Whipped Cream vs. Whipping Cream vs. Heavy Cream: What’s the Difference?

Are whipped cream and whipping cream the same thing? How does heavy cream differ? Here’s how to differentiate among heavy, whipping, and whipped cream.

Published Apr. 15, 2022.

Whipped cream is convenient to buy at the store, but it’s also supereasy to make at home. Plus, you’ll notice the difference in flavor. But when you’re at the store, ignoring that can of the premade stuff, where do you start?

Whipped Cream vs. Whipping Cream

Whipped cream and whipping cream are the same thing, just before and after whipping. When it comes to making whipped cream, you’ll need regular whipping cream or heavy whipping cream. Whipped cream is the finished topping that we all know and love. 

Whipping cream is the base for whipped cream. It has an increased amount of milk fat, which is what contributes to the fluffy texture of whipped cream. 

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Should you use heavy cream or whipping cream to make whipped cream?

It may seem obvious to make whipped cream with whipping cream, but the answer actually isn’t that simple.

Believe it or not, there’s a big distinction between heavy cream (also sometimes called heavy whipping cream) versus regular whipping cream (which can be known as light whipping cream). The distinction is the fat content. And the amount of fat can be the difference between a failed whipped cream and a stable one.

In order for your cream to hold enough air and become properly whipped, it needs to be at least 30 percent milk fat. So the less milk fat there is, the more unstable your whipped cream becomes. Heavy whipping cream contains 36 percent or more milk fat, while regular whipping cream contains 30 to 36 percent. 

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Cook’s Country discovered with their recent recipe for Failproof Sweetened Whipped Cream that heavy whipping cream is the key to a whipped cream that is truly failproof. The heavy cream makes the final product thicker and more luxurious and helps it hold its shape longer. This is ideal if you want to save some for later.

When you use regular whipping cream, it will come together just fine, but you will notice a difference in texture, height, and stability. It will work if you’re eating it right away, but it probably won’t last long in the fridge.

All in all, if you want better whipped cream, skip the canned stuff and skip regular whipping cream. Whether you are making a tangy whipped cream made with sour cream, or a citrus-forward version, heavy whipping cream is key to a perfect whipped cream every time. Especially if you want a dollop that is worthy of an Instagram story.

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