Whipped Cream Stabilizer

Different Ones and How to Use Them

Whipped cream makes a great topping for many desserts and cakes. German Apple Cake would not be the same without whipped cream, nor would Black Forest Cherry Cake or Apricot Cake.

When you frost a cake with whipped cream or want to make the perfect rosettes from a decorator bag, the grocery store cream in the US falls flat. Either you whip it to butter or you have a soft product which will not keep its shape. On the other hand, bakeries always seem to turn out amazing products with beautiful decorations.

  • 01 of 06

    The Problem With Whipping Cream

    whipped cream on whisk

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    The biggest problem with whipping cream you buy in the store is that it is less than 40% fat. Regular whipping cream can be as low as 30% fat and heavy whipping cream is 36% to 38% fat. When a restaurant or bakery purchases fresh cream, however, they receive heavy whipping cream with at least 40% fat.

    The higher the fat content, the stiffer the whipped product can become without turning into butter and the longer it holds its shape without weeping or separating. So if home cooks cannot buy the restaurant whipping cream, what can we do to make our desserts look just as beautiful?

    We can use a stabilizer. There are many different kinds. In the US, for many years, we only had the option of using gelatin to stabilize whipping cream, which is a fussy method in which you have to heat the gelatin and pour it into the cream while beating. It often results in clumps and once it thickens, you cannot modify its form very well (like Jello).

  • 02 of 06

    Whip It or Sahnesteif From Dr. Oetker

    Dr Oetker Whip It Whipped Cream Stabilizer Packaging

    Since 1967, Sahnesteif has been sold in Germany as an aid for whipping cream. Also called Whip It, it is made with dextrose (aka glucose), modified corn starch and tricalcium phosphate (anticaking agent). One package (0.35 oz./10 g.) will stiffen one cup of cold whipping cream, although for a simple cake (not frosting or decorating) you can use the same amount in two cups of cream.

    Whip It does not alter the flavor of the cream or make it gritty. It keeps the cream in the refrigerator overnight without separating and the taste is still fresh the next day. It is stiff enough to pipe decorations.

  • 03 of 06

    Whipped Cream Stabilizer, From King Arthur Flour

    Strawberries and Cream

    The Spruce / J.McGavin

    The ingredients are gelatin and dextrose. One to two tablespoons is necessary per cup of whipping cream, depending on if you are serving it as a side or want it to hold up to decorating with it. It comes in a four-ounce bag.

  • 04 of 06

    Xanthan Gum

    Xanthan Gum

    Michelle Arnold / EyeEm / Getty Images 

    Xanthan gum is a white powder sold as a thickener to people who are sensitive to gluten. It may have some allergens for sensitive people, however, so buy from a source which is guaranteed gluten-free if that is your concern.

    This thickener is derived from a strain of bacteria, Xanthomonas campestris which feeds off of simple sugars and makes a polysaccharide (complex sugar). It has high thickening capabilities which are lowered when the liquid is shaken (low shear strength). That makes it useful in salad dressings which become more pourable if you shake the bottle but do not separate in the refrigerator.

    Based on original research, a quarter teaspoon or less of xanthan gum will stabilize a cup of whipped cream for more than a week (but the cream will go sour).

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Guar Gum

    Guar Gum

    Guar gum is a polysaccharide like xanthan gum, but it is won from guar beans (a plant) and is called galactomannan. It is an off-white powder sold in health food stores, often as an ingredient for gluten-free baking. More guar gum is needed than xanthan gum and its properties lie in the thickening and emulsifying side of sauces, salad dressings, bread, and dairy products.

    Use up to one teaspoon per cup of cold whipping cream. This will also keep in the refrigerator without separating for quite a long time.

    You can also use a bit of each in the whipped cream. Use a very small amount of xanthan gum (maybe a pinch) plus a slightly larger amount of guar gum. Read more about their synergistic effects here.

  • 06 of 06

    Whipped Cream Charger or Nitrous Oxide Charger

    whipped cream charger


    A whipped cream dispenser is a canister of nitrous oxide attached to a dispenser filled with cream, sugar, and flavorings. Nitrous oxide flows into the cream and dissolves creating high pressure in the dispenser. When the button or lever is pushed, the cream flows out, the nitrous oxide expands and "whips" the cream instantly.

    The whipped cream you squirt on the plate or dessert is four times the volume of hand-whipped cream, making it lighter and fluffier. If no stabilizers are added to the cream, it will separate within a few hours, so it is not a whipped cream stabilizer by itself.