Sweet (Stabilized) Stiff Whipped Cream: the perfect topping for cakes, pies, parfaits and summer desserts! It is delicious and holds its shape, even in the heat.
I’ve been asked more than a few times how my whipped cream stays so pretty and holds its shape. Even in the heat.
Like on this Blueberry Pound Cake. So I thought now might be a good time with summer here to come clean with my secret. And here it is, drumroll please: beat unflavored gelatin, dissolved in water into the whipped cream during the last stages of beating.
While I often make regular homemade whipped cream, it doesn’t hold up well in a desserts like a parfait or even between cake layers. It can get watery and lose its pretty shape quickly, especially in the heat.
Last month one of my kids requested a brownie parfait instead of a traditional birthday cake. I made the parfait early in the day with homemade brownies, whipped cream, pudding and toffee bits.
But when I went to get the parfait out of the refrigerator, the whole dessert had sunk a few inches. I’d forgotten to stabilize the whipped cream. It slid down the sides of the trifle bowl and wasn’t nearly as pretty as when I’d made it that morning.
So here are some quick tips on making perfect Sweet (Stabilized) Stiff Whipped Cream every time:
Chill a metal mixing bowl and beaters first.
With electric mixer, beat heavy whipping cream, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract until beaters are just starting to leave a trail….
Slowly add dissolved gelatin in a steady stream while continuing to beat with electric mixer until stiff. Do not add any hard bits of gelatin that may have stuck to the sides and hardened. Add only liquid gelatin.
This Sweet Stabilized Stiff Whipped Cream is the perfect creamy topping for all your summer desserts: cakes, pies and parfaits!
Note: this stabilized whipped cream sets up over time something like jello or gelatin does. It has a different consistency than regular whipped cream, it will not be as soft. Once you’ve made the stabilized whipped cream, spread it immediately. Top that cupcake or pie, or spread between cake layers. Because once it sets up, you won’t be able to re-spread it with a knife like regular whipped cream.
Sweet (Stabilized) Stiff Whipped Cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin I used Knox Gelatin
- 4 teaspoons cold water
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chill a metal mixing bowl and the beaters to your mixer.
- Meanwhile, add water to a small microwave safe bowl and sprinkle gelatin on top.
- Allow gelatin to soften for a minute. (This is called "blooming".)
- Whisk water and gelatin together, then microwave for 15 or 20 seconds.
- Stir until gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Allow mixture to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, beat cream, confectioner's sugar and vanilla until it's very softly whipped and you start to see the beater trails.
- Continue beating, and pour in cooled gelatin mixture in a steady stream.
- Beat until whipping cream is stiff. (But don't beat too long!)
- Use immediately or refrigerate for later use.
- This whipping cream should be spread immediately.
- It will then "set up" like gelatin or jello.
- The consistency is different than regular whipped cream, not quite as soft.
- Once it is set up, it will no longer be spreadable, because of the gelatin. So be sure to spread it right away, and then refrigerate.
- This whipping cream will hold its shape for several days.
You may also like: Fresh Peach Pound Cake
In Germany we can buy a stabilizing powder for whipping cream, but this version sounds great, the cream looks even stiffer than the one I am used too. I have to try it, I bake a lot for other people as well, who sometimes only eat the cake a day after me finishing it, so having stable cream for decoration is important. Thanks for sharing!
Je ne savais pas qu’on pouvais mettre de la gelatine dans la chantilly ! J’imagine que de cette façon, ça tienne mieux, n’est pas? En tout cas, c’est un vrai délice pour n’importe quelle dessert même pour un café gourmand 🙂 xxx
SO much better than Cool Whip 🙂
Dear Allie, I would never have thought to add gelatin to my whipped cream. This is such a great tip to know. Thank you for sharing…beautiful photos. I wish I could try everything you make dear. xo, Catherine
Aunt Pinkie says
Gteat idea!And it looks easy! 🙂
Thanks for a terrific tip — love new cooking “secrets”! Who wouldn’t want to make it after seeing pictures like those?!
Now…. that……. is a great idea!!! Never even thought that there might be a solution to this problem. I happen to have a bunch of gelatin packets in my pantry?
Karen Espalin says
My family has only ever used homemade whipped cream. I’ll have to give this a try.
Does it change the consistency or “feel” of the whipped cream?
It changes it a little Karen, but not much. It has a little bit of a “firmer” consistency. Hope all is well there, I know you are super busy these days! Thinking of you…
Can I do this if I am making a strawberry whipped cream cake icing?
Hi Vickie – I’m not sure – will the cake be sitting for long after you ice it with the strawberry whipped cream? My concern is if it’s sitting for very long that the water content of the strawberries might run into the whipped cream making it watery. I wish I knew the answer. If you do a test run, please let me know how it goes, and I’m sure others would like to know too. Thanks, and so glad you dropped by.
Thanks! Yes, it was a bit too wet. Lesson learned! Hehe It still tasted good, but it looked pretty bad.
OK, thanks for the update Vickie, I was really hoping it would work. Glad it still tasted good though!
Tina Hylton says
Hi Vickie! When I use the whipped cream icing and want berries with it, I crush some berries and make a syrup with them. Then add berries to it. When I serve the cake I will spoon some of the syrup over the cake. Looks great and added the flavor I was looking for!
Sounds fabulous Tina, thanks for this great suggestion!
Great tip! I’d never heard of it. Thanks! Xoxo
Susie Mandel says
Can’t wait to try this! I always hated the part about fresh whipped cream where it “melted.” What an awesome tip–thanks so much!!
Shashi @ RunninSrilankan says
Allie – you are a trifle-saver! I’ve had the exact same thing happen when I’ve made trifles and left them in the fridge – I had no clue that gelatin could be used to stabilize whipped cream! Thank you so very much for this! I cannot wait to try this!
We are in the homestretch – tomorrow is FRI-YAY! And, Satur-YAY we are going to Brick Street Cafe (unless something changes) all because YOU have convinced my dessert loving self – now I have to see for myself – though part of me wishes those cakes are so good – because an hour and 45 minutes is too long a drive on the regular for cake – eh?!
Cynthia/What A Girl Eats says
Great tutorial Allie! Those whipped cream desserts will last so much longer now!
Kristen Chidsey says
I have always wondered how to do this!! Thank you so much for sharing! Allie, you are my baking guru!
Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says
Such a lovely recipe, Allie. Your whipped cream is really so stable. I never knew I could add gelatin to my whipping cream. If, I share something with whipped cream and it stays solid then you know how I did that! Thanks for this lovely share. Have a wonderful and cheerful weekend my dear! 🙂
Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness says
I am going to have to try this sometime!!
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
This is a perfect tip! I will add it to my collection, because you just don’t know when you will need it! By the way….is it bad to want to lick the bowl?
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen says
Such a good thing to know for the summer! I just got a huge tub of gelatin too, perfect 🙂
I can’t wait to try this! YUMMMMMMM
Hey thanks Kellie, hope you love it!
Sharon @ What The Fork Food Blog says
I do this all the time, it works SO well!
Michelle | A Dish of Daily Life says
Great tip!I never would have thought of that, Allie!
[email protected] says
A Nice and simple idea to make a stiff whipped cream. Can I use agar agar instead of gelatin?
Hi Sathya, I’ve never used agar but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Apparently agar is much “stiffer” than gelatin. Here is a post that will give you some tips and amounts in using agar instead of gelatin. Would love to hear how it turns out! http://notenoughcinnamon.com/2012/08/02/everything-you-need-to-know-about-agar/
This looks like a really great recipe. One question: is it stiff enough to holding a design when piped?
Hey Veronica, I’ve not tried that, but I don’t know why it wouldn’t. I prob. will try it soon and will comment back here to let you know. If it isn’t thick enough, I would just add a little more dissolved gelatin, but I’ll keep you in the loop with what happens. Thanks for dropping by.
I was also wondering if you could pipe this? I am looking for a way to use a star tip to pipe whipped cream onto warm chocolate cakes. I know it won’t hold forever, but perhaps with the gelatin it will hold through serving. Perhaps I could even pipe onto parchment, set, and then lay the set cream on the cakes just before serving. Have you tried anything like this?
Hi Nicole – I don’t know why you couldn’t pipe them on to parchment – refrigerate – then lay on top just before serving. In fact – it sounds like genius to me! Thanks for this great inspiration! Would love to hear how this turns out.
olivia @ livforcake says
I’m making whipped cream today, so this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thanks for the tips!!
[email protected] says
What an interesting tip! I’ll have to try it, especially as you’re so right – whipped cream desserts do tend to fall.
Would this recipe work if you’re needing to add in some crushed Oreo’s? I’m planning to make a cookies and cream cake for my son’s birthday and was looking for a light, whipped frosting for the cake.
Hi Melissa – I don’t see why not – sounds delicious! I just made a coffee version of the stiff whipped cream today – I think it would be awesome with crushed oreos in it too. Thanks for the idea, and for dropping by.
Info on the coffee recipe please ☺️
Hey Rhonda – Here you go! https://www.throughherlookingglass.com/coffee-whipped-cream/ Enjoy, thanks for dropping by!
Wonderful thank you!!!
I want to try this i have always wondered how to make the whipping cream more stable. One question can it be piped ? to edge something instead of dolloped?
I don’t have a microwave. How long do you suggest heating the gelatin on the stove? Would love to try this recipe.
Hi Debbie – I wouldn’t think long at all, maybe a minute or two over the heat? All you’re needing to do is melt the gelatin. Thanks so much for dropping by!
Allie, would you think I could use this on cupcakes to take to the farmers market? It gets SUPER hot here, and I am trying to find a good frosting that won’t melt too terribly. I will probably be transitioning cupcakes from a cooler every hour or two just to keep things looking nice and no melting all the pretty goodies!
Hey Brianna – thanks so much for dropping by. I have not tested this in extreme heat for hours on end, so I’m not positive if it will work for your purpose. I know that when first whipped up, this whipped cream is soft and pliable, and then it SETS, much like jello, because there is gelatin in it. You whip this up and then spread it immediately, and it will keep its form and get firmer as time goes on because of the gelatin. If the farmer’s market isn’t a one-time event – you may want to test it on a small batch and see what happens. I sincerely hope this whipped cream works on your cupcakes!
Could you use this as a layer of a layer cake ?
I would love to use whipped cream as my filler, would this be strong enough?
Hi Kayla – I think it would be strong enough. This sets over time, like jello or instant pudding, because of the gelatin in it. I think if I were you, I’d have the layers of my cake set out. Make the stiff whipped cream. Then spread it on each layer. Then let each layer set a little first, before I piled the layers on top of each other. I think this will give you the best chance of success using it in a cake layer. Best wishes, and thanks for dropping by.
Do you think this could work as a filling in cupcakes?
Hi Devon, that’s a great idea and I don’t see why not. The whipped cream tends to get stiffer as it sits because of the gelatin.
I tried this last week and something definitely went wrong. The cream had a strange taste and after I scraped it off the cake I found ribbons of gelatin in the cream. Thought I followed the instruction correctly. Have used gelatin before but just sprinkled it on as I was whipping the cream.
Hey E – thanks for letting me know. I’m so sorry to hear your whipped cream didn’t come out well. Sounds like I need to put some more specific instructions. The way this recipe works – the gelatin needs to be completely liquid when whipped in – but not hot. As the liquid gelatin cools down before adding – sometimes the edges can get a little crusty, hardened and stick to the sides – but only the liquid part should go in. I think some of the hardened gelatin must have gotten into your whipped cream. The taste I’m not sure about, I’ve definitely not had a bad taste before. Again, so sorry yours did not work well.
Thought that maybe my micro heated the mix to much or that the gelatin was to old. The texture looked correct but the ribbons and the taste was it issue. Took apart the cake and Made a midnight run to the store for more whipped cream. The cake was a hit!
Can I use this instead of buttercream under the fondant?
I tried this last night on my Shoney’s Strawberry Pies and it was perfect the next day it’s still firm like it was last night and the taste is perfect! So easy to make. Thanks you for the recipe!
So glad it worked out Darlene. I love strawberry pie! Thanks for dropping by and have a great weekend!
I make an angel food cake and cut it in half an hollow out about a inch of the cake to make a opening and fill it with chocolate whipped cream then put the top of cake back on and cover with the rest of the whip cream.the stabilizing of the whip cream will make it last longer.Thank you so much for the recipe.
Oh Sally – this sounds absolutely divine!!! I have made peanut butter whipped cream and maple whipped cream…but never CHOCOLATE whipped cream. Yum!
I’m looking for a chocolate version. @Sally, can you tell me how you made it?
Hi, I wanted to make this for a baptism, but would it hold up as rose piped cross sitting out on display? It’s indoor so it wouldn’t be in direct heat and was wondering if it still had the 2 hr lifetime.
Hey Jessica – sounds so pretty! I’ve not piped this myself, I’ve used it in between cakes and many times in trifles. If I were you I’d prob. do a test just to make sure it will hold up. My gut feeling is that it will, but you might want to make sure ahead of time.
Does it pipe well and hold its shape?
Hi Corinna – people tell me they have piped it and had good success, but I’ve not yet tried it myself. Thanks for dropping by!
Will it still melt in hot chocolate?
Hmmm… I think it will Candy. I haven’t tried that. But it’s a great idea for hot chocolate because it would last longer on top. The whipped cream is just stiffened with a little bit of gelatin, and gelatin would def. melt in hot chocolate. So I would think it would work great. Thanks for this idea!
What would be the instructions using stove top instead of 1 min in micro?
Hi Esteri – just use hot water to dissolve the gelatin…you can heat the water on the stove, then pour it into a small dish with the gelatin and whisk it together. Thanks for dropping by!
Hi I’m making a cake with whipped cream but I don’t have heavy whipping cream can I still use this recipe
Hi Rafaella – what kind of cream do you have? I know you can whip heavy cream and also heavy whipping cream.
I have sweetened whipped cream by Danica sweetwhip
I looked up Danica sweetwhip and it looks like a non-dairy whipping cream. I have not tried it and I haven’t seen it here in the U.S. It’s very possible my recipe will work with Danica sweetwhip – you are basically adding a little bit of unflavored gelatin. Gelatin will thicken water (jello) so it seems very probable this could work. But I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for certain. If you try it, please comment back and let us know if it worked – I’m sure there are others who would like to know too. Good luck!
Will do thank you and can you use your recipe as a frosting and a filling
Yes – but when using it for a filling – I would spread it on each cake layer but wait a little bit for it to “firm up” before you stack the layers. Hope all goes well for your cake!
Can you use agar agar powder by swallow sun
I’m sorry – I wish I knew Rafaella – I’ve not used agar powder by swallow sun. I looked it up and it looks like a product that works like gelatin. If you try it please let us know if it worked, I’m sure there are others who are interested to know too.
Can I use flavored gelatin to whip into the cream?
I would think so Liz. I haven’t done it, but I can’t see why not. Would love to hear how it comes out if you try it. Thanks – have a great day!
I want to pipe this in swirl pattern on top of cupcakes. Should I let the whipped cream set first in the pastry bag, then pipe? Or should I pipe it then let it set in the fridge? TIA!
Hi Judy – I would definitely pipe them first and then let it set in the fridge. Enjoy!
Mary Hollins says
I used the gelatin and it does work but i hated the smell when it melted. Then I recalled how gelatin is made and understood the smell. I now use vanilla pudding powder to stabilize my whip cream. With pudding you use 3 tbsp to every cup of cream and you add it toward the end of the beating time. You can also use milk powder, cornstarch or agar to stabilize whip cream. I like using the vanilla pudding powder because the only thing you need to do is add the 3tbsp per cup of heavy whip cream and no other steps are involved in stabilizing the whip cream when you use the pudding mix. I make a lot of cheesecakes and for me the pudding mix is very simple to do.
Hey thanks Mary – that’s an awesome tip! I’ll definitely try out your method. It sounds very easy! Thanks for such specific directions too. I may try it out today – I’m making a strawberry pretzel salad for Easter and was going to put some stabilized whipped cream dollops on top. Thanks so much for dropping by and Happy Easter!
So, so happy to finally learn of a foolproof way to make whipped cream. I’ll let you know how it turns out…served on top of your marvelous fresh peach pound cake!
Thanks so much Sue, sure hope you enjoy it!
I can count on you to give such great tips every time. I love the idea of whipping cream that holds its shape!
OH MY GOSH that blueberry pound cake has me drooling. Almost time to be going back home. It has been a long month and I really look forward to some great baking. Blueberry pound cake, here I come!🍰🎂🍪🍪☕🍯🍧🍨🍮
Hi Carol – thanks so much. I can’t believe you’ve been gone all this time. It’s a long time to be away. Sure hope you’ve mixed in some pleasure with your busy work schedule. And hope you love that blueberry pound cake too. It’s one of our favorites around here for sure. I’ve already made it a few times this summer to take on picnics etc. It packs and keeps well! Hope you enjoy. XO
Doris Collins says
I have been using this recipe for several months and love it; however, there seems to be a little too much gelatin for one cup of cream. I don’t use quite all of the gelatin mixture and the consistency is much better.
Hi Doris – thanks for this comment. I am def. going to try it with a little less and see what the results are for me – prob. a little more flexible? Thanks so much for the tip, I’m constantly striving to improve my recipes here. I also appreciate your taking the time to give constructive suggestions. THANK YOU and have a super week!
Jeff the Chef says
I’m glad you added the comment about the texture, because someone who may not be familiar with stabilized whipped cream may not realize that that’s the trade-off. I prefer the texture of non-stabilized cream, but as you say, if it has to sit around for a while, and especially if it has to be unrefrigerated or out in a warm environment, there’s just no way non-stabilized cream is going to hold up.
Made this yesterday for serving with fresh peaches and blueberries on individual meringues. Made it early in the in the day. I softened the powdered gelatin in hot tap water, stirred it, then poured it through a fine sieve to remove any lumps. The gelatin was fully dissolved and didn’t need microwaving. When I poured it gradually into the whipped cream I ended up with something that was stiffer than I preferred. Next time I’ll test the whipped cream part way through and perhaps not use all the liquid gelatin. I’d also use agar for the vegetarian in the family. Agar is made from seaweed.
Hi Allie, I love whipped cream, and look forward to trying this. YUM! Thanks!!
Do you know how I can make this into chocolate flavored?
You can use chocolate pudding mix Meagan – which has some gelatin in it already which will help it to stiffen….Maybe 2-3 tablespoonfuls of chocolate pudding per 1 cup of heavy whipping cream. That’s what I would try. Add the pudding mix just as the peaks are beginning to stiffen and then finish up the whipping. I haven’t tried this myself yet, but that’s what I would try.
I’ve been meaning to make this cream for a while now. My daughter has an order for a 3 leches cake and she has never stacked one before. Usually, she does a non-stabilized version to top cake and it’s amazing but this time she has to stack and needs something a bit firmer. What are your thoughts on how this will look when cut if used as filling on a cake? I was also wondering how much does the taste differ from non-stabilized. This cake can be heavy when soaked so she plans to soak top layer a tad less than bottom but still concerned with it being heavy. Looking for a middle ground between a super firm filling to something that’s gonna get crushed. TYIA!
Hi Vero – Thanks so much for your note. I just happened to see it come in right now while I’m sitting at the computer and I have a minute to get back to you quickly. This filling is pretty stiff and I do think it will hold up between layers. What I would do is make the stabilized whipped cream, then pile/spread it onto the separate layers immediately. Then allow the stabilized whipped cream to firm up a bit before you start stacking the layers on top of each other. You can also make other flavored stabilized whipped cream by using instant pudding mix to stabilize it – 2-3 tablespoons instant pudding mix added at the last stages of whipping. I am going to try it in chocolate this week. It’s the texture that is different, definitely stiffer and not as creamy as regular whipped cream. Your daughter may want to try it out ahead of time to see if it’s the right consistency for what she needs. Good luck!
You’re the best! Appreciate the quick reply. I did see another commenter mention the pudding mix for different flavor. That is why we made a “practice cake” today before she has the order due. Oh, the sacrifices we make. Enjoy your day!
Ok, I had to come back and give my feedback because I shouldn’t just be asking questions and then not updating on my results. This filling was PERFECT for our 3 leches cake. I was worried it would be too stiff or that flavor would somehow differ from the non-stabilized version. Neither was true. It held perfectly between the 2 layers, even though the top one was a bit heavy because of the milks (we added a tad less on top layer but still). And flavor wasn’t affected at all. This is our go to from now on. Thank you again!
Oh how nice to hear from you Vero, and with good news too! Thrilled this worked out for your daughter’s cake. Thank you for coming back to let me know, and I am sure there are others who will want to know too. Wishing her ALL THE BEST when she makes the real thing! You’re an awfully nice mom to help her figure all this out for her order. I’m so glad you dropped by. XO
Allie, this looks really good! I think I need to make these for myself and the kids. Love this idea!
Alisha Ross says
This is an awesome easy fall dinner! I love the contrasting textures and flavors.
Rose Martine says
I am making these tonight for our family Memorial Day party!!! So excited! I am going to try and use strawberries and make one larger cheesecake in my springform pan. I was curious, do you have to strain out all of the strawberry chunks or does it not wind up chunky? I’m guessing I’ll see why you strain it when I’m at that step, but just curious!
Rubi Kaur says
Love this recipe! We use it quite often. I double the carrots and celery and add minced onion flakes to it and use Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice. After a couple hours check it to see if it needs a little bit more water added.