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Stabilizing Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream is an indulgent treat that elevates even the simplest of desserts. Light and airy as a cloud, there is nothing quite like a spoonful of freshly whipped cream!

Homemade whipped cream is the perfect topping for many sweets. Add a dollop of whipped cream to a bowl of cut fruits, and you have turned your fruit bowl into a dessert!


Have you ever put whipped cream, either homemade or from a can, onto a dessert and minutes later it starts to weep out liquid and lose its shape? Real whipped cream is meant to be eaten right away. It doesn’t keep well if made in advance.

All of that can be avoided, if you make stabilized whipped cream. Stabilized whipped cream is basic whipped cream with something added to make it stay stiff. Of course, when whipped cream does not need to be prepared in advance for chilled desserts, or held at room temperature, it does not require stabilization. Once you learn how to whip cream, you will never have to resort to that store-bought non-dairy topping again.

Whipping cream has a high fat content (between 30% and 36% minimum), which is why it can be whipped from a liquid to a foam. The whipping action incorporates air bubbles, and the fat helps them stay in the mixture. Unfortunately, because fat is less dense than water, the smooth mixture will eventually separate into layers, causing the whipped cream to deflate and weep.

Fat Content

The higher the fat content, the stiffer the whipped product can become and the longer it holds its shape without separating, so I use heavy whipping cream. Ultra-pasteurized dairy products will make a decent whipped cream, although the flavors are a little more “cooked” tasting. Standard pasteurized cream will whip up more easily and hold better peaks, so use it if you can.

While nothing will make your perishable cream last longer at room temperature (two hours is the maximum!), I do know that whipped cream can be made more stable by adding ingredients that contain extra protein or carbohydrate. This will help to give the foam more structure so your whipped cream stays fluffier longer.


Various methods include adding cornstarch, cream of tartar, gelatin, Whip It (a cornstarch product), instant clear gel, and instant skim milk powder. While they all help the cream stay fluffy, most of them have drawbacks to consider: Cornstarch creates a grainy texture to the whipped cream. Cream of Tartar imparts a sour taste to the whipped cream. Gelatin tends to form small lumps in the cream after refrigeration and will result in a marshmallow-like consistency.

Whip It does not alter the flavor of the cream, nor make it gritty. Instant clear gel powder imparts no flavor and leaves no granular feeling. Instant skim milk powder won’t change the taste or texture.

Chill Your Equipment

Because you are relying on the fat in the cream, chilling your beaters, bowl, and cream beforehand means things will stay colder longer during the whipping process. Colder cream equals loftier peaks. Place a clean bowl, beaters, and cream in the freezer for 15 minutes before whipping.

Make Ahead

The advantage of stabilized whipped cream is that you can make it ahead of time and place it in the fridge until you are ready to serve. As long as you keep it cool, your cream will last at least 24 hours without deflating.


If you are sweetening the cream, use powdered sugar. The smaller sugar crystals are less likely to puncture and deflate the foam, and it usually contains some cornstarch, which can aid with thickening.

Don’t Over-beat

​​Whip the cream until it will hold firm peaks, stopping only when your beaters leave distinct trails in the cream. Over beating your cream will turn it to butter, and under-whipped cream will deflate and separate more quickly.

Stabilized Whipped Cream #1

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 package Whip It
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Add the Whip It to the cream in a deep bowl.  Beat until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla; continue to beat until stiff.

Stabilized Whipped Cream #2

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered skim milk (nonfat instant dry milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Stabilized Whipped Cream #3

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon instant clear gel/jel
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, add the sugar and instant clear gel; mix well. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the sugar mixture and vanilla to the cream; continue to beat until stiff.

Use stabilized whipped cream for a creamy cloud of deliciousness that is perfect for filling, layering, and/or topping your favorite desserts when you want to use fresh whipped cream with staying power when prepared in advance without weeping or losing its shape.

The creamy, delicate sweetness of whipped cream is the perfect flavor match for your waffles, cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts…and it goes perfectly well with fruit, too! Never again will you want to buy a tub of that artificial non-dairy whipped topping.


Beaters with whipped cream

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Extension Educator:
Vicki Hayman – (307) 746-3531

University of Wyoming Extension

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Extension Educator:
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Issued in furtherance of extension work, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Kelly Crane, Director, University of Wyoming Extension, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Wyoming Extension, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071.

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