How to Whip Cream

When I posted about my whipped-cream-is-healthier-than-butter-and-syrup revelation recently, I got some questions about how to whip cream.

It’s actually really easy and doesn’t require a lot of sugar. Plus, it’s cheaper than whipped cream in a spray can, more real than Cool Whip, and less trash-producing than either of those.

My method is nothing fantastic…it’s just the basic whipped cream recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

(incidentally, I highly recommend having one of those in your kitchen. It’s not full of fancy food, but it’s really, really great to have around for solid, basic recipes.)

So. To make enough to top two recipe’s worth of pancakes, you need 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (light cream or half and half will NOT whip), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Why yes, my cream is from Aldi.

I know some of you will wonder about the vanilla…I didn’t actually make that myself. My sister-in-law, (you would know her as Adriana’s mom), made a bunch of jars and gave them to family members at Christmastime. I’m definitely going to give it a try myself, though, because the vanilla is really good.

Just dump all those ingredients together in a mixer bowl and fit your mixer with a wire whisk attachment. If you have time, you can stick your bowl and whisk in the freezer for 10 minutes or so, as cool temperatures help cream to whip better.

Mix on low speed for a minute or so, just to combine the ingredients, then mix on high until the cream is fluffy, like so.

If you don’t beat it enough, it’ll be a little soft. It should have a pleasant firmness in your mouth.

If you beat it too long, though, it’ll start to separate a bit. And if you beat it WAY too long, it’ll turn into butter (That takes a really long time. Trust me.)

I promise it’s not rocket science, though…just keep an eye on the cream as it whips. It should only take a couple of minutes. And really, the degree of firmness is up to you, especially if you’re just putting dollops on top of waffles or pancakes!

Do you need something to top with whipped cream? Here are a few recipes for you.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk Pancakes


When I’ve got fresh fruit, I like to pair that with the whipped cream, but I’ve also used frozen fruit successfully (the peaches up there on the whole wheat pancakes are local peaches that I sliced and froze this summer). The key is not to thaw it to death…you want it to still be a little bit on the firm side.

Go make some breakfast food and whip up some cream for a change of pace from the usual syrup! It’ll be delightful, I promise.


  1. says

    I have recently written posts on making whipped cream for the first time and on how wonderful the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook is. We are thinking alike!

  2. says

    This is a great idea…I wonder if my kids would go for it…how could they not? I would prefer it over syrup any day…I used to do this for serving with berries – never thought of it for waffles…hmmm. Thanks for the idea!

    • Libby says

      I’ve had a “perpetual” vanilla bottle for four years. I put in 3 vanilla beans and filled the bottle with vodka. Let it sit for 3-4 weeks, shaking whenever you think about it. When I use vanilla, I top off the bottle with vodka.

      So, yes this means I keep a hip flask size of vodka in my cupboards….the random stranger might think I have a secret drinking problem!

  3. lisa says

    Also a note for making it in the heat of summer and you don’t have AC…chill the bowl, beater, etc. It will whip up faster. I do this even in the winter while making Black Forest Cake.

    • lisa says

      Must have a brain-fart, just re-read the column and noticed the part about 10m in the freezer…I claim early morning eyesight syndrome…only see what you need to. :-)

  4. Theresa says

    I’d love that vanilla extract recipe. Just found out that a lot of vanilla extract on the market has high fructose corn syrup. GRRRR!! I’d love to be able to make my own.

  5. Vicki says

    I can’t wait to try this – why didn’t I ever think of it before? I don’t like to eat bready breakfasts with my family because I just can’t stand all that surgary syrup! What a great idea! We’ve been making homemade vanilla courtesy of Laura at It’s awesome! She has lots of great information on vanilla making. Just like almost everything else we learn to make ourselves, I won’t ever go back to store bought vanilla!

    • EngineerMom says

      Another great “bready breakfast” topping is vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt if you don’t like that sugary syrup! I’m not a big maple-syrup fan, either, though DH and DS love it, so when we have waffles or pancakes, I either use yogurt, low-sugar jam, or just eat them plain with a bit of butter.

  6. Mary says

    I love my BH and Garden Cook book! I see them at our thrift stores A LOT for not so much! My girls use this a lot to look stuff up, I want to get them each their own! Guess it’s time to hit thrift shops and pick one up!

  7. Emily says

    I use a hand mixer and a metal bowl–I read somewhere that you should use a metal bowl so that’s all I’ve ever used. I don’t know if a glass or plastic bowl would not work or why.

    I also wanted to mention that homemade whipped cream is so much more stable than the stuff from a can. When you used the canned stuff it almost immediately starts melting at room temp. But homemade doesn’t. It keeps in a covered container in the fridge very well too.

  8. WilliamB says

    Does whipped cream always have sugar? I don’t make it often; my vague memory of doing so is just the cream, whipped.

    If you want the whipped cream to be extra silky, use confectioners sugar instead of granulated.

    I have read numerous times that one can make erstaz whipped cream from evaporated milk and *very* cold bowl.

    The reason to use a metal bowl is taste. Whipped cream will pick up residual flavor from the bowl and plastic tends to hold on to residual flavors.

    • Emily says

      You don’t have to use sugar. It’s a matter of taste. My mom sometimes does not use sugar. I prefer it with a bit of sugar. How much to use is up to you.

    • Looby says

      I was wondering the same thing- I’m from the UK and have never bought canned whipped cream, I always make whipped cream with just cream, no sugar; I thought maybe it was a North American/UK difference….

    • sharon says

      I never add sugar or anything at all to the cream, it doesnt need it and is healthier without adding extras to it.

  9. says

    So easy and so delicious! This is a great kitchen project for kids, too. I teach 1st grade and every year when we study pumpkins we make a pumpkin pie together plus homemade whipped cream! They all get a chance to use the handheld mixer to beat the cream and they’re always excited to see how it slowly gets thicker as you go. I’ve made it in glass and plastic bowls before and both ways seem to turn out just fine. I actually don’t own a metal bowl! I also add a tablespoon or two of sugar. If your kids are used to the taste of whipped cream from a can, the added sugar will make it taste a bit more like the canned version.

  10. Jen says

    Wow…we have gotten very far away from home cooking when people need a recipe for whipped cream! Maybe it’s a generational thing? If you don’t have a whisk on your mixer, the regular beaters will work fine, and a glass bowl works fine, too. Sugar is defnitely a matter of taste, as is vanilla. Alomnd extract or other flaors can sub for the vanilla if you wanta different taste. You can also add a little finely ground cocoa to make chocolate whipped cream.
    And if you don’t eat dairy products, you can whip coconut cream as well.

    • Emily says

      At a church dinner a couple of months ago they used the canned whipped cream on pie. Homemade would have been so much better and could easily be made up ahead of time & refrigerated (I’ll have to volunteer for the next one).

  11. Tami says

    A really easy dessert and fun kid activity is to make a dessert log. I use Famous Amos chocolate wafers usually found in the ice cream topping section. You make the whipping cream as described above. And take the wafers and have the kids make small towers of wafers with whipped cream in between each cookie. (cookie, dollop of cream,cookie, dollop of cream, etc) After have made towers put on side until in one long line and cover with the remaining whip cam until its is covered on all sides. Decorate with sprinkles. Freeze over night. To serve slice at an angle and it makes these cool stripes on the pieces. Do not use any decorations that when frozen will be to hard, like the cinnamon red hots. It’s like ice cream and so yummy. We make it at Christmas time every year and I did it as a kid and now do it with my kids! Hope this made sense!!!

    • Emily says

      Speaking of frozen whipped cream–my grandma used to freeze Cool Whip and then “forget” to take it out of the freezer in time to thaw for pie (I don’t know if she forgot or did it on purpose). So she’d scoop it with an ice cream scoop–I loved it.

  12. says

    I made vanilla extract as Christmas gifts as well this year and it is AWESOME! I actually just took a 750ml bottle of vodka (mid-grade), poured a little out to make room, and added 9 split vanilla beans. I have to say I’m using it pretty fast, so it’s not getting quite as dark, but for about $0.75 per ounce it is definitely a money saver!

  13. says

    I’ve whipped cream with my Magic Bullet. It took seconds! I’m off of dairy now and I’ve never heard of whipping coconut cream but I may have to try it!

  14. EngineerMom says

    I make whipped cream completely by hand – with a whisk and some elbow grease! It actually doesn’t take that long to whip by hand, and if you have kids, you can pass the bowl around if you need a break. It takes me maybe 5-10 minutes, about the same amount of time as our coffee maker. :-)

    If you whip it by hand, it’s much easier to keep an eye on how stiff it is.

    Also, whipped cream makes an excellent frosting for cakes. Just whip 2 cups of cream plus 2 T of sugar to soft peaks, then add a container of mascarpone cheese, then whip to stiff peaks. I use this instead of frosting on vanilla cake filled with a sweet filling (like lemon curd or full-sugar jam) so it’s not overpoweringly sweet, and it’s always been a hit, especially with adults who don’t normally like cake! Kids enjoy it too, since who doesn’t like whipped cream?

    Also, you can make a coffee-flavored whipped cream by letting cracked (put some whole ones in a bag and pound a couple times with a hammer) coffee beans soak in the cream overnight in the fridge. Remove the beans before whipping, of course!

    To help whipped cream keep in the fridge, make sure it’s in an airtight container, not just covered with plastic wrap in a bowl. If it does deflate, you can re-whip it. I’ve re-whipped cream as many as 3 times (before I figured out to stop using plastic wrap!) and still had it taste just fine.

  15. Karen says

    Don’t forget cocoa whipped cream. Add another tablespoon of sugar and one to one and a half tablespoons of cocoa. My mother uses is to fill and frost an angel food cake and sprinkles toasted flaked almonds on top.
    Quite honestly, I can’t imagine why anyone would use Cool Whip. And I thought the stuff that squirts out of a can is for ten year olds, isn’t it?

  16. says

    Mmm, nothing like some good, homemade whipped cream! I didn’t used to like whip cream…turns out I only like it homemade ;)
    My grandmother taught me to whip cream, and I know it’s silly, but it’s such a special thing for me, I always remember our times together whenever I make whipped cream (she’s still alive, but lives 3,000 miles away).

  17. Becky+P. says

    I didn’t know how to whip cream until I got married and my husband wanted it. My mom always used Cool Whip. There is no comparison as to the taste.

    Anyway, we use vanilla sugar here in Poland. I think that the real vanilla (with alcohol) actually has a dampening effect on the whipping but it will work. I read that it does– but usually the amount is miniscule, that it probably doesn’t matter.

    Besides making sure that the beater and bowl are cold, also make sure the cream itself is very cold. It needs to be at least 30% fat. Here we can buy cream that is 30% or 36%. Trying to beat up anything less than that won’t get you whipped cream (we can also buy 12 and 18% fat cream–half and half, etc. I had to learn all this from my Joy of Cooking). Also, if you don’t have it fresh (or UHT), it won’t whip.

    We do add a bit of sugar and a pinch of salt. If you need the cream to last til the next day, the pinch of salt will help it hold up that long. My husband has a fruit salad recipe from his mom that calls for whipped cream. By the next day (36 hours later) it is more or less pretty bad looking and the cream has pretty much broken down into a soupy runny white liquid.

  18. Rachel says

    Love real whipped cream. I should make it more often…
    I never saw cream at Aldi though, and I guess I must not have looked very hard!

  19. Natalie says

    I made this to serve with waffles for dinner– delicious! Thanks for sharing. I had no idea how to made it homemade before this post. I have always used Cool Whip and canned whipped cream. I’ll be making this again.

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