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Can you use Cool Whip instead of heavy cream for ice cream?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can use Cool Whip instead of heavy cream to make homemade ice cream. Cool Whip is a whipped topping product that contains similar ingredients to heavy cream, like cream, milk, sugar, and stabilizers, so it can be substituted in ice cream recipes. The main differences are that Cool Whip has less fat and more air whipped into it. Using Cool Whip will create an ice cream with a lighter, airier texture compared to heavy cream. You may need to experiment with the amount of Cool Whip to use compared to heavy cream in a recipe. Start by substituting an equal amount and adjust to your desired consistency.

Ingredients Comparison

Ingredient Heavy Cream Cool Whip
Fat 36-40% milkfat 20-25% milkfat
Sugar None added High-fructose corn syrup added
Stabilizers/Emulsifiers None Cellulose gel, polysorbate 60
Air Not whipped Highly whipped and aerated

As you can see from the table, the main differences between heavy cream and Cool Whip are the fat and air content. Heavy cream contains 36-40% milkfat with no added air, giving it a rich, creamy texture. Cool Whip has 20-25% milkfat and is highly aerated through whipping, giving it a lighter texture.

Using Cool Whip in Ice Cream

When substituting Cool Whip for heavy cream in ice cream recipes, keep the following in mind:

Fat content

The lower fat content of Cool Whip means your ice cream may freeze harder and have a less creamy mouthfeel compared to heavy cream. For best results, choose a Cool Whip variety with higher fat, like Extra Creamy.


Cool Whip has a thicker consistency due to added stabilizers. You may need to thin it out with a bit of milk or cream for a better consistency in ice cream.


Since Cool Whip contains added sugar and heavy cream does not, your ice cream may end up sweeter using Cool Whip. Reduce any other sugars in the recipe to compensate.

Air content

The high amount of air whipped into Cool Whip gives it a lighter texture. This air will translate into an ice cream with a fluffier, airier texture vs. the dense richness of heavy cream.


Cool Whip will impart a more subtle flavor compared to the purity of heavy cream. Expect a less pronounced cream flavor in your finished ice cream.

Substitution Ratio

There is no set conversion for substituting Cool Whip and heavy cream. You’ll need to experiment to get the texture you want. As a starting point, try substituting Cool Whip at a 1:1 ratio for heavy cream in any ice cream recipe. If the texture is too fluffy or soft after churning, try reducing Cool Whip to 3/4 cup for every 1 cup heavy cream called for. Adding a bit more milk or cream can also improve consistency.

Ice Cream Recipes Using Cool Whip

Here are some tasty ice cream recipes that use Cool Whip rather than heavy cream as a base:

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

This uses Sweetened Condensed Milk to enrich the flavor and texture.

  • 1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 16-ounce tub Cool Whip

Cookies and Cream Ice Cream

Chopped Oreo cookies add crunchy texture throughout.

  • 1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 16-ounce tub Cool Whip
  • 1 1/2 cups Mini Oreo Cookies, chopped

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Extract and green food coloring deliver fresh mint flavor.

  • 1 14-ounce can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 16-ounce tub Cool Whip
  • 1/4 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
  • 5 drops Green Food Coloring
  • 1 cup Mini Chocolate Chips

Tips for Making Cool Whip Ice Cream

Follow these tips for creamy, scoopable ice cream using Cool Whip:

  • Make sure Cool Whip is well chilled before using for best volume and texture.
  • Whip the Cool Whip before adding other ingredients to maximize volume.
  • Mix any extracts, cocoa powder, food coloring thoroughly to distribute flavor.
  • Fold in any chunks or swirls gently to retain marbling.
  • Churn the ice cream in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions until thickened and nearly set.
  • For creamiest texture, transfer to a freezer container and freeze 2-4 hours until firm before serving.
  • Allow ice cream to sit 5-10 minutes at room temperature before scooping if too hard straight from freezer.

Is Cool Whip Ice Cream Healthier?

Cool Whip ice cream can be a bit healthier than heavy cream versions, but keep portion size in mind:

Lower fat

With around 25% fat compared to 36-40% in heavy cream, Cool Whip ice cream has less fat per serving.

Fewer calories

The lower fat content equates to fewer calories if portion sizes are the same. Heavy cream has about 100 calories per tablespoon compared to 20 calories per tablespoon of Cool Whip.

Added sugar

Cool Whip contains added high fructose corn syrup while heavy cream has no added sugar. This negates some of the calorie-savings.

Higher air content

The air whipped into Cool Whip leads to a lighter ice cream, which may help with portion control compared to rich heavy cream versions.

No nutritional benefits

Heavy cream contains healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K. Cool Whip has no nutritional value.

So Cool Whip ice cream can be a lighter option but lacks the nutritional benefits of heavy cream. Be mindful of overeating lower fat desserts.


Cool Whip can substitute for heavy cream when making homemade ice cream. While it produces an ice cream with a lighter texture and flavor, Cool Whip contains less fat and more air. Adjust recipes as needed by reducing Cool Whip compared to heavy cream amounts. Add milk or cream if the texture is too icy. Cool Whip ice cream can be a healthier option if portion sizes are controlled. But heavy cream versions offer more nutritional benefits. Experiment to find the ratio that suits your preference for rich, creamy ice cream.