Here's what you need to know to prepare the fluffy, silken whipped cream of your dreams.

By Frances Kim
Updated November 08, 2019
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What's a piece of pie or a batch of shortcakes without a dollop of whipped cream? It elevates just about any dessert. And while you might feel nostalgic for the stuff that comes in a can or plastic tub, trust us, nothing can beat homemade whipped cream. Follow our helpful hints for getting this finishing touch just right, customizing it to your taste, and even using a kid-friendly shortcut.

Mind the Temperature

Make sure the cream is very cold; if you have time, chill the whisk (or beaters) and bowl in the refrigerator or freezer (wherever you have space!) for 20 minutes. Choose a metal bowl—it gets cool fast and stays that way the longest. These steps will help the cream whip up quickly and will increase its volume.

Pick Your Tool

A large handheld whisk is very easy to use. If you are using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed, being careful not to overbeat (the cream will turn buttery). To use an immersion blender, whip the cream in a large liquid-measuring cup (or other deep, narrow container) instead of a bowl; to avoid spattering, keep the blade submerged. If you've gone too far and your glorious pie topping starts to look grainy or curdled, don't panic. You can fix over-whipped cream by slowly folding in more unwhipped heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time, until you regain a silky consistency.

Try a Shortcut

You don't have to break out a mixer or whisk—all you need is a jar with a tight-fitting lid and a little energy. The just-like-magic trick is perfect for parties or picnics. Kids will love to lend a hand. Here's how to do it: Fill a jar one-quarter full with cold heavy cream, then seal and shake until cream is thick and fluffy, two to three minutes. For a fast, crowd-pleasing dessert, serve with fresh in-season berries.

Do Your Dairy Diligence

Use the richest cream available, heavy whipping cream, for whipped cream. It has between 36 percent and 40 percent milk fat. You won't get the same results with light whipping cream, table cream, or half-and-half.

Choose Your Sugar

If you prefer, you can replace the granulated sugar with an equal amount of confectioners' sugar. Beat in a tablespoon of confectioners' sugar for every cup of heavy cream to help it hold its shape better. This type of sugar contains added starch, which delivers extra stability. To prevent any lumps from forming, use a fine-mesh sieve to sift the sugar over the cream.

Boost the Flavor

If you plan to use any flavorings, such as extracts, liqueurs, or spices, add them with the sugar. If serving whipped cream with fruit or chocolate desserts, our test kitchen adds a dollop of vanilla paste to the heavy cream before whipping. Take flavored whipped cream to the next level by infusing the cream prior to whipping. Try citrus, warm spices, or coffee infused whipped cream.

Make It Ahead

Whipped cream can be refrigerated, covered, for up to two hours before serving.

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