The Secret To Making Whipped Cream With A Pantry Ingredient

Homemade whipped cream can be a vital component of so many foods and beverages. From a dollop in your kids' hot chocolate to a dab on your early morning pancakes and fruit cups to a full-on scoop for those tasty sundaes, shortcakes, and milkshakes, whipped cream really is the pinnacle of importance. This sweetened cream that makes us all giddy isn't a modern invention, although the likes of Reddi-wip and Cool Whip probably have many of us thinking that it is. According to Food and Wine, whipped cream was being whipped up as far back as the 16th century and even made it into the Oxford English Dictionary in 1673. And instead of using our up to date kitchen tools – whisks, mixers, and beaters – to whip up this creamy topping, a willow or rush branch was used. 

Allrecipes says basic whipped cream is made with heavy cream, a little sugar, and vanilla. They're whisked into peaks of creamy, soft perfection. Our modern-day whipped cream is more than just a mere garnish. It is the much-anticipated piece de resistance of any drink or food recipe. But for those who might be dairy-shy or find themselves without a carton of heavy cream in their refrigerator, did you know there's a different ingredient you can use to make this beloved topping? In fact, this secret ingredient is probably in your pantry. What is it?

Use canned coconut milk to make your whipped cream

According to The Kitchn, you can use canned coconut milk to whip up into a sweet and tasty whipped cream. It's really easy, too. Just pop your can of coconut milk in the refrigerator to get it chill. Once it is cold enough – it has to be below 50 degrees if it is going to whip, so putting it in the refrigerator overnight is optimal – open the can and skim the liquid for all of the fatty coconut chunks that have solidified. This will leave you with a somewhat watery looking liquid that you only need to whisk vigorously to turn into a fluffy and light whipped cream. 

While coconut milk offers its own sweetness, you can still add a little sugar and vanilla if you want to adhere to a more traditional whipped cream recipe. The Kitchn does point out that this version of the creamy topping will taste like coconut, so if this flavor is not your jam, you might want to stick with heavy cream or try one of the many alternative whipping cream options when you make yours or go for a whipped cream substitute like Greek yogurt.