You Can Replace Cream With Gata + Recipes To Try

All-purpose cream makes dishes creamy, but only gata can make it creamier AND tastier.
ginataang kalabasa with malunggay in a wooden bowl
Photo by Majoy Siason

All-purpose cream is a special ingredient that can make many dishes supremely delicious with its silky creaminess. Sometimes, however, too much creaminess can be heavy, cloying, and even downright unappealing when you have too much of it. 

We can solve that problem with a simple swap! Swap out your all-purpose cream packs with another kind of cream: coconut cream

How do you use coconut cream in recipes? 

We can give you at least four good reasons to use coconut cream (gata) instead of all-purpose cream in your recipes! Here’s why this vegetarian-friendly ingredient is a great substitute when it comes to making it not only creamier but also infinitely more delicious. 

Photo by Majoy Siason

1 It adds creaminess plus more flavor. 

The best reason to use coconut cream or gata instead of all-purpose cream is its ability to make your dish creamy, but it will also give it the delicious aroma and taste that only coconut can give. It’s a warmth that you can’t just replicate with other ingredients! This is a great trait for anyone who is looking to add creaminess and more flavor to their dish, but doesn’t know how to do it without adding more ingredients. 


Another interesting characteristic of coconut cream is the fact that while it’s a substitute for cream, it’s an exact substitute. All that means is that if for every 1 cup all-purpose cream you’re supposed to use in a recipe, you can use 1 cup coconut cream as a substitute. This 1:1 substitute ratio is great because there’s no math involved! 

You’ll love this easy substitute in your recipes! Give it go with one of these creamy recipes that use all-purpose cream but can be made better with a quick swap of coconut cream: 

Photo by Aldwin Aspillera

2 It makes dishes less rich while remaining creamy. 

While not all dishes will benefit from the flavor of coconut in it, for other dishes, it will improve not only its flavor but it can also lighten the sometimes too rich taste of a dish. In fact, if you find you can’t eat more than just a few spoonfuls of a creamy dish or find you add more water to a dish just because it’s too thick, a switch to coconut cream can make it taste and feel lighter on your palate.


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That’s because unlike cream, coconut cream is an extraction using water. While it will deliver the creaminess you want in a dish, it won’t be as creamy as a dish which uses all-purpose cream but it can have a more complex flavor and feel less heavy. 

Try it in one of these thick and creamy recipes: 

Icy, creamy, and homemade, this is the buko pandan dessert made even better as an ice cream.
Photo by Karishma Etong

2 It’s thick enough to use instead of whipping cream. 

Ice cream has long been thought of as anything that is icy and creamy. While you can say that many icy treats are “ice cream”, you can actually be wrong. That’s why there’s a distinct difference among all the icy treats you love! There are sorbets, sherbets, gelato, and ice cream. 

All of these icy desserts are delicious but only one has cream in it: ice cream. It’s in the name, after all, and it gets it from the custard that acts as the base of homemade ice cream. However, there is a way to make even this wonderful dessert still delicious without sacrificing flavor, taste, and even effort: use coconut cream instead of cream. 


The reason why coconut cream can be a great substitute for cream in ice cream is the fact that it freezes well. It’s extracted using water which freezes and it also contains coconut oil which will harden at an even faster rate than water when placed in the freezer. All these characteristics make it ideal for adding it into ice cream! 

When you’re ready to try your hand at homemade ice cream, try these coconut cream-based flavors first: 

Photo by Bianca Laxamana

3 It’s incredible paired with chili. 

You can’t help but admire an entire province in love with the combination of coconut cream and siling labuyo. Bicol is one of those provinces where the sweet and creamy coconut and searing heat of chili peppers have been perfected into numerous recipes!

The most popular of these dishes has to be the Bicol Express. There’s laing, too! While many Manileños will claim this creamy coconut cream, pork, and chili pepper recipe is spicy enough, this recipe may be claimed to be NOT spicy enough for a Bicolano. One thing they might be able to agree about, however, is that this dish is super creamy and delicious, thanks to the coconut cream. 

Want to give this recipe a try? Try these other creamy and spicy recipes, too!   

Photo by Majoy Siason

4 It makes dishes vegetarian-friendly. 

With the trend of being more environmentally conscious, there are those who have opted to eat more vegetables in their diet and stay away from meat, even if it’s just one day of the week. For those of us who love our vegetables, coconut cream is a great way to still have the rich, flavorful, and creamy dishes we love but without the heft of meat or cloying cream. 

Ginataang vegetable dishes make fantastic side dishes or even a satisfying main meal with a steaming bowl of rice. The heft of hearty vegetables like this creamy kalabasa recipe is proof that you don’t need to have rich food all the time to have a delicious and wonderful meal on the table. 


These creamy vegetable recipes may just move you to have more vegetables every mealtime when it’s as tasty and flavorful as these recipes are:  

Coconut cream as well as its more liquid version, coconut milk (kakang gata), should really be used in your kitchen more often! We think it’s a tremendous shame to not discover how else you can use this versatile ingredient, especially since we have coconuts readily available whenever we want. Just this reason alone should encourage you take a look at how else you can swap out that pack of cream and choose to go with our own kakang gata instead when making your menu for the day. 



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