How to Make Whipped Cream to Top Your Favorite Desserts

Canned whipped cream doesn't even compare to this simple and rewarding recipe.

Rich, creamy, and slightly sweet—a dollop of whipped cream is a delicious way to elevate any dessert. If you've never made whipped cream from scratch before, you're about to find out how easy is. With just a handful of ingredients, you'll be able to create a perfect cool sweet treat for homemade strawberry shortcakes, as a base (or topping) for creamy pies, stuffing for cream puffs, and more. Learn how to make whipped cream with our Test Kitchen's tried-and-true method. From there, you'll be able to change up the flavor and enjoy.

whipped cream in mixing bowl
Blaine Moats

How to Make Whipped Cream

While it's not necessary, our Test Kitchen highly recommends making homemade whipped cream in a chilled bowl. Simply pop a large bowl (metal works best) in the freezer. While you're at it, go ahead and add the beaters from your hand mixer into the bowl to get those nice and chilled as well. Keep the chilled bowl in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, then follow these two easy steps to make the best whipped cream at home.

  1. Combine cold whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a chilled bowl.
  2. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl).

Test Kitchen Tip: If you prefer a thicker whipped cream, continue beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Don't overbeat or the cream will turn into butter.

Whipped Cream Flavorings

If desired, you can add flavoring to the bowl along with the vanilla to amplify the flavors of the dessert you're serving it with:

  • ½ teaspoon finely shredded citrus peel
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons amaretto, coffee, or hazelnut liqueur
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger

How to Make Vegan Whipped Cream

Need a dairy-free version of homemade whipped cream? Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The next day, carefully scoop out the solid coconut cream from the top of the can (save the liquid for another use) and beat with a hand mixer on low until mostly smooth. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and continue beating until semi-stiff peaks form. Enjoy with a slice of Vegan Pumpkin Pie.

Can You Freeze Whipped Cream?

So you've learned how to make whipped cream and have a lot of leftovers after dessert is served. No need to let it go to waste! Our Test Kitchen says you can freeze whipped cream to save it up to 6 weeks by using one of the following methods:

  • Option 1: Store leftover whipped cream in a freezer-safe covered container. Use a small scoop and serve from the frozen state to top pie, hot chocolate, or anything you want to top with a "scoop" of whipped cream.
  • Option 2: Scoop or pipe the homemade whipped cream onto a piece of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Freeze the dollops of whipped cream until they are totally hard before removing them from the paper and transferring them to an airtight container.

You don't need to thaw frozen whipped cream before using it, but you can re-whip it with a whisk to soft peaks if it gets too loose.

For some desserts starring unique, delicious takes on homemade whipped cream, try our Sheet-Pan Shortcake with Mascarpone Cream. Or make Strawberry Whipped Cream for Homemade Cream Puffs.

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