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Can You Whip Light Cream? – How To Do It Right

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You may have heard of whipping light cream instead of heavy cream/whipping cream as a fat-free alternative to the pie topping, but you might be wondering, is something like that even possible?

Can you whip light cream? Light cream has a low-fat content and doesn’t whip. To whip light cream, you will need to add either butter or gelatin to it. While doing this will make it possible to whip the light cream, the peaks won’t hold for long and you’ll need to use the whipped cream immediately

This article is a comprehensive guide to whipping light cream. Continue reading for step-by-step instructions for whipping light cream.

You will also learn about different types of cream and how the fat content affects their whipping properties. 

What Is Light Cream? 

Cream is a widely used dairy product. It is made of the fat skimmed from milk and is used to add flavor and body to various dishes. There are different cream varieties and light cream is one of them. 

Light cream is cream of which the fat content is not higher than 30 percent but not lower than 1 percent

Light cream is perfect for coffee as it gives it body and makes it extra rich and creamy. In fact, light cream is so widely used as an addition to coffee that it is often referred to as coffee cream

You can also use light cream to make creamy sauces and soups. It is a nice finishing touch on pound cake or sliced fresh fruit. 

As light cream has a tendency to curdle, when using it in hot dishes, make sure to add it toward the end of the cooking process. 

Other Types Of Cream 

However, light cream is not the only cream variety. Here are three other types of cream you need to learn about if you want to incorporate this dairy product into your dishes.     


Half-and-half contains even less fat than light cream. The milk fat content in this cream variety should be at least 10.5-12% but not higher than 18%.  

As the fat content in half-and-half is very low, trying to whip it will be a fail. But you can add it to your drinks or use it to make creamy pasta dishes. 

Whipping Cream

Whipping cream, as the name suggests, is a cream perfect for whipping. The fat content of whipping cream, which is between 30 to 36%, is ideal for reaching those perfect stiff peaks

Whether you are using an electric mixer or a whisk, it is quite easy to beat whipping cream until it turns into your desired fluffy mixture. 

Heavy Cream 

Heavy cream is the cream variety with the highest milkfat content. Thus, if you are trying to keep your calorie intake at bay, heavy cream is something to avoid. 

The fat content in heavy cream is at least 36%. Similar in consistency to whipping cream, you can whip heavy cream to stiff peaks too. The result will be peaks that hold their shape very well. 

If you are not afraid of the high-fat content and calories of heavy cream, use it to make soups and pasta sauces, desserts, creamy coffee, and much more.

How Does The Fat Content Affect The Whipping Properties Of Creams?

The difference between the 4 cream varieties lies in their fat content. Knowing how much fat different creams contain will help you cook more effectively and use the right variety for the particular recipe.

It is especially important to learn how the fat content of the cream affects its whipping properties. 

Fat is responsible for the whipping properties of a cream. When you start whipping the cream, you enrich it with air. But something needs to stabilize the aerated cream. This is exactly what fat in the cream does

Just as in the case of egg whites, where the protein in eggs is what helps hold the structure of the whipped mass, in the case of the whipped cream, it’s fat. 

Milkfat in cream is a mixture of lipids. The structure of these lipids changes when you start whipping the cream.

As you start whipping the cream using a whisk or a hand mixer, you introduce air into the cream. Air bubbles form and pop and eventually cause fat globules to unite in chains and clusters

These fat globule clusters gather around air bubbles, stabilize them, and link to each other. This is what happens to the cream before it gets all fluffy and airy. 

So, the fat content is closely related to the whipping properties of the cream. The lower the fat content of the creamer the smaller are the chances that it will whip nicely. 

Can You Use Light Cream To Make Whipped Cream?

Light cream doesn’t whip due to its low fat content. There isn’t enough fat in light cream to hold the air bubbles that whisking creates

Because of this, light cream is a good option for such cooking tasks as making sauces and soups.

If you need whipped cream, go with other cream varieties, namely whipping cream and heavy cream. These two guarantee stable and fluffy results. 

But if you absolutely need whipped cream and there is only light cream in your fridge, you will have to put in a little effort to reach the desired result. 

What Can You Add To Light Cream To Make It Whip? 

There is not enough fat in light cream to make it whip. So, if you add fat, like butter, into the cream, whipping it will become possible.

While light cream with added butter won’t whip as well as whipping cream or heavy cream, it will certainly work

Another option is to add gelatin into the light cream. Gelatin is widely used to thicken and stabilize different foods, including yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products.

It works well in thickening light cream too. In fact, adding gelatin into low-fat products is an efficient way to create the mouthfeel of full-fat foods. 

When working with gelatin, make sure you add the right amount. Adding too little gelatin simply won’t do the job. And adding too much of it will make the cream not so enjoyable and not as light and airy as you would like it to be. 

Having gelatin as an option to make light cream whip is especially good for people that don’t want to add a lot of fat into their whipped cream.

If you are worried about the calories that come with adding more fat into the light cream, you should certainly try adding gelatin.

How To Whip Light Cream

Now that you know that in order to whip light cream you need to add fat or gelatin to it, it is time to learn how exactly you should do it. 

Here are step-by-step instructions for whipping light cream by adding fat or gelatin to it. 

Method 1: Whipping Light Cream with Butter

When it comes to adding fat into light cream to make it whip, butter is what you should choose. Here is how to whip light cream with butter.

  1. First off, melt the butter and let it come to room temperature. Use 1 part butter to 1 part light cream. 
  2. Combine the melted butter with the cream. Mix well to make sure the 2 ingredients are thoroughly combined. 
  3. Put the mixture into the freezer for 2 hours. Use a freezer-safe bowl and cover it with cling wrap so that it doesn’t absorb any odors. 
  4. Once the mixture is nice and cold, take it out of the freezer and start whipping it immediately. 
  5. Whip until you see the stiff peaks. Use the whipped cream as soon as possible as the peaks will fall quicker than if you used whipping cream or heavy cream. 

Method 2: Whipping Light Cream with Gelatin 

If adding so much butter into the light cream is not something you want to do, then you will like this method with gelatin better.

While using gelatin to stabilize light cream may seem intimidating to some people, doing it right will certainly help you successfully whip it. 

Follow these steps to whip light cream using gelatin. 

  1. To stabilize 1 cup of light cream, add 1 tablespoon of unflavored gelatin powder into 60 ml of milk. 
  2. To melt the gelatin in milk, hold it over a bowl of boiling water. The steam will heat the milk and help you quickly dissolve the gelatin. 
  3. Mix the milk with gelatin with 1 cup of light cream.
  4. Add a pinch of salt. Don’t skip this step as only a pinch of salt helps to enhance the flavor of the cream, making it taste better. 
  5. Transfer the mixture into a freezer-safe bowl and cover with cling wrap. 
  6. Let the mixture chill in the freezer for 2 hours. 
  7. After 2 hours, remove the light cream and gelatin mixture and start whipping it immediately. 

Adding gelatin to light cream makes the peaks last longer compared to the method of adding melted butter. 

How Long Does It Take To Whip Light Cream?

As you can’t start whipping light cream right away, make sure you manage your time correctly when whipping light cream for the recipe.

Aside from the additional steps, such as melting and cooling the butter or dissolving the gelatin in milk, you also need to chill the mixture in the freezer for 2 hours. 

So, it may take you around 2 1/2 hours to whip light cream using an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer

How To Beat Light Cream

Beating cream is different from whipping it. In the case of whipping, the cream completely changes its texture and turns into a fluffy airy mixture.

Beating, on the other hand, implies that you don’t have to aerate the mixture as much. You only need to achieve a thorough mixing of ingredients. 

When the instructions tell you to beat light cream, here’s what you should do. Make sure to start with cold light cream. Set the mixer at the lowest speed and gradually increase it until the cream thickens

Add as much sugar as the recipe calls while continuing to beat the cream at a low speed. Doing this will take you a few minutes. Before you turn off the mixer, make sure the sugar is fully dissolved. 

If the thickness of the cream doesn’t satisfy you, dissolve some gelatin and add it to the mixture. 

Turning Light Cream Into Heavy Cream

As heavy cream has a higher fat content than light cream, to turn light cream into heavy cream you need to add more fat to it. 

Melt butter, let it come to room temperature, and mix it with the light cream. The butter and light cream ratio should be 1:1

If you are going to whip the cream, let it sit in the freezer for 2 hours

4 Tips For Perfectly Whipped Cream 

As whipping light cream is a rather tricky task, here are a few tips to help you reach the best results. 

1. Keep Everything Chilled

As we have already told you, you should freeze the cream and butter (or gelatin) mixture for 2 hours before whipping. But the secret to perfectly whipped cream is keeping all your tools chilled too. 

Before you whip the cream, chill the mixing bowl and whisk in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes

2. Use An Electric Mixer

When trying to achieve stiff peaks with light cream, we recommend you use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer. These electric tools will increase your chances of achieving stiff peaks.

If you start to whip the cream by hand and get tired halfway through the whipping process, you will risk letting your efforts and product go to waste. 

When whipping the cream, keep an eye on your progress so that you don’t miss the stage of perfectly whipped cream and stiff peaks. If you overwhip the cream, you will end up with a mixture resembling butter. 

3. Whip In Small Batches

Whipping light cream in small batches is always more effective than trying to whip cream in large amounts. It is best to whip 1-2 cups of cream at a time

If you need to whip more than 2 cups of light cream, we recommend doing it in 2 batches. While doing this will take more time, you will surely achieve better results. 

4. Whip Before Serving 

Whether it is light cream or heavy cream, it is best to whip it right before serving. 

If you don’t have time to whip the cream before serving, fold a little bit of powdered sugar into the whipped cream.

Sugar helps to stabilize the whipped cream. Unfortunately, this trick is applicable for recipes where the sweetness of the whipped cream won’t affect the overall flavor of the dish. 

Can You Use Light Cream Instead Of Whipping Cream?

Whether you can use light cream instead of whipping cream or not depends on the recipe. As we have already explained in this article, you can’t whip light cream. So if you need to whip the cream, light cream won’t cut it. 

But you can certainly substitute whipping cream with light cream in recipes for sauces and soups. It can also go into deserts and beverages

If the cream doesn’t need to be whipped, you can also substitute whipping cream with such combinations as butter and milk or cottage cheese and milk.

Whipped Light Cream with Butter

Whipped Light Cream with Butter

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

This whipped cream is rich, decadent, and the perfect topping to any cake, pie, or pastry you've got!


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)


  1. Melt the butter and let it come to room temperature. Use 1 part butter to 1 part light cream. 
  2. Combine the melted butter with the cream. Mix well to make sure the 2 ingredients are thoroughly combined. 
  3. Put the mixture into the freezer for 2 hours. Use a freezer-safe bowl and cover it with cling wrap so that it doesn’t absorb any odors. 
  4. Once the mixture is nice and cold, take it out of the freezer and start whipping it immediately. 
  5. Whip until you see the stiff peaks. Use the whipped cream as soon as possible as the peaks will fall quicker than if you used whipping cream or heavy cream. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g

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