How to make light and fluffy whipped cream at home

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How to make light and fluffy whipped cream at home
All you need to make whipped cream is heavy whipping cream and granulated or powdered sugar. Leslie Kirchhoff/Getty Images
  • To make whipped cream, you need heavy whipping cream, a mixing bowl, and a whisk or mixer.
  • For the best volume and texture, it's important to use cold cream straight from the fridge.
  • You can customize homemade whipped cream to make a variety of flavors.

If you're assembling a beautiful cake or looking for the ideal topping for a slice of pie, whipped cream is an important component. You can certainly grab a can or tub of whipped topping from the grocery store, but making homemade whipped cream can make your desserts that much better.

Why make real whipped cream? It's certainly creamier, richer, and thicker than its store-bought counterparts. It also tastes better, plus you'll have the option to customize the flavor. The best part is you only need a few simple ingredients and patience to make delicious dollops of whipped cream at home.

Is heavy cream the same as heavy whipping cream?

As its name suggests, whipped cream is basically cream that's whipped until it's light and fluffy. You may come across a few types of cream: heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, and light cream. Which is the best to use?

"Heavy cream" and "heavy whipping cream" may have different names, but they're essentially the same thing. Each has a fat content of at least 36 percent. Whipping cream, or light whipping cream, is a lighter option with a fat content ranging between 30 percent to 35 percent.

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Because of the higher fat content in heavy whipping cream, it results in a whipped cream that's more stable, making it great for filling cream puffs or topping cakes or cupcakes. Whipped cream made with whipping cream is just as pillowy and delicious, but it is lighter and won't hold its shape or volume as well.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar

What you need

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Stand mixer, hand mixer, or whisk

How to make homemade whipped cream

How to make light and fluffy whipped cream at home
You can use a whisk, a hand mixer, or a stand mixer when making whipped cream. JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

  1. Chill your tools. Place your bowl and whisk or mixer attachment in the freezer for ten minutes. It's also important to chill the cream. The cold temperatures will help the cream whip properly and quickly.
  2. Start whisking the cream slowly. After removing the bowl from the freezer, pour the cold heavy whipping cream into the bowl. With a hand whisk or electric mixer, whip the cream continuously until it becomes thick, about three minutes.
  3. Add the sugar. Once the cream has thickened, add the sugar and flavoring, and speed up the whipping until medium-to-firm peaks form - whatever your desired consistency. How do you check if peaks have formed? Pull the whisk out of the bowl. If the cream holds its shape, you know it's done.
  4. Avoid overmixing. Once you reach your desired consistency, stop mixing. Overmixed cream results in a lumpy, curd-like mixture.
  5. Serve immediately. Homemade whipped cream is best used fresh. But any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the coldest part of your fridge for two to three days.

Quick tip: To stabilize the whipped cream for make-ahead desserts, introduce starch to the mixture. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch or powdered sugar or ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar while whipping the cream.

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Mason jar whipped cream

If you don't have a whisk, an electric mixer, or you simply need a smaller portion, you can use a mason jar to make whipped cream. Chill the mason jar before you begin. Pour the cold cream and sugar into the jar, seal it with a lid, and begin shaking. Shake the jar vigorously for about five minutes until the whipped cream forms.

Flavored whipped cream ideas

How to make light and fluffy whipped cream at home
Make chocolate whipped cream by adding 3 tablespoons cocoa powder. Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

The options for flavored whipped cream are seemingly endless. Once you've started whisking your cream, and it has thickened up a bit, add in your desired flavoring. As you continue whipping the cream, the flavoring will be perfectly integrated into the finished whipped cream.

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  • Vanilla/Chantilly cream: Add 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract while whipping the cream.
  • Chocolate whipped cream: Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder while whipping the cream.
  • Pumpkin whipped cream: Add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
  • Lemon whipped cream: Add the zest of one lemon or 1 teaspoon lemon extract.
  • Mint whipped cream: Add 1 teaspoon peppermint extract.

How to fix over-whipped cream

Whipped cream can go from fluffy, stiff peaks to lumpy and unappealing very fast. If you over-whip the cream too far, it can even turn into butter. You can fix over-whipped cream by adding a bit of extra cream into the bowl and start mixing again at low speed. This will allow the liquid cream to integrate with the whipped cream to smooth it out.

Insider's takeaway

Making whipped cream at home takes a bit of patience and finesse, but that extra work is worth it. It can be made by hand with a mixing bowl and whisk, or you can use a stand mixer or hand mixer to make the process even easier. You'll end up with creamier, thicker whipped cream to use for beautiful cakes or trifles, or to top your favorite slice of pie.

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