Periodically, I highlight a popular reader question or FAQ here on Go Dairy Free. I was emailed the following inquiry, and you can read on for my detailed response …
Q: Wendy – T'is the season for whipped cream. Do you know of a good recipe for vegan whipped cream?
A: Alisa – Wendy is right, holiday desserts aren’t quite the same without a creamy topping, but even those non-dairy whipped toppings actually contain milk-based ingredients (see my post on how “non-dairy doesn’t always mean dairy-free” for more information). While I’m still working away on creating the perfect Cool Whip substitute, there are some darn good products and recipes that are already available (and yes, that picture at left is vegan whipped cream – read on!) …
A few brands have come and gone from the market in years past, but Soyatoo seems to have some staying power. They offer Soyatoo! Whip Topping in one of those cool whipping crème spray cans for easy pie topping. Soyatoo comes in soy-based AND rice-based (soy-free) varieties. The also offer Soyatoo! Topping Cream (soy-based), which comes in a carton and is one that you whip yourself. For more information on this brand, visit their website at www.soyatoo.com.
Next on the list is Rich’s, an old-school kosher brand that has actually been around for many decades. Speaking about Rich’s products can be a bit confusing for the dairy-free community as they offer tub-based whipped toppings (like Cool Whip) that are not dairy-free. However, RichWhip Non-Dairy Whip Topping, which comes in a carton, is their dairy-free version. RichWhip doesn’t come pre-whipped, you have to muscle it yourself, like you would whip dairy cream. If you are seeking a “whole food” option, I would pass on RichWhip. This brand does have many great allergen-free characteristics, but the ingredients are highly processed foods. For more information on this brand, visit their website at www.richwhip.com
Increasing demand for soy-free and all-natural dairy alternatives has led to the rise of MimicCreme. They have several nut-based cream alternatives, including their Healthy Top Whipping Cream. Again, this is one that you whip yourself, but I’ve heard positive feedback on it thus far. Healthy Top still has some additives to make it stable, but the base is coconut oil, almond oil (no hydrogenated oils), almonds, cashews, and vegan sugar. For more information on this brand, visit their website at www.mimiccreme.com.
As mentioned, I still have a more refined recipe in the works, but for now, there are some really delicious recipes that offer the creamy, cool topping that many of us are craving. Keep in mind that these are not Cool Whip copycats, but delicious, rich, creamy, healthier, and perfect for topping those pies …
This is my personal favorite, and definitely the easiest of the bunch. I have two variations of this recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook (on page 253). It is so rich, so creamy, and so simple that you won’t believe it (see below for a picture of what the end result looks like). Like dairy cream, coconut cream creates a lot of saturated fat. Saturated fat, unlike the unsaturated fats in most oils, solidifies as it cools and allows cream to thicken and whip. In other words, coconut cream acts very much like dairy cream, but it has a slight coconut taste. Most people either don’t mind or love the coconut flavor (which can be mellowed with vanilla extract or even chocolate!), but the coconut averse may want to consider some of the other options that I will discuss.
To understand coconut cream and how to get it, see my Mint Truffles post. I include a picture and explanation of coconut cream in the recipe. Don’t worry, this isn’t an exotic ingredient. Coconut cream comes from plain old coconut milk, which you can find in almost every grocery store (in the Asian section).
Here are some vegan whipped cream recipes using coconut cream:
Sweet Whipped Coconut Cream – Used for parfaits or to top shortcakes, but great over any pie or cake that isn’t overly sweet.
Thickened Coconut Whipped Cream - This recipe uses the addition of soymilk powder (you can use rice milk powder for soy-free) to create a thicker, ore stable whip.
Ricki’s Vegan Whipped Cream – This is a more elaborate version of whipped coconut cream, requiring a specialty ingredient and a couple extra steps, but the dreamy results can be worth it. This is the whipped cream that is pictured above. Photo taken by Ricki herself.
Nut creams or crèmes don’t typically have that light and fluffy texture, but they can be very rich, creamy, and delicious.
Here are some vegan whipped cream recipes using nuts:
Cashew Whipped Cream – This amazing-looking cream is from Chef Tal Ronnen. Yes, the vegan chef that Oprah made famous … to it has to be good!
Almond Cream – A Go Dairy Free reader took ordinary nut cream a step further by adding a thickener and stabilizer. He uses almonds rather than cashews. Almonds are a firmer nut, so this recipe may benefit from soaking the nuts overnight first.
Before home cooks and chefs began experimenting with nuts and coconuts for creamy textures, there was tofu. Many still adore tofu and other soy-based products for their ability to offer a creamy texture, a relatively neutral flavor (no nutty or coconutty vibes), and in some cases, a low fat option that is higher in protein. Of course, some of the soy-based whipped cream recipes aren’t low in fat, or even healthy, but they are definitely decadent. You can see examples of both types in the recipes below.
Here are some vegan whipped cream recipes using soy-based ingredients:
Mom’s Mock Whip Cream – This recipe was shared by a milk allergy mom. Her family loves this frosting-like whip. It’s definitely an indulgence, but isn’t that what the holidays are for?
Veg-Whipped Cream – This recipe uses the most basic of ingredients, and can technically be made soy-free, but it is the most finicky of the bunch. Once you master the technique, it works well, but not everyone has success right out of the shoot. Consider yourself warned!
Light Tofu Whipped Cream – Even today, after all of the many dairy alternative inventions, we can’t talk about subs without mentioning tofu. This low fat topping is still an old standby for many.
For more helpful posts on this topic, see the Go Dairy Free Holidays & Entertaining Guide.
For additional holiday and everyday recipes from my kitchen, see Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook.
For information on store-bought, dairy-free alternatives and products, see the No Dairy Product Lists.
Alisa Fleming is the founder of GoDairyFree.org and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. In addition to her own dairy-free lifestyle, Alisa has experience in catering to the needs of various special diets, including gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan, and multiple food allergies.