Does whipped cream go on smoothies?

Whipped cream is a popular topping for many desserts, including milkshakes, sundaes, pies, and more. Some people also like to top their smoothies with whipped cream. But does whipped cream really belong on smoothies? Here is a comprehensive look at the pros and cons of putting whipped cream on smoothies.

The purpose and makeup of whipped cream

Before determining if whipped cream belongs on smoothies, it helps to understand what exactly whipped cream is. Whipped cream is made by whisking heavy cream until it becomes light and fluffy. Air is incorporated into the cream through the whisking process, which is what gives whipped cream its signature light texture.

The main ingredients in whipped cream are heavy whipping cream, sugar, and sometimes stabilizers or flavorings. Heavy cream has a high fat content, around 36-40% fat depending on the product. The high fat content is what allows the cream to be whipped into soft peaks. Sugar is also added, anywhere from 1-2 tablespoons per 1 cup of heavy cream. The sugar sweetens the cream and also helps stabilize the whipped texture.

Whipped cream can be purchased pre-made in a spray can or tub. However, most pastry chefs and dessert aficionados prefer to make whipped cream fresh by hand. Homemade whipped cream has a lighter, airier texture than the pre-made variety.

The smoothie dilemma

Smoothies present an interesting dilemma when it comes to whipped cream as a topping. On one hand, the light sweetness and creamy texture of whipped cream seems like it would complement smoothies nicely. But on the other hand, smoothies are usually touted as a healthy food option. Could whipped cream undermine the nutritional benefits?

To better understand this dilemma, let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of adding whipped cream to smoothies.

Potential benefits of adding whipped cream to smoothies

  • Adds a creamy, rich mouthfeel
  • Increases the sweetness without adding more sugary ingredients
  • Provides contrasting textures with the smoothie base
  • Makes the smoothie feel more indulgent and dessert-like
  • Adds visual appeal for food presentation

Potential drawbacks of adding whipped cream to smoothies

  • Increases the calorie and fat content
  • Reduces the nutritional value if smoothie is meant to be a health food
  • Adds unnecessary empty calories and fat if you’re watching your weight
  • Contributes less nutrients compared to other potential toppings like fruit, nuts, or seeds
  • Some whip creams contain additives like corn syrup or stabilizers

As we can see, there are reasonable arguments on both sides. Adding whipped cream makes a smoothie tastier, but also negates some of the intended health benefits. So should whipped cream have a place on top of your daily smoothie? Let’s explore some ways to strike the right balance.

How to add whipped cream to smoothies in moderation

There are a few ways you can enjoy whipped cream on smoothies without going overboard on fat and calories. Here are some suggestions:

Use light or low-fat whipped cream

Look for light or low-fat whipped topping options at the grocery store. These products are made with milk, cream, or skim milk rather than heavy cream. They have a lighter texture but can still add nice creamy flavors and visual appeal.

Use whipped cream alternatives

Substitute regular whipped cream with lower fat whipped toppings made from yogurt, coconut cream, or soy/nut milk. You can even make your own healthy whipped cream by whipping full-fat Greek yogurt.

Use minimal amounts

You don’t need a huge towering pile of whipped cream on a smoothie. Add whipped cream in small dollops rather than completely covering the top of the smoothie. This way you get the flavor with just a touch of added fat and calories.

Share your smoothie

Split your whipped cream-topped smoothie into two glasses and share with a friend or partner. You each get to enjoy the combo without overdoing it on the whipped cream.

Reserve for occasional treats

Only add the whipped cream on occasions when you want to treat yourself or have a dessert-like smoothie. For your daily smoothie fix, leave off the whipped cream.

Use healthy smoothie bases

When you do add whipped cream, choose a nutrient-dense smoothie base packed with veggies, greens, and protein. This ensures you’re getting vitamins and nutrition along with the indulgence.

Types of smoothies that work well with whipped cream

Not all smoothies may be well suited for whipped cream toppings. The best candidates are thicker, creamier smoothies that can balance out the addition of fat and air from the whipped cream. Here are some of the best smoothie bases for pairing with whipped cream:

Milkshake-inspired smoothies

Smoothies made with ice cream, milk, or milk alternatives like almond milk have an underlying creaminess. Adding whipped cream enhances the milkshake-like texture.

Fruit and cream smoothies

Smoothies with bananas, mangos, berries or other soft fruits work well with whipped cream. The fruit provides moisture while the whipped cream provides a contrasting airy texture.

Green smoothies

Leafy greens can have an earthy, vegetal taste. Whipped cream balances out strong flavors in green smoothies containing spinach, kale, collards, etc.

High protein smoothies

Smoothies packed with Greek yogurt, silken tofu, nut butters or protein powder tend to be thick. A touch of whipped cream can lighten up the texture.

Spiced smoothies

For smoothies flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or other baking spices, whipped cream adds a nice complement. The inherent sweetness balances the spices.

Dessert-flavored smoothies

Chocolate, caramel, maple, pecan – if it tastes like dessert, it will probably pair well with whipped cream! The whipped cream enhances the dessert illusion.

Should kids get whipped cream on their smoothies?

Smoothies make a quick and easy breakfast or snack for kids on the go. And just like with ice cream sundaes, kids often want to pile their smoothies high with whipped cream. But is this a healthy habit?

Here are some things to consider when it comes to kids and whipped cream on smoothies:

  • Added sugar – flavored whipped creams often contain added sugar. Going overboard contributes empty calories.
  • Portion distortion – mounds of whipped cream decrease awareness of proper portion sizes.
  • Nutritional balance – whipped cream makes smoothies more treat than health food. Kids miss out on nutrients.
  • Set bad habits – kids develop a taste and expectations for high fat, sugary foods.

That being said, an occasional dollop of whipped cream on kid’s smoothies as a treat should not be cause for alarm. Just be sure to focus on smoothies packed with whole foods. And teach kids portion control and that smoothies are a wholesome food, not a dessert.

Should you avoid whipped cream if you have dietary restrictions?

For people with medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease, whipped cream may be a food to avoid. Here is how whipped cream fits into different dietary restrictions:

Diabetes and prediabetes

Whipped cream spikes blood sugar due to its high carb content. People with diabetes should minimize intake to 1-2 tbsp (1).

Weight loss diets

Whipped cream is high calorie and low nutrition. People aiming to lose weight should avoid it.

Heart health diets

Heavy cream contributes saturated fat which increases unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels. Limiting whipped cream improves heart health (2).

Vegetarian and vegan diets

Dairy-free whipped products can be found for non-dairy diets. Look for types made with coconut cream, soy milk, cashew milk, etc.

Keto and low carb diets

Since heavy cream has minimal carbs, whipped cream can fit into a keto diet in moderation. But beware of added sugars in flavored varieties.

Food allergies and intolerances

Whipped cream is dairy-based, so avoid if you have a milk allergy. There are non-dairy whipped creams for people with dairy issues.

Whipped cream alternatives for smoothies

For those avoiding whipped cream, there are plenty of other ways to dress up a smoothie. Some healthy whipped cream alternatives include:

  • Greek yogurt – provides creaminess and protein
  • Cottage cheese – adds texture and calcium
  • Ricotta cheese – lighter and smoother than cottage cheese
  • Silken tofu – blends into smoothies easily for added richness
  • Avocado – lends a creamy mouthfeel without the dairy
  • Coconut cream – thicker than milk, contains healthy fats
  • Nut butters – for a nutty, thick texture
  • Chia seeds – gel-like texture when blended
  • Fruit purees – fresh or store-bought, like applesauce or banana

With mix-ins like these, you don’t need whipped cream to make a smoothie feel indulgent and creamy.

How to store and freeze leftover whipped cream

Let’s say you whipped up a big batch of fresh cream for smoothies, but didn’t use it all. Properly storing the leftovers prevents waste. Here are some tips (3):


Place leftover whipped cream in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for 2-3 days.


For longer storage, freeze whipped cream in a freezer bag or airtight container up to 2-3 months.

Add stabilizers

Add powdered sugar or Kool Whip to help maintain the whipped texture when freezing.

Layer parchment

Place pieces of parchment between dollops of whipped cream in the container so portions don’t freeze into a solid mass.

Whip again before serving

After thawing frozen whipped cream, whip it again briefly to restore its fluffiness.


While smoothies are often touted as a healthy food, adding whipped cream does up the indulgence factor. There are certainly pros, like added creaminess and sweetness. But cons as well, like extra calories and fat. For the health conscious, moderating whipped cream or using lighter alternatives is key.

Occasionally treating yourself to whipped cream on smoothies is perfectly fine. But try other nutritious mix-ins like yogurt or peanut butter for your daily smoothie routine. And if enjoying a whipped cream treat, keep portions small and the smoothie base nutrient-packed. With balance and moderation, you can relish a little whipped cream on smoothies now and then.


(1) American Diabetes Association. “Healthy Food Choices Made Easy.” Accessed November 3, 2023.

(2) Harvard Health Publishing. “Rethinking butter’s role in heart health.” Accessed November 3, 2023.

(3) Clemson Cooperative Extension. “Handling Leftover Whipped Cream, Sour Cream and Cream Cheese.” Accessed November 3, 2023.

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