Whipped cream is a light, fluffy cream made by whipping heavy cream or other dairy products to incorporate air bubbles. It is commonly sweetened with sugar before whipping to stabilize the whipped cream and add sweetness. However, there are several ways to sweeten whipped cream without using regular granulated sugar.
Why Would You Want to Avoid Sugar in Whipped Cream?
There are a few reasons why someone may want to avoid adding sugar to whipped cream:
- To reduce overall sugar and calorie intake
- To accommodate diabetic or low-sugar diets
- To allow flavoring with other sweeteners like maple syrup or honey
- To create an unsweetened whipped cream for savory dishes
- To control sweetness level more precisely
While sugar helps stabilize whipped cream, it is possible to sweeten whipped cream in other ways. The key is to use an alternative sweetener that can dissolve easily and provide sweetness without destabilizing the whipped texture.
What are Some Low-Calorie Sugar Substitutes for Whipped Cream?
Here are some low-calorie sugar substitutes that can sweeten whipped cream:
- Splenda (sucralose) – Splenda measures cup-for-cup like sugar and dissolves easily in whipped cream. It provides sweetness without added calories.
- Sweet’N Low (saccharin) – Use a scant amount of Sweet’N Low to lightly sweeten whipped cream without destabilizing it. It has a bitter aftertaste in large amounts.
- Equal and Sweet One (aspartame) – Aspartame is not heat stable, so it’s better for whipping cream that will be served cold rather than baked or heated.
Natural Low-Calorie Sweeteners
- Stevia – Stevia extract is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, so use a very small amount. It may give an slightly bitter aftertaste.
- Monk fruit extract – Monk fruit extract is about 100 times sweeter than sugar. Use just a pinch to lightly sweeten.
How About Low-Glycemic Sugar Substitutes for Diabetics?
People with diabetes need to watch their overall carbohydrate and sugar intake. Here are some good sugar substitutes for diabetics to use when sweetening whipped cream:
- Erythritol – Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that has minimal effects on blood glucose. Use powdered erythritol in a 1:1 ratio as sugar.
- Xylitol – Xylitol is a sugar alcohol with a low glycemic index. Use up to half the amount of sugar.
- Yacon syrup – Made from yacon root, this has one-third the calories of sugar. Use 1-2 tbsp per 1 cup of heavy cream.
- Tagatose – This rare sugar has a minimal effect on blood sugar. Use a 1:1 sugar ratio.
Artificial sweeteners like Splenda are also good sugar-free options for people with diabetes.
What About Natural Sweeteners Like Honey, Maple Syrup, or Agave?
Liquid sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar are delicious for flavoring whipped cream with a more complex, nuanced sweetness. However, they can make it more challenging to whip the cream properly.
Here are some tips for using these natural liquid sweeteners:
- Use mild-flavored honeys like clover or orange blossom so the honey flavor doesn’t overpower.
- Maple syrup works well but can thin the whipped cream slightly.
- Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar so use about 1/3 cup per 1 cup of cream.
- Mix the liquid sweetener into the heavy cream BEFORE whipping to incorporate evenly.
- Whip the cream just until it reaches soft peaks, don’t over-whip.
- Store whipped cream with natural sweeteners in a sealed container, refrigerated.
What About Using Fruit Purees to Sweeten and Flavor Whipped Cream?
Fruit purees are a great way to naturally flavor and lightly sweeten whipped cream without using any added sugars. Some fruits that work well are:
- Banana – Use ripe banana mashed or pureed for flavor and sweetness.
- Mango – Sweet mango puree gives tropical flavor.
- Strawberry – Puree fresh strawberries into a sweet sauce.
- Blueberry – Blueberry puree infuses lovely fruit flavor.
- Peach – Pureed ripe peaches taste delicious in whipped cream.
When using fruit purees:
- Use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup fruit puree per 1 cup of heavy cream
- Mix the puree into the cream before whipping
- Whip just until soft peaks form, don’t overbeat
- Store in refrigerator, the fruit may cause it to break down faster
Whipping the Cream Correctly
When making sweetened whipped cream without sugar, proper whipping technique is crucial for getting the right airy texture and stability. Here are some tips:
- Whip cold heavy cream straight from the fridge, around 35-40°F.
- Use a stand mixer or hand mixer with whisk attachment on medium-high speed.
- Whip just until soft peaks form, don’t go past stiff peaks.
- Add sugar substitutes or flavorings AFTER whipping if possible.
- Avoid over-whipping, this can cause whey separation.
- Use whipped cream immediately or store covered in fridge.
Stabilizing Sugar-Free Whipped Cream
Since sugar helps stabilize whipped cream, you may need to use stabilizers when omitting sugar. Options include:
- Xanthan gum – Just 1/4 tsp per 1 cup cream helps prevent watering out.
- Guar gum – Use 1/8 to 1/4 tsp per cup of cream for stability.
- Powdered milk – Adding 1 tbsp powdered milk per cup of cream thickens it.
- Cream cheese – A couple tablespoons of cream cheese makes the whipped cream firmer.
- Mascarpone cheese – Using 2 tbsp mascarpone per cup of cream helps stabilize it.
Be careful not to over-stabilize the whipped cream, as it can take on a gum-like texture.
What About Whipping Other Dairy Products Like Half-and-Half?
Heavy whipping cream contains at least 36% milk fat, allowing it to whip up into light, airy foam. Lower fat dairy products like half-and-half (10-18% milk fat) can technically be whipped, but will not achieve the same fluffy consistency.
To whip lower-fat dairy alternatives:
- Whip the dairy very cold, straight from the refrigerator.
- Whip on high speed for 5-8 minutes to maximize volume.
- Add stabilizers like xanthan gum or powdered milk as outlined above.
- Sweeten to taste with your preferred sugar substitute.
- Do not over-whip or it can break down and curdle.
- Store whipped half-and-half in the refrigerator and use promptly before it loses stability.
The best results come from heavy whipping cream with at least 36% milk fat. But in a pinch, other dairy products can be whipped up for topping pies, cakes, waffles, hot chocolate, and more!
Storing Sugar-Free Whipped Cream
Whipped cream without added sugar generally has a shorter shelf life. Follow these storage tips:
- Store in a sealed airtight container in the fridge.
- Press plastic wrap directly on the surface before sealing to prevent drying out.
- Consume within 2-3 days for best texture.
- Do not freeze sugar-free whipped cream, it can separate and become grainy.
- Seal and refrigerate any leftovers in smaller containers to minimize air exposure.
Enjoy your light, sweet sugar-free whipped cream on top of your favorite desserts and drinks! With the right sweeteners and whipping methods, you don’t need sugar to enjoy fluffy whipped cream.
Sugar-Free Whipped Cream Recipes
Basic Sugar-Free Whipped Cream
This easy recipe works as a base for sweet or savory uses.
|Heavy whipping cream
|1/2 tsp (optional)
|Splenda or other sweetener
|2-4 tbsp to taste
- Whip the heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add vanilla and sweetener, then whip briefly to combine.
- Use immediately or refrigerate up to 2-3 days.
Lemon Sweetened Whipped Cream
This bright citrus whipped cream is delicious on tarts, pound cake, or fruit.
|Heavy whipping cream
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the lemon juice, zest, and erythritol.
- Add cream and whip on high until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
- Use immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.
Maple Cinnamon Whipped Cream
For a warm autumnal flavor, whip cream with maple and cinnamon.
|Heavy whipping cream
|1/2 tsp (optional)
- In a bowl, stir together the maple syrup and cinnamon.
- Add cream and whip until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
- Fold in vanilla extract if desired.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.
With a little creativity, you can sweeten and flavor whipped cream in all sorts of healthy, delicious ways without plain white sugar. Sugar substitutes, fruit purees, spices, and natural sweeteners all lend themselves beautifully to making sweet sugar-free whipped topping. Whip up a batch to elevate everything from pies and cakes to hot chocolate and coffee drinks!