Simple Whipped Cream
April 5, 2022
Baking Basics is a series on Slumber & Scones all about some of my favorite repeat ingredients that can easily be made at home. See all Baking Basics posts under Guides.
If there’s any ingredient you want to always have on hand for better desserts and other treats, it’s whipped cream. Just a dollop can elevate your favorite sweets and when it’s homemade, it looks extra impressive! Plus, simple whipped cream is just so easy, why wouldn’t you always make some?
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What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for simple homemade whipped cream at your grocery store:
- Required: Heavy cream
- Optional: Sugar, Powdered sugar, Vanilla extract, Cornstarch, Milk powder
- Equipment: Hand or stand mixer
How to Make Simple Whipped Cream
Making whipped cream at home is so easy. It literally only requires one ingredient and one tool. You can’t go wrong with that level of simplicity. Plus, whipped cream is one of those ingredients that you can add to nearly any dessert or sweet, and it only improves the whole thing.
There are a few tips for how you can make your whipped cream better hold its shape, last longer, or come together more quickly, but in the end it all boils down to: whipping cream. That’s it. That’s the post.
Okay, just kidding, let’s dig a little deeper. First, temperature: colder is better, but not frozen. For the best results, use cream right from the fridge. You can also chill the jar, bowl, and whisk attachment you’ll be using. If it’s very warm where you live, you can also keep things cooler if you place the jar in a larger bowl of ice water.
Next, equipment: Add the heavy cream to a jar or deep bowl that is at least four times the volume of cream. For a small amount, like a quarter cup or so of cream, you can use a pint-sized mason jar and a hand mixer. If you need a lot, and are using over a cup of cream, I recommend using a stand mixer.
And of course, we can’t forget multiplying. You can easily make more whipped cream as needed. The recipe below, as written, will make enough to dollop eight slices of pie or thoroughly top four bowls of ice cream. To make more, simply increase the amount of cream and any add-ins, and use a larger bowl.
Fit a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Insert the whisk into the cream and begin mixing on low speed. Starting slow like this will help to reduce splashing, but you’ll need to work your way up to really get that cream aerated. Gradually increase the speed to the highest setting.
Continue whipping on the highest speed until soft peaks form. Soft peaks will just barely hold their shape when you turn off the mixer and lift up the whisk. They generally flow back into their liquidy creamy form after only about a second.
At this point, stop the mixer and add any optional add-ins for flavor or stabilizing. I actually prefer my whipped cream without anything additional included, if I’m serving it right away. If I need my whipped cream to hold its shape for longer, or I am storing it in the fridge, then I’ll add a stabilizer, like cornstarch.
Cream doesn’t naturally contain much lactose, or milk sugar, but because of its richness, it’s already full of flavor. However, adding a little sugar or vanilla extract can heighten or accentuate this and other tastes in your baked goods. Powdered sugar and milk powder also contain starch, which means they can do double duty as stabilizers as well.
Once you’ve added in your extras, keep whipping on high speed until the cream forms firm peaks. This means that the whipped cream will stand straight up when you lift the whisk. The points of the peaks will no longer curl over themselves, and that’s how you know it’s done.
Overall, this takes about five to ten minutes total. I like to stop and check frequently to see where the peaks are, since you want to be careful not to over whip. If you do, just slightly, you can save it by adding a splash more liquid cream and whisking by hand to get it back to the right consistency. However, if it begins to appear lumpy or greasy, you’re past the point of no return, and have begun making butter instead.
Whipped cream without any added stabilizers is best used immediately after it’s made. It can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge until the best-by date on the cream. However, it will lose its structure, and gradually turn back into a liquid after a day or so. You can always re-whip it if needed.
With stabilizers added, your whipped cream will hold its shape for longer. You can store it in a sealed jar, in a piping bag, or in a bowl so it’s ready to use. With a piping bag, you can always have it ready to squirt out a dollop. It will last up to a few days in a sealed container before needing to be re-whipped.
If you have already topped a dessert with whipped cream, it will need to be stored in the fridge. Be sure to check the recipe notes for that treat before storing, as some baked goods are better stored at room temperature. In those cases, wait to top with whipped cream until just before serving.
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Let’s get back to the basics when it comes to baking and desserts: learn to make simple whipped cream, with only one required ingredient (and plenty more you can add)!
How to Use Whipped Cream
There are so many uses for whipped cream. If you keep a jar or bowl in the fridge, you’ll be able to make so many delicious dishes:
- Add a dollop on top of your favorite pie slice or scoop of crisp, crumble, or cobbler.
- Fold in lemon curd, melted chocolate, or caramel sauce for a quick mousse.
- Layer with fresh strawberries to make the classic strawberry fool.
- Have a bowl ready at the end of your next ice cream sundae bar.
- Use a piping bag to stuff pastries like cream puffs, eclairs, napoleons, or puff pastry.
Or use your simple whipped cream as an ingredient one of these decadent dessert or brunch recipes:
Baking Basics: Simple Whipped Cream
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream chilled in the fridge, but not frozen
- ¼ tsp Vanilla Extract for flavor
- ½ Tbsp Granulated Sugar for flavor
- ½-1 Tbsp Powdered Sugar for flavor and stabilizing
- 2 tsp Milk Powder for flavor and stabilizing
- 2 tsp Cornstarch for stabilizing
- Add the heavy cream to a jar or deep bowl that is at least 4 times the volume. For ¼ Cup of cream, you can use a pint-sized mason jar. For more than 1 cup of cream, I recommend using the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Fit a hand or stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Insert the whisk into the cream and begin mixing on low speed. Gradually increase the speed to high over a period of about 15-30 seconds, to reduce splashing.
- Continue whipping on the highest speed until soft peaks form. At this point, stop the mixer and add any optional add-ins for flavor or stabilizing. Then keep whipping on high speed until the whipped cream holds its shape well on the whisk, about 5-10 minutes. Be careful not to over whip.
- Make ahead tips:
- Whipped cream without any added stabilizers can be stored in a sealed jar in the fridge until the best by date on the cream. However, it will lose its structure, and gradually turn back into a liquid after a day or so.
- With stabilizers, your whipped cream will hold its shape for longer. However, I still don't recommend storing it for longer than the recommended best by date on the cream.
- Multiplying: You can easily make more whipped cream as needed. This recipe will make enough to dollop 8 slices of pie or thoroughly top 4 bowls of ice cream. Use a larger container for whipping, and increase any add-in amounts as desired.
- Temperature control:
- Cream whips the best when it's cold. Use cream right from the fridge, and cool down the jar, bowl and whisk attachment you'll be using.
- If it's very warm where you are whipping your cream, place the jar/bowl in a larger bowl of ice water to keep it cool.
- Troubleshooting: If you over whip cream slightly, you can save it by adding more liquid cream and whisking by hand to get it back to the right consistency. If it begins to appear lumpy or greasy, you've past the point of no return, and begun making butter instead.