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Kitchen Basics: Whipped Cream

Susan writes the blog Cardamom Kitchen to share her culinary experiences as an Indian-American rooted in the Midwest. Luckily she's also sharing her experiences with Whole Story readers by demystifing essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos.

Whipped cream

On a cozy autumn day, there’s nothing like a bowl of fresh fruit topped with a dollop of chilled whipped cream (unless, of course, the fruit is buried under a layer of silky pudding or balanced on top of a soft-crumbed cupcake). If you've never made whipped cream before, now is the time to try. Believe me, it is one of the simplest things you’ll ever do.

Equipment You'll Need

You’ll need a bowl (I use an all-purpose steel one) and a beater of some sort -- a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer will do. I learned from my Auntie Donna that the trick is to make sure that everything -- the whipped cream, the bowl, the beaters or whisk -- is chilled in the refrigerator before you begin. The cream will splash about for the first few minutes and eventually double in size. To avoid a mess, be sure to use a large bowl with fairly steep sides.

Whipped cream

How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream

Put the bowl and beaters (or whisk) in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes. Make sure the cream is well chilled, too. Remove the cream and equipment from the refrigerator. Pour the whipped cream in the bowl. 

Whipped cream

If you want sweetened whipped cream, pour in some sugar, honey, agave, or maple syrup. I like to add a tablespoon and a half of sugar per cup of heavy cream. 

Whipped cream

Starting on low speed, beat the cream with the hand mixer, stand mixer, or whisk.

Whipped cream

As it begins to thicken, increase the speed to medium. (If using a whisk, you can keep an even pace throughout -- as fast as you feel comfortable without wearing yourself out!)

Whipped cream

Continue to beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Be careful not to overbeat it, as it will become grainy and eventually separate. (Keep whipping past the grainy stage and you'll end up with homemade butter!)

Whipped cream
Perfectly whipped cream on the left; grainy, over-whipped cream on the right

For a little more oomph, gently stir in one teaspoon of vanilla, almond or mint extract, or whatever flavoring you fancy. (For very intense flavorings, start with a half teaspoon and add more to taste.)

Whipped cream

Plop, pipe, or spread the whipped cream on your favorite dessert. 

Whipped cream

I’d love to see your tips for making and flavoring whipped cream! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.

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Janie White says …

I use to whip the cream when I was growing up. My dad would milk the cow and then my mom would separate the cream from the milk. We use to use the cream to make butter, whip to make cream pies and whipto use on deserts. That was the good ole days but it was fresh and good.

Denise Negron says …

Oh my goodness I've been trying to learn how to make a perfect whipped cream I think I found it :) thank u

Marie says …

Does this work with dairy alternatives, such as coconut cream?

M.D. Heckle says …

I do add the vanilla and a touch of lavender sugar. Yummy!

Grace C. says …

Thank you for the excellent power point with the clear pictures and down-home advice. It was as though I was in the kitchen with family. Thank you again, and well done.

Susan Kallenbach says …

So glad to know why my whipped cream has turned "hard" on several occasions. No over-whipping this year!

Kerry says …

I made homemade whipped cream for the first time last Thanksgiving, and, yes, it's on the list again this year! The recipe calls for a bit of bourbon.... incredible on pumpkin pie. And the real treat is a dollop on my coffee. Decadence at its finest!

Sara says …

Looks wonderful!!!! I think the vanilla at the end would be very very good!!

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MARIE - I have heard that you can make a non-dairy option with coconut milk, and it requires less whisking! All you have to do is put a can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Once you open the can, the top half should be thick like whipped cream. Scoop out the firm portion and use the rest of the milk in a smoothie, stir-fry, etc. Let us know how it works out!

John Booher says …

Why must so many store bought whipping creams have carrageean included. My understanding is carrageean has a strong link to irritable bowel, upset digestion and even possible cancer Link.

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@JOHN - Carrageenan is a natural gelling agent extracted from several species of seaweed. It is used in small amounts as a stabilizer and thickener in dairy, dairy alternatives, meats and other products. This ingredient has been used widely in food since the 1930s. Our Quality Standards are based on careful consideration of the production, safety and necessity of each ingredient. We have reviewed extensive scientific research and technical information on this ingredient and determined that its use is consistent with our Quality Standards. Recent information in circulation has claimed that this ingredient is associated with gastrointestinal diseases and other symptoms. This information is based on research about poligeenan (also known as degraded or low molecular-weight carrageenan), a distinctly different substance that is not allowed for use in food production. Scientific evidence shows that carrageenan resists degradation in the digestive tract. Food grade carrageenan has been extensively reviewed and is considered safe by a number of food regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the European Union Food Safety Authority, and the Joint Committee on Food Additives of the United Nations. The National Organic Standards Board, an advisory committee to the USDA on organic agriculture, recently reviewed the use of carrageenan and voted to allow its continued use in organic products. Hope this helps!

Camille says …

I really really want to book mark this posting, “Kitchen Basics: Whipped Cream | Whole Foods Market” on my blog. Would you care in the event I personallydo? Thanks a lot -Christie

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@CAMILLE - You can reach out to one of our PR contacts to discuss this with them! Find their info at http://media.wholefoodsmarket.com/contact/.

Elizabeth says …

Is this the same recipe that you use to make the whipped cream for your bakery desserts in your stores?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@ELIZABETH - It might be but it can differ between stores. You can always check with your local store to see what recipe they use.