Skip the Dairy
For those of us needing or wanting to avoid dairy heavy cream, coconut cream is a Godsend. Whipped coconut cream is as creamy as dairy whipped cream. Since it tends to be sweeter, you may not feel it needs much sweetener at all. Flavor the cream as usual with a bit of vanilla, almond extract, a 1/2 teaspoon of instant coffee, or any other flavors you like.
There are two ways to get coconut cream besides actually processing a fresh coconut, which I have never tried. One is to get a can of coconut milk and allow it to rest in the refrigerator overnight. The cream will separate, turn the can over, open and pour off the coconut milk. (Use the milk for smoothies, soups, etc.) Secondly, you can find cans of all, or almost all, coconut cream.
Coconut Milk vs. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream does not whip up with as much volume as dairy cream, so you need to take that into account when deciding how much cream to start with. Especially if you are using a can of coconut milk instead of coconut cream because it has less cream to work with. Depending on the brand of coconut milk, a 13.5 or 14-ounce can yields somewhere between 160 to 200 grams of cream, or a scant cup. This amount of coconut cream whips up to approximately one cup. If you are using a can of coconut cream, there will still be a little milk in the bottom. Your final whipped cream amount will be about 1 1/2 cups.
Note of caution: cans of coconut nut milk vary wildly in the amount of cream they have (even from can to can). It is important to look for coconut milk with the highest fat content. Native Forest, for example, has 15g of fat per serving. Also, look for brands that are known to whip up well.
I have had good luck with both Trader Joe’s coconut milk and their coconut cream. Other brands that work well are Native Forest coconut milk and cream, Savoy coconut cream, Aroy-D coconut milk, and Whole Foods 365 full-fat coconut milk. I know some people have not been happy with the whipped cream from Trader’s Joe’s coconut milk and cream. But I have made good whipped cream with both of their products.
One good use of this creamy topper is my vegan chocolate pudding.
See the Notes below before you cook.
Easy Coconut Whipped Cream
- 1 14-ounce can full fat coconut milk ~ Or coconut cream. See best brands below.
- powdered sugar ~ To taste. Coconut cream is naturally sweet.
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla ~ Optional; to taste, or other flavorings
- Gather your ingredients.
- Refrigerate a can of coconut milk or cream overnight. When you are ready to whip the cream, take it out of the refrigerator and turn the can upside down. Open it and pour off the coconut milk. You should have approximately 1 cup of coconut cream, but this amount will vary from brand to brand.
- Using a hand beater or a stand mixer and whip the coconut cream on medium for a minute until it is smooth. Then increase the speed to medium-high, whipping the cream until fluffy and smooth. If the cream you are using is too thick, add a little of the coconut milk until you get the texture you are looking for.
- Add any sweetener or flavoring you prefer and whip the cream just until combined. If any milk separates from the cream, simply drain it off.
- Keep the whipped cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Let the coconut cream come to room temperature before using, because it becomes quite firm. Re-whip the cream as needed. The whipped coconut cream will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to a month.
- Look for coconut milk with the highest fat content. The brands known to work well are Native Forest, Trader Joe’s milk or cream, Savoy coconut cream, Whole Food’s 365 full-fat coconut milk, and Aroy-D coconut milk.
- Whether you are using coconut milk or cream, in order to successfully whip the cream it must be cold. Ideally your bowl is cold as well.
- It is best to avoid coconut milk that is sold in cartons or tetra packs because they normally contain stablizers. Also, coconut milk that has gums, like guar gum, are formulated to emulsify the milk and cream, which is working against what you are trying to do. Having said that, I have had luck with Native Forest organic coconut milk “classic,” which does have guar gum.
- if your kitchen is warm, an hour ahead of the time you are planning to whip the coconut milk, place the mixing bowl in the freezer. Or, if you are like me and have no room in the freezer, chill in the refrigerator.
- If you sweeten coconut whipped cream with Stevia or another sugar substitute, you will not only have a dairy-free, keto, vegan, and paleo recipe, but a sugar-free one as well.