Whether it's a slice of apple pie or an ice cream sundae, no dessert is complete without a dollop of whipped cream. And while nothing will ever quite match up to homemade, sometimes the convenience of the stuff in the can just wins out.
With the holiday season on the horizon, I thought it was time to explore the store-bought canned whipped cream options. Here are our thoughts on the six brands we tried, as well as our favorite brand. Want to see our top pick?
How We Selected the 6 Brands
I selected a variety of widely available national brands of canned whipped cream that can be found at most grocery stores across the country. All the brands included were found at three major grocery stores in New York City. It was interesting to see that while one brand offered a "light" and "extra creamy" version in addition to their "regular" whipped cream, many brands only offered "sweetened light" whipped cream. Also, to keep a fair playing field, I didn't sneak in a homemade version.
How We Set Up the Blind Taste Test
I purchased six brands of canned whipped cream. In a move that was possibly more fun than actually tasting the whipped cream, I shook the cans one by one, the squirted each one into a bowl, filling it as high as it would go. I assigned each brand a letter, and then lined them up on the island in our new office kitchen.
Tasters had a choice of dipping a sliced strawberry in the whipped cream or using a wooden stick to eat it plain. As people dipped into the whipped cream, I asked everyone in the office to give me their thoughts on all six brands.
The Taste Test Results
There was once a time when it was tough to find more than one or two brands of canned whipped cream on grocery store shelves, but much has changed. While a couple seem to dominate the stores, it was easy to find all six brands in the lineup.
While I felt certain none of these could actually pass for the real thing (spoiler alert: I was right), I was curious to see if any of these brands would simply remind me of homemade whipped cream. This taste test was about finding the next best thing. In addition to flavor and sweetness, we assessed how quickly each whipped cream would last before it started to deflate, and lose its thick, airy texture. While some brands were labeled as sweetened light whipped cream, there wasn't a significant difference in texture or taste with the other "regular" brands.
Cabot Sweetened Light Whipped Cream ($.33/ounce)
Cabot whipped cream has become a common find on many grocery store shelves — and for good reason. One taster noted that "everyone would like this, it's easygoing whipped cream." It tastes super creamy with a balanced flavor that's not too sweet or too quick to deflate.
Foodtown Sweetened Light Whipped Cream ($.47/ounce)
While this generic grocery store brand had a good price point, there was really no fooling anyone that it came out of a can. It had the consistency and staying power you want with whipped cream, but tasters were split on the taste. Some "like the flavor" and enjoyed the "super creamy" consistency, but others thought they could detect the metallic taste of the can.
Isigny Ste Mère Crème a la Vanille de Madagascar ($1.00/ounce)
While I spotted this brand at multiple stores, it was the first time I've noticed it before. I also immediately realized it was more expensive than any of the other brands. This one had a light consistency with a balanced flavor that wasn't too sweet, although because of the name I thought it might have a strong vanilla bean flavor.
Reddi Wip Original Dairy Whipped Topping ($.57/ounce)
Of all the brands we tried, this is the one that most of us grew up on, and the one that dominates so many grocery store shelves. While it didn't carry the taste of the can, it didn't have a chance of passing for homemade. In fact, some of my officemates could identify this brand while tasting. It was thick, frothy, and slow to deflate. But what really set this one apart was how much sweeter it was than the rest of the lineup. Taste testers mentioned they "love the sweetness" and the "strong vanilla flavor."
Whole Foods Real Dairy Nonfat Whipped Topping ($.57/ounce)
Right off the bat, this whipped cream wasn't as structured as the others when I squirted it into the bowl. But while it deflated somewhat over time, it didn't deflate as much as some of the others. It also had a very mild taste.
Canned Whipped Cream: The Office Favorite
Natural by Nature Sweetened Light Whipped Cream ($.71/ounce)
When you can't have homemade, this is the canned whipped cream you want to have handy. Of all the brands we tested, this one tasted the closest to the real thing. It is thick yet airy and super creamy, with just the right amount of sweetness.
Taste Tester Quotes
- This one tastes the most natural.
- Good creamy flavor.
- Tastes like ice cream.
- Not too sweet.
- The closest to homemade.
Do you have a favorite brand of canned whipped cream? Any brand we missed that we have to try? Let us know in the comments!