Skip to main content
ATK Kids

Want Make-Ahead Whipped Cream? Use a Strainer.

This Thanksgiving, you can make whipped cream 8 hours in advance with our one simple kitchen tool.
By Published Nov. 23, 2021

Think you can’t make whipped cream ahead of time? Think again. With one unexpected piece of kitchen gear, you can make fluffy whipped cream well before pie time—up to 8 hours in advance. That means no last-minute whipping or whisking, and no need to worry about sad, deflated puddles of cream messing with your perfect pie slices. 

To hack make-ahead whipped cream, you just need one common kitchen tool: a fine-mesh strainer. From there, the process is easy: whip your cream, transfer it to a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl, and stick it in the fridge until dessert.

Why the strainer? After sitting for a few hours, whipped cream starts to weep out liquid and lose the air bubbles that you so meticulously whipped into it, turning it from light and voluminous to runny and flat. By setting the whipped cream over a strainer, any weeping liquid will drain into the bowl below, thus keeping the cream above fluffy and light for up to 8 hours.

With this method, you can hand off whipped-cream duty to kids while you focus on the main course—the perfect way to save time and get kids in the kitchen. The recipe below is one of dozens from The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs, the #1 New York Times best seller from America’s Test Kitchen Kids. In this book, kids can learn how to make everything from snacks to full meals, setting them up for a lifetime of success in the kitchen.

Whipped Cream

Makes about 2 cups whipped cream

  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large bowl, combine heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Use electric mixer on medium-low speed to whip cream for 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until cream is smooth and thick, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and lift beaters out of cream. If cream clings to beaters and makes soft peaks that stand up on their own, you’re done. If not, keep beating and check again in 30 seconds. Don’t overwhip cream. If making ahead, transfer whipped cream to fine-mesh strainer set over bowl and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

To make about 1 cup whipped cream, halve the ingredients and follow the recipe as instructed.


Hey! Did you know ATK Kids has its very own YouTube channel? Subscribe now and watch great, funny, silly, and delicious cooking videos for the whole family.

Check out our new series, the ATK Kids Food Science Explainers.