Easy homemade stabilized whipped cream without gelatine. This is a classic vanilla whipped cream, perfect to top your desserts and use in your recipes. Along with tips and tricks to use this as a Cool Whip substitute.
In the UK, they don't have Cool Whip! As an American, this was a culture shock too far for me. I've spent quite a long time working out the best alternatives for classic Cool Whip, both as a topping and as an ingredient. An easy stabilized whipped cream is essential as a topping and is surprisingly simple to achieve.
What is Stabilized Whipped Cream?
Stabilised whipped cream is quite simply whipped cream that will hold its shape. It can often be firm enough (and stable enough) to pipe and will last for a few days in the fridge.
The key to stabilising whipped cream, is adding a thickener. Some recipes will call for cornstarch or cream of tartar. I prefer to thicken mine with powdered sugar alone. This keeps the flavour a bit sweet and simple. It also makes for a super simple ratio: 1 tablespoon of icing sugar per cup of cream.
Tips and Tricks for Whipping
Whipping with an electric mixer is the easiest - either a stand mixer or a handheld device. You can off course whip purely by hand, but this will take a lot longer and a lot more arm and wrist muscle!
- Whip on medium for the first minute to get things started.
- If you haven't already done so, add any thickener and flavouring.
- Increase the speed to a high setting and continue whipping. Be on the look out for stiff peaks forming.
How to Tell You Have Whipped Enough?
It takes some trial and error when you're starting out to ensure you've whipped your cream to the optimum thickness.
- Start paying close attention once the cream has thickened enough that it is holding a shape while the mixer whips through it.
- Stop the mixer occasionally and check the cream. Does it hold its shape when you pull the whisk out? Or, do the peaks drip and it fall back onto themselves, melting back into the bowl?
- Keep beating and checking until you have stiff stable peaks that hold their shape.
- Another key test is to hold the bowl upside down - if nothing moves and pours out, you're done!
Whipped Cream without Gelatin versus with Gelatin
In most cases, you do not need gelatin to thicken and set a whipped cream. A powdered sugar stabilized cream will be perfectly pipeable and great for topping your desserts.
The main exception to this is if you are looking for a whipped cream like Cool Whip for making no bake pies or filling Swiss Rolls. A cream set without gelatin will be creamier and less jiggly than a cream which uses gelatin. For an example of gelatin based whipped cream, see my Pink Jell-O Pie made without Cool Whip and my Cinnamon Swiss Roll. These both involve a sweetened whipped cream with gelatin and provide detailed instructions to making this if needed.
Flavours for Whipped Cream
You can use all variety of flavourings in your whipped cream. My favourite is vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. This is the best way to get the flavour you may be seeking from a cool whip substitute.
Alternatively, you could flavour your whipped cream with different extracts - almond makes for a nice compliment to the cream.
Zests (such as lemon or lime) or spices (such as cinnamon) can also be used to provide flavouring. If you are wanting to include zest or spice, I would add this towards the end of the whipping rather than at the start.
FAQs for Easy Stabilized Whipped
If your cream is runny and not holding shape, this is because it has not reached stiff peaks and is not thick enough. Continue whipping! It can take 5 to 10 minutes of using an electric whisk for you to reach stiff peaks.
Stabilized whipped cream can stay fresh and hold its shape for a couple of days in the fridge. If you are using this for an occasion, you can make this up to a day in advance and should still be in peak condition. Keep this in the fridge in an airtight container.
Gelatin is not necessary in most cases for thickening your homemade cream. This recipe uses powdered sugar to thicken the cream into a stable form that can be piped and will hold its shape. This will work perfect for topping your desserts.
Stabilized whipped cream is a great accompaniment to:
Other baking basics you may find useful:
Easy Stabilized Whipped Cream
- hand held electric beater or stand mixer with a whisk attachment
- 1 cup heavy double cream or whipping cream cold (fresh from the refrigerator)
- 1 tablespoon powdered icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- Add the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla to the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Alternatively, use a large bowl and a hand held electric whisk.
- Beat on medium for a minute and then on high until thickened. This will depend on your mixer, but watch for the cream to start holding shape around the beaters. Test the thickness by stopping the machine and checking for stiff peaks.