I still remember whipping up my first batch of this easy dairy-free whipped cream way back in 2005. We’ve loved it on pies, cakes, pancakes, and other treats. And since that time, I’ve tweaked my recipe, discovered some helpful fixes, and shared two different versions in my books.
The Quick Vanilla-Coconut Whip in Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook is a simple, no frills recipe that results in the picture you see in this post! Eat Dairy Free is a straight-forward, everyday, full color cookbook that offers over 100 new meal, snack, and dessert recipes.
The Cool Whipped Coconut Cream in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook 2nd Edition is a slightly different version with ranges and lots of tips. Go Dairy Free is more than recipes (over 250 of them!) – it’s a full guide that helps you to expand your knowledge of dairy-free living, so many more tidbits are included.
In this post, I’ve combined the formula and knowledge of both of those recipes to give you a taste of both books! To note, there are only two “crossover” recipes in these books – dairy-free whipped cream and instant milk beverage. I don’t believe in repeating recipes within books, but these are essentials that were useful in both. And even these recipes are slightly different in each book.
Cool Coconut Whip Tips for Foolproof Results
Dairy-free whipped cream really is easy, but it can flop for a few reasons. These tips from Go Dairy Free will help ensure perfect fluffy whip every time!
Getting the Right Ingredients
What you see is what you get. Unlike dairy whipping cream, coconut cream doesn’t thicken and become voluminous as it’s whipped. So it’s essential that you are using a very thick coconut cream. Do not attempt to start this recipe with coconut milk beverage (the drinkable “milk” in big cartons) or a runny coconut milk. See my Guide to Coconut Milk for helpful pictures.
Give the can a shake before purchasing. To ensure a thick whip, I usually pick up every brand of coconut milk and coconut cream in the store and give the can a shake. If it’s filled with coconut cream, you won’t hear much liquid at all. If it sounds like pure liquid, it could set up when chilled, but you might be risking watered down coconut milk that won’t whip. And sometimes the coconut cream cans are thinner than the coconut milk!
Unfortunately, bad coconut milk exists. I have to add this note because there have been some dreadful batches of coconut milk in circulation lately. I’m guessing that they have way too much guar gum (or other stabilizer/binder in them), because they clump up when you try to blend them. It looks pretty out of the can, but then becomes a mess. If this happens to you, it’s a manufacturing issue. Contact the company or where you purchased it from and request a refund for all cans purchased from them and report the problem.
I buy two cans at a time. Just in case one can doesn’t produce enough solid coconut cream, I keep a back up can on hand. If you still end up without enough coconut cream, you can simply reduce the recipe batch. It’s very forgiving!
Optional Thickeners & Stabilizers to Consider
There is a secret instant whip thickener and stabilizer. For a whip that sets better and has more staying power at room temperature, modified starch works miracles (this does not mean genetically modified). It’s the magic ingredient in instant pudding. Use up to 1 1/2 teaspoons modified starch in this recipe. You can start with just 1/4 teaspoon and add more as needed. Dr. Oetker’s Whip It works great, and is very affordable. But other brands should work well too. The ingredient label should read “modified cornstarch” or “modified tapioca starch.” The product is sometimes called Clear Jel or Expandex.
Milky powders can also help thicken. Adding 1/4 cup dairy-free milk powder or powdered cashews to this recipe will help thicken it further, but it won’t be as fluffy and will slightly influence the consistency and taste. Soymilk powder works best, but coconut milk powder makes this a true coconut-flavored whip. These will thicken a little more when as they refrigerate.
You won’t always need a thickener. The picture shown is a batch without thickener, and I often skip it. It’s just helpful when your dairy-free whipped cream is simply too soft, or you need a whip that will hold up better at room temperature or as frosting.
More Recipe Tips for this Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
Sometimes less is more. Using a minimum amount of powdered sugar will result in a thicker whip. If you add too much sugar, it can thin into a glaze.
I like ice baths. For my whip that is! If you don’t have time to chill the bowl and beaters or you keep your home a little warm, just place the mixing bowl in a large bowl that contains part water and part ice. This helps keep the bowl and coconut cream cool, even if you haven’t planned ahead or aren’t working quickly.
There’s no need for waste. When removing the thick coconut cream from coconut milk, you may be left with a thin liquid. Rather than pouring it out, use it as you would coconut water in smoothies or other recipes.
Special Diet Notes: Easy Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and top food allergy-friendly.
- 1 (14-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk or coconut cream (see Cool Coconut Whip Tips in post above)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, or to taste (no more than 3 tablespoons)
- ½ to 1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla flavoring or extract, to taste
- Thickener, if needed (optional; see Cool Coconut Whip Tips in post above)
- Chill a small mixing bowl and beaters or a whisk in the freezer for 30 minutes or more.
- Do not shake the coconut milk or cream. Open it, and if there isn’t a thick, spoonable cream, cover and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.
- Scoop ¾ cup of the solid coconut cream from the top of the can and put it in the chilled small mixing bowl. Whisk or beat the coconut cream with your hand mixer (with chilled beaters) until it is smooth and slightly fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Sift in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and whisk or beat with a hand mixer on low speed to incorporate the ingredients.
- If your coconut cream was too soft, or you need a thicker whip, you can add a thickener and whisk or beat until combined.
- Cover and refrigerate the coconut whip for up to 3 days. It will thicken a little more as it chills.