The Secret To Making Whipped Cream With A Pantry Ingredient

A bowl of strawberries, a cup of cocoa, a slice of apple pie — these are just a few of the things made sweeter by a generous dollop of luscious whipped cream. But few of us have a pint of whipping cream at the ready when the craving strikes, or maybe you've decided to cut back on dairy. Thankfully, there is a canned pantry staple that will work beautifully in place of whipping cream, and it even happens to be vegan! Good old coconut milk.

Coconut milk is often reserved for splashing into a pot of simmering Thai green curry (we have a recipe, but with a few easy steps, it can be whipped into heavenly peaks. To make this work though, you need full-fat coconut milk. Reduced-fat coconut milk, just like skim dairy milk, contains too much water for air bubbles to form. And, it also happens to have a weaker flavor anyway. But full-fat coconut milk also contains a fair bit of water; to separate the cream for whipping, just pop the can of coconut milk in the fridge until it's well-chilled. This will allow the fat to rise to the top. Then you can just scoop into a bowl when you're ready to whip it. If you're concerned about food waste, transfer the extra coconut milk to a jar and splash it into a soup for a creamy touch.

Coconut milk whips up easily

With the fat separated into a separate bowl, you can whip coconut cream up like regular dairy cream. A whisk is all you need to make it, but hand-whipping can become exhausting quickly, so consider using an electric hand or standing mixer. Whip until the cream forms stiff peaks, then serve over your preferred dessert or enjoy on its own. Shelf-stable coconut cream makes for a delicious, vegan, and low-sugar treat as a whipped topping. 

Remember that coconut milk has a light, well, coconut flavor. If you want to make it taste a bit more like traditional dairy whipped cream recipes, add a splash of vanilla and a pinch of sugar. If you're averse to the flavor of any coconut at all, you still have options. You may want to try another vegan version using a can of chickpeas. You can make aquafaba whipped cream with the liquid from the can.