Everything you need to know to make whipped cream so dreamy you'll want to eat it straight from the bowl.

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Credit: Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Margaret Dickey, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

Recipe Summary

active:
5 mins
total:
5 mins
Yield:
about 4 cups
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Is there anything better than freshly whipped cream? It's the easy and elegant way to finish a pie, the dreamy topping to your favorite trifle, and often so tempting, it's hard to resist sneaking a taste straight from the bowl. Although making whipped cream is a fairly straight-forward process, it can be slightly trickier than meets the eye. It can be tempting to go for the stuff straight out of the can, but in a matter of minutes you can have the real deal instead. 

How to Make Whipped Cream

Beat 2 cups heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste, and 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy, 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high; continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 more minutes. Use immediately, or chill in an airtight container (up to 4 hours).

Flavor Variations 

Coffee
Add 2 Tbsp. instant espresso granules to whipping cream mixture before beating.

Peanut Butter 
Add 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter to whipping cream mixture before beating.

Orange 
Add 2 Tbsp. grated orange zest to whipping cream mixture before beating.

Berry 
Add 1/4 cup seedless jam of choice to whipping cream mixture before beating.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Whipped Cream

While making whipped cream is fairly simple, a few secrets will help you get perfect peaks in minutes.

Know Your Dairy 

It's important to know your dairy; don't confuse heavy whipping cream (also called heavy cream) and whipping cream (AKA light whipping cream) at the grocery store, the first contains more milk fat than the latter, and more fat means stiffer peaks. For comparison, heavy whipping cream contains 36 percent milk fat, while whipping cream has 30 percent to 36 percent. 

Keep It Cold

If you've ever wondered why your creaming wasn't whipping up, it's likely because it was too warm. The secret to the best whipped cream is keeping everything cold. Start with cold dairy and a chilled metal bowl and whisk; or skip prechilling, and throw the cold cream directly into a food processor. It makes dense whipped cream quickly—keep an eye on it though, or before you know it, you'll have butter. 

Make It Last

While making whipped cream is usually the last step in a recipe, whip it up a few hours in advance, and thank yourself later. Beating in a tablespoon of powdered sugar, which contains cornstarch, for every cup of cream helps stabilize the whipped cream so it can chill in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve without deflating. 

Another way to keep whipped cream from deflating is a pinch of meringue powder. The dried egg white substitute helps keep the cream's volume and lends it a beautiful shine. 

Commonly Asked Questions 

What can I substitute for heavy whipping cream? 

Don't have whipping cream of any kind? We don't recommend using any product below 30 percent milk fat for whipping cream as it won't whip up quite like heavy cream or whipping cream. And whole milk definitely won't cut it. 

Instead, try substituting whipped cream for whipped mascarpone cheese or whipped cream cheese, sweetened with powdered sugar. For a vegan option, try whipping up a can of cold coconut cream.

It should be said that heavy whipping cream does last for up to a month in the refrigerator after opening, so it doesn't hurt to always keep some on hand. Plus, it's used in all sorts of baked goods, sauces, and savory dishes. 

How long does fresh whipped cream last? 

Whipped cream only lasts about a day in the fridge before it starts to lose its volume. In fact, it's best used within a few hours of making. If you do plan to keep it overnight, make sure to store it in a covered airtight container and use the tips and tricks above to stabilize the whipped cream in order to make it last longer. 

Can I make whipped cream without an electric mixer? 

You can, but it's going to require some elbow grease. All you'll need is a large bowl and a hand whisk. You'll similarly combine all the ingredients and then get to whipping. You can take breaks if you need, as it takes anywhere from 4 to 7 minutes to fully whip the cream this way. The nice part? It's especially hard to over whip your cream when making it by hand, as you have a ton of control over how stiff the peaks get. 

You may not have an electric mixer, but if you have an immersion blender, it can also quickly whip up stiff peaks without the arm workout, and many come with a whisk attachment for this very use. 

Better yet, grab the nearest mason jar and get to shaking, in less than the time it takes to whisk cream by hand you can shake your way to fluffy whipped cream. Combine all the ingredients in the jar, tightly secure the lid, and shake. This method is a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen. 

How do I fix overwhipped cream? 

So, you accidentally made butter. All is not lost. Most overwhipped cream can be saved. Try drizzling in cold, unwhipped heavy cream on low speed until the broken whipped cream returns to its original fluffy texture. 

Can I freeze whipped cream? 

Yes! Whether you have leftover whipped cream to save or you just always want to have a dessert garnish at the ready, whipped cream freezes really well. Spoon dollops of whipped cream directly onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen whipped to a ziplock bag for storing. You can also pipe the cream into neat swirls or rosettes that will hold their shape after freezing. When ready to use, simply place a dollop of the frozen cream directly on top of your dessert and then allow it to stand at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before serving to thaw. 

Editorial Contributions by Alana Al-Hatlani.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Beat heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar with a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high, and continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 more minutes. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in refrigerator until ready to use (up to 4 hours). 

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