Homemade Whipped Cream. Take Action Now!

by Ella

There’s nothing lovelier than a heap of billowy whipped cream on a piece of key lime pie or strawberry tart, on a sundae, or in the middle of a cake. Whipped cream also makes the base for some ice creams and parfaits, mousses and tortes.

The mechanics of whipping cream are relatively simple, all you are doing is encouraging the fat molecules to join together to trap air, but there are a few rules to apply to make it as easy as possible, and to ensure you don’t end up with butter.


Steps to Whipping Cream

1. The Essential Ingredients:

The foundation of any whipped cream masterpiece lies in its ingredients. Ensure that you have the following essentials on hand:


Heavy Cream: Choose heavy cream with a high fat content (usually around 36% to 40%). The fat content is key to achieving a stable and airy whipped cream.


Sweetener (Optional): Granulated sugar, powdered sugar, or other sweeteners can be added to taste. Sweetening the cream enhances flavor and balances the richness.


Flavorings (Optional): Vanilla extract, almond extract, or other flavorings can be added for an extra layer of taste complexity.

See Also: Mascarpone vs Cream Cheese: What’s the Difference?

2. Essential Tools:

Equipping yourself with the right tools greatly contributes to the success of whipping cream. These tools include:

Mixing Bowl: Opt for a stainless steel or glass bowl. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator for about 15-30 minutes before whipping cream. Cold equipment helps the cream whip faster and hold its shape.

Whisk or Electric Mixer: A balloon whisk or an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment will help you achieve the desired whipped cream consistency efficiently.

3. How to Whip Cream:

Follow these steps for consistently perfect whipped cream:

Step 1: Chill Everything:

Place the mixing bowl, whisk, or mixer attachments in the refrigerator to ensure they are thoroughly chilled.

Step 2: Measure and Add the Cream:

Measure the desired amount of heavy cream and pour it into the chilled mixing bowl.

Step 3: Sweeten and Flavor (Optional):

Add the desired amount of sweetener and any flavorings you prefer. Remember that a little goes a long way, so start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

Step 4: Begin Whipping:

Using a whisk or an electric mixer on low speed, start whipping the cream. Gradually increase the speed as the cream thickens.

Step 5: Observe the Progress:

Whip until the cream begins to thicken and soft peaks form. Soft peaks are characterized by peaks that hold their shape but slightly curl over at the tips when the whisk is lifted.

Step 6: Achieving Stiff Peaks:

Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Stiff peaks are firm and stand upright when the whisk is lifted.

Step 7: Watch for Over-Whipping:

Be cautious not to over-whip the cream. Over-whipped cream becomes grainy and can even turn into butter. If you notice the cream clumping or becoming too thick, you’ve reached the over-whipped stage.

Step 8: Serve Immediately:

Whipped cream is best used immediately. If you need to store it, cover and refrigerate it. Before using refrigerated whipped cream, give it a gentle whisk to restore its texture.

See Also: Freezing & Using Cream Cheese: A Comprehensive Guide

Mastering the Techniques for Whipping Cream to Perfection

1. Choose the Right Cream: The type of cream you choose serves as the foundation for your whipped cream masterpiece. Opt for heavy whipping cream with a fat content of around 36% to 40%. The higher fat content contributes to the cream’s stability and the ability to hold its shape when whipped.

2. Use Chilled Equipment: Cold equipment is essential for successful whipped cream. Begin by chilling your mixing bowl, whisk, or electric mixer attachments in the refrigerator for at least 15 to 30 minutes. Cold equipment ensures that the cream whips faster and holds its structure more effectively.

3. Measure Accurately: Accurate measurements of both cream and sweeteners are crucial. Use measuring cups and spoons to ensure that you’re adding the right proportions of ingredients, which directly impacts the texture and taste of the whipped cream.

4. Selecting Your Whipping Weapon: You can use an electric hand mixer, stand mixer, food processor (see below) or balloon whisk (and elbow grease) but you need to adjust the timings depending on which method you use. If you plan on using a balloon whisk then the bigger the head is, the less effort you’ll have to put in. A balloon whisk with a wire ball inside it (and hard ball inside that) will work even more efficiently. You can use a flat whisk, or at a pinch a fork – sometimes needs must – but it will take you much, much longer.

5. Gradually Increase Mixing Speed: Whether you’re using a hand whisk or an electric mixer, start on low speed and gradually increase as the cream thickens. This approach prevents splattering and allows the cream to incorporate air evenly.

6. Soft Peaks to Stiff Peaks:

Understand the stages of whipped cream consistency:

  • Soft Peaks: When the cream begins to thicken and can hold its shape, but the peaks slightly curl over when the whisk is lifted. This is ideal for toppings and fillings that require a softer texture.
  • Stiff Peaks: Continue whipping beyond soft peaks until the cream forms stiff peaks. Stiff peaks hold their shape firmly and stand upright when the whisk is lifted. This consistency is suitable for piped decorations and stability in layered desserts.

Troubleshooting Whipped Cream

Encountering challenges while whipping cream is not uncommon. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

1. Not Thickening: If your cream isn’t thickening, your cream or equipment might not be cold enough. Pop them back in the refrigerator and try again.

2. Over-Whipping: If you over-whip the cream, it will become grainy and eventually turn into butter. If this happens, salvage it by mixing the butter back into the liquid (buttermilk) and using it for cooking.

3. Lumps or Curdling: Over-whipping or using cream with a low fat content can result in lumpy or curdled whipped cream. Start over with properly chilled equipment and cream.

Creative Variations

Whipped cream is a canvas for creativity. Consider experimenting with the following variations:

1. Flavored Whipped Cream: Add extracts like vanilla, almond, or citrus zest to infuse unique flavors.

2. Chocolate Whipped Cream: Fold in melted and cooled chocolate for a luscious chocolate-flavored whipped cream.

3. Fruit-Infused Whipped Cream: Puree fruits like strawberries, raspberries, or mangoes and fold them into the whipped cream for a burst of fruity goodness.

4. Spiced Whipped Cream: Add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom for a warm and inviting twist.

Applications of Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is a versatile addition to a myriad of culinary creations:

1. Dessert Toppings:

Whipped cream serves as the quintessential finishing touch for a wide range of desserts, enhancing their appeal and taste:

Pies and Tarts: Crown fruit pies, custard tarts, and cream pies with dollops of whipped cream to balance flavors and add visual allure.

Cakes and Cupcakes: Frost cakes with a generous layer of whipped cream for a lighter alternative to heavy buttercream. Decorate cupcakes with swirls of whipped cream and garnishes for a charming presentation.

Fruit Desserts: Pair whipped cream with fresh berries, sliced fruits, or fruit salads to create a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Puddings and Parfaits: Layer whipped cream with puddings, mousses, or yogurt in parfaits for a delightful contrast in textures.

2. Hot and Cold Beverages:

Whipped cream brings a delightful twist to both hot and cold beverages, enhancing their richness and appeal:

Hot Cocoa and Coffee: Top hot cocoa, cappuccinos, lattes, and coffee beverages with a dollop of whipped cream for added creaminess and indulgence.

Milkshakes and Smoothies: Enhance the experience of sipping on milkshakes and smoothies by layering them with whipped cream, creating a balance between thick and airy textures.

Cocktails and Mocktails: Float whipped cream on top of cocktails and mocktails for a touch of elegance and a luxurious mouthfeel.

3. Ice Cream and Frozen Treats:

Whipped cream harmonizes beautifully with frozen delights, contributing a light and airy contrast:

Ice Cream Sundaes: Top ice cream sundaes with a cloud of whipped cream and garnishes like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or fruit.

Gelato and Sorbet: Crown scoops of gelato or sorbet with whipped cream for an indulgent dessert experience.

Frozen Pies and Cakes: Elevate frozen pies and cakes with a layer of whipped cream, providing a creamy counterpoint to their frozen textures.

4. Breakfast and Brunch:

Whipped cream isn’t limited to dessert; it can also grace breakfast and brunch spreads:

Pancakes and Waffles: Accompany pancakes, waffles, and French toast with whipped cream for a delightful contrast to their warm, fluffy textures.

Fruit Crepes: Fill crepes with whipped cream and fresh fruits, creating a luscious and satisfying breakfast option.

Can I whip any type of cream?

While you can whip various types of cream, it’s essential to choose cream with a high fat content. Heavy whipping cream (36% to 40% fat) is ideal for whipping. Single cream won’t whip well, and thicker creams like clotted cream and heavy double cream have different textures.

How to Make Stabilized Whipped Cream

To make stabilized whipped cream, you will want to use an additional ingredient to help it last longer in the refrigerator. I like to use cream of tartar if I know that I will be making mine well in advance of serving. While it is best served immediately by adding a little cream of tartar to your heavy whipping cream, it will generally last much longer in the refrigerator.

For each cup of heavy whipping cream, add 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar along with the confectioner’s sugar when whipping.

Can Homemade Whipped Cream Replace Cool Whip?

Yes! Absolutely. This homemade whipped cream easily replaces frozen whipped topping (aka Cool Whip) in recipes. You will use an equal amount of whipped cream as Cool Whip is called for in a recipe.

Note that the amount of heavy whipping cream you use will double in volume in whipped cream. Therefore, if you need 2 cups of whipped cream, you will use 1 cup of heavy whipping cream.

What is the Difference Between Heavy Cream, Whipping Cream, and Heavy Whipping Cream?

Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same. Both contain at least 36% milk fat. The key word to remember here is the word “heavy,” as it means higher milk fat. It will make a whipped cream with stiffer peaks, holds form longer, and is great for filling pastries. It is my preferred cream to make the best whipped cream every single time.

Whipping cream, also called light whipping cream, contains between 30 to 35% milk fat. You can certainly use it in this recipe, it will just not produce the same stiff, well-formed peaks or hold shape for any length of time. It is best used immediately. I will use it on top of my hot chocolate from time to time.

How to Recover Whipped Cream if Overmixed

Overmixed whipped cream will curdle and become lumpy. Slowly fold in 1 tablespoon at a time of fresh, liquid, heavy whipping cream by hand with a spatula until the lumps in the whipped cream disappear.

Can I re-whip cream if it deflates?

If whipped cream deflates or loses its texture, it’s challenging to re-whip it to its original state. However, you can gently fold in a small amount of freshly whipped cream to improve its texture.

Can You Freeze Whipped Cream?

YES! Place large spoonfuls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flash freeze. Once the whipped cream is frozen, you can then place it in freezer-safe containers and freeze it. When ready to use, thaw for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Can I whip non-dairy alternatives like coconut cream?

Yes, you can whip non-dairy alternatives like coconut cream. Choose full-fat coconut cream that has been chilled. The process is similar to whipping regular cream, and it’s a popular option for those following a dairy-free diet.


Mastering the art of whipping cream involves selecting quality ingredients, using proper tools, and following a precise process. With a chilled mixing bowl, heavy cream, a touch of sweetener, and the right technique, you can achieve soft peaks or stiff peaks that elevate your culinary creations. By understanding the science behind whipping cream and honing your skills, you’ll be able to consistently create the dreamy, velvety texture that transforms ordinary dishes into extraordinary delights.



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