You can't beat the taste of homemade whipped cream, made from scratch in just 5 minutes using 2 simple ingredients. This easy-to-follow recipe with step-by-step photos and tips will show you how to make perfect whipped cream every time!
With summer (and berry season!) just around the corner, it's the perfect time to master an easy and important skill for any dessert lover: how to make homemade whipped cream! Whipped cream is used in SO many desserts - as a topping or folded into creamy, layered desserts - but one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is simply with fresh berries for a light, summery treat!
Whipped cream is made by whipping air into heavy cream to create a light, deliciously fluffy foam. It takes just minutes to make and requires only a few simple ingredients.
Recipe Ingredients & Equipment
- Cold Heavy Whipping Cream - You'll need cold cream with a high fat content to make whipped cream, so I recommend working with heavy whipping cream or heavy cream (more on the different types of cream in a minute) that's well chilled.
- Confectioners sugar (powdered sugar) - A little bit of sugar adds just the right amount of sweetness to the cream. While you could use granulated sugar, I recommend confectioners sugar since it will dissolve more easily into the cream, ensuring a smooth (rather than gritty) texture.
- Vanilla extract (optional) - Vanilla extract is optional (I did not use it in the whipped cream shown here), but it does add a nice vanilla flavor to the cream. Whipped cream flavored with vanilla is actually called Chantilly cream (or crème Chantilly in French)!
- Large bowl - You'll want to use a large bowl, as the cream will splatter as it's whipped. It's also a great idea to chill the bowl before you begin to help keep the cream cold as it's being whipped.
- Handheld electric mixer - I like to use a handheld electric mixer to make whipped cream because I feel that it gives me the best control. However, you can also whip cream using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. (You could also use a whisk and beat the cream the old fashioned way, but I'm not sure I have the arm muscles for that!)
Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions
Making the whipped cream is super easy! Simply add the ingredients - cold heavy whipping cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract (if using) - to the bowl and beat them on medium-high speed until the mixture reaches your desired consistency (more on this below).
This step-by-step video shows exactly how heavy whipping cream and confectioners sugar (plus air added by the beaters!) become homemade whipped cream.
The Stages of Whipped Cream: Soft Peaks, Medium Peaks & Stiff Peaks
There are 3 common "stages" of whipped cream. These stages are used to describe the texture and consistency of the whipped cream, and the difference between the three is based on how long you spend whipping the cream. Here's a breakdown:
- Soft Peaks: If you lift your beaters straight up from the bowl (be sure to turn them off first!) and see small, undefined peaks, you have soft peaks. Stop whipping at this stage if you like whipped cream with a softer texture.
- Medium Peaks: If you lift your beaters straight up from the bowl and see formed peaks with tips that bend over, you have medium peaks. This is the most common/popular stage of whipped cream, and it's ideal for use as a topping on treats like ice cream and strawberry shortcake.
- Stiff Peaks: If you lift your beaters straight up from the bowl and see formed peaks with tips that remain upright, you have stiff peaks. This type of whipped cream is ideal for use in layered desserts where a little more structure is needed, like icebox cake or cream pie.
- Butter: If you continue to beat the whipped cream beyond the stiff peaks stage you will eventually get... BUTTER! So, if whipped cream is what you're aiming for, be sure to stop whipping the cream once it reaches stiff peaks (or earlier to suit your preference). If you do over-whip the cream don't be discouraged; store your homemade sweet butter in the fridge to use for spreading on biscuits or breads and start again with a fresh cup of chilled cream.
There are three types of cream to know, and the differences between them come down to their milk fat content, and we want cream with a higher fat content for making whipped cream. Heavy cream and heavy whipping cream both contain 36% milk fat, making them ideal for whipped cream. Whipping cream contains less milk fat (just 30%), which is not a high enough fat content for whipped cream. Be sure you're using heavy cream or heavy whipping cream to make homemade whipped cream.
Whipped cream is best when used immediately. However, if absolutely necessary, you can store whipped cream in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Note that whipped cream that's been made ahead and stored in the fridge will be denser and less frothy than fresh whipped cream, and you may want to give it a quick whip to fluff it up just before serving.
More Whipped Cream Recipes to Love
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This post was updated in May 2020 to include new recipe photos and additional recipe details.