Homemade Cool Whip

Homemade Cool Whip is the second entry in the Dinner, then Dessert Kitchen Pantry Series. The most frequent email I get from readers are, “Here is an old family recipe I love, how can you recreate this without xyz ingredient because I don’t use xyz ingredient anymore.”

The first recipe in the Pantry Series was for Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup with many more canned soups on the short list for future posts. If you have any requests please leave comments below and I’d be happy to look into it!

This recipe is a favorite of mine (I’ve been making it for about a year since finding it on Serious Eats) and I’ve used in successfully in dozens of cool whip recipes.

PS, just want to note, I’ve had this recipe saved on my computer and as I am linking now I see we both shot it with a strawberry like on the cover of the Cool Whip container. I guess I’m less original (even with copycats) than I give myself credit for.

Some things to consider about this Homemade Cool Whip Recipe:
  • The consistency is both room temperature stable AND freezer safe. The gelatin keeps its stability under 98 degrees and it protects the water content safe in the freezer (thanks to Serious Eats for this data).
  • The recipe is a version of marshmallow fluff and is NOT Whipped Cream with Cream of Tartar added in. They’re two completely different recipes.
  • Whipped Cream with Cream of Tartar will not freeze well and defrost well. It also can’t hold up to higher temperatures or extended times outside the fridge.
  • This recipe is exactly what you’re looking for, Cool Whip, not whipped cream.
  • Don’t make the recipe without a thermometer. It isn’t difficult to make, but you do need to reach a specific temperature that you can’t guess.

Tools Used in the making of this Homemade Cool Whip:
Powdered Milk: Good to keep in your pantry if you only use milk sparingly for recipes or use powdered milk for other recipes.
Candy Thermometer: Inexpensive and indispensable in this recipe.
Gelatin: Same kind you’d use in jellies, you can also use store brand.

Yield: 12 servings

Homemade Cool Whip

Prep:20 minutes

Cook:5 minutes

Total Time:25 minutes

Homemade Cool Whip that is stable like the store bought kind but made at home and SO delicious. Perfect for any recipes you’re making that ask for Cool Whip!


1 1/2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons ice water
1/4 cup whole milk, cold
3 tablespoons powdered milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup*
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 3/4 cups heavy cream, cold

  1. Add the gelatin to the 2 tablespoons of water and whisk.
  2. In a second whisk together the milk, powdered milk and vanilla.
  3. In a small saucepan with a candy thermometer clipped onto the side, add the 1/4 cup of water, corn syrup, sugar and salt.
  4. Whisk together and cook over medium heat until combined and in a rolling boil for about 3 minutes.
  5. Raise the temperature to medium high and cook until it reaches 250 degrees exactly.
  6. Turn off the heat and add to a large metal mixing bowl.
  7. When it cools to 212 degrees (about 2-3 minutes) add the gelatin and using a hand mixer, whisk for 5-7 minutes until the mixture is cooled and three times the size and almost pure white.
  8. Add the vanilla milk mixture in a couple of tablespoons at a time and keep beating it in until smooth until it is all incorporated.
  9. Cover with saran wrap and let sit for 2-3 hours (the structure of the cool whip needs this to be stable, don’t put it in the fridge).
  10. Add the heavy cream into the bowl 1/4 cup at a time, pouring slowly while using the hand mixer on low speed.
  11. Keep beating with the hand mixer on medium speed until you get soft peaks.
  12. You can keep it covered in the fridge for a couple of weeks (this is still dairy, so it will go bad at some point) or freeze it for 3 months. You can defrost and use the same way you do prepared cool whip.

*Want to make your own corn syrup at home? I use a homemade thick simple syrup for this instead by mixing 8 tablespoons of sugar with 2 tablespoons of hot water. This makes a half a cup of homemade corn syrup.

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