Say goodbye to store-bought mediocrity, with all its additives and preservatives, and get ready to learn how to make homemade cool whip! There's something undeniably magical about a dollop of this fluffy, cloud-like topping gracing the top of your favorite desserts. With just a few ingredients and minimal effort, you can make a batch of America’s favorite creamy topping in mere minutes!
💡 What is cool whip?
Introduced by Kraft Foods in the United States in 1966, people have been using Cool Whip ever since! This popular whipped topping, famous for its creamy texture, sweet flavor, and impressive ability to hold its shape, frequently tops pies, cakes, sundaes, and serves as a vital ingredient in numerous no-bake desserts. Over the years, Cool Whip has earned its place as a versatile and beloved culinary companion.
💡 What is Cool Whip made with?
Sadly, store bought cool whip is not exactly good for you. This popular topping usually consists of a blend of water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, and skim milk as it's base. It also contains natural and artificial flavoring agents, thickeners like xanthan gum and guar gum, and an emulsifier called polysorbate 60, which gives it stability.
As you can see, it's a long list of stuff! But is there a substitute for cool whip?Yes! You can easily make it at home using a handful of easily accessible natural ingredients.
💡 What is the difference between cool whip and whipped cream?
These two popular dessert toppings may seem similar, but they have distinct differences. Whipped cream (also called chantilly cream), made from heavy cream and a pinch of sugar, is light, fluffy, and boasts a rich dairy flavor. In contrast, cool whip has a creamier texture and additional additives for stability. However, while these extra ingredients serve a purpose, store-bought cool whip is best used in moderation.
So if you're now thinking how do I make my own cool whip, this homemade version is the solution!
📝 Homemade Cool Whip Ingredients
- Heavy Cream - This recipe shows you how to make homemade cool whip with heavy cream as the base. Half and half or milk will not work. It’s also important that you use very cold, high-fat heavy cream with at least 36% fat content to achieve the proper texture.
- Powdered Sugar - The ideal whipping cream sugar for just a touch of sweetness! Always sift powdered sugar to prevent any lumps.
- Vanilla Extract - Gives the topping its classic vanilla flavor. You can also use a suitable substitute for vanilla extract.
- Gelatin Powder - When dissolved in water and added to the heavy cream, the gelatin creates stabilized whipped cream, which is cool whip!
- Water - Mixed together with the gelatin to activate it. Make sure to use cold water.
🛒 You’ll find detailed measurements for all Ingredients in the printable version of the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post
👩🍳 How to make cool whip
No need to wonder anymore, can you make cool whip at home!? The next time you're in the freezer aisle picking up a tub to top your favorite pumpkin pie, think twice! Instead, you can simply grab a few ingredients and whip up this easy homemade cool whip recipe in just a matter of minutes!
Follow these easy steps:
- In a small bowl, whisk the gelatin and cold water together until well combined. Then set the mixture aside.
- In a separate chilled mixing bowl, add the very cold heavy cream and the sifted powdered sugar.
- Use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment to whip the cold cream and sugar for about a minute. Then add the vanilla extract.
- Heat the gelatin and water mixture in the microwave for a few seconds until it turns back into a liquid form. Then gradually pour the liquid gelatin mixture into the whipped cream while the mixer is still running.
- Continue whipping the mixture until stiff peaks form. Be sure to stop whipping immediately when the topping achieves a fluffy and pipeable consistency, typically in about 2 to 3 minutes. This should happen right after you see soft peaks forming.
- You can now use your cool whip to fill, frost, or as an ingredient.
- The cool whip will keep for about 1 to 2 days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. If made properly it should maintain its structure and not deflate.
💡 Top Tip: Before you begin the recipe, chill your mixing bowl and beaters. This step keeps the heavy whipping cream cold and makes the topping more light and airy.
✨ Flavor variations
Classic cool whip is a delicious, creamy, vanilla-flavored topping! But can you make homemade cool whip with different flavors? Absolutely! Here are some of my favorites.
- Chocolate: Add a rich and chocolaty twist by incorporating cocoa powder. It's perfect for topping my chocolate hazelnut tart or ice cream sundaes.
- Fruity: Give the topping color and fruity flavor by blending in ground freeze-dried fruit such as berries or mango.
- Minty: Just a drop of peppermint extract creates a refreshing minty variation that pairs well with brownie muffins and mint-chocolate desserts.
- Coffee: A dash of instant coffee granules or espresso powder can transform it into a coffee lover’s dream. Try it with my triple chocolate cake for a taste of mocha!
- Spiced: Elevate it with a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice. This warm and cozy variation complements pies and cobblers.
- Citrus Zest: Add a burst of citrusy goodness by incorporating orange, lemon, or lime zest. It's a zesty topping for a cheesecake or a strawberry galette.
🎓 Expert tips
- Just like a homemade whipped cream recipe, you must use very cold heavy cream with a fat content of 36% or higher. Trying to make homemade cool whip with milk or lower-fat creams will not work.
- Always sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the cream. This ensures a smooth texture.
- Make sure to dissolve the powdered gelatin completely in the cold water, and add it gradually while the mixer is still running.
- You must use the gelatin. Homemade cool whip without gelatin is simply whipped cream (chantilly cream) and while it can also perfectly hold its shape, the gelatin version is more stable
- Whip the cool whip just until you achieve stiff peaks. Overwhipping will cause it to break and become runny.
- When adding flavors to the homemade cool whip recipe, choose powdered or gel-based ingredients to prevent the addition of excess moisture, which can make the topping runny.
❓ Cool whip FAQs
It typically remains fresh when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 days.
Transfer it to a tightly sealed airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator.
Yes! It will keep for 2 to 3 months in the freezer when stored in an airtight container. When you're ready to use it again, just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.
🍰 How to use cool whip
Now that you know how to make homemade cool whip topping, it’s time to discover what you can do with this creamy sensation!
1. Use it as a topping
- Add a dollop on top of my Baileys apple pie
- Use it to frost these decadent triple chocolate brownies
- Pipe some on this tasty pumpkin cream cheese pie
- Jazz up simple strawberry muffins with some cool whip frosting
2. Use it as a filling
- Sandwich it between chocolate chip cookies and then freeze
- Use it to fill eclairs or crispy cream puffs
- Fill some mini pie crusts with cool whip and then top with strawberry compote
3. Serve it on the side
- Dip fresh fruit into this creamy delight
- Pair it with pancakes or French toast
- Serve it with croquembouche
4. Use it in other desserts
- Fold it into chocolate mousse for a lighter texture
- Make layered parfaits with granola and apple topping
- Use this homemade cool whip substitute in your favorite no-bake recipes
🧁 More frosting and filling recipes
Homemade Cool Whip
US customary cup measurement is an indicative figure only. Measure the ingredients with a digital scale by weight (gram). Baking is art but also science which requires precision and accuracy.
- Whisk gelatin and cold water in a small bowl until combined, and set it aside.
- Place very cold 36% fat content heavy cream into a mixing bowl along with the sifted powdered sugar.
- Whip it up with an electric hand mixer for about a minute and then add the vanilla.
- Next, microwave the gelatin and water mixture for a few seconds or until it returns to a liquid form. Then slowly pour the gelatin mixture into the whipped cream while the mixer is running at the same time.
- Whip the mixture until stiff peaks. When the frosting reaches a fluffy and pipeable consistency after 2 to 3 minutes (early hard peaks, straight after soft peaks), stop whipping immediately. If you continue whipping, the frosting will separate, get runny, and then it will turn into butter.
- Use the homemade cool whip to fill, frost, or decorate your desserts according to your recipe.
- The homemade Cool Whip can be refrigerated for 1-2 days and should not deflate if it is whipped up correctly.
- Measure your ingredients with a digital scale for accuracy.
- The heavy cream needs to be high in fat (36%+). The low-fat version won't whip up correctly because it contains more water.
- Sift the powdered sugar before using.
- Make sure you read my Expert Tips section above to maximize your success. A short recipe alone is not able to cover all the necessary details, and science behind baking.
- Whipped cream is very easy to overwhip. When whipping, stop as soon as the mixture has reached a fluffy consistency (this will take 2-3 minutes) and early stiff peaks. It won't get stiffer after this point. In fact, if you overbeat, it will only get runnier and then it will break.
- You can add flavorings to this homemade cool whip but you need to do it carefully. Use the powdered or gel version instead of the liquid version whenever possible, eg. cinnamon, cocoa powder, etc. But, do not overmix.