How to Make Homemade Whipped Cream

When you know how to make homemade vanilla whipped cream, everything from fresh fruit to pancakes becomes a delightfully decadent treat.

fluffy whipped cream in stand mixer

If there is one thing you need to know how to make from scratch, I vote that you know how to make whipped cream. Consider it a life skill.

Did you grow up scooping cool whip onto pie? or squirting it from those handy cans – sometimes straight into your mouth? My mom was team cool whip for every holiday and I never gave it a second thought.

My sister first introduced me to freshly whipped cream on Thanksgiving day many years ago. Watching her pour cream into the bowl and then beat it into fluffy peaks was a game-changer for me.

This vanilla whipped cream draws a “WOW” from guests every time. It’s as if no one knows how easy it is to make. I can speak to that from experience.

Once you taste homemade whipped cream, you will never go back. Your tastebuds and your family won’t let you.

Vanilla Whipped Cream

My family will happily put whipped cream on just about everything. When I finally triumphed over Gluten Free Pancakes years ago, I wanted to make them extra special. I had fresh raspberries in the refrigerator and decided to whip some cream for a special treat.

My youngest son called it “ice cream” and we all thought the flavor was a perfect match for our favorite vanilla ice cream.

Subtly sweet, richly vanilla flavored, and slightly melted into the fluffy pancakes: that became an immediate favorite pancake topping for the whole family. I’ve been whipping cream to top pancakes almost every weekend since then.

I’m trying to talk myself out of baking something now for dessert tonight, if only so I can make another bowl of whipped cream to top it. Writing about fluffy bowls of vanilla whipped cream makes me crave it all over again!

heavy cream in mixer bowl with whisk

There are only three necessary ingredients when making whipped cream. However, there are a few things to remember that will deliver perfectly fluffy results every time.

Start with COLD cream, a cold bowl, and cold beaters. If you can put your bowl and beaters in the freezer for an hour or so beforehand, even better.

Warm or room-temperature cream will not whip very well, so keep it in the fridge until the moment you are ready to pour it into the bowl and beat it.

cream with sugar and vanilla in mixing bowl

Keep in mind that the end result is whipped cream, not butter. It’s a fine line and if you walk away while it is being beaten and lose track of time, you’ll come back to a bowl of thick sweet butter.

If your whipped cream does turn into butter, don’t panic. It happens to the best of us. Overwhipped cream can almost always be saved by slowly drizzling cold, unwhipped heavy cream into the mixing bowl while the mixer is beating at low speed.

Keep adding cream until the broken whipped cream regains its fluffy texture. You shouldn’t need more than 2-3 tablespoons of cream and a minute or so of additional mixing.

whipped cream in mixer bowl

The cream will form soft peaks after 3-4 minutes. At this point, add your vanilla and powdered sugar. Stop mixing now, if you’ll be serving the whipped cream with fresh fruit or something else that will benefit from the softer cream melting into it.

Usually, my goal is a stiffer whipped cream either, perfect for scooping over angel food cake, frosting a layered cake, or topping pumpkin pie. A few more minutes with the electric mixer will deliver that.

The only downside I’ve found to making whipped cream at home is that with three boys in my house, I need a mixer with three beaters. My solution to that problem has been to just lick the beater myself. Problem solved, right?

whipped cream in mixing bowl with whisk

Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe

To make this recipe, you will need the following:

  • heavy whipping cream
  • vanilla extract, paste, or seeds from a vanilla bean
  • powdered sugar

My go-to ingredient for this recipe is basic vanilla extract. However, when I’m feeling fancier, or happen to have them on hand, vanilla paste or the seeds from a vanilla bean may be substituted.
Vanilla bean whipped cream is like no other whipped cream you’ve ever tasted, friend. And yes, it is an indulgence.

whipped vanilla cream in mixing bowl with spatula

How Long Does Homemade Whipped Cream Last?

Homemade whipped cream will last for 1-2 days if unstabilized (made exactly as written below) and 3-4 days if you stabilize it.

You may have noticed that I do not stabilize my vanilla whipped cream. The powdered sugar provides enough structure that it keeps nicely until I am ready to serve it.

Truth be told, I never bother with anything else. With my family, everything is almost always gone in one sitting and there is a good chance someone will get caught licking the bowl and spatula clean.

If there does happen to be anything left over, it keeps fine in the fridge for a day or two without issues.

However, if you want to stabilize it in order to ensure that the fluffy cream will last for several days, you can whisk 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with the powdered sugar before adding it to the cream.

chocolate cake with whip cream dollop

Flavored Whipped Cream

You can easily flavor your whipped cream using different extracts and fruit purees. Peppermint or cinnamon adds a depth of flavor, perfect to top many different desserts. Swirl in strawberry sauce for what is sure to become your new favorite topping.

Whipped cream blended with Salted Caramel Sauce might be my best-kept secret of all time. Top homemade brownies with salted caramel whipped cream for a memorable dessert.

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Servings: 8 servings ( approximately ¼ cup each)

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  • Pour the cream into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes, until very soft peaks begin to form.

  • Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and continue beating for an additional minute or two, just until firmer peaks form.

  • Serve immediately or store in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Calories: 104kcal · Carbohydrates: 1g · Protein: 1g · Fat: 11g · Saturated Fat: 7g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g · Monounsaturated Fat: 3g · Cholesterol: 34mg · Sodium: 8mg · Potassium: 29mg · Sugar: 1g · Vitamin A: 437IU · Vitamin C: 0.2mg · Calcium: 20mg · Iron: 0.03mg

{originally published 7/23/12 – recipe notes and photos updated 4/10/23}

Vanilla Whipped Cream in bowl with spatula

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