How to Make Whipped Cream from Scratch
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Learn how to make whipped cream at home with our foolproof recipe for fresh whipped cream. We'll share step-by-step instructions and call out sneaky things to avoid.
While there’s no shame in buying a can or tub, making whipped cream from scratch is incredibly easy. In fact, while you wait for the after-dinner coffee to brew, you can make a batch of whipped cream to top your dessert.
How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream
To make whipped cream at home, turn to our Test Kitchen’s sweetened whipped cream recipe. Did you know that sweetened whipped cream is also called chantilly cream? Pull that out of your back pocket when you really want to impress!
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Hand mixer: You can whip cream by hand, but a machine makes it so much easier and speedier. A good hand mixer will do the trick.
- Mixing bowl: Whipped cream is fluffiest when whipped in a cold bowl. For best results choose glass or metal.
- Vanilla extract: Extract adds flavor to the cream. A touch of vanilla is all you need to accent your desserts.
Step 1: Start whipping the cream
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Before you begin, make sure that your beaters and bowl are chilled. Cool tools will help the cream beat up more quickly. You can chill them by popping them in the fridge or freezer for 10 minutes before you start.
Add your cream to the chilled bowl and beat until it begins to thicken. You’re not looking for peaks here—just for the cream to start to get a little body.
Step 2: Add the other ingredients
Once slightly thickened, add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Because vanilla is the only flavor here, be sure you’re using a brand you enjoy. These are the best vanilla extracts, according to our Test Kitchen.
Continue beating until soft peaks form. When we say soft peaks, we mean when you lift up the beaters, the cream will cling but the peaks of the cream will not stand up straight.
Editor’s Tip: Keep an eye on your cream as it begins to thicken. If you over-beat cream, it turns to butter!
How to Flavor Whipped Cream
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Once you know how to make whipped cream, you can experiment with flavor variations. Try swapping out the vanilla extract for these substitutions:
- Cocoa and coffee whipped cream: Add a tablespoon of cocoa and a teaspoon of instant coffee or espresso granules.
- Peanut butter whipped cream: Add in two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter.
- Hazelnut whipped cream: Keep the vanilla extract and add a splash of hazelnut liqueur, too.
- Mojito whipped cream: Amp up the flavor with fresh mint, lime zest and rum extract.
Tips for Making Whipped Cream
While whipped cream is easy to make, there are a few techniques that’ll ensure success.
Keep Everything Cold
To make the very best whipped cream, everything you’re using should be cold. That means stash your bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes in advance. Also, keep your whipping cream in the fridge until the last second.
Cold ingredients and tools will help you get the most volume.
The Tools That Work Best
Yes, you can whip cream by hand with a regular balloon whisk. Just pour the cream into a deep bowl and whisk away by flicking your wrist.
This being said, whipping cream by hand takes stamina. A hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment makes the job much easier and quicker.
With the cream whirling away in the mixer, you might be tempted to step away and tackle another task. Don’t do it! It’s easy to overwhip cream.
Overwhipping cream—this means the cream gets thick and the water starts to separate from the mix—creates butter.
What’s the Right Cream for Whipped Cream?
For homemade whipped cream, rely on heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (these are the same products) for the richest, airiest whipped cream. You can also find cartons labeled “whipping cream” at the store, but the heavy stuff really does work best.
Because of the fat content needed to create this dessert topper, you won’t get the same result if you substitute in milk, half-and-half or nondairy milks.
How to Make Whipped Cream in Advance
To make whipped cream in advance (we mean a few hours—not days), slightly under-whip the mixture. Then cover and refrigerate. You can beat it briefly to the right consistency before serving.
What About Leftover Whipped Cream?
Whipped cream tastes best and has the right consistency right after it’s made, so you should plan to enjoy your desserts with whipped cream the same day, or the next day at the latest. Leftover cream will deflate and cannot be revived; it also cannot be frozen.
The good news is that whipped cream can be made in any size batch. If you only need a bit, use a few splashes of cream, a few teaspoons of confectioners’ sugar and some vanilla.
How to Make Stabilized Whipped Cream
If you want whipped cream that can last for a few days, you’ll want to stabilize it by adding in unflavored gelatin. To do this, sprinkle a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin over two tablespoons of water and microwave for 5 to 10 seconds. Let this cool.
Then, after making your whipped cream as described above, slowly drizzle in the gelatin mix. This will help the cream hold its shape for several days instead of several hours. This type of cream is also good for piping.
Peggy Woodward, RDN, Senior Food Editor, contributed to this article.