How to Make Whipped Cream

How ToQuick and EasyHeavy CreamWhipped Cream

There's no substitute for Homemade Whipped Cream, which tastes far superior to what you can buy at the store. It comes together quickly and makes pies, and ice cream, and other desserts taste so much better.

Photography Credit: Alison Bickle

Whipped cream is arguably the world’s best dessert topper. It makes rich desserts feel light, fruit desserts feel rich, and hot cocoa feel extra special.

I have a soft spot in my heart for whipped cream because I used it to convince my very young children that I had magical powers.

I’d pour liquid heavy cream into a cold bowl then using just a whisk and a little effort my secret power was revealed—I could transform “milk” into sweetened whipped cream perfect for topping strawberries. They. Were. AMAZED! It’s one of my many superpowers as mom.

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HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM

You don’t have to be mom, however, to make lovely creamy whipped topping at home. Just follow a few simple steps and you, too, can wow the masses (or all the 2-year-olds) with your mad whipped cream making skills.

First, know that perfect whipped cream can be soft or stiff, but it should never be loose or crumbly.

  • The photo on the left is soft whipped cream. It spoons beautifully over a dessert, but it won’t hold its shape for long.
  • The image on the right is over-whipped. You can see it looks crumbly.
Best Whipped Cream - Heavy whipping cream two ways, one over whipped and crumbly one softly shipped.

The left side of this image is soft whipped cream. The right side of the image is over whipped.

Use the proper bowl

Heavy whipping cream will double in volume and it splatters a bit while you whisk it. The bowl needs to be large enough to accommodate the increase in size.

Keep everything cold

When cream is too warm, the fat loses its ability to stabilize with the air you’re whipping into it. It will still whip up, but not to the volume and texture you want it to, and it will likely deflate more quickly.

If you want to be cheffy about it, put the bowl and whisk in the freezer for 20 minutes before you want to whisk the cream. Keep the heavy cream in the refrigerator until you want to whip it up.

If you just want to make whipped cream, grab a bag of frozen vegetables out of the freezer and set your bowl on top of it. Add the whipping cream and whisk. You will have lovely whipped cream in minutes.

Best Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe - heavy whipping cream

Use heavy whipping cream

Half-and-half and whole milk don’t have enough fat to whip. Note: Heavy cream and whipping cream are the same thing and can be used interchangeably!

When to add the sugar

Add the sugar when the cream is thickened, but still spoonable—just before the soft peak stage. If you add it too soon, it won’t whip as well. If you add it too late, the sugar granules won’t dissolve as well.

I like to use powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar for two reasons:

  • First, the smaller particles dissolve faster in the cream.
  • Second, the cornstarch in powdered sugar helps to stabilize the whipped cream, allowing it to hold its shape for longer and reduce weeping.

Watch your whipping!

Whipped cream goes from soft peaks to firm peaks to butter in the blink of an eye. For this reason, I usually whisk the cream by hand or use a hand mixer. I never use a stand mixer to make whipped cream because it’s easy to get distracted and walk away from the mixer (which I have done) then I end up with butter.

The rule of thumb here is to stay nearby and watch for changes. Once whipped cream is over-whipped there is no saving it. It will look dry, crumbly and unappetizing. (If you get to this stage, just keep whipping and make yourself some homemade butter! See below for more details.)

Personally, I prefer loose and droopy whipped cream most of the time, so I generally stop at the soft peak stage, but you can make your whipped cream as soft or as firm as you like it.

Homemade Whipped Cream - whipping cream in grey dish

WAYS TO FLAVOR WHIPPED CREAM

Add the extract or flavoring during the last minute of whipping—if you add it too soon, it will deflate the whipped cream a little bit.

You can flavor whipped cream with almost anything.

  • Add spices like cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.
  • Make a grown-up version with a kick from rum or whiskey.
  • Fold in pumpkin puree to give it color, flavor and body.
  • Infuse it with herbs or spices by warming the cream gently on the stovetop with herbs and spices for a few minutes, then chill it in the refrigerator before whipping.

HOW LONG WILL WHIPPED CREAM KEEP?

Whipped cream can be made and kept for a day or two in the refrigerator. It will decrease in volume over time, but you can just whip it again. No worries.

A person tipping the metal bowl of a stand mixer to show the whipped cream inside.

HOW TO KEEP WHIPPED CREAM FROM “MELTING”

If it’s really hot outside or if you want the whipped cream to be firm enough to pipe, you need the whipped cream to be sturdy and long lasting at room temperature. To do this, you need to add a stabilizer. This can be done by adding liquefied gelatin, cream cheese, or mascarpone cheese to the heavy cream after it’s been whipped to soft peaks and the sugar has been added.

  • If using gelatin, use a 1:3 ratio of granulated gelatin to water. Place 1 teaspoon of gelatin granules in a small bowl. Add 3 teaspoons of water. Stir to combine and microwave in 5 second bursts, stirring each time, until the gelatin has dissolved. Let it cool, but not set. Whip 1 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks, add the sugar and continue whisking, then slowly pour in the gelatin.
  • If using cream cheese or mascarpone, replace the gelatin with 1/2 cup of either cheese.
Best Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe - small bowl of overwhipped whipped cream

Over whipped whipped cream. It’s time to make butter.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU OVER WHIP YOUR CREAM

If you have over whipped it, you can undo what you’ve done—but don’t throw it away! Continue whipping it until the solids separate. You will end up with buttermilk and butter. Transfer the butter to a glass jar and store it in your fridge for a week. You can use it just as you’d use any butter or buttermilk.

RECIPES THAT COULD USE SOME WHIPPED CREAM!

Updated November 10, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe.

How to Make Whipped Cream

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Bowl chilling time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 2 cups

You can whisk by hand, using a hand mixer, or using a stand mixer. If you make whipped cream using a stand mixer, be very careful of over-whipping.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

1 Begin whipping the cream: Place a large bowl on top of a bag of frozen vegetables. Pour cold heavy whipped cream in the cold bowl.

I use a hand whisk because it's easier to control how thick my whipped cream becomes. If you use a hand mixer, start at a low speed, and increase it as the cream thickens. Commence whipping.

How to make whipped cream by whisking heavy whipping cream into a bowl.

2 Add the sugar: Once the cream has thickened, but is not quite to soft peak stage, add the sugar. Continue whipping.

Sugar added to a bowl for a whipped cream recipe.

3 Add flavoring: Continue whipping until the cream is just about as soft or as stiff as you want it, then add the vanilla extract (or any other flavorings you'd like to add).

Vanilla being added to the bowl of whipped cream to make homemade whipped cream.

4 Use or store: Whipped cream is best if used right away. If you need to save it, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator; you may need to re-whip slightly just before serving.

Homemade whipped cream in a mint green bowl.Homemade whipped cream in a mint green bowl set on a bag of vegetables.

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Summer Miller

Summer Miller is the Senior Editor for Simply Recipes based in Nebraska. Her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Eating Well, Grit, SAVEUR, and Every Day with Rachael Ray, among others. Her first book is New Prairie Kitchen (Agate Publishing, 2015).

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13 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Benjamin

    I love whipped cream

  2. Moon

    Can i use topping cream as heavy whipping cream substitute to make the ice cream?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Devyani

    Can we use this cream for ice cream? N does the sugar affect ice cream?

    Show Replies (1)
  4. JP

    Perfect every time!

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Jeremy

    I make small amounts of whipped cream in a measuring cup with a stick blender. A cup of heavy cream (or even half and half), tablespoon of sugar and a dash of vanilla extract, blend it together and in minutes I have a perfect amount of whipped cream for a couple servings of pie or a parfait.

    Show Replies (1)
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A person tipping the metal bowl of a stand mixer to show the whipped cream inside.How to Make Whipped Cream