How to Make Better Whipped Cream

November  4, 2013

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

Shop the Story

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

52 Days of Thanksgiving
Check It Out
52 Days of Thanksgiving

Top-notch recipes, expert tips, and all the tools to pull off the year’s most memorable feast.

Check It Out

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Marie Frank
    Marie Frank
  • JoAnne Lingo
    JoAnne Lingo
  • ramtoo
  • Arthur in the Garden!
    Arthur in the Garden!
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).


Marie F. December 29, 2019
Trader Joe's has heavy cream the that is pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized.
JoAnne L. April 9, 2016
Cream whipped with powdered sugar tastes like dust, to me. Perhaps it is the cornstarch? Heavy cream whipped correctly keeps quite well in a covered glass storage container in the fridge. I have even frozen it with good results. I use a large Kitchenaid stand mixer with the whisk attachment and put the stainless steel bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least an hour before whipping.
For a heavenly whipped cream frosting that keeps well and holds it's shape try whipping an 8 ounce brick of softened cream cheese (Philadelphia Brand has the fewest additives and the best flavor) 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon (plus) of GOOD vanilla until fluffy, then fold it into 2 cups of whipped heavy cream. It's wonderful on a chocolate cake or torte, really on anything. It's a bit stiffer than plain whipped cream and has a richness that is marvelous!
Thank you Alice, you have opened an entire new world of chocolate for me. I love your no tempering approach and melt in the microwave technique! I made your three types of chocolate, white, milk and dark, whipped creams a few years ago for a friend's birthday to rave reviews. I gave you all of the credit, of course! You are a genius!
KB July 10, 2022
No. You are doing something wrong then.
ramtoo January 7, 2015
Where can you buy heavy cream that is not ultrapasteurized? I cannot find it even after searching the internet.
KB July 10, 2022
local creamery
HOT K. August 4, 2014
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.
Arthur I. May 11, 2014
Deb November 20, 2013
My whipped cream deflates after awhile. How can I prevent that from happening?
jthelwell November 17, 2013
I use superfine sugar when I make sweet whipped cream.
Deanna November 6, 2013
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.
Amelia S. November 4, 2013
Always spot on and perfect timing. Just as we are all about to whip our yearly quota of cream.
Alice M. November 4, 2013
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!
Alice M. November 4, 2013
Oops, thanks for that hewbert! I've saved cream many a time with a good glug! Seriously.
Ivy L. November 4, 2013
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.
hewbert November 4, 2013
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.
Monica M. November 4, 2013
Love that last tip - I did not know that!