Does Cool Whip have milk in it?

Cool Whip is a popular whipped topping used in place of whipped cream. It’s loved for its light, fluffy texture and sweet taste. But some people wonder if Cool Whip actually contains milk or is dairy-free.

Quick Answer

Cool Whip does not contain milk or any other dairy products. It is lactose-free and vegan. Cool Whip gets its creamy texture from vegetable oil and other non-dairy ingredients.

Ingredients in Cool Whip

Cool Whip’s primary ingredients are water, hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, and less than 2% of sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate and beta carotene.

Sodium caseinate, a milk derivative, is often confused as a dairy ingredient. However, the manufacturing process renders sodium caseinate lactose-free. So those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies can safely consume products containing sodium caseinate.

Here is the full ingredient list for original Cool Whip:

Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and Palm Kernel Oils)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivative)
Natural and Artificial Flavor
Xanthan and Guar Gums
Polysorbate 60
Sorbitan Monostearate
Beta Carotene (Color)

As you can see, milk itself is not listed in the ingredients. The only milk-derived ingredient is sodium caseinate, which contains no lactose.

Why Do People Think Cool Whip Has Milk?

There are a few reasons why some consumers think Cool Whip contains milk:

Its creamy, milk-like texture

Cool Whip achieves a light, fluffy texture very similar to whipped cream. Since whipped cream is dairy-based, some assume Cool Whip must be too. But Cool Whip’s texture comes from vegetable oil, not milk fat.

It’s found near the dairy case in stores

Since Cool Whip is a popular whipped topping, grocery stores stock it in or near the dairy/refrigerated section for convenience. Its placement near real whipped cream, yogurt, and other dairy products leads some shoppers to believe falsely that it contains milk.

Some varieties do contain milk

Certain Cool Whip products, such as Cool Whip Topping in a tub, do contain milk ingredients like nonfat milk. So some consumers assume all Cool Whip products contain milk, even though only select varieties do.

Always check the ingredients list to confirm whether a specific Cool Whip product is dairy-free or not. The traditional shelf-stable aerosol spray cans do not contain milk.

Why Cool Whip Doesn’t Contain Milk

Cool Whip was created to provide a non-dairy alternative to real whipped cream. Here are some of the reasons why it’s formulated without milk:

Extends shelf life

Milk ingredients require refrigeration and shorten the shelf life of products. By using vegetable oils and other shelf-stable ingredients, Cool Whip can be stored unopened at room temperature for several months.

Reduces costs

Dairy ingredients like cream and milk can be expensive. Cool Whip is more affordable to produce because its ingredients are cheaper.

Prevents spoilage

Real dairy cream eventually curdles, separates, and spoils. Cool Whip’s replacement ingredients are less prone to spoilage.

Allows for vegan/dairy-free labeling

Excluding milk and other animal products allows Cool Whip to appeal to vegan and lactose intolerant consumers. It can be labeled as “dairy-free” and vegan.

Provides stability and consistent texture

Milk fat content can vary, producing inconsistent texture and stability in whipped cream. Cool Whip’s blend of vegetable oils and thickeners creates reliable aeration and texture.

How Cool Whip Achieves a Creamy Texture Without Milk

Cool Whip owes its light, creamy texture to its ingredients:

Vegetable Oil

The hydrogenated vegetable oil is able to mimic the fat content and mouthfeel of milk fat. Whipping introduces air into the oil to lighten the texture.

Corn Syrup

The high fructose corn syrup adds thickness, body, and sweetness that would otherwise come from milk and sugar in regular whipped cream.


Gums like xanthan and guar stabilize Cool Whip’s structure and prevent weeping/separation. They keep the whipped texture intact.


Ingredients like polysorbate 60 and sorbitan monostearate allow Cool Whip’s water and oil components to mix together uniformly. This helps produce the whipped, creamy consistency.

Whipping Process

Whipping incorporates tiny air bubbles during manufacturing. This gives Cool Whip a light, airy texture rather than a flat, dense one.

Together, these ingredients and techniques create the familiar whipped topping texture that Cool Whip is known for.

Common Uses for Cool Whip

Here are some of the ways Cool Whip is commonly used as a whipped cream substitute:

Topping for desserts

Cool Whip is frequently used as a topping for desserts like pie, ice cream sundaes, cakes, and fruit. Its sweet flavor and smooth texture complement both sweet and fruit desserts.

Frosting and fillings

Light and fluffy Cool Whip makes an easy frosting for cakes. It can also be used as a creamy filling for cakes and pastries.

Whipped cream for beverages

Top hot chocolate, frappes, milkshakes, eggnog, and other drinks with dollops of Cool Whip as you would regular whipped cream.

Dip for fruits and snacks

Fruits like strawberries and angel food cake taste delicious when dipped in a bowl of Cool Whip.

Salads and appetizers

Mix a spoonful of Cool Whip into fresh fruit salads or use it to top lime gelatin salad rings and fruit fluff desserts.

Frosting for graham cracker houses

Use Cool Whip in place of whipped cream to decorate and “glue” together graham cracker gingerbread houses.

Nutrition Facts for Cool Whip

Since Cool Whip doesn’t contain milk or cream, its nutrition profile differs from dairy-based whipped cream.

Here are the nutrition facts for a 2 tablespoon serving of original Cool Whip:

Calories 25
Total Fat 2.5g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0.5g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 15mg
Total Carbohydrates 2g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 2g
Protein 0g

The same serving size of regular whipped heavy cream contains:

Calories 52
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 15mg
Sodium 10mg
Total Carbohydrates 0.5g
Protein 0.4g

As you can see, Cool Whip is lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol compared to real heavy cream. But it also contains more added sugars and less protein.

So Cool Whip can be used as an occasional replacement for whipped cream, but shouldn’t be considered nutritionally equivalent. Heavy cream provides more nutritional benefits when consumed in moderation.

Is Cool Whip Safe for People With Dairy Allergies?

Cool Whip is safe for those with milk allergies or lactose intolerance since it contains no milk ingredients.

However, some should still exercise caution:

– People with severe milk protein allergies should check labels carefully and avoid products listing sodium caseinate, even in small amounts.

– Those sensitive to palm oil (another Cool Whip ingredient) may also wish to avoid it.

– Babies under 1 year should not consume Cool Whip due to potential palm oil concerns.

As long as none of the ingredients are individual allergy triggers, most people with dairy restrictions don’t need to worry about eating Cool Whip. Always check labels of specific Cool Whip products to confirm allergen contents.

Vegan Status of Cool Whip

Original Cool Whip is considered vegan and dairy-free. It contains no animal-derived ingredients.

However, some flavors do contain milk-based ingredients. Always check ingredient labels since the formulations can vary between Cool Whip products.

Here are some examples:

Cool Whip Original Vegan
Cool Whip French Vanilla Not Vegan (contains milk)
Cool Whip Sugar Free Vegan
Cool Whip Toppings (tub) Not Vegan (contains milk)

So original Cool Whip and some flavors are classified as vegan, while other varieties contain milk.

Cool Whip vs. Reddi Wip

Reddi Wip is another popular commercial whipped cream brand. Here’s how it compares to Cool Whip:

Cool Whip Reddi Wip
Ingredients Vegetable oil, corn syrup, gums. Heavy cream, corn syrup, milk proteins.
Dairy-free? Yes No
Vegan? Some flavors No
Fat & calories Low High
Shelf life Months (unopened) Weeks
Storage Room temperature Refrigerated
Texture Light, somewhat artificial Richer
Flavor Sweet More natural dairy flavor

The main differences are that Cool Whip is dairy-free and lower in calories, while Reddi Wip provides a richer real cream taste. But Cool Whip lasts longer unrefrigerated.

So Cool Whip is the better choice for those avoiding dairy, eggs, or cholesterol, or who want a convenient shelf-stable product. Reddi Wip is preferred by those wanting true whipped cream flavor and texture.

Homemade Cool Whip

It’s possible to make homemade Cool Whip using simple ingredients:

1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp xanthan gum


1. Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Beat on high speed until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

2. Refrigerate until ready to use. Keep any leftovers chilled.

3. Use on desserts as you would regular Cool Whip.

This imitation recipe uses real cream so it provides the richness and flavor of homemade whipped cream. But the added sugar and xanthan gum help better mimic Cool Whip’s texture and sweetness.

Where to Buy Cool Whip

Cool Whip is sold in the frozen dessert aisle of any major grocery store or supermarket across the US and Canada. Common retailers include:

– Walmart
– Target
– Kroger
– Safeway
– Publix
– Albertsons
– Winn-Dixie
– Costco
– Sam’s Club

Many convenience stores, drugstores, and wholesale clubs also carry Cool Whip.

Look for it in the frozen section, often near the refrigerated whipped creams and ice cream toppings. Popular sizes include 8 oz spray cans, large 16 oz tubs, and small single-serve containers.

Larger container sizes intended for restaurants and cafeterias are available through food distributors. Cool Whip is not sold directly through the Kraft Heinz company website.

History of Cool Whip

Cool Whip was invented in 1966 by food scientist William Mitchell of General Foods Corporation (now Kraft Heinz).

Mitchell sought to create a whipped topping that could withstand distribution and storage without refrigeration. After much trial and error, he patented a non-dairy whipped product made from water, vegetable oil, and other natural and artificial ingredients.

Cool Whip was test marketed the same year before launching nationwide in the US. It quickly became popular as an inexpensive alternative to whipped cream.

Kraft acquired Cool Whip after the company’s 1995 merger with General Foods. Today Cool Whip remains the top-selling whipped topping brand in America.

Fun Facts About Cool Whip

Here are some interesting trivia facts about Cool Whip:

– Over 500 million containers of Cool Whip are sold each year.

– “Whipped topping” was a completely new food category pioneered by Cool Whip in 1966.

– The chemicals used to aerate and stabilize Cool Whip were initially invented for firefighting foam.

– Early ads claimed Cool Whip was preferred over whipped cream by housewives in taste tests. This controversial tagline was soon dropped.

– Cool Whip is shelf-stable because the fat structure is stabilized so it won’t collapse.

– The Cool Whip mascot is an anthropomorphic dollop of the topping named Whippy.

– Astronauts brought Cool Whip on the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983 to see how it would behave in zero gravity.

– Cool Whip makes a popular prop food in movies and TV due to its instantly recognizable appearance.


While Cool Whip may look and taste like whipped cream, it is lactose-free and does not actually contain any milk or dairy ingredients. Instead, its light, creamy texture comes from vegetable oils, corn syrup, gums, and other substitutes. This allows Cool Whip to stay shelf-stable without refrigeration.

So those with dairy allergies, vegans, and anyone looking for a convenient whipped topping can enjoy Cool Whip safely. Just be sure to check labels, as some Cool Whip varieties do contain milk. When in doubt, stick to original Cool Whip in the spray cans to ensure it’s dairy-free and vegan.

Leave a Comment