All you need to know to make the silkiest sweetened whipped cream!
Forget the canned stuff, homemade sweetened whipped cream is a must for topping pies, cakes, and many more desserts. I make it so often in my kitchen that it’s become second nature, but I’ve heard from many of you that the perfect whipped cream is a bit of a mystery. From getting the ratio of ingredients right to how long to beat the whipped cream, I’m here to share all of my secrets!
What you need
- Cold heavy whipping cream
- Granulated or powdered/confectioner’s sugar
- Vanilla extract
- A whisk if you plan to whip by hand or an electric mixer (either hand-held or stand mixer)
Many resources tell you to chill the bowl and whisk/beaters before making whipping cream, but honestly I’ve never done it. But if you have an unusually warm kitchen, it is something to consider. Also, you may have heard that powdered sugar is the only way to get smooth whipped cream, but I haven’t found that to be true either. I almost always use granulated sugar, but if you prefer powdered that’s fine too.
The right ratio
I generally like the following ratio when I make whipped cream:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
This basic ratio can be doubled or tripled as needed to meet your needs. Remember that the heavy cream will double once it’s whipped, so 1 cup of heavy cream will yield about 2 cups of whipped cream.
Low and slow
If you’re using an electric mixer, beat on medium to medium-high speed (I use speed setting 6 on my kitchenaid stand mixer). This will create smaller bubbles of air throughout the cream as it whips, resulting in a more stable foam. The tendency when making whipped cream is to just crank it all the way up to high and whip it really quickly, but that will create large unstable bubbles that will deflate over time. Plus going a little slower will give you more control so you don’t over-beat the cream.
Soft, medium, or hard peaks
How long you beat the cream will depend on how thick you want the whipped cream, which is entirely a personal preference. And I don’t look at the clock, I watch the cream to tell me when it’s done!
- Soft peaks— a dollop of whipped cream at this stage will be slightly softer than sour cream
- Medium peaks— a dollop of whipped cream at this stage will have a pointy top, but a soft base that slumps over berries or a cake
- Hard peaks— a dollop of whipped cream at this stage will almost completely hold its shape once it falls off the spoon
I usually aim for the softer side of medium peaks (shown in this post), as I like the soft cloud-like texture and appearance.
How to save over-whipped cream
It’s happened to all of us, you walk away from the mixer for a few seconds and you come back to a lumpy mess. As long as you haven’t gone so far as to make butter, it can be saved! Simply fold a few tablespoons of heavy whipping cream into the whipped cream by hand. This should loosen the whipped cream and make it silky again. How much heavy whipping cream you’ll need will depend on how much whipped cream you’re making and how far you over-beat it. Start with a little and add more as needed.
Storing whipped cream
Whipped cream is best used immediately, but it can be stored in the fridge for later use as well. When ready to use, gently stir the whipped cream to loosen it again. If the cream had been whipped to stiff peaks, you may need to add a little heavy whipping cream. It’s best to use refrigerated whipped cream within a few days.
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Perfectly Whipped Cream
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy whipping cream
- 1-2 tablespoons granulated or powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add heavy whipping cream to bowl and beat by hand with a whisk, or use an electric mixer. If using an electric mixer, beat on medium to medium-high speed (I use speed setting 6 on my kitchenaid).
- Once mixture starts to thicken, add sugar and vanilla.
- Continue to beat for a few more minutes to soft, medium, or hard peaks per your preference.
- Use immediately for best use, but leftovers can be stored in the fridge for several days.