Cool Whip vs Whipped Cream: What is the Difference?

cool whip vs whipped cream

Curious what is the difference between cool whip and whipped cream? Stick around as we discuss this topic…

Cream is an essential item in just about any pantry or refrigerator. After all, its versatile profile makes it suitable for a host of dishes, especially desserts.

Whether you’re a fan of hot cocoa or coffee with cream after a heavy meal or simply love serving your cheesecake with some cream on the side for extra indulgence, there’s no denying creams can help you get your fix in a pinch.

Two of the most popular – and highly accessible – cream options available on the market today are Cool Whip and whipped cream.

At a glance, these two bear similarities, especially based solely on their appearance. Despite these similarities, these two cream options also have a wide range of differences.

If you are interested in using cream in your dishes, you’d probably like to know more about Cool Whip and whipped cream.

To learn more, read on…

What Is Cool Whip?

Cool Whip

First produced in 1966 by the Birds Eye division of General Foods, Cool Whip has undoubtedly been around for ages. It was reportedly created as a more accessible and affordable option to whipped cream.

Cool Whip takes pride in its ability to be frozen, defrosted, and refrigerated without its components and consistency being altered. You may also see it advertised as a “whipped topping.”

Its main ingredients are vegetable oil, high fructose corn syrup, skim milk, and light cream.

Today, the brand is owned by Kraft Heinz and has expanded its range to a variety of styles.

Apart from the original style, the brand currently has Lite, Extra Creamy, Sugar-Free, Free (no fat), and Season’s Delight as part of its lineup.

What Is Whipped Cream?

Whipped Cream

On the other hand, whipped cream is heavy cream that has been beaten (or whipped) until it achieves a light, airy, and fluffy consistency.

Thanks to the high-fat content of heavy cream, whipped cream has soft, light peaks when beaten.

This is because air is incorporated into the mixture, thus giving it the ability to stand on its own.

As it stabilizes, whipped cream gradually increases in volume due to the many air bubbles incorporated while mixing.

Cool Whip and Whipped Cream: The Main Differences

Now that you have a deeper understanding of these two and what they are made of, it’s time to delve into the nitty-gritty of it all.

While their respective appearances may be deceiving, their actual components will shed light on their main differences. Check these out.

  • Ingredients

As mentioned earlier, whipped cream is only made out of heavy whipping cream. This heavy cream usually has a milk fat percentage of 36 percent, but any made with at least 30 percent fat are viable options.

Just remember, the higher the fat percentage, the better the cream will hold up its shape and texture.

On the other hand, Cool Whip makes use of a combination of high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oil, skim milk, and light cream as mentioned.

As a type of processed food, the addition of vegetable oil gives it a relatively stable and long shelf life.

The high sugar content is also questionable for many, although it adds sweetness and another layer of flavor.

  • Texture

Texture-wise, whipped cream has a light, airy, and fluffy texture. It is also denser because of the air incorporated during mixing or beating.

The air also gives it a thick and stable form.

Meanwhile, whipped toppings such as Cool Whip have a heftier texture and weight. At times, its appearance lies between that of sour cream and cream cheese.

This heftiness may be attributed to the mixture being condensed into a tub or a can.

Whipped Cream

  • Flavors

To flavor whipped cream, confectioner’s sugar is usually added to this thick, indulgent mixture. This is normally chosen over normal table sugar as it does not clump, and it tends to dissolve easily and blend well.

Meanwhile, another ‘variant’ of whipped cream, if you will, is called Chantilly cream or crème Chantilly.

In simple terms, this mixture is whipped cream with an added vanilla flavor, typically used for adding pizzazz to a variety of dishes.

Cool Whip’s flavor, on the other hand, comes from a combination of natural and artificial flavorings.

While sodium caseinate is derived from the milk content, there are other additives such as xanthan and guar gums, Polysorbate 60, and even synthetic wax in the form of sorbitan monostearate.

The sugar content is also pretty high thanks to the corn syrup, making it sweet and tasty. It has a wide range of offerings suited for different desserts and creations.

The Bottom Line

If you’re in a pinch and not necessarily watching your calories, Cool Whip will certainly be a great option.

However, if you’re into more natural, indulgent, and downright good flavors, try out whipped cream for a more preferable choice.

Now that you know the similarities and differences between cool whip and whip cream you can know how to substitute between the two the next time you’re making a dish.

cool whip vs whipped cream

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