Nothing is better than a fluffy sweet topping on your favorite desserts. But how long does whipped cream last in the fridge? Learn all the tips and tricks to enjoying your homemade recipe beyond the first day.
To make whipped cream at home all it takes is a little heavy cream, then sugar is added to sweeten it, and a little vanilla extract gives it warmth and flavor. These ingredients are whipped to aerate the dairy, which creates its light and fluffy texture.
You can make whipped cream with a hand or stand mixer, or even make it in a whipped cream dispenser which works perfectly for ice cream bars or use it to pipe onto your mug of hot chocolate! It's also a great way to top desserts!
Making it yourself at home is so much better than the store-bought stuff! It adds that extra pizzazz to your desserts that makes everyone drool.
But sadly once it’s whipped into its luscious, fluffy texture it won’t stay that way forever.
How Long Does Homemade Whipped Cream Last in the Fridge?
According to the USDA, milk products are good for a week in the refrigerator. But just because it will still taste good, whipped cream won't stay fluffy for a week. Eventually, it reverts to a more liquid consistency as the fat separates from the liquid. It may even begin to take on a slightly grainy texture.
Because of this, standard whipped cream is best enjoyed on the day it's made. Once whipped it needs to be refrigerated until you’re ready to serve. It will begin to deflate over time so I recommend using it within a few hours.
But did you know that there are some great ways to make it last longer? With the addition of some simple ingredients, you can extend the life to several days. We'll get to those ingredients in just a minute.
You can also use your leftovers in recipes! Take a look at these ways that you can use what's left so that nothing goes to waste!
Whipping Cream Vs. Heavy Cream
Choosing the right dairy product is the most important part of getting whipped cream right. It can be a bit confusing when you look at the dairy section and see all the different options available.
The two most common products are heavy cream and whipping cream. Heavy cream (sometimes labeled heavy whipping cream) has 36% milk fat while whipping cream only has 30%.
The high-fat content of heavy cream means it will whip up much thicker than the whipping cream. So make sure you pick up the right one in the store for the best results.
Heavy cream has a pretty long shelf life and can be kept in the fridge for up to a month unopened. Just make sure to use it by the expiration date marked on the label. And store your cream below 40°F (4°C) and in the coldest part of the fridge.
Ways to Make It Last Longer
We are going to cover easy ways that you can make your whipped cream last longer. This is especially helpful if you know you will have extras and want to use them over the course of several days.
There’s one crucial thing to remember for ALL these methods. A cold temperature is your friend. So start with cold cream, a cold mixing bowl, and a cold wire whisk (or whisk attachment for a hand mixer or stand mixer). You can even stick the bowl and utensils in the freezer before beginning the whipping process.
Cream of tartar is an acidic ingredient that is used in baking things like Angel Food Cake and Baked Alaska. When added to whipped cream it improves the stability and volume of the cream by keeping the protein molecules in place. This prevents the air and water from leaking out and turning it into a soupy mess.
Add ⅛ teaspoon of cream of tartar for every cup of heavy cream you are using. As you can see in the image below, this stabilized whipped cream will last up to three days in the refrigerator. By day 5 it will lose its fluffy and become liquidy.
Pro: Easy! This is my favorite method. I think it has the best texture of all the methods.
Cons: It won't stand up to super hot weather temperatures, so it's best for serving indoors.
How Long it Lasts: Up to 3 days
Stabilize with Cornstarch
For a short-term solution, adding a bit of cornstarch will help the whipped cream hold in the refrigerator for a few extra hours without deflating.
This method involves mixing one tablespoon of cornstarch with powdered sugar before you start whipping the cream. While this does give it more stability, firmness, and shape it also adds a bit of a grainy texture.
Did you know confectioners’ sugar contains some cornstarch? So simply swapping regular sugar for powdered sugar will extend the life to about 12 hours. Just use the same amount of powdered sugar to replace the granulated sugar in your recipe.
Pros: An easy method.
Cons: It has a grainier texture than using cream of tartar
How Long It Lasts: 12 hours
Stabilize with Instant Pudding Mix
Instant pudding mix also contains some cornstarch, so it works very similarly to adding cornstarch.
Use one tablespoon of pudding mix per one cup of heavy whipping cream. Mix it with the sugar mixture before adding it to the cream. This method will last up to 48 hours.
The only downside to using pudding mix is that it will add flavor, making it taste like pudding. Though this could also be a benefit if you want to add a flavor, such as chocolate or lemon, to your whipped topping.
Pros: Lasts a little longer than using only cornstarch.
Cons: Adds flavor.
How Long It Lasts: 48 hours
This method takes the longest to prepare but it’s also the one that will last the longest. If you’re looking for a whipped cream that will stand up on a hot day, this is it!
For every cup of heavy cream, mix one teaspoon of unflavored gelatin with one tablespoon of cold water. Let it sit for a couple of minutes to bloom. Then the gelatin mixture for 5-10 seconds. It should be liquid but not hot. Slowly stream it into the cream while the mixer is running, and beat it until it has stiff peaks.
Pros: Creates a super stable whipped cream that will last longer and also works better for warmer weather.
Cons: It takes more time to prepare and is a little trickier to get right.
How Long It Lasts: 4-5 days
How to Tell if Whipped Cream is Bad
As we learned when discussing the shelf life of cheesecake, dairy will have a strong odor when it is spoiled and it may taste sour. If it smells or tastes off then it needs to be discarded.
However, even if it isn’t spoiled, it will suffer a loss of volume and get watery over time. This won't make you sick, but it's not ideal for serving.
Yes, you can! All isn’t lost! Simply return it to a cold bowl and whip it up again using an electric mixer or whisk until you have soft peaks. Whisking the air back into the mixture will stabilize it again and make it light and fluffy.
Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the coldest part of the refrigerator (usually in the back corner).
You can freeze it but it needs to go into the freezer in the shape you want to serve it. Once it is thawed you can't put it into a piping bag to add to a dessert or spread onto a cake.
I recommend piping rosettes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then transfer to a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for up to one month. When you are ready to use them, add them to the top of a dessert and they will thaw out in minutes.
No, half and half is made from half milk and half cream and has a fat content of 10% which is way less than even whipping cream. It simply doesn’t have enough fat content in it to turn into a thick and creamy whipped cream. It’s best used as a replacement for cream in soups and sauces.
No, Cool Whip cream is highly processed and made using skim milk. It may look similar and can be used as a whipped cream substitute, but it doesn’t have the same flavor or texture as homemade whipped cream.
Without a stabilizer, whipped cream should be used within a few hours of whipping. Using different stabilizers, you can extend the amount of time it will last from 12 hours up to five days.
Cream of tartar is my favorite as I find it the easiest to use and it results in a stabilized whipped cream that will last up to three days. The most effective stabilizer is gelatin. Use it if your dessert is being served outside or on a warm day.
Getting good results and an amazing final product isn’t all that difficult and fresh whipped cream is a great way to elevate your dessert recipes.