The Secret Ingredient That'll Help Your Whipped Cream Hold Up

Just a pinch of meringue powder will keep your homemade whipped cream in tip-top shape.

Whipped Cream
Photo: Southern Living

Picture it. You're hosting a dinner party later this evening. You've laid out an ambitious menu, starting with snacks (like these elegant Bacon-Cheese Gougères), then moving into a main course of whole-roasted chicken or maybe even Braised Lamb Shanks with Parmesan-Chive Grits. Then comes the pièce de résistance: a decadent, ultra-fudgy chocolate torte, served with a side of homemade whipped cream.

Homemade Whipped Cream Is Simple, But Don't Let It Sit

Whipped cream is one of the simplest recipes to make at home—and once you try homemade whipped cream, you'll never reach for the pressurized canned stuff again. Most whipped cream recipes will call for only a few ingredients: heavy cream or whipping cream and sugar, plus a dash of vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Combine it and whip it on high speed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, and poof: You've got light, billowing waves of whipped cream, ready to be dolloped on any number of baked goods.

With so many other components to prepare, the sidecar of whipped cream is probably the last thing on your mind—you want to check this item off your to-do list sooner rather than later. However, this topping often needs to be prepared à la minute; the longer homemade whipped cream sits, the more it will deflate, losing its luscious, light texture and reverting to a bowl of soupy cream. But what if we told you that we have a trick to keep your whipped cream light and fluffy for hours on end? Adding a pinch of meringue powder to your whipped cream will help it stand up all day long.

Keep Volume with a Pinch of Meringue Powder

Typically, whipped cream will last in the fridge for a couple of hours before it begins to lose its lovely volume. That's because homemade whipped cream is usually made without any stabilizers, which help foods keep their form and shape. There are plenty of different stabilizers that bakers and pastry cooks will use to keep their frostings and creams fresh and spoonable for an extended period of time—you can use cornstarch, gelatin, or even specially-formulated whipped cream stabilizers. Our personal favorite stabilizer to use in whipped cream? Meringue powder.

What Is Meringue Powder?

Meringue powder is a dried egg white substitute, often used in recipes for royal icing or frosting. Just a pinch of meringue powder will keep your whipped cream fluffy and glossy for up to 24 hours. How does it work, though? Think about it this way: Whipped egg whites form the backbone of so many cake batters and desserts, from angel food cake to meringue. This dried version adds shine and body to creams and frostings, helping them keep their volume for extended periods of time.

How Do I Use Meringue Powder?

You don't need very much meringue powder to have a big impact on your whipped cream. Simply follow this recipe for homemade whipped cream, adding in 1 teaspoon of meringue powder per 2 cups of heavy cream. Sprinkle in the meringue powder along with the powdered sugar after your cream has reached soft peaks.

With this handy hack, you can prepare your whipped cream in advance and stash it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. That's one more thing to tick off your prep list.

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