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How to Make Better Whipped Cream

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Every week, baking expert Alice Medrich will be going rogue on Food52 -- with shortcuts, hacks, and game-changing recipes.

Today: Think you know everything about whipping cream? Think again. Alice has 5 smart tips to make your holiday desserts even better.

Better Whipped Cream from Food52

Whipped cream may be the easiest and best choice for topping or filling many desserts: it takes seconds to make and you can sweeten to your taste, or not at all. Whipped cream is deliciously neutral; it accentuates the flavor of whatever you put it on! It makes chocolate taste even more chocolaty and adds a creamy counterpart to tart and tangy fruit desserts.

Alice's 5 Rules for Better Whipped Cream

1. Use heavy whipping cream. The best and freshest tasting cream is not ultra-pasteurized or sterilized, or stabilized with carrageenan. If possible, find the brand that has only one ingredient: cream.

2. Cream must be very cold to whip properly. If you’ve just brought it home from an extended trip to the store, refrigerate the cream for a while again before you whip it. Cream that isn’t cold enough may not whip at all, or it may curdle when you whip it. For extra insurance: chill the bowl and beaters before whipping the cream.

Better Whipped Cream from Food52
3. You can sweeten the cream with plain granulated or powdered sugar. I prefer granulated sugar because I don’t like the feel and flavor of the starch that’s in the powdered sugar, but this is up to you. Taste and adjust the sugar towards the end of beating because cream tastes less sweet when it’s fluffy than when it’s fluid. 

4. Whipped cream can be thick and stiff or soft and flowing, or anywhere in between: this is up to you! However, cream that is too stiff feels grainy from the specks of butter -- so don’t go too far.

5.  If you plan to pipe whipped cream with a pastry bag or spread it over a cake for filling or frosting, or fold it into another mixture, always whip it less stiff than you want it to be. Cream continues to stiffen as you pipe it, spread it, or fold it: if you begin with stiff cream, you will end with granular over-whipped cream by the time you are finished.

More: You can whip cream with a fork, technically. See why we wouldn't advise it.

Alice's new book Seriously Bitter Sweet is a complete revision of her IACP award-winning Bittersweet, updated for the 54%, 61%, and 72% (and beyond) bars available today. It's packed with tricks, techniques, and answers to every chocolate question, plus 150 seriously delicious recipes -- both savory and sweet.


Photo by James Ransom

Tags: baking, holiday, whipped cream, how-to & diy, desserts, Thanksgiving

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Comments (12)


8 months ago ramtoo

Where can you buy heavy cream that is not ultrapasteurized? I cannot find it even after searching the internet.


about 1 year ago HOT KNIVES

A tip that works well is to insert an ice cube into the cage of a wire balloon whisk. As the ice melts it slightly dilutes the cream, giving it a beautiful texture and chilling it simultaneously.


over 1 year ago Arthur in the Garden!



almost 2 years ago Deb

My whipped cream deflates after awhile. How can I prevent that from happening?


almost 2 years ago jthelwell

I use superfine sugar when I make sweet whipped cream.


almost 2 years ago Deanna

I whip cream, sweeten/flavor then freeze by the spoonful to add to mocha's and hot chocolate. It slowly melts in the drink. We love it.


almost 2 years ago Amelia Saltsman

Always spot on and perfect timing. Just as we are all about to whip our yearly quota of cream.


almost 2 years ago Alice Medrich

Interesting about the icing sugar. We all need to know more about ingredients around the world theses days since everyone is cooking from everyone's books! Anyone want to sponsor a trip? I could use one!


almost 2 years ago Alice Medrich

Oops, thanks for that hewbert! I've saved cream many a time with a good glug! Seriously.


almost 2 years ago Ivy Liacopoulou

I think only icing sugar sold in the USA contains starch. In other countries such as Greece or Cyprus, no starch is added. Someone who tried a recipe from my cookbook could not get the icing sugar stick to the cookies, which were coated with icing sugar. After many exchanges of e-mails, he told me that it was due to the starch in the sugar.


almost 2 years ago hewbert

Another tip Alice might have mentioned: if you over-whip your cream and it starts to turn to butter, don't start over again. Turn off your mixer, add a good glug of liquid cream and slowly fold it into the over-whipped cream. It will smooth it right out.


almost 2 years ago Monica M

Love that last tip - I did not know that!