This stabilized whipped cream frosting recipe makes lightly sweetened, thick and fluffy, perfectly pipe-able frosting that doesn’t weep or lose its shape! This recipe comes together in 15 minutes and can be used to ice cakes or cupcakes or anywhere in place of store-bought whipped cream! Recipe includes a tutorial video!
A Sweet & Simple Frosting
I’ve received a record number of requests for this whipped cream frosting recipe, and here it is! While I love my existing whipped cream recipe and have bragged often about how stable it is, I’ve also advised that that one is not ideal for icing cakes or cupcakes.
Sure, it’s great, fluffy, un-fussy and so tasty, but if you want a whipped cream frosting, one that is guaranteed to hold its shape, not melt, and last for several days, you really need to stabilize it first.
This requires a simple extra step and a sprinkle of gelatin powder.
The end result is a frosting that’s lightly sweetened (those of you who want a frosting that’s “not too sweet” will love this one), fluffy and creamy, but still stable enough to pipe over cupcakes or frost a two or three layer cake. Pictured above it’s prettily piped over a batch of cupcakes that I made out of my vanilla cake recipe (of course I tossed in a few sprinkles for good measure!)
Let’s get to it!
What You Need
- Gelatin. This is what makes this recipe a stabilized whipped cream. Gelatin stabilizes the cream and keeps the frosting sturdy (even at room temperature) and keeps it from melting over itself or weeping, as classic, un-stabilized whipped cream may be prone to do. I recommend using unflavored gelatin, which, as the name indicates, doesn’t taste like anything so that the natural flavors of the cream, sugar, and vanilla extract can shine through.
- Powdered sugar. Those of you who don’t like sugary frostings will be thrilled to hear that there is only ½ cup of sugar in the whole recipe! (Compare that to classic buttercream frosting, which uses 4 cups or 8x as much sugar for the same amount of icing!). This is just enough sugar to sweeten the stabilized whipped cream and help it hold its thick, fluffy shape.
- Vanilla extract. Added for flavor. Of course I like to use my homemade vanilla extract for best flavor!
- Heavy whipping cream. This is the base of our stabilized whipped cream. It should be as cold as possible (without being frozen) in order to achieve a thick and fluffy frosting. You can use heavy cream, heavy whipping cream, or double cream. “Whipping cream” will work, but since it contains less fat the results aren’t quite as stable as those made with the other creams listed.
This is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why I chose them. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!
How to Make Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
- Add the gelatin to a microwave safe dish and add cold water. Whisk until the gelatin is smoothly combined with the water and set aside. The gelatin is the fussiest part of this whole (otherwise very simple) recipe. Make sure to follow my notes and you shouldn’t have any issue, though!
- In a separate bowl, combine cold heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. For best results, use a chilled metal bowl and chill your beaters, too! The colder everything is the better your results will be. Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer and stop once the cream has begun to thicken, but just before reaching soft peaks.
- By now, your gelatin/water mixture should have solidified. Heat it briefly in the microwave just until it’s re-melted and briefly mix it with a whisk (you don’t want it to be very hot, but the gelatin mixture should be 100% liquid and totally smooth or you could end up with a frosting that stays runny or have lumps in your frosting). This usually only takes 5-10 seconds in the microwave. Turn your electric mixer to low-speed and, while beating the cream mixture, slowly whisk in the gelatin.
- Gradually increase the speed on your electric mixer until your whipped cream is fluffy with stiff peaks. It should look like Cool Whip, thick and fluffy!
It may seem counter-intuitive at first to liquify the gelatin and allow it to set up only to re-liquify it again by melting, but it’s important! This is a process known as “blooming” the gelatin, which ensures that the end result is not only smooth (rather than grainy or lumpy) but also that it stabilizes properly.
SAM’S TIP: While the cream must be beaten very well, it is possible to over-beat your cream, leaving you with a rough, curdled-looking mess. If you accidentally overdo it, don’t panic, you might still be able to salvage things! Simply add 1-2 Tablespoons of heavy cream and mix until you’ve reached the proper consistency.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several reasons this can happen. Most likely, you simply need to keep beating the mixture, it can take some time and requires patience! However, if your gelatin was very, very hot when you added it to the cream, if the cream was not cold enough, or if you are in a very warm kitchen, your cream may not thicken as it should. Set yourself up for success and make sure you follow the steps for blooming the gelatin and use cold cream and a cold bowl (and beaters, too!).
This frosting lasts up to 4-5 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge in an airtight container. While it does well at room temperature due to the gelatin, it’s still a dairy-based frosting and so is not ideal for high heat for long periods of time (such as outdoor parties in the summer!). I recommend keeping it chilled. At room temperature (below 75F/24C) I wouldn’t leave it out for more than an hour or two.
There are many different methods for making whipped cream frosting, but personally I found that this method yielded the most stable results with the most authentic whipped cream taste.
I tried many methods including using more powdered sugar (made the frosting too sweet and did not last as long as this version with gelatin), using a food processor (didn’t hold its shape long enough and still melted), adding cream cheese (tasty, but changed the taste far too much) and using powdered milk (this worked fairly well, but did not hold its shape as long and modified the taste a bit). Ultimately I recommend sticking with the method written in my recipe below.
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Let’s bake together! Make sure to check out the how-to VIDEO in the recipe card!
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (this is usually sold near the Jell-O in the grocery store)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons cold water
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream cold
- ½ cup (65 g) powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sprinkle gelatin into a microwave safe measuring cup or other small microwave-safe dish (preferably one with a spout to make it easy to pour later on).1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- Add water and whisk gelatin and water together until all gelatin has been absorbed. Set mixture aside to sit for 5 minutes.1 ½ Tablespoons cold water
- While gelatin is sitting, combine heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in a large bowl (preferably a chilled metal bowl). Use an electric mixer to beat until the mixture is thickened, but stop shy of reaching soft peaks.1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, ½ cup (65 g) powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- At this point, check your gelatin. It should have solidified at this point. If so, pop it in the microwave just until the mixture has re-liquified. This usually takes me 5-10 seconds. The mixture should be liquid, but should not be very hot. Use a whisk to briefly stir the contents together to make sure they are smooth.
- With electric mixer on low speed, drizzle liquid gelatin into the cream. Slowly increase speed to medium/high then continue to beat until you have reached stiff, fluffy peaks.
- Immediately pipe or ice cake or cupcakes as desired, or use as desired in place of store-bought whipped cream!
StoringI recommend using the frosting for decorating immediately after preparing for best results, but alternatively you may store in an airtight container in the fridge for several days before using as desired. Stabilized whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days. This recipe may also be frozen once it is piped onto your dessert.
Make it chocolateAdd 3-4 Tablespoons of cocoa powder in with the sugar for a chocolate stabilized whipped cream. If your cocoa is lumpy, make sure to sift before adding.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.