Cool Whip Vs Whipped Cream: Which One Is Right For You?

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Cool whip and whipped cream are both fluffy, white, sweet, and make excellent toppings for various desserts and beverages…but are they the same thing? Can they be substituted for one another?

Cool Whip is a storebought product that contains ingredients like milk, vegetable oil, and high fructose corn syrup to give it a sweet taste, long shelf life and consistent texture.

Whipped cream can be made at home with just heavy whipping cream plus your choice of sugar or other flavorings. Store-bought whipped cream like Reddi-Whip comes in a convenient spray can, but contains more ingredients than homemade.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about both Cool Whip and whipped cream, including their ingredients, what to use them for, how long each lasts, and lots more.

Cool Whip vs Whipped Cream Feature

What is Cool Whip?

Cool Whip is a brand of product created in the United States of America to imitate whipped cream. However, on the product label, you’ll see the words “whipped topping”, not whipped cream.

This description certainly fits, since the most common use of Cool Whip is to top other foods. Cool Whip is often used as a sweet and creamy finishing touch on dessert items like pies, parfaits, fruit, cookies, cakes and ice cream sundaes. It can also be placed on top of drinks like hot chocolate and milkshakes.

Cool Whip is also a popular ingredient to use in dessert recipes like this Oreo Cookie Pie or Unicorn Party Dip.

Cool Whip comes in small plastic tubs and can be found in the freezer section of most American grocery stores. The 8oz size is most common, but 12oz and 16oz tubs are also offered.

The most common variety is the Cool Whip Original Whipped Topping. However, the brand offers quite a few other products including extra-creamy, lite, fat-free and sugar-free versions. They even have some fun Cool Whip flavors like Oreo, Birthday Cake and Brownie.

Varieties Of Cool Whip Whipped Topping
Varieties of Cool Whip

Cool Whip Texture

The texture of Cool Whip is interesting. It comes frozen, so you need to bring it up to room temperature and then stir it to create a more creamy texture.

You can thaw it in the refrigerator or on the counter for a couple of hours. We don’t recommend it, but if you’re in a really big hurry, you can try to thaw it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Cool Whip Ingredients

A big difference between Cool Whip and homemade whipped cream is the ingredient list. As you can see in the Cool Whip ingredient list below, the product contains quite a few ingredients and many aren’t very healthy (we’re looking at you high-fructose corn syrup!)

Cool Whip Calories

The serving size of Cool Whip is about 2 tablespoons. Each serving has around 25 calories and 1.5 grams of total fat.

Is Cool Whip Keto?

Original Cool Whip can be considered keto-friendly because, although it is not necessarily a healthy option, a single serving has only 1.5 grams of fat and 3 grams of sugar. Sugar and fat content will vary for different Cool Whip varieties.

Is Cool Whip Vegan?

All of the Cool Whip products we looked at contained some sort of milk product, so they are not a vegan-friendly option.

Is Cool Whip Dairy Free?

While Cool Whip offers many types of products like sugar-free and low-fat, there currently is not a dairy-free version.

Is Cool Whip Gluten Free?

The Cool Whip ingredient list is currently gluten-free. However, it is not a gluten-free certified product. It’s also important to note that the ingredients list can change, so be sure to check those labels.

How Long Does Cool Whip Last?

At room temperature, Cool Whip should only be left out for a couple of hours. If the temperature is warmer, you should put it back in the fridge or freezer sooner.

If you keep your Cool Whip frozen, it can last for up to four months. If you move it to the refrigerator, you should use it up in a week or two.

What is Whipped Cream?

When discussing whipped cream, it’s important to note there are two very different versions.

Your first option is a store-bought whipped cream product that comes in an aerosol can. The most popular and well-known brand is Reddi-Wip. You can find other brands and generic versions of canned whipped cream as well.

The second option is homemade whipped cream which is quick and easy to make with just a few ingredients.

Reddi Whip Cans
Original and Extra Creamy Reddi Wip

Reddi Wip

Many people like Reddi Wip because it’s so convenient to spray the whipped cream straight from the can onto your favorite treats like pancakes, waffles, french toast, pies, sundaes, hot cocoa, lattes, and even sweet potato casseroles.

And of course, many people (my family included) like to spray a big swirl directly into their mouth!

Reddi Wip Ingredients

Original Reddi Wip contains quite a few ingredients including cream, water, sugar, corn syrup, milk, mono and diglycerides, natural flavor and carrageenan. The propellant to help it spray out of the can is nitrous oxide.

Reddi Wip also offers non-dairy options made from either coconut milk or almond milk.

Non-Dairy Reddi Wip Can
Non-Dairy Reddi Wip Made With Coconut Milk

Reddi Wip Taste and Texture

Despite being a store-bought product, Reddi Wip has a taste and texture that is relatively similar to homemade whipped cream.

Many reviewers mention they love the creamy texture and convenience. However, some customers feel the taste is too sweet.

Homemade Whipped Cream

For most people, nothing beats fresh homemade whipped cream. Unlike store-bought products, from-scratch whipped cream uses just a couple of fresh ingredients.

Homemade Whipped Cream Ingredients
Homemade Whipped Cream Ingredients

Homemade Whipped Cream Ingredients

The main ingredient in homemade whipped cream is heavy whipping cream. You can find it in a small carton near the milk at the grocery store.

To make whipping cream, you just use a hand blender or a kitchen mixer to beat it for a couple minutes until the air makes it thick and fluffy. If you’re feeling strong, you can also use a hand whisk, but it will take a while!

Many people like to add powdered sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract for sweetness.

Whipped cream can also be easily customized by adding any flavored extracts like almond, peppermint, lemon, maple, mint, coconut or orange. Another option is to add flavorings like cinnamon, cocoa powder, nutmeg or pumpkin spice.

Homemade Whipped Cream Texture

The texture of good homemade whipped cream is heavenly. It’s light, fluffy, and melts in your mouth. Pro tip: It also melts in warm temperatures, so keep it refrigerated!

Because the creamy texture comes from air that has been beaten into the heavy cream, it’s important to note that homemade cream is delicate.

If you’re using homemade whipping cream in a recipe, you’ll often need to fold it into another batter or add it as a layer. Always use a gentle hand when handling your whipped cream to preserve the light, airy texture.

Is Whipped Cream Vegetarian?

Vegetarians are able to eat most whipped cream because there are traditionally no meat products included in it.

However, some recipes for stabilized whipped cream use gelatin to help keep its shape and texture. Gelatin is an animal-based product, so if you’re looking for a stabilized whipped cream recipe, choose one that uses corn starch or pudding mix as a thickening agent instead.

Is Whipped Cream Vegan?

Traditional whipped cream, either in the can or made at home, contains dairy products and possibly gelatin too.

However, many vegan-friendly whipped cream products and recipes are available. Check out Non-Dairy Reddi-Wip, Silk Dairy-Free Whipping Cream and SO Delicious Vegan Whipped Topping.

How Long Does Fresh Whipped Cream Last?

It’s best to use fresh whipped cream immediately. However, you can store it in the fridge for about a day before it starts to lose its fluffy texture.

Whipped cream that comes in a can usually has an expiration date and can be kept for around two weeks when refrigerated.

At room temperature, both canned and homemade whipped cream can only last for 1-2 hours. In warm temperatures, plan to serve and eat the whipped cream immediately.

Can Dogs And Cats Eat Whipped Cream?

If your pet comes running when they hear the whipped cream can, you may be wondering if it’s safe to give them a lick. There aren’t necessarily any toxic ingredients for dogs or cats in whipped cream, so in most cases, a little taste will be ok.

But just like humans, every dog and cat has different food tolerances and sensitivities. If you’re not sure if whipped cream is safe for Fido or Fifi, check with your vet.

Whipped Cream Recipe

If you’re ready to try to make your own whipped cream, here’s a quick and easy recipe.

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  1. Add your heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, start on low speed and work your way up to medium-high to whip the ingredients to your desired consistency. Stiff peaks indicate a good consistency for piping, while medium peaks are great for most other uses. Be careful not to overwhip.
Whipped Cream Soft Peaks
Whipped Cream At Medium Peak Stage

Can I Substitute Cool Whip and Whipped Cream?

For most recipes, you can substitute equal amounts of Cool Whip and whipped cream.

Summary: Cool Whip Vs Whipped Cream

Cool Whip and whipped cream are both great options for topping desserts and sweet treats. Here’s a quick recap of the similarities and differences:

Cool Whip and Whipped Cream Similarities

  • Both are sweet, fluffy whipped toppings that are great for using on top of treats like pies, cakes, milkshakes, drinks and more
  • Both are commonly used as an ingredient in recipes and in most cases can be substituted for one another
  • You can easily customize the flavor of both by adding extracts or spices
  • Both products are heat-sensitive and are best when eaten immediately after serving

Cool Whip and Whipped Cream Differences

  • Cool Whip comes frozen, while Reddi Wip and heavy whipping cream are refrigerated
  • Cool Whip has a slightly more dense, thick consistency than fresh whipped cream
  • Cool Whip and Reddi Wip are most convenient as no preparation is required
  • Homemade whipped cream contains fewer ingredients than Cool Whip or Reddi Wip
  • Homemade whipped cream also gives you more control over flavor and texture

Up Next: Recipes To Make With Whipped Cream or Cool Whip
Oreo Cookie Pie With Homemade Oreo Crust
Fluffly Unicorn Party Dip

Yield: 2 cups

Easy Homemade Whipped Cream (Cool Whip Substitute)

Homemade Whipped Cream Recipe - Cool Whip Substitute

This quick and easy homemade whipped cream recipe uses only 3 ingredients and is a perfect substitute for Cool Whip.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste


  1. Add your heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, start on low speed and work your way up to medium-high to whip the ingredients to your desired consistency. Stiff peaks indicate a good consistency for piping, while medium peaks are great for most other uses. Be careful not to overwhip.


- Small dark vanilla flecks will be visible in your whipped cream if using vanilla bean paste.

- If desired, you can chill your mixing bowl prior to adding the ingredients.

- Homemade whipped cream is best when served immediately. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.

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Meet Micky Reed, your go-to snack expert and creator of The Three Snackateers—a hub for all the best sweets and treats to make, try, and buy. From whipping up collaborations with industry giants like Ben & Jerry's to being featured on Delish and PopSugar, Micky's delicious adventures are causing a stir in the foodie world. You can find Micky on IG and Pinterest.

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