There is nothing as good as homemade whipped cream – don’t be afraid to give it a try! It’s easy. We show you how to make it for desserts, for hot chocolate & beverages, and for frosting on cakes.
What is whipped cream?
It is a high-fat cream that is whipped by hand with a whisk, or by a hand-held or stand mixer until it is light and fluffy. Whipped cream with sugar and vanilla is called Chantilly cream or Crème chantilly.
Which cream to use for whipping?
You absolutely have to use a high-fat cream in order for it to whip into a luscious foam. Harold McGee, author of On Food and Cooking, is an authority on the history and science of food and cooking explains why:
Whipped cream is an intimate intermingling of liquid and air, with the air divided into tiny bubbles and the cream spread out and immobilized in the microscopically thin bubble walls…the cream foam is stabilized by fat.
Don’t try to go “light” when making whipped cream. It just won’t work. Literally.
The minimum fat concentration for successful whipped cream is 30%. More is better.
What NOT to use.
The fat content for these creams are too low to use.
- light cream
- half and half
- cereal cream
- coffee cream
- table cream
- sterilized cream
- single cream
- evaporated milk
- whole milk
- clotted cream
- extra-thick double cream
What cream to use.
- heavy cream
- whipping cream
- double cream
- full cream
- manufacturer’s cream
Non-dairy cream substitutes.
*Chill them first.
- coconut milk or cream (but not sweetened cream of coconut which is different)
- unsweetened cashew cream
What equipment will you use?
You can whip the cream 3 different ways – what do you have on hand?
- You can make whipped cream with a whisk and muscle power. This gives you more control over the consistency of your whipped cream.
- Most people use a hand mixer or a stand mixer when whipping cream. Keep close watch and stop when you have firm peaks, because over-whipping can create homemade butter instead!
- Former L.A. Times Test Kitchen director Donna Deane recommends using a food processor to whip cream. Put cold cream and other ingredients in the food processor (which does not have to be chilled), and process for a minute or two. It’s easier to over-whip, so be extra vigilant. She says it produces a richer whipped cream with a nicer texture.
An important whipped cream tip.
An important part of whipped cream preparation is to keep everything chilled.
Always chill the mixing bowl & beaters 5 -10 minutes before use for best results.
Cream whips better when it’s cold, so you should chill your mixing bowl and mixer beaters in the freezer a few minutes before you begin.
Basically, the temperature of the whipped cream effects:
- the size of the bubbles that form
- how fat clings to itself
- the time it takes to whip
- how light & fluffy it will get
- how long it will stay that way
Want more? Here’s the science behind it from the Journal of Dairy Science:
The temperature range of 7.5 to 12.5°C is recommended for making whipped creams with a good texture, and a specific temperature should be decided when taking into account the preferred overrun. The correlation between the whipped cream strain hardness and serum viscosity was high (R2=0.906) and persisted throughout the temperature range tested (5 to 15°C).
A similar result was obtained at a different whipping speed (140rpm). The multiple regression analysis in the range of 5 to 12.5°C indicated a high correlation (R2=0.946) in which a dependent variable was the storage modulus of whipped cream and independent variables were bubble surface area and serum viscosity.
Fat & Air
Therefore, fat aggregation and air bubble properties are important factors in the development of cream hardness. The results of this study suggest that whipping temperature influences fat globule aggregation and the properties of air bubbles in whipped cream, which alters its rheological properties.
#1: Whipped Cream Recipe for Toppings
This easy whipped cream recipe is perfect for topping beverages or desserts. You can add a dollop off a spoon or with a piping bag.
This recipe is best for your first try because there are no complicated steps. It has a secret ingredient to help stabilize it, thanks to a pro who knows, pastry chef Anna Olson: skimmed milk powder.
Make it up to a day in advance & keep refrigerated until you need it. The cream will double in volume, so 1 cup of heavy cream makes 2 cups whipped cream which is enough for 6 – 8 large dollops.
- 2 c heavy cream
- 1/4 c sugar
- 2 Tbsp skim milk powder
Put large metal bowl and whisk or beaters in freezer for 5 – 10 minutes. (You need a large bowl because it tends to splash, and will double in volume.)
Pour cream straight from the fridge into the bowl.
Pour cream and sugar in chilled mixer bowl.
Begin whipping on medium speed.
In about 30 seconds you’ll see bubbles forming and then it will become frothy. In about 5 minutes there will be “ribbons” forming, which are indentations that stay in the cream after the beaters pass through. Mix on medium-high speed until there is a thick volume and slight peaks. It will have the consistency of frosting. (Don't over-mix or it will turn to butter!)
Stop whipping when there are firm peaks.
In 7 – 8 minutes there is double the volume and the indentations in the cream will stay longer. If you take your whisk or beaters out of the cream, it will cling to it with a soft peak that holds. Turn off mixer and check whipping cream: running a utensil lightly through it should leave a distinct mark that remains. If it fills in, whip a little longer.
Refrigerate after making. Can stay in fridge up to 24 hours after making. Put on dessert or beverage just before serving.
#2: Stabilized Whipped Cream for Desserts
Whipped cream on its own loses its shape and volume quickly, so if you’re planning to use it as frosting on a cake or as part of a stunning dessert, you will need to use a stabilizer to keep its froth thicker and hold its shape for a longer period of time.
Gelatin is the best way to stabilize whipped cream when using as an icing or a frosting because it will hold its shape for a couple of hours. This requires an extra step to bloom the gelatin but don’t worry, it’s easy.
Always Bloom the Gelatin Before Using
A cold liquid makes each gelatin granule enlarge as it absorbs the liquid. This is called “blooming”.
Sprinkling the gelatin over the surface of the cold liquid (rather than putting the powder in the bowl first) keeps the gelatin from clumping.
Let it sit for 3 – 5 minutes. Then it will dissolve evenly when the boiling water is added.
- 4 c heavy cream
- ½ c sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 2 tsp unflavored Knox gelatin 1 envelope
- 3 Tbsp cold water
- 3 Tbsp boiling hot water
Prepare stabilizer first.
Bloom the gelatin: Put the cold water in a small bowl, sprinkle gelating carefully over the surface of the water so it won't clump, stirring until dissolved, and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
Whipping the cream.
Add the stabilizer.
Turn mixer on at medium speed and pour cooled stabilizer down the side of the mixing bowl so the beaters can pull it up and mix it into the thickened cream.
Stop whipping when there are firm peaks.
#3: Stabilized Whipped Cream as a Cake Filling
You want a thicker whipped cream as a cake filling so it won’t squish all over when you put the top cake layer on. This recipe uses cream cheese as a stabilizer. (You can pipe or spread it just like frosting.)
The cream cheese does NOT affect the flavor of the whipped cream.
- 1 ½ c heavy whipping cream
- ½ pkg cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ c sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Pour cream in chilled mixer bowl. Mix on low speed until there is a volume to the cream. It has a slight peak that curves over, not quite firm.
- In a separate bowl, soften the cream cheese (by squishing with a spatula) then beat in the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Fold in whipped cream with spatula. Refrigerate until needed.
How to fix over-whipped cream
You can fix over-whipped cream if you catch it in time. If it looks stiff and coarse like it’s separating, you’ve whipped it too much.
If your whipped cream begins to lose its smooth texture, stop whipping immediately and you may be able to fix it.
At this point, whisk by hand so you have more control. Pour in a little cream (a couple tablespoons) and gently whisk, repeating until you have the proper texture.
(Of course, this rescue assumes that you still have some cream on hand!)
Don’t Toss Leftover Whipped Cream – Freeze It!
Christine Gallary at Kitchn has a great idea for leftover whipped cream so it can be used another day as dessert topping or as a beverage topping.
First line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then pipe swirls and squiggles for decorations or make dollops for beverage & dessert toppings.
Make them all different sizes for desserts or to fit different mugs.
Put baking sheet in freezer until they are frozen solid. Place them in an airtight container or freezer bag until you need them.
For beverages, you can put the frozen whipped cream right in your coffee or hot chocolate.
For desserts, take them out of the freezer, sit them on the dessert for 15 – 20 minutes before serving.
Flavoring Whipped Cream
You can add an extra pizzazz to your desserts by flavoring whipped cream with chocolate, extracts, liqueurs, coffees or citrus zest.
It’s time to get the liqueurs out that were left over from Christmas, and check your spice cupboard for the extract you used for that one marvelous dessert but has been sitting neglected.
Add 1 Tbsp sugar and flavorings at the soft peak stage, when the cream starts to thicken, after about 5 minutes.
Experimenting? Begin with 1/4 teaspoon of flavoring, whisk for a moment, then taste and add more if necessary. You need to have all your flavorings added to the whipped cream before it is a firm peak or it won’t blend properly.
When using a liqueur, brandy or rum use 1 tsp at the most.
Check out the OliveNation extracts and flavorings. You can make anything your heart desires!
Try these combinations for flavoring whipped cream
Add these ingredients per 1 cup of cream (makes 2 cups of whipped cream.) I recommend using a stabilized whipped cream recipe when flavoring.
1 Tbsp sugar + 1/4 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp apricot extract + 3 drops red food coloring + 7 drops yellow food coloring
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp OliveNation Bacon Natural Flavoring
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp banana extract
2 Tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp caramel extract
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp chai extract + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cherry extract + 2-3 drops red food coloring
2 Tbsp of cocoa + 1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sugar + 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp sugar + 2 tsp coconut extract + 2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee + 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp OliveNation Cotton Candy extract + 2 drops red food coloring
2 Tbsp brown sugar + 1 tsp OliveNation Eggnog Extract
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp hazelnut extract + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp OliveNation Key Lime extract
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp mango extract
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
2 Tbsp sugar + 1/4 tsp peppermint extract + 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips + 3 drops green food coloring
2 tsp instant coffee + 1 Tbsp of cocoa + 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 Tbsp orange zest + 2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract + 3 -5 drops red food coloring + 5-7 drops yellow food coloring
1 Tbsp sugar + 2 tsp passionfruit extract
2 Tbsp sugar + 2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp sugar + 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
1 Tbsp sugar + 2 tsp coconut extract + 2 tsp pineapple extract OR
1 Tbsp sugar + 1 tsp coconut rum + 1 tsp pineapple rum
2 tsp lemon extract + 1 Tbsp sugar + 1/2 tsp vanilla extract + 2 drops red food coloring
2 Tbsp sugar + 1/4 c very well mashed raspberries + 1/4 cup very finely chopped white chocolate OR
2 Tbsp sugar + OliveNation red raspberry extract + OliveNation white chocolate flavoring
(see photo above)
1/2 tsp rose water + 1 Tbsp sugar + 3-5 drops red food coloring
Want more? See all of our dessert recipes.
See our dessert recipe index for special occasions or for every day. Dessert is a wonderful way to cleanse your palate at the end of a meal, welcome guests, add fun to girl’s night in and comfort the family.
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