Homemade Cool Whip Recipe

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Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Marshmallow fluff provides a sweet and stable base for freezer-safe whipped cream.
  • Cooling the sugar syrup to 212°F (100°C) protects the gelatin from thermal degradation, so the fluff whips up thick and strong.
  • Powdered milk adds flavor and body, while also disrupting ice crystal formation to protect against freezer damage.
  • Gelatin keeps homemade Cool Whip stable at room temperature, but for food safety, it should not be left out longer than four hours.

Even if you've never cared for the real deal, homemade Cool Whip is something everyone can love. It's silky smooth and rich, but quite a bit lighter than traditional whipped cream. The real kicker is that it's freezer-safe and stable at warmer temperatures as well, making it the perfect make-ahead accompaniment for cookouts and holiday trips where refrigeration isn't always an option.

Recipe Facts

Active: 25 mins
Total: 3 hrs
Makes: 5 cups

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin (see note)
  • 1 ounce cold water (2 tablespoons; 28g)
  • 2 ounces cold milk (1/4 cup; 55g); any percentage will do
  • 3/4 ounce powdered milk (3 tablespoons; 20g), such as Carnation
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7ml) vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces water (1/4 cup; 55g)
  • 2 3/4 ounces light corn syrup (1/4 cup; 75g)
  • 5 ounces sugar (3/4 cup; 140g)
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon (just over 1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
  • 14 ounces chilled heavy cream (1 3/4 cups; 395g)

Directions

  1. Sprinkle gelatin over 1 ounce cold water (2 tablespoons; 28g) in a small bowl and stir with a fork to combine. In another bowl, mix together milk, powdered milk, and vanilla until relatively smooth. In a 1-quart stainless steel saucepan, combine the remaining 2 ounces water (1/4 cup; 55g) with corn syrup, sugar, and salt and set over medium heat. Stir with a fork until bubbling hard around the edges, about 3 minutes, then increase heat to medium-high. Clip a digital thermometer to the saucepan and cook, without stirring, until the clear syrup registers 250°F (120°C), about 4 minutes.

  2. Immediately transfer to a large heat-safe bowl, scraping pot with a heat-resistant spatula, and cool to exactly 212°F (100°C), about 3 minutes. Add gelatin and whip with a hand mixer at medium-high speed until thick, snowy white, and roughly tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla milk in several small additions, letting each incorporate before adding the next. Once smooth, cover tightly and let stand at room temperature until firm, at least 2 and up to 8 hours.

  3. To finish, drizzle in cream while mixing at low speed. Whip until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes, then increase speed to medium and whip until cream can hold floppy peaks. Use immediately, or cover bowl with plastic (or transfer to an airtight container) and refrigerate up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, whipped cream can be frozen 3 months in an airtight container.

Special equipment

1-quart stainless steel saucepan, digital thermometer, heat-safe bowl and spatula, hand mixer

Notes

My favorite powdered gelatin, which I love for its extremely mild aroma, is manufactured by Now Foods, but this recipe will work equally well with any American brand (all formulated to roughly 230 bloom). The quantity used in this recipe is too small to be accurately measured in grams using most kitchen scales.

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