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Can I use Cool Whip in place of whipping cream?

Quick Answer

Yes, Cool Whip can be used as a substitute for whipping cream in some recipes. Cool Whip is a shelf-stable whipped topping product made from hydrogenated vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, and milk proteins. It whips up into a light, fluffy texture similar to freshly whipped cream. However, Cool Whip will not whip to the same stiff peaks as whipping cream, so it may not be suitable as a 1:1 replacement in recipes where a very stiff whipped cream is required, like decorative piped whipped cream. It also has a sweeter flavor and less rich taste compared to real dairy whipped cream. Overall, Cool Whip can work well as a substitute in recipes where whipped texture is desired but a less rich whipped cream flavor is acceptable, like in dessert fillings, frostings, or fruit toppings. Reduce any sugar in the recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 when substituting Cool Whip for sweetened whipped cream.

Whipping Cream vs Cool Whip

Whipping cream and Cool Whip may appear similar once whipped, but there are some key differences between these two ingredients:

Fat Content

Whipping cream is high in fat, typically 30-36% milk fat. The high fat content is what allows whipping cream to whip up into stiff, stable peaks. Cool Whip is made with hydrogenated vegetable oil and has less fat.


Whipping cream has a rich dairy flavor from the milk fat. Cool Whip is sweeter, with a less rich and more artificial whipped topping flavor.


Whipping cream only contains small amounts of natural milk sugars and is unsweetened. Cool Whip contains high fructose corn syrup and sugar and has a sweeter taste.


Properly whipped cream may start to deflate, weep liquid, and collapse after a couple hours. Cool Whip contains stabilizers and emulsifiers so it holds its whipped texture for longer.

Shelf Life

Whipping cream is perishable and must be refrigerated. Unopened Cool Whip can be stored unrefrigerated until the expiration date, making it more convenient.

Pros and Cons of Using Cool Whip

Here are some of the key pros and cons to consider when substituting Cool Whip for whipped cream:


– Shelf-stable, more convenient than refrigerated cream
– Holds shape and whipped texture well without collapsing
– Whips up lighter and fluffier
– Provides stability in recipes with no weeping liquid
– Easy to use right from the tub


– Fat content not as high as real cream so texture may be different
– Will not whip up to very stiff peaks like whipping cream
– Artificial flavor from vegetable oil, not as rich tasting
– Added sugars make it much sweeter than unsweetened cream
– Not a direct 1:1 substitute in all recipes

When to Use Cool Whip

Cool Whip can work well as a whipped cream substitute in the following cases:

– As a topping for desserts like fruit, pies, cakes, and ice cream where you want a light, fluffy whipped texture with sweet flavor. The sweeter taste of Cool Whip often complements these desserts.

– In fillings or frostings where you want a stable whipped cream that won’t weep liquid or deflate. The emulsifiers in Cool Whip help it hold its shape well.

– When convenience is key and you want a shelf-stable product that is ready to use straight from the tub.

– For decorative piping or shaping on cakes and desserts. Cool Whip can hold its shape nicely for decorating.

– Any recipe where a very stiffly whipped cream is not required. Cool Whip generally will not whip up to the firm peaks that whipping cream does.

– To add fluffy texture to recipes without adding a lot of fat from cream. Because Cool Whip is lower in fat than real cream.

When to Avoid Cool Whip

There are some cases when Cool Whip is not the best substitute for whipped cream:

– In recipes where the rich taste of real dairy cream is an important factor. The more artificial flavor of Cool Whip may be detectable.

– Times when you want a very thick and stiffly whipped cream to hold its shape, like when piping or decorating. Cool Whip won’t achieve the firm peaks whipped cream can.

– If you need to add a large amount of liquid to the whipped cream for a recipe, as Cool Whip can break down.

– When making dairy-free whipped cream for those with milk/dairy allergies, as Cool Whip contains milk proteins.

– For savory dishes like soups or potatoes where the sweetness of Cool Whip may clash with other flavors.

– Applications where the whipped cream will be cooked, as the oils in Cool Whip can separate when heated.

Substitution Ratio

Cool Whip can generally be substituted for whipped cream using a 1:1 ratio by volume in recipes. However, some adjustments may be needed:

– Reduce sugar in the recipe by 1/4 to 1/2 since Cool Whip is sweeter.

– Add a pinch of salt to help offset the sweeter flavor of Cool Whip.

– If the recipe calls for very stiffly whipped peaks, Cool Whip may not whip up to the same consistency so the texture could be slightly different.

– Be aware Cool Whip may not stand up to mixing or folding in other ingredients quite as well as real whipped cream. Take care not to deflate it too much.

– For stability when substituting in fillings, folds, frostings, etc., chill the Cool Whip mixture for 30-60 minutes to help it set up.

How to Whip Cool Whip

Cool Whip can be whipped up to increase volume and lighten the texture. Here are some tips:

– Use chilled Cool Whip straight from the refrigerator. Letting it sit out will make it harder to whip up.

– Use a chilled bowl and beaters. This helps prevent warming and thinning of the Cool Whip while whipping.

– Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes max. Overbeating can cause Cool Whip to thin and deflate.

– Fold in other ingredients like fruit, syrups, or mixins gently to avoid deflating the whipped Cool Whip.

– For maximum stability, return the whipped Cool Whip to the fridge until ready to use.

– Do not try whipping Cool Whip that has been frozen and thawed, as it will not whip up again.

Storing Leftover Cool Whip

To store leftover Cool Whip:

– Transfer any unused Cool Whip from the original container into an airtight container. Smooth the top.

– Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the Cool Whip before sealing the container. This prevents a skin forming.

– Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.

– To freeze, store in a freezer container or bag up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reusing.

– Do not refreeze Cool Whip after it has fully thawed as the texture will break down.

Other Non-Dairy Whipped Topping Alternatives

In addition to Cool Whip, other non-dairy whipped topping options include:

Whipped Coconut Cream – Chilled cans of full-fat coconut milk can be whipped into soft peaks. Must refrigerate cans overnight first so the cream separates and solidifies.

Soy Whipped Topping – Whippable products made from soy milk and vegetable oils. Brands like Soyatoo and Truwhip are available.

Aquafaba – The liquid from a can of chickpeas can be whipped into stiff peaks like egg whites. Completely dairy and fat free.

Dairy-Free Cool Whip – Some brands like So Delicious make Cool Whip style products without milk ingredients. Check labels for dairy-free.

Nutrition Comparison

Nutrition Facts Per 2 Tbsp Whipping Cream Cool Whip
Calories 51 25
Fat 5g 2g
Carbs 0.4g 2g
Protein 0.4g 0g
Sugar 0.4g 2g

As shown, whipping cream is higher in fat and calories while Cool Whip is lower in fat but higher in carbs and added sugar.


Cool Whip can substitute for whipped cream in a variety of desserts, fillings, frostings, and toppings, providing a light and fluffy texture similar to whipped cream. However, there are some differences in the nutrition, fat content, flavor, and whipping properties to consider when replacing whipped cream with Cool Whip. Adjusting sugar and texture as needed based on the application can help Cool Whip better stand in for real whipped cream in recipes. But for applications where real dairy flavor and stiffer peaks are required, whipped cream may still provide the best results.