Call me a nerd, but I’ve started a spreadsheet amongst my friends. (Well, I should point out that it’s one of many shared spreadsheets that we have. We dig anything to do with organization and presentations.) The most recent one? What We Eat (and Don’t Eat).
I don’t know about you all, but I feel like I can hardly keep track of everyone’s dietary restrictions, food allergies, and general food preferences as of late. I have friends who are vegan, friends who are vegetarian, friends who are pescetarian, one friend who is a chicken-a-tarian, and many friends who adore a good steak. I have friends who are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, shellfish-free, and a host of other food allergies or intolerances. I have friends who just flat-out don’t like certain foods (most of which I love) like mushrooms or shrimp, and one friend who will not come within 10 feet of a dish with onions.
Not to mention all of the foods that are my friends’ favorites! One of my favorite things EVER is being able to whip up someone’s favorite dessert for a birthday, or bring over their favorite soup when they are sick, or the perfect comfort food they crave during a busy work week.
But alas, my memory fails me. So spreadsheet time it is. :)
That said, one of the little dairy-free trends that has been oh-so-trendy has also become a staple in my kitchen when making dessert for large gatherings of people — coconut whipped cream. Vegans love it, dairy-free friends love it, and normal-whipped-cream-eating friends also love it. But I realize I’ve never posted about it on here before, so I thought I would add to the myriad of coconut loving posts online right now and share a quick tutorial for those who want to learn how to make it.
Now I will be the first to admit that coconut whipped cream — or whipped coconut cream, whatever you want to call it — is definitely an alternative to traditional whipped cream. But it does not taste or function exactly like traditional whipped cream.
I find that it has a slightly coconut-y taste. And it doesn’t always form stiff peaks quite as well as traditional whipped cream can.
BUT, it still tastes sweet and creamy and vanilla-y. And it will definitely fluff up enough to meet most of your traditional whipped cream needs.
The key, as many a food blogger before me has pointed out, is starting with the right kind of coconut cream. There are two ways to go. You can either buy coconut milk, or many brands (like Trader Joe’s) are now starting to carry pure coconut cream. Here’s what you need to know either way:
Full fat: If you buy coconut milk, it must be full-fat for coconut whipped cream to work. And we’re talking cans of coconut milk here, not the large carton of thin coconut milk that’s in the dairy section next to the almond milk. Absolutely do not try any kind of “lite” coconut milk, and avoid brands with guar gum listed as an ingredient.
Refrigerate overnight: No shortcuts here (that I’ve found). If you want fluffy coconut whipped cream, you must refrigerate your can of coconut milk for at least 18-24 hours before using it.
How To Separate Out The Cream: Once your can has been refrigerated for a day, remove it from the fridge and immediately open the can. The thick/solid coconut cream should have separated to the top, while the coconut water is on the bottom. Use a spoon and scoop out the coconut cream, and then use your coconut water for a different recipe (I usually toss mine in a smoothie). The coconut cream is what you will use to make the whipped cream.
Recommended brands: Some brands of coconut milk whip up better than others. What you definitely want is a brand that fully separates the cream from the milk. These include (but are not limited to): Whole Foods, Native Forest, Thai Kitchen (which is sometimes inconsistent), Natural Value.
Thankfully, cans of this are becoming more widely available. Because a can of coconut cream is basically an entire can of the thick/solid cream already separated out for you. No need to separate out the coconut water. But you do still need to refrigerate the cream overnight for optimal whipping and fluffiness. I like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods brands.
Note, though, that the cans of coconut cream are usually equivalent to the cream from two cans of coconut milk. So in the recipe below, you would need to double the sweetener and vanilla.
A Very Important Thing To Keep In Mind
Unfortunately, in the world of coconut milk and cream, brands have proven to be less than consistent. Different brands can yield totally different results when making coconut whipped cream. Even different cans of the exact same brand sometimes perform differently — some succeeding, while others unexpectedly flopping. I wish that things were more consistent. But some brands have changed recipes over the years, and for a handful of variables, it seems that sometimes cans will just randomly flop. Don’t let this deter you from trying your own coconut whipped cream! But just be advised that if it doesn’t work once, it may not be you — it may be the brand, or something that went wrong with a batch.
One other quick tip. Before you begin making your coconut cream, pop your metal or glass mixing bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill it. You basically want to keep your coconut cream as cold as possible, and this will help. If you are using a plastic or other kind of bowl, don’t worry, this step isn’t a deal breaker. But it will help.
When you’re ready, scoop the coconut cream into your chilled mixing bowl. Then use the whisk attachment to whip it on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy.
Add in your desired sweetener (I prefer powdered/confectioner’s sugar, but you could also use granulated sugar or even honey). And I also like to add in a little splash of vanilla extract too. If you are serving this to people who are wary of the coconut flavor, the extra vanilla will definitely help.
Then whip those ingredients in until blended.
And serve it up!!!
Coconut whipped cream is definitely best served right away. But you can also just pop it back in the refrigerator (in a sealed container) if you’re not going to use it immediately, and it will hold well. If it gets too firm in the fridge after a few hours, you can re-whip it until it reaches the desired consistency.
And that’s all! If you have other tips to share on making coconut whipped cream — either techniques or brands that you love/hate — be sure to share. Otherwise, I hope this was helpful. And cheers to making desserts and dishes that all of our friends can enjoy!
Learn how to make coconut whipped cream with this simple tutorial.
1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours
1–3 tablespoons powdered sugar (add to taste, also see other sweetener options below)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
First, place your mixing bowl and beater in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to chill.
When you are ready to make the coconut whipped cream, remove the mixing bowl from the freezer. Then carefully remove the can of coconut milk from the refrigerator without shaking or tipping it. Remove the top of the can, then use a spoon to carefully spoon out the thick layer of coconut cream that should have separated to the top of the can, and transfer it to your chilled mixing bowl. (You will not use the layer of coconut water that has settled to the bottom of the can.)
Using a whisk attachment, beat the coconut cream on medium speed for 2-4 minutes, or until the cream becomes light and fluffy and small peaks form. Add in your sugar (or other sweetener) and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.
Serve the coconut whipped cream immediately, or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate until ready to use. If the whipped cream becomes too firm in the refrigerator, you can re-whip it to reach the desired consistency.
*The level of sweetness in this recipe is totally up to you, and different brands of coconut milk have varying levels of sweetness, so I recommend adding sweetener to taste. I prefer to use powdered sugar, but you can also use granulated sugar, honey, agave or other sweeteners. The texture of different sweeteners may affect the consistency of the coconut whipped cream.
Different brands of coconut milk perform differently in this recipe. And even different cans of the SAME brand of coconut milk have been known to perform differently. I wish things were more reliable, but brands have changed their recipes over the years, and batches are not always consistent. So just keep in mind that worked once may not always work again.
Great tutorial! Now I wish I had a spoonful of that stuff for my oatmeal this morning. :)
Coconut whipped cream looks so creamy and delish. I’ll be trying this out sooner than later!
I see this everywhere and can’t wait to try it out as I’m obsessed with anything coconut and bet it would taste great with a fruit platter of bananas and berries mmm!
Looks delicious! This, by the way, is one of those foods my dad won’t go near. Fortunately he’s not picky about much else :)
I’m with you I totally need a spreadsheet for all the dietary restrictions, likes, and dislikes! Coconut cream is such a wonderful dairy free alternative to whipped cream. I love your step by step tutorial and your pictures are flawless as always!
A spreadsheet is a great idea! I have seen this recipe before, but this is a great reminder for me to try it. It sounds like a great alternative to dairy. Thanks for the recipe & the great pics!
Cant wait to try this! Ive been dairy intolerant for years and have never found anything similar to whipped cream so this will be great fun x
I love this, Ali! My 7 year old Cole would be dipping strawberries in this nonstop. So great!
You are so right about Thai Kitchen coconut milk having different consistencies. I tend to stand in the aisle at the grocery store shaking all of the cans to make sure I hear some solidity before I will bring it home. Even then I have had some completely liquify by the time I get home and not even refrigerating it will help. It is so frustrating!
Oooh this looks so beautiful, awesome photos!
I make my own coconut milk…I’m guessing that probably wouldn’t work for whipped cream? Its thin like regular milk…I make almond milk too, just can’t wrap my head around milk having any kind of thickness to it..lol!
Think of it like the difference between heavy whipping cream and skim or 2% milk! :-)
I am a lover of ALL spreadsheets, so I guess that makes me a nerd too, but I’ve never thought to use a shared one among friends! What great idea!
Almost as great as this coconut whipped cream! Such a smart alternative
OMG! Aren’t spreadhseets a life saver! They help keep me sane throughout the day! haha! This coconut whipped cream looks SO LUSH! Yum! I’m toooo scared to make an attempt at making it but after seeing these beautiful photos, my brain is screaming -“I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE” Loveeeeee that dollop sitting pretty on those brownies! <3
Have you tried whipping this by hand? I don’t have a mixer but can make “normal” whipped cream by hand – wasn’t sure if you thought it would work with coconut cream instead or if it won’t come together as nicely without the extra power.
I have a can of coconut milk in the pantry – it’s going into the fridge before I leave for work! Fantastic!
Perhaps adding gelatin as a stabilizer would allow the whipped cream to hold up longer……
There are a couple GREAT thickeners that do not require heating as gelatin does that King Arthur Flour sells on their site and in their Vermont store: Clearjel and Signature Secrets. I would probably use Clearjel, as it thickens beautifully without heat and has no discernible taste when added to food. It is great! I would combine it with the powdered sugar first to prevent clumping. Follow recommendations on jar for amount. Might need to experiment to find right amount. Good luck!
I came across this coconut whipped cream on Pinterest, I was hoping it would be an easy recipe, and it sure is! Looking forward to making it ;-)
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was FINALLY able to make amazing whip coconut cream thanks to your post. The tip about the guar gum ingredient was something I did not know.
It actually kind of makes me happy that each can is different – every coconut is different and it’s nice to know that they’re using the real legit thing to bring us what we need since we don’t have coconut trees around here.
Thanks for the recipe! My sister’s kids can’t have any dairy, so I’ll be using this as pie day approaches!
I will be trying this soon. I’ve noticed that with the Thai Kitchen full fat coconut milk, the Organic (unsweetened) version has nice thick cream right out of the pantry. The regular (unsweetened) version is hit and miss.
I just made this for the second time with Trader Joe’s coconut cream and it turned out great both times. The first time I used organic granulated sugar and this time I went with agave. I like the agave sweetened cream better. I’m dipping fresh pineapple and strawberries in it and it rocks!! Thanks for the recipe.
Thanks for giving it a try Julie, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Can this be used as a frosting? I am making a gluten free, dairy free, egg free cake, whipped cream as icing would be perfect with flakes of coconut on top.
Hey Donna, that idea sounds lovely! I think you could definitely use this in place of a frosting. However, I would try to make it and top it as close to serving as possible, since any kind of whipped cream typically starts to deflate after a few hours. You could also add a pinch of cream of tartar to help it hold up better. Hope that helps and that it works out for you! : )
Hi. When you say “the cans of coconut cream are usually equivalent to the cream from two cans of coconut milk,” you did not specify what size can of coconut cream. For instance, do you mean the 14 ounce Trader Joe Coconut Cream or the 5.4 ounce Native Forest Organic Coconut Cream? There is, obviously, a huge difference.
I love coconut cream! I discovered this amazing stuff that is organic https://www.tiana-coconut.com/products/coconut-superfoods/raw-coconut-goodness/ pure coconut flesh in a jar and I just add warm water to make coconut cream. 1 minute and it’s done! I was really impressed by the taste and the fact that is natural with nothing added and now I keep always a couple of jars in my kitchen. It’s like having real coconuts in your kitchen :) I also use it to make coconut milk when I don’t have time for shopping.
That’s awesome, Jessica, thanks for sharing!
i opened a chilled can of GoldenStar coconut milk and it was all solid cream- no water at all like I’ve seen with the Thai brand. Guess I got lucky?
Oooh, that’s so special and rare when that happens! Totally lucky. : D
Does coconut cream double the way heavy cream does when whipped? Trying to establish quantities
Hey Lou, it definitely does increase in volume, but it doesn’t double. We hope this helps!
I went to this health food/vitamin store, now out of business – that had coconut cream in a waxed paper carton, much like a juice box. It was quite thick but it was a creamy thick, like really thick custard. Not what I’m seeing in the photos above. I used it to make tapioca pudding, and with some home made cashew milk, I could fool the most die hard animal food eater. Unfortunately, I never wrote down the recipe and I can’t remember the brand of coconut cream. Seems like the top half of the box was a sort of yellow and the bottom was blue. Any help locating this would be most appreciated. email@example.com
OMG! I just made this and am literally crying it is so good! I have been looking for a solid coconut whipped cream recipe for a while and this one definitely takes the cake! Thank you so much for creating this and posting it, my tastebuds are eternally grateful.
PS. I love spreadsheets, thats such a good idea for friends dietary restrictions!
Awww you are so sweet!! We’re thrilled that you enjoyed this! :D
I have made this several times already and love it! Doubled the recipe and made a whipped cream topping that went very well with my favorite key lime pie recipe. Also for fun, I mixed the coconut cream with a packet of Land O’ Lakes mint chocolate hot chocolate mix, I may have added a tad more sweetener to taste, but it was divine, it tasted like a Thin Mint Cookie and was excellent on top of the chocolate coconut ice cream that I buy at Trader Joe’s.
Thanks for sharing Joy — we’re so so glad you enjoy the recipe, and wow, we bet that chocolate-minty flavor is amazing — YUM! :)
Dying to make this, but we can’t get cans of coconut cream in Indonesia – only UHT cartons where there cream doesn’t solidify in the fridge.
Can this still be made?
Hi Melissa! Hmmm, we don’t think that would work, but you could try it?
Ho Melissa, I live in Singapore. My friend in Malaysia does this: She gets freshly grated coconut, squeeze the milk, puts it in the fridge overnight. The next morning, the cream floats to the top. Maybe you can try this?
I used this a base for a pseudo Dole Whip. Oh man, so good! Next time I’ll buy a can of cream instead of milk so that I can yield more.
For those interested, I blended some pineapple the night before and left it to chill overnight in my fridge. After whipping the coconut cream, sugar, and vanilla together, I spooned about two tablespoons of my pineapple purée into a small bowl. I then folded in the coconut cream a bit at a time until combined. I then put it in my freezer to give it a thicker texture, like soft-serve, for about thirty minutes. Great substitute! :D
Thanks for sharing, Mary — we’re so glad you enjoy it!
Can I mix by hand? I don’t have an electric whisk/beater.
Im making this for the 1st x tonite. But have made homemade whipped cream (heavy cream and a Lil powdered XXX sugar) umpteen million x in my life and always done w fork…. Will try this way here too… Least likely it’ll ‘break’ also…. We shall see!!
I had a can of coconut cream in my pantry from Trader Joe’s. I refrigerated it overnight and when I opened the can, it was rock hard. Was I supposed to shake the can before I used it?
Same, so I am giving it only two stars just for the directions. I am now following the cream on the stove. I can’t even try to get a spoon into it.
Can I make e coconut cream into a mousse? Will the texture be smooth n creamy like the normal mousse?
Just bought a whipped cream siphon. How to use you recipes in it?
Thank you for the info. It helped so much xxx
Worked great!! Good tip about keeping the bowl cold before hand. I actually subbed out vanilla extract for rum :D and it was soooo good! For anyone else out there looking for a boozy twist :) I used Thai Kitchen, and have also had mixed results with it, but refrigerating for at least a day makes all the difference. Thanks for the great recipe!
Love this recipe! I used Whole Foods’ 365 Coconut Cream can. Put it in the freezer for 30-45 min while I was baking pie, then put it in the fridge until I was ready to make the whipped cream. Amazing! I whipped the coconut cream with my electric hand mixer for about 5 minutes & used 1 packet of Whole Earth Stevia & Monkfruit blend to sweeten and it was delicious.
Question on using coconut cream-what size can are you saying is twice the cream of a can of coconut milk? I have 5.5 oz cans…but noticed some cream comes in larger cans.
Nice thick cream came out of can started to whip and it separated right away and didn’t come back together. Not reliable. Won’t try that again
For making whipped coconut cream, the one product I have found that has never failed to come out perfect is Savoy coconut cream. I have found it at several Asian/Vietnamese markets. About $1.79 for a 4oz can. Just 2 ingredients, 70% coconut extract and water. You will not be disappointed with this product.
Sorry that was a 14oz can.
Yum!!! SO much better than the store bought coconut whip cream. Perfect on chocolate chia pudding. I’m so glad to have come across this recipe. My sweet tooth is smiling! :) Thank you!
Love this recipe! It’s almost addicting! I have added a teaspoon or two of cacao powder for a light chocolatey flavor. Yum!