, and let them simmer with sugar in a pot. They’re reduce and thicken, and that’s your jam. Pull the biscuits from the oven. You must eat them warm. Split them in half, spread with butter, and dollop on the jam. Yum!

Get the whole recipe below.

Homemade Biscuits with Strawberry Jam

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.

Using your hands, “cut” or “crumble” the butter into the flour mixture by rubbing the butter and flour mixture together until the butter is very thin and evenly distributed.

Using a spatula, wooden spoon or your hands, stir in the buttermilk and gently mix just until a dough forms, trying not to mix too much as this will toughen the dough.

Place the dough onto a floured surface and roll or press out until about 1” thick. Using a biscuit cutter or an inverted drinking cup, cut out 12 3” discs by pressing the cutter straight down as you cut—do not twist the cutter as this compacts and seals the edges of your biscuit, making them less light and flaky. (If you have extra dough, you can reroll it, but the biscuits won’t be as light and fluffy.) Place the cut out biscuits on a greased sheet pan and bake, on the middle rack and turning the pan halfway through, for 14 to 17 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Serve with your choice of garnish, butter, jam or make egg sandwiches with them!

Guacamole Recipe

Homemade Guacamole and Chips

Football season is approaching. That means that some people are getting excited about their favorite team, and others are getting excited about their favorite snack foods. At Blue Apron, our thoughts instantly turn our favorite homemade guacamole and tortilla chips. 

Our  game day guacamole recipe skews a little more Tex-Mex than traditional. This version is choc full of tomato chunks, spicy jalapeño, and bright herbs. 

Ripe Avocados for Guacamole Recipe

Not only is homemade guacamole delicious, it’s made entirely from fruits and vegetables (avocados are technically a fruit).  It’s a great way treat yourself to a satisfying snack without that’s much more much more healthful than something like a BBQ Chicken or Seven-Layer Dip. For this version, we also created baked tortilla chips, which keeps this snack even lighter. Just cut corn tortillas into triangles, toss them with oil, and bake until crisp. For bonus fun, check out the playful way we arrange the chips and guacamole for serving.

Start with this recipe, and feel free customize it to suit your taste (more spice! less onion! less cilantro!)

Watch now to see how we do it.


How to Make Homemade Guacamole

  • 3 avocados, peeled and cubed with pits removed
  • 1 cup cubed and stemmed tomatoes
  • 1 cup finely chopped jalapeño, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 cup cilantro, stems removed 
  • 1 cup small-diced red onion 

Preparation is easy. Just combine all ingredients in a bowl and mash with a fork until the avocado is creamy and everything is combined. Serve with homemade or your favorite store-bought corn chips. 

Like watching cooking videos? Subscribe to our channel on YouTube!

The Elements of Arepas

When we created these arepas, the scent of browning, spicy chorizo was wafting through our kitchen. We had just invented a vegetarian version of the South American corn cakes – these Queso and Pepper Arepas with Kale Salad – and were hurrying to make sure that the meat eaters didn’t miss out on this specialty, which hails from Colombia and Venezuela. That’s where the chorizo came in.

Along with the spicy sausage, our test kitchen smelled of corn, crisping up in our pan, and loads of peppers–both poblanos and red bell peppers–softening. Our stomachs growled.

Marc Bittman described arepas in the New York Times as “corn-based English muffins.” Like English muffins, arepas are stuffed–make that overstuffed–with any filling you desire. Hence the cheese and peppers, then the chorizo.

Their affiliation with sandwiches is the end of that similarity, in our opinion. Arepas are made with a quick-cooking corn flour called masarepa, so they’re naturally gluten free. The masarepa absorbs added water and turns into a dough before your eyes. No need to add anything else but a pinch of salt before kneading it up.

Once formed into discs, arepas can be fried or baked. We pan-fry our version so the edges get slightly crispy, then finish them in the oven so the insides get completely cooked through before we slice them up and fill them with sausage. And peppers. And chimichurri.

But don’t let your imagination stop at chorizo. Arepa fillings can range from rustic to elevated. They can have one ingredeint like cheese, preferably melty, or a slew of complementary fixings, like ours. And arepas aren’t required to taste of South America. Ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly are perfectly suitable for the center of an arepa, especially to the American children of Colombians and Venezuelans.

You can see the full recipe for making Chorizo Arepas on the recipe card.

Dinner Conversation: Grandma’s Meals and Mom’s Day Brunch

Flowery Ice Cubes from A Cozy Kitchen

Each week, we’ll round up posts, videos, and even playlists to entertain you while you cook, and provide conversation fodder for tonight’s Blue Apron dinner. Today we’re planning for this weekend’s main event, Mother’s Day, a holiday best celebrated with comforting family food.

Grandma’s Best Food – Slate
This photographer’s travels took him to 58 countries, where he photographed the signature dishes of grandmas around the world, from Alaska to India and from moose steak to Chicken Vindaloo. And who taught mom to cook? Probably grandma!

Healthy Mother’s Day Brunching – Greatist
Greatist rounded up five extraordinarily delicious-looking brunch recipes, because not all holidays have to be built around gooey, cheesy, bacon-y celebration foods, and in fact we bet mom prefers Baked Blueberry French Toast to something more decadent.

Flowery Ice Cubes – A Cozy Kitchen
Make an extra-special drink for mom featuring gin, rhubarb syrup, and these creative, darling, fancy, mom-pleasing ice cubes, made from edible flowers.

Quick (but Gourmet) Weeknight Dinners – Daily Muse
We shared some of our favorite quick dinners with The Daily Muse’s readers, to be sure that all those busy professionals who don’t subscribe to Blue Apron (yet!) aren’t missing out on the fun.

Joan Nathan’s Cheese Blintzes – Food52
Cheese blintzes with berries are designed to be eaten on the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, but  we think they’re perfectly designed to be mom pleasers, whether or not you bring them to mom in bed. Watch Joan get to work making the blintzes on a cooking video from Tablet:

7 Jazzy Southern-Style Dinner Ideas

We’re looking south of the Mason Dixon line for dinner ideas, inspired by one of the recipes in next week’s vegetarian box–Fried Green Tomatoes with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw, which is our early-bird answer to your summer tomato cravings.

From there, we head down to Texas with chicken-fried steak, cook up a bowl of grits, and then jump east to Louisiana where two recipes–a gumbo and a vegetarian rice and beans–keep the flavor coming.

Scroll down for more Southern-style goodness from our archives and click through to see the full recipes.

Smothered Two-Cheese Grits and Greens

These grits get their name from the Southern practice of “smothering” food in gravy or vegetables–in this case, we use sautéed onions, which top a pile of rich and cheesy grits.

Chicken Fried Steak with Collard Greens and Baked Beans

We’ve given steak the fried chicken treatment here. The essential southern green–collards–rounds out the protein, and baked beans simmered with molasses and bacon complete the mood.

Louisiana-Style Red Lentils & Brown Rice

This vegetarian centerpiece dish makes the most of the worldwide vegetarian staple: beans and rice. Softened green pepper, celery, onion, and tomato paste are a hearty base for the red lentils simmered in veggie broth.

Shrimp Étouffée with Jasmine Rice

We start building up the flavor here with the Cajun trinity–celery, onion, and red bell pepper–and comes together in a tomato sauce spiced with a pinch of cayenne (but don’t literally pinch it, especially not before rubbing your eyes!).

Chicken Gumbo with Sausage and Okra

This rendition of gumbo features chicken breast and spicy pork sausage in a tomato-y sauce thickened with okra and a roux and flavored with our blend of Cajun spice.

BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches

Behold, the vegetarian answer to the rich meats that emerge from smokers in the back of BBQ joints all over the south. A sweet Memphis-style sauce coats grain-rich tempeh sautéed with onion and piled onto a potato roll.