Q: Wendy – T’is the season for whipped cream. Is there any dairy-free whipped topping that I can buy at the store or 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 homemade Cool Whip substitute, there are some darn good products and recipes for dairy-free and vegan whipped cream that are already available …
Vegan Whipped Cream Packaged Product Options:
A few brands have come and gone from the market in years past, but I think CocoWhip is here to stay. Available in Original and Lite, it’s the closest dairy-free thing you will find to that Cool Whip tub and works amazing as a topping or in recipes.
When a convenient spray topping is in order, Soyatoo and soy-free Rice Whip (both by the same German company) are popular options that have been available for quite some time. The cool vegan whipped cream shoots right from the dispenser for easy pie topping. The company has also offered a whippable boxed Soy Whip, but that may be discontinued. In general, Soyatoo is sold in some stores, but can be tricky to find! I’ve linked up to Amazon, but shops like Vegan Essentials and The Vegan Store sell them online, too.
For a “whip up your own” dairy-free option, try Rich Whip Ready-to-Whip Carton. Rich’s is an old-school kosher brand that has actually been around for many decades, but not all of their products are dairy-free. Like so many other non-dairy toppings, Rich’s Pre-Whipped Bowl Toppings do contain casein (milk protein) and should be avoided by dairy-free and vegan consumers (see the images below). Fortunately, since the products are produced and packaged differently, the Ready-to-Whip Cartons are not only a good vegan whipped cream option, they’re also certified kosher OU parve. However, the ingredients in Rich Whip Ready-to-Whip Cartons leave a little to be desired (high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, stablizers and preservatives).
Homemade Vegan Whipped Cream and Recipes:
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 …
Whipped Coconut Cream
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. 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 completely coconut averse may want to consider some of the other vegan whipped cream recipe 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 canned coconut milk (NOT coconut milk beverage), which you can find in almost every grocery store (in the Asian section). Here are some vegan whipped cream recipes using coconut cream:
- Creamy Berry Whipped Topping – This is a variation on one of the Whipped Coconut Cream recipes in Go Dairy Free.
- Sweet Whipped Coconut Cream – Used for parfaits or to top shortcakes, but great over any pie or cake that isn’t overly sweet.
- Vanilla Whip – This recipe within a recipe is my go-to recipe. I adjust the powdered up or down depending on needs and tastes at the time.
- 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.
Whipped Nut Crème
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.
Whipped Soy Crème
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.
PIN this Dairy-Free & Vegan Whipped Cream Resource for Later!
More Delicious Resources
For delicious ways to use vegan whipped cream, see our Dairy-Free Holiday Pie Round-up.
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 Our Product Reviews.
Meet the Expert: 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, and is Editor for the international publication, Allergic Living Magazine.