Clotted cream is really easy for ANYONE to make at home, regardless of your kitchen expertise. The recipe is so straightforward that everybody from experienced bakers to novices can learn how to make it.
The simplest way to make clotted cream is to pour heavy whipping cream into a pot and then put it in the oven on low heat. When you remove the pot many hours later, you have clotted cream resting on top, like magic.
Read on to learn the details and an even easier way to make clotted cream.
What is Clotted Cream?
If you are in the United States and have never heard of clotted cream, don’t feel bad. I hadn’t heard of it until a visit to a local British restaurant, The London Tea Room. It’s a southwest British condiment that came about when farmers tried to reduce the amount of waste from milk production.
Clotted cream tastes like a cross between butter and whipped cream. It’s made at home by heating heavy whipping cream with low, indirect heat – typically using an oven, a rice cooker, a slow cooker, or another indirect heating method. When it cools, the “clotted” cream rises to the surface and is skimmed off and used.
Why You Should Make Homemade Clotted Cream
You should make it yourself because it is so easy to make – and the end result tastes better than most store-bought versions.
How does homemade clotted cream compare to its store-bought counterpart? I bought some English Luxury Clotted Cream and tasted mine alongside it. The texture was the same (like butter, but a bit creamier), however mine had a slightly sweeter, much fresher, and richer flavor. It was worlds better. There may be really amazing store-bought clotted cream options out there, but they are not readily available at a grocery store near me.
What You’ll Need
There are two things you will need to make this clotted cream recipe:
- Heavy whipping cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized – Clotting will work better with an unpasteurized or pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized) cream. I didn’t try making the recipe with an ultra-pasteurized cream, but – based on my research – I suspect it wouldn’t work well. It is also best to look for heavy whipping cream with as high a fat content as you can find; I used local brands that have 40% fat content. The quality of your clotted cream will depend on the quality of your heavy whipping cream, so splurge and buy the freshest, best cream available to you.
- Time – This recipe for clotted cream can take over 8 hours and you will need to check in on it periodically after an initial 8 hour period is up. (The pan with cream was heating in my oven for so long that the oven shut itself off. I learned that some ovens will automatically turn themselves off as a safety precaution, so check your manual and set an alarm to turn it back on if yours behaves like this.) You will need another 8 hours to chill the homemade clotted cream before you can use it.
For more information on ultra-pasteurization and why it’s not ideal for making clotted cream, check out the FAQ from the New England Cheese Making Society.
Best Ways to Make Clotted Cream
I’ve extensively tested two different methods of making clotted cream – making it in a pot and making it in a rice cooker. As I try other methods, I’ll be sure to update this section with new information and photos.
How to Make Clotted Cream in a Pot
I got the recipe for clotted cream from Sustainable Table. As I said above, there isn’t much to it. There is only one ingredient: heavy whipping cream. Use as much as you would like. I used two pints (4 cups) – be sure to see my notes above about about not using ultra-pasteurized cream.
To make clotted cream:
- Pour heavy whipping cream into an oven-safe pot.
- Cover the pot and place it into an oven set at 180 F.
- Leave the covered pot in the oven for at least 8 hours. You will know that the clotted cream recipe is done when a thick, yellowish skin forms above the cream, as shown below.
- Let the pot cool to room temperature and then place in a refrigerator for another 8 hours.
- Skim off the yellowish skin above the cream in your pot and put into a jar or other container – this is the clotted cream! The remaining milky liquid is a great addition to coffee or tea, but isn’t suitable for most baking or making chantilly cream as much of its fat has been removed.
How to Make Clotted Cream in a Rice Cooker
It’s trivial to make clotted cream in a rice cooker as long as it has a keep warm setting that keeps the liquid above 140 F. A temperature above 140 F is necessary to make the cream clot and to inhibit bacterial growth.
My rice cooker is a basic model that works perfectly well for this task, but you should first try it in yours with some water to make sure that your rice cooker will work.
- Pour heavy whipping cream into the bowl of your rice cooker.
- Next, put the lid on your rice cooker (or close it if it’s that type of machine) and set to keep warm. You’re going to want it to remain on the keep warm setting for 12 hours. Check periodically to make sure your rice cooker hasn’t shut off.
- Remove the rice cooker bowl, allow to cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Use a slotted spoon to skim the yellowish liquid – the clotted cream – off of the surface. Store in a sealed jar in the refrigerator.
How to Make Clotted Cream in a Slow Cooker
Many of you have asked whether you can make clotted cream in a slow cooker. The answer is maybe – just make sure that your slow cooker has a setting that is 180 F or lower (most don’t). Macheesmo has a great post that details how to make slow cooker clotted cream; read the comments to see all of the pitfalls of this method and why it may not be the best one.
How to Make Clotted Cream in an Instant Pot
You can make clotted cream in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. I haven’t personally done it yet. But, I’ve read that the yogurt setting works wonderfully for Instant Pot clotted cream. As always, I recommend that you use a different silicone sealing ring when making sweet dishes than you use when making savory ones.
I use four cups of heavy whipping cream to make clotted cream. The four cups yielded 1.5 cups of clotted cream.
The clotted cream can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Use it to top pancakes, toast, crumpets, or cranberry orange scones. You can also use it to make clotted cream ice cream! Please refer to my post on how to use clotted cream for some other delicious usage ideas.
- 4 cups heavy whipping cream use heavy whipping cream that isn't ultra-pasturized
- Pour the cream into a heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot. The cream should come up the side of the pot somewhere between one and three inches.
- Cover the pot and put it in the oven on 180 F.
- Leave the covered pot in the oven for at least 8 hours. My four cups took 12 hours (until my oven automatically turned off). You'll know it's done because there will be a thick yellowish skin above the cream, as shown above. That skin is the clotted cream.
- Let the pot cool at room temperature, then put it in the refrigerator for another 8 hours.
- Skim and reserve the clotted cream from the top of the pot. (The milky liquid underneath is great for coffee and tea, but won't work well for most baking applications as the fat has been skimmed off as part of clotted cream.)
- Add four cups of heavy whipping cream to your rice cooker bowl and place into your rice cooker.
- Set the rice cooker to keep warm and leave, covered, on the keep warm setting for 12 hours. Check periodically to make sure that your rice cooker hasn't shut off.
- Remove the bowl, allow to cool to room temperature, and refrigerate for 8 hours.
- Using a slotted spoon, skim the yellowish surface of the liquid off and store in a jar in a refrigerator.