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How To Thicken Heavy Cream

How To Thicken Heavy Cream

The other day I was whipping some cream but it came out way too thin.

At first I thought it was because I left my cream out for too long before whipping. But after chilling, I still couldn’t get my cream to whip.

Luckily there are a couple simple ways to get your heavy cream to thicken up, so if you are having similar trouble, read on for the simple solution.

Why is Your Heavy Whipping Cream Thin?

overhead picture of measuring cup of heavy cream

The first thing to check when your heavy cream isn’t whipping up, is to ensure it is chilled. You can also chill your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15-30 minutes.

Most of the time this is enough to get your heavy cream to thicken up when whipped. But if you still are not getting the results you’re after, you have a couple more options.

Note: Every once in a while I get heavy cream that will not thicken up no matter what I do. This is a possibility and in those instances, you will need to get a fresh carton of heavy cream and try again.

Heavy cream generally contains a butterfat content of 36%. Butterfat is essential for creating a whipped cream out of heavy cream.

If your heavy cream’s fat content is too low, you will not be able to whip it without raising the butterfat content.

What Should You Do if Your Heavy Cream Is Thin?

iced coffees with whipped cream and shaved chocolate

If you’ve already chilled your cream, beaters, and mixing bowl without any improvement, it’s time to try a stabilizer/thickening agent.

This method is best used for recipes that contain heavy cream as a volume enhancer. This is most commonly the case is sauces.

Note: Adding a thickening agent may allow you whip your cream, but it is not always successful.

Thickeners will alter the thickness of your cream (which we want), but it can also effect the final flavor (not necessarily what we want).

That is another reason why this method is best suited for sauces that contain heavy cream. My favorite thickening options are unflavored gelatin and tapioca starch. But you can try cornstarch or another of your preferred thickeners.

For heavy cream that will not whip, add a bit of unflavored gelatin and then whip until peaks form.


How To Thicken Heavy Whipping Cream

cinnamon apple pie topped with fresh whipped cream

Another option for thickening your heavy cream is by directly adding more butterfat through this will effect the final flavor.

You should also keep in mind that since you do not know the exact butterfat content of your heavy cream, it’s somewhat difficult to predict how much fat to add.

Your best option is to add about a tablespoon or two of melted butter to your heavy cream. You can also use evaporated milk, ghee, or even regular milk.

It takes experience to be able to eye ball how much fat to add, but start with a small amount and increase gradually until desired thickness is achieved.

Another way to fix heavy cream that won’t whip up is to add a few drops of lemon juice. Then simply whip until peaks form.



Additionally, keep in mind that heavy whipping cream will always be thicker when it is just out of the fridge than when it has reached room temperature. So, for the best consistency, make and store your heavy whipping cream a day or two ahead of time.