Whipped cream is a beloved topping for desserts like pies, cakes, hot chocolate and more. Its light, airy texture and sweet flavor make it an indulgent finishing touch. However, some people need or prefer dairy-free options due to dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance or vegan lifestyles. The good news is, with the right products and techniques, it’s absolutely possible to make plant-based whipped cream at home.
– Yes, it is possible to whip dairy-free whipping cream to a light and fluffy texture similar to regular whipped cream. The keys are using products with the right ingredients and whipping properly.
– Full-fat canned coconut milk is the most commonly used dairy-free whipping cream. It whips up well when chilled thoroughly. Other options include cashew cream, soy creamer, and special vegan whipping creams.
– Dairy-free whipping cream needs to be very cold to whip properly. Chill cans of coconut milk overnight or for at least 6 hours before whipping.
– Use a stand mixer or hand mixer on high speed to whip air into the cream. Whip for several minutes until light and fluffy.
– Add a small amount of sweetener like sugar or maple syrup and vanilla extract to enhance the flavor.
– Whipped coconut cream holds its shape well but only for a couple hours at room temperature. It’s best served shortly after whipping.
What Makes Cream Whip Successfully
Whipping cream into billowy, airy peaks relies on two key factors: fat content and chilling.
Regular dairy heavy whipping cream contains 36-40% milk fat. This high fat content allows the proteins to form strong networks that trap air bubbles as the cream is whipped. The result is a light, fluffy texture that holds its shape.
Full fat is crucial. Lower fat dairy creams like half and half or light whipping cream do not whip up well. They form a looser foam that quickly deflates.
Thorough chilling is the second key to successfully whipping cream. The colder the temperature, the better the cream holds the air bubbles created while beating. Chilling causes the fat molecules to solidify and encapsulate the air.
So when selecting a non-dairy whipping cream, it must have a high fat content and respond well to chilling. Let’s look at the best options.
Full Fat Canned Coconut Milk
Full-fat coconut milk is the most popular choice for making dairy-free whipped cream. With around 22g fat per 100g, canned coconut milk has a high enough fat content to whip up nicely.
Be sure to use canned full-fat coconut milk, not cartons of milk alternative beverages like soy or almond milk. Light canned coconut milk also won’t work as well.
The thick cream at the top of a chilled can is what whips up. You want cans that are at least 70% coconut cream rather than watery coconut milk. Avoid “lite” coconut milks.
For best results, chill cans of full-fat coconut milk for at least 6 hours before whipping. Overnight is ideal. The colder the better.
Once chilled, turn the can over and open from the bottom. Pour off the thin coconut water. Just whip the thick cream portion until light and fluffy.
Whipped coconut cream has a distinctive flavor. Adding a touch of sweetener like sugar or maple syrup helps balance it out. Vanilla extract also complements the coconut notes.
Coconut Cream Nutrition
1 cup whipped coconut cream made from canned coconut milk contains around:
– 330 calories
– 10g sat fat
– 4g carbs
– 2g protein
So while rich, it’s lower in calories than an equal portion of regular whipped cream.
Coconut Whipping Cream Pros
– Convenient to find canned full-fat coconut milk
– Whips easily into a thick, airy texture
– Holds shape for around 2 hours after whipping
– Distinctive coconut flavor good for many desserts
Coconut Whipping Cream Cons
– Must chill cans for at least 6 hours before whipping
– Not as stable for decorating since it deflates faster than dairy whipped cream
– Coconut flavor may clash with some desserts like chocolate or caramel
– Not friendly for people with nut allergies due to manufacturing processes
Dairy-Free Whipping Creams
Specialized dairy-free whipping creams are now available for convenience.
Brands like Truwhip and Soyatoo make vegan whipping creams from ingredients like soy, coconut oil, and vegetable starches and gums.
A few advantages of ready-made whipping creams:
– No refrigeration required before whipping
– More stable after whipping – holds shape better over time
– Neutral in flavor to complement both sweet and savory dishes
The main downside is the cost. A 16-oz container of dairy-free whipping cream costs around $5 compared to $2 for a can of coconut milk.
But for those seeking ultimate convenience and stability, these products whip up easily with great results.
Soaking raw cashews then blending them with water produces a rich, dairy-like cream.
Cashew cream can be used just like coconut milk to whip up a dairy-free topping. The nuts contain around 47% fat, giving it similar properties.
For best results, thoroughly chill the cashew cream overnight to allow the fat to solidify before whipping. The colder the better.
Whip the chilled cashew cream until light and fluffy peaks form, 5-8 minutes. Add sweetener to taste.
Cashew cream whips up thick, but tends to get grainy faster than coconut cream. It’s best for serving immediately before the texture deteriorates.
– Made from just 2 whole food ingredients – raw cashews and water
– Neutral flavorgood for sweet and savory
– Lower fat and calories than coconut cream
– Time consuming to make at home by soaking and blending nuts
– Grainy texture develops faster than coconut whipped cream
– Needs 6+ hours chilling before able to be whipped
Other Dairy-Free Whipping Options
Here are a few other products that can be used to make dairy-free whipped cream:
Some fuller fat coffee creamers like Soyatoo Soy Whip may whip up, although the results are less stable than coconut milk or cream. Make sure to thoroughly chill soy creamer before attempting.
High Fat Nut Milks
Homemade or store-bought nut milks higher in fat like cashew and almond milk can potentially be whipped, but it takes skill to emulsify them properly. Most recipes call for additives like gum or lecithin.
Silken tofu can be blended into a cream-like texture. Chilling and whipping silken tofu with sweeteners yields a stable dairy-free whipped cream appropriate for desserts.
Thick fruit purees like mango, banana or avocado can be frozen then whipped for a lightly sweet whipped topping to garnish fruit-based desserts. They won’t whip into very stiff peaks.
How to Make Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
Here is a step-by-step guide to whip up dairy-free cream using either coconut milk or cashew cream:
– 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk or 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cashew cream
– 2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar or maple syrup
– 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Stand mixer or hand mixer
– Mixing bowl
– Wire whisk attachment
1. Chill cans of coconut milk or cashew cream for at least 6 hours up to overnight.
2. Turn the chilled can of coconut milk upside down and open from the bottom. Pour off the thin coconut water from the top and reserve for a smoothie or other use.
3. Scoop the solid chilled coconut cream into a large mixing bowl. With cashew cream, measure out 1 1⁄2 cups into the bowl.
4. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, start whipping the coconut or cashew cream on medium high speed for 1 minute.
5. Increase speed to high and continue whipping 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
6. Add powdered sugar or maple syrup and vanilla extract. Whip 1 minute more until fully incorporated and stiff peaks form.
7. Use the whipped coconut or cashew cream immediately on top of pies, cakes, hot chocolate, etc. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator up to 2 days but be aware the whipped texture will deflate over time.
And that’s it! With just a few ingredients and a quick whipping session, you can have decadent dairy-free whipped cream anytime.
Tips for Making Stable Whipped Cream
To help your dairy-free whipped cream hold its lofty peaks for as long as possible:
– Chill the coconut milk or cashew cream for at least 12 hours if possible. Overnight is best.
– Use cans of coconut milk that contain mostly cream, not watery coconut milk. Avoid “lite” versions.
– Whip the cream just until stiff peaks form, no longer. Overwhipping can cause it to break down.
– Add stabilizers like guar gum or xanthan gum to help maintain the whipped structure.
– Whip the cream right before serving and avoid refrigerating for too long. The texture starts deteriorating after a few hours.
– Serve topped desserts immediately before the whipped cream starts to deflate.
– Add just enough sweetener to lightly sweeten. Too much liquid can cause the whipped cream to break down faster.
With the right techniques and ingredients, dairy-free whipped cream can stand up beautifully on desserts for 2-3 hours at room temperature.
Storing Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
Like regular whipped cream, dairy-free versions are delicate and break down over time. For best results:
– Serve whipped coconut or cashew cream shortly after whipping for ideal texture.
– Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 2 days.
– The whipped consistency will gradually deflate in the fridge but is still usable. Gently stir before serving.
– For longer storage, transfer to an airtight container and smooth the top before sealing to minimize air pockets.
– Toppies with dairy-free whipped cream are best assembled right before eating. The cream will start weeping liquid after about 2 hours.
– Unwhipped canned coconut milk can be stored in the fridge up to a week past the sell-by date before whipping. Stir well before using.
With proper storage techniques, you can have dairy-free whipped cream ready to top cakes, ice cream sundaes, milkshakes, hot drinks and more.
Troubleshooting Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
Having trouble getting your dairy-free cream to whip up properly? Here are some tips:
Not Whipping Up
– Ensure your coconut milk or cashew cream is thoroughly chilled for at least 6 hours. Overnight chilling is best.
– Use cans of coconut milk that contain mostly fatty cream, not thin milk. Check labels and avoid “lite” versions.
– Make sure your stand or hand mixer is working properly. Use whisk attachments instead of paddle attachments.
Not Getting Stiff
– Overwhipping can cause dairy-free cream to break down. Only whip until soft or stiff peaks form, not longer.
– Add stabilizers like xanthan gum, guar gum or lecithin to help stiffen the whipped texture.
– Chill the bowl and beaters along with the coconut milk or cashew cream.
– Always serve whipped coconut or cashew cream immediately after whipping for best results.
– Avoid refrigerating for more than 2-3 hours or the texture will start to breakdown.
– Use cream only from the tops of chilled cans of coconut milk, not the watery milk.
– Add stabilizers like powdered sugar, xanthan gum or vegetable starches.
-Do not overwhip or the cream can become grainy or butter-like.
Watery Liquid on Top
This “weeping” happens as the air bubbles in the whipped cream start to pop.
– Serve topped desserts right away before liquid accumulates on top.
– Do not refrigerate whipped coconut or cashew cream for more than 2-3 hours.
– Make sure whipped cream is not overwhipped, just to soft or stiff peaks.
– Add a touch more powdered sugar or stabilizers like guar gum to absorb excess moisture.
Desserts to Top with Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
Dairy-free whipped coconut or cashew cream is delicious dolloped atop all kinds of sweet treats including:
Pumpkin, pecan, banana cream, key lime, chocolate – you name it! A billowy cloud of whipped cream takes any pie to the next level.
Just be sure to serve the pie right away before the cream starts to deflate. Or whip the cream right before slicing each piece.
Add a special touch to cakes like moist chocolate cake, carrot cake, angel food cake or strawberry shortcake with whipped coconut cream.
Pipe flowers or borders around the cake edges using a piping bag fitted with a star tip.
Waffles or Pancakes
Dress up breakfast or brunch by topping waffles, pancakes or crepes with mounds of dairy-free whipped cream and fresh fruit.
The cream pairs wonderfully with waffle toppings like maple syrup, chocolate sauce or caramel sauce.
Take milkshakes over the top by crowning cold blended milkshakes or malts with a generous amount of whipped coconut cream.
It holds up well on cold drinks without dissolving. Top with a maraschino cherry for a retro touch.
For the ultimate creamy hot chocolate, top off mugs with heaps of billowy dairy-free whipped cream. Dust with cocoa powder or cinnamon.
The hot drink will gradually melt the cream into dreamy texture.
Ice Cream Sundaes
What sundae would be complete without whipped cream? Load up bowls of ice cream with all your favorite toppings then finish with whipped coconut or cashew cream on top.
Top with a cherry plus sprinkles, chocolate shavings or crushed nuts for over-the-top decadence.
Substitutions for Regular Whipped Cream
Dairy-free whipped cream can be used in place of regular whipped cream in everything from dessert garnishes to coffee drinks.
Depending on the application, here are some possible substitutions:
– Vegan whipping cream made for stability like TruWhip
– Cashew cream stabilized with guar gum or xanthan gum
– Tofu-based whipped cream
Topping Hot Drinks
– Canned coconut milk whipped cream
– Soy milk whipped with soy lecithin
– Lightly sweetened fruit like peach or mango purees
Topping Cold Desserts
– Whipped coconut or cashew cream
– Nut milk based whipped creams stabilized with starch
– Sweetened Greek yogurt or dairy-free yogurt
– Softly whipped silken tofu
– Dairy-free whipping cream enhanced with stabilizers
– Light whipped aquafaba (chickpea liquid)
– Vegan cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar
– Fruit purees like banana, coconut or avocado
So while dairy-free whipped cream may not perfectly mimic traditional versions, with some creativity you can find a plant-based substitute for any application.
Dairy-free whipped cream can absolutely rival the real thing when made properly. For easy, reliable results, start with cans of full-fat chilled coconut milk. Cashew cream and special vegan whipping creams also work well.
Chill the cream thoroughly, whip to soft or stiff peaks, and add flavors like sugar and vanilla. Then dollop away on pies, cakes, waffles, ice cream and any dessert in need of a crowning touch of decadence. With a few easy techniques, you can top all your favorite treats with light and fluffy dairy-free whipped cream.