Coconut whipped cream. It’s a must-have recipe for many vegan desserts and I have used it multiple times on this website (with oatmeal, pancakes, and creme brûlée). Today, I want to go a little deeper into the process of making this super-simple coconut whipped cream and share some ideas on creating vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry varieties.
One of the great things about coconut whipped cream is that it is not coconut flavored. The final product only has a very faint coconut taste that most people won’t even notice. In other words, you can pass this off as regular ‘ol whipped cream and no one will be the wiser 🙂
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- Favorite sweetner to taste
- Flavorings: 1 tablespoon vanilla, a few vegan chocolate chips, or 3 strawberries
Making the Whipped Cream
To make this recipe, you will need a can of full-fat coconut milk – “light” coconut milk won’t work for this recipe. Some brands work better than others and I have had the best results with Thai Kitchen.
When you hear someone mention coconut milk they could be talking about one of three things: 1) the thick liquid made from the pure grating and pressing of a coconut – that’s what we need here, 2) the same as #1 but watered down to be lower in fat – “low fat coconut milk”, or 3) a milk-replacement beverage that is derived from coconuts.
The science behind this whipped cream is incredibly simple. In every can of coconut milk, you have coconut water and coconut fat. If you shake and open the can, the two will be mixed together into a creamy liquid, but if you let the can sit overnight in the refrigerator, the fat rises to the top and solidifies while the water sinks to the bottom.
To make the whipped cream, you want to chill a sealed can in the refrigerator overnight. After at least 8 hours, carefully remove the lid and you should have a solid white block of coconut fat along the top of the can. Scrape this into a cold bowl, taking care to leave the runnier parts behind. You’ll notice in the picture below that most of the solids have been removed and you can see the clear water remaining at the bottom. You can discard the water or save it for smoothies, etc..
Next, with a small whisk or hand mixer (recommended), beat the coconut milk into a firm whipped cream. It will start out fairly runny and become thicker over 3-5 minutes. When the consistency is right, add in a little solid sweetener. Stevia works well and you could also use a small amount of fine-grain sugar. Liquid sweeteners like maple syrup may work, but they will make your final product more runny. Beat again until the sweetener is combined, then add in one of the following flavorings.
For the Vanilla
To make a vanilla whipped cream, simply add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat until combined.
For the Chocolate
The chocolate whipped cream is my favorite. To make this variety, take about 2 tablespoons of vegan chocolate chips and melt them down. Then, slowly drizzle them into the whipped cream while mixing. The heat from the chocolate might make the whipped cream become more runny, but it should firm up again when chilled.
For the Strawberry
Heat 2-3 medium strawberries until they become very soft. Break them up into small chunks and add to the whipped cream. Beat thoroughly until the strawberries are completely incorporated. The whipped cream will become a gorgeous pink color, but it will turn grey after several hours so this one is best to make right before using.
No matter which variety you choose, the whipped cream can be used immediately or kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For these pictures, I made some obnoxiously rich and delicious Double-Coconut Blueberry Muffins by Kathy of Healthy. Happy. Life. and topped them with the vanilla whipped cream.
38 CommentsLeave a Reply
This looks really great. I try to stay away from canned goods if possible and I usually make my own coconut milk at home. Could you use real coconut to make this? If so, how would the process differ?
Hmm, I’ve never made coconut milk myself – it’s kind of a complicated process. But if your homemade coconut milk is similar to the canned variety, then the process should be the same.
I make my own coconut milk too (actually not a very complicated process at all) and it does work, but I didn’t get very much. From a pint jar of coconut milk the solid part when chilled was a little less than half an inch thick, so I only ended up with about a tablespoon or tablespoon and a half of the whipped cream. It was delicious though!
It’s hard to tell, but it seems like from the pictures people are getting a larger amount of the creamy solid from the canned milks.
At my grocery store today Thai Kitchen had an organic full fat coconut milk and I’m going to try that to compare. It is in a can, but at least it doesn’t have the preservatives that are in the other coconut milks.
It’s the difference between coconut milk and coconut cream. We make the cream in a masticating juicer. It is thick, fatty and whips up beautifully.
I make this all this time and never thought to make a chocolate variety. I do what I call a lemon-scented whipped creme w/lemon zest. So yummy! Looking forward to trying the chocolate.
Thanks, Lisa! Ohh, I’ve never made the lemon creme but that sounds really good and I’ll have to try it soon!
I have attempted this so many times and have never been able to get it thick! Any tips??
Hey Brooke, if you’re trying to “get” it thick, you’ll be trying for a long time 🙂 this isn’t like whipping cream where it starts out runny and you beat it thick. It starts out solid, like butter, and you whip it down into a creamy, fluffy texture. So if you’re refrigerating the cans and they don’t solidify overnight, try a different brand.
This is exactly what I’ve been looking for to have with a peach crumble! I happen to have a couple of cans of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream – would it work with that as well?
Coconut whipped cream on peach crumble? Sounds amazing! I might have to steal that idea :). I’ve actually used TJ’s coconut cream before and it’s thicker than normal coconut milk. I can’t remember if that brand will solidify correctly, so don’t take my word for it, but I think it works even better than normal coconut milk.
Wow, thanks so much for the quick response! I’m going to put the coconut cream in the fridge as soon as I get home from work and try the recipe tomorrow night. The peach crumble is a slightly modified recipe from Elana Amsterdam’s new Paleo cookbook that I make with fresh peaches and fresh cherries. I highly recommend it!
none of the stores around my area have coconut milk.. is it possible to use cream of coconut?
That’s surprising, it’s usually very easy to find. However, I think cream of coconut would work well. If I understand that product, it’s a lot like coconut milk, but with even less water (which might make even better whipped cream). Give it a shot!
Do you have the nutritional information on this such as calories and fat from calories n all that jazz?
I am so going to make a coconut cream pie using this.
By the way I think its awesome how you respond to the comments!
Hi Angelic! I am not currently tracking nutritional information in my recipes, thought that might be something I can do in the future. This is mostly because I don’t do that for myself – I never really pay attention to calories. It should be pretty easy to gather the nutrition information by looking at the products as you’re putting the recipe together.
I tried this, and next thing… WHOOPS!! It split! (or cracked I think is what it is called) – Is this a common thing with coconut cream? Did I go too far? What have I made – coconut butter? Coconut whey? It is very oily, but in a lovely way – if you get it on your skin, it moisturises the place it is on – but, should I just throw it away & start again, or have I made something which has any merit?? Thank you!
Hey Eloise… hmmm! Do you mean it, like, solidified? That definitely didn’t happen to me, if anything, too much mixing just makes mine become less fluffy and more liquid. You mentioned coconut cream, which is different than coconut milk (usually thicker) – is that what you used? It may have something to do with your results. I don’t know what you should do with it! If it tastes nice, you might be able to use it like coconut butter?
Yup it was a teensy tin of cream, which I had refrigerated, and I whipped it in a bullet style blender. Before I noticed it get thick, very suddenly, it split – just the way dairy cream separates into butter & buttermilk when you over whip it! It happened so fast it had me entirely at a loss. I did not taste it as it looked rather unappealing. I tried straining it – the liquid was more opaque than buttermilk – but the “curds” wouldn’t “stay together” the way butter does. Looks much like wet dessicated coconut – but in the squeezing out the liquid it is lovely and moisturising to the hands 😉
Oh okay, the problem may have been blending it. I don’t think it’ll stand up to that kind of force, that’s why I usually lightly whisk it by hand, or at most, use a hand mixer. Ah well, sounds like a great moisturizer! 🙂
Hi, thanks for the explanations I’ve read here. I’ve also been perplexed by how people claim you can whip coconut milk. But, if it is already thick & you are just whipping to make it silky… I can try that 🙂
Here’s my question: can I pipe it to top mini parfait cups & set it out for a party?
Hi Natalie! That might work, but it could be dangerous. If the whipped cream is too thin to begin with, the heat at room temperature could cause it to become more like soup and less like whipped cream 🙂 But, if you’re whipped cream is fairly thick to start, you should be fine!
Your flavor concoctions sound great! I just used sugar, but next time I’ll try the chocolate and strawberry mix-ins.
I used the Chaokoh Gata brand, which tasted great. Didn’t seem as thick as yours came out, or other brands come out (little note-to-self for everyone).
Hmm, I’ve heard it helps to refridgerate the can upside down, since the water supposedly goes to the top (…not sure why it would go to the top from the end instead of the top…), which you then open and pour out the water. Low and behold it didn’t work like that for me. Could have been my brand. Since there wasn’t really a distinct layer of water anywhere…
I beat the coconut milk at medium-high speed for a good 10 minutes. Worth it.
Just ate a bowl of blueberries and coconut whipped cream. :’)
Hey Katie, ah yes, this recipe can be very sensitive to different brands. I love the Thai Kitchen brand, which has pretty good results, and lately I’ve found that Trader Joe’s Coconut *cream* is even better. If there’s no distinct solid layer and water layer, it’s not going to whip too well.
Can you put the ingredients in a whipped cream dispenser and shake it rather than putting them in a bowl and whipping? Thanks.
Hi Baylee, I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never used a whipped cream dispenser… but my best guess is that it would not work – this stuff is a whole different animal than whipping cream.
This looks delicious! How much sweetener would you recommend? I know you said “to taste” but it would help to get a general idea (I just know I’d end up putting in too much if I tried trusting my own judgement). Thanks 🙂
Hi Julia! It depends on which type of sweetener you’re using. If you’re going with something like stevia, 1-2 packets or servings is a good start. Otherwise, 1-2 tablespoons of fine sugar. I would probably stay away from liquid sweeteners because they would make it too runny.
I always thought you needed an electric hand mixer to make coconut whipped cream (which I don’t have), but from your post it sounds like you can do it by hand. Yay! I will definitely be giving this a try.
Yes! It does tend to work better with a hand mixer, but it can definitely be done with just a whisk. Good luck! 🙂
Hi Andrew, thank you for the explanation. just wanted to clarify one thing reg the vanilla taste, do you use vanilla extract or actual vanilla bean (the inside of it) ?
I meant liquid vanilla because I wouldn’t expect most people to use fresh vanilla beans 🙂 BUT a fresh bean would work even better because it wouldn’t add any extra liquid.
I live in Indonesia where I run a small eco-homestay called Yabbiekayu. We have our own organic gardens including our own organic red rice fields and of course a small coconut grove. So of course we make our own coconut milk or Santan as it is known here.
Making coconut milk/cream is extremely simple, we just very finely grate the flesh of an old coconut after setting aside the amazingly refreshing coconut water for making drinks (try freshly crushed cardamon and ice, with a tad of syrup from the Aran Palm, or else a tad of tamarind, yum)
You then simply repeatedly squeeze the finely shredded coconut in water till the water turns thick and milky, then squeeze out all the milk through a muslin cloth. The first squeezing is coconut cream. The process is then repeated again with more fresh water to make the much thinner coconut milk, which again we use for a range of super yummy drinks, often with bright green Cincau jelly which we make by squeezing the leaves of the Cyclea barbata vine in water, straining it and setting it aside to set. the jelly, some light coconut milk and some Aran syrup = heaven.
But anyway i digress, once you have the coconut cream then I do the same and set it aside in a vertical jug overnight in the fridge scrappping off the thick cream in the morning, which i whip with the flat plate on a bamix and add lime zest and a little coconut sugar, ymmy
Hi Dave, thank you for sharing your story! Your eco-homestay sounds wonderful!
We tried this with the strawberries and it turned out wonderful! I was wondering if you could do something similar, but with blueberries?
If you mean adding in blueberries into the whipped cream, I think that might work! It could end up too watery though (blueberries have a lot of water), so try to adjust for that.
OK thank you! Looking forward to trying that. I will probably halve the amount of blueberries. I’m curious to find out the color of the cream, because blueberries release a ton! Thanks again, and looking forward to trying this- maybe on some pancakes?
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