The Best Ways to Make Whipped Cream Ahead of Time (Up to 48 Hours!)

published Nov 20, 2021
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woman whisking cream
Credit: Getty Images/ JGI/Jamie Grill

One of the perks of making homemade whipped cream is its absolute freshness, but freshly whipped cream’s fluffiness is ephemeral, so it’s typically a task best saved for the last minute. And while whipping cream just before serving isn’t a huge hassle, there are times — including for big holidays like Thanksgiving — when it’s really convenient to make as many things as possible, including whipped cream, ahead of time.

The good news is that there are several ways to make whipped cream last longer — all of which can be done with basic ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or refrigerator. If you want to whip up a batch in advance, you’ll be able to store it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 48 hours using one of these methods.

For whipped cream that needs to last for a few hours:

Simply using confectioners’ sugar (aka powdered sugar) instead of granulated sugar for sweetening whipped cream will give you fluffy, sweetened whipped cream that will last about 12 hours in the fridge. That’s because confectioners’ sugar typically contains a bit of cornstarch, which adds stability to the whipped cream. Simply add 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar to 1 cup whipping cream before whipping. Make it in the morning and serve it after dinner.

If you want even more more stability, whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch with the powdered sugar before adding it to the cream. Cornstarch won’t add any extra flavor and it doesn’t make the whipped cream last that much longer than confectioners’ sugar alone, but it will give the dollops of whipped cream a tad more stiffness and help them maintain their shape. 

For a tangy take on stabilized whipped cream, whip 3/4 cup cream to soft peaks, and then whip in 1/4 cup Greek yogurt (any fat percentage) along with the confectioners’ sugar. The yogurt gives the whipped cream a silkier texture that stays perfectly dolloped on shortcakes and other baked goods. It does, however, taste like yogurt, so be aware of what you pair it with. It’s wonderful with apple pie. You can also use vanilla, honey, or coconut yogurt to add another layer of flavor.

Credit: Getty Images/ MichellePatrickPhotographyLLC

For whipped cream that needs to stay fluffy and spoonable overnight:

If you have marshmallows or Marshmallow Fluff in the house, for every cup of whipping cream add 1 tablespoon melted marshmallows or Fluff during the soft-peak stage for luxurious whipped cream. As noted in this tutorial on stabilizing whipped cream, marshmallows have gelatin in them to stabilize the whipped cream, but you don’t have to go through the many steps required to bloom the gelatin (as you’ll read below).

If extra-creamy whipped cream is your ideal, whisk 1 tablespoon nonfat milk powder with the powdered sugar before adding to the cream. The milk proteins stabilize the whipped cream without changing the texture too much, as the following methods can do. And you’ll taste a milkshake-y note in the whipped cream that makes it seem even richer in flavor.

For stiff whipped cream that lasts at least 48 hours:

These two add-ins will give you incredibly stable whipped cream that lasts for at least 48 hours, but they impart a bit of a stiffer texture that’s not as ideal for stirring once it’s set. Use these methods when you want to pipe or frost cupcakes, cakes, or any other dessert where you won’t be re-stirring and spooning the whipped cream after it’s made.

For creamy, super-stable whipped cream, for every cup of whipping cream whisk 1 tablespoon instant vanilla or white chocolate pudding mix with the confectioners’ sugar before adding to the cream. The finished whipped cream will taste slightly like pudding, so this is an easy way to make chocolate whipped cream or any other flavor you might want. (Don’t try this with tapioca pudding, though — the tapioca pearls get in the way.)

Pastry pros often turn to gelatin to stabilize whipped cream for desserts that have to be made days in advance. The process is more complicated than any of the others here, but it does work. 

For every cup of whipping cream, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon gelatin over 1 tablespoon cold water in a small heatproof bowl and let rest for 5 minutes, then heat in the microwave for 5 to 10 seconds until the gelatin melts into a clear liquid. Let the gelatin cool while you start whipping the cream, then add the gelatin during the soft-peak stage.