You prepared way too much whipped cream for today’s dessert. How long does fresh homemade whipped cream last?
Or maybe you’ve bought canned whipped cream, and you’re wondering how long does aerosol whipped cream last once opened.
If either sounds familiar, this article is for you. In it, we’re going to cover:
- storage time for whipped cream, depending on whether it’s homemade, canned, or any other whipped topping product such as Cool Whip
- storage practices for all of the above
- telling if your whipped cream is done for and should be discarded
Sounds interesting? Let’s dive right in.
Sometimes, the product you buy is called a whipped topping, not whipped cream. The guidelines in this article work well for both.
How Long Does Whipped Cream Last?
Homemade whipped cream lasts about a day if it’s unstabilized and up to 4 days if you stabilize it. Aerosol whipped cream keeps for a couple of weeks past the date stamped on the canister. Whipped topping products sold frozen in tubs keep for months and up to two weeks after thawing them in the fridge.
If you prefer fresh homemade whipped cream (as do I), you don’t have much time once you whip that heavy cream (or whipping cream). And you can’t really make whipped cream ahead of time, unless we’re talking about hours, not days ahead.
If you need yours to keep quality for longer than about a day, you need to stabilize it (here’s how) using gelatin, powdered sugar, non-fat powdered milk, or even melted marshmallows. Or use a commercial whipped cream stabilizer, such as Dr. Oetker’s Whip It.
And if you’re sweetening it with regular sugar, switch to powdered sugar for a bit of extra stability.
If those 3 to 4 days aren’t long enough for your needs, you can freeze homemade whipped cream.
Aerosol whipped cream is best if you use it by the date on the label ([LL]) but usually keep for at least an extra week or two. And no, opening the can doesn’t limit the time you have to use the remaining whipped cream (unless the label says it does).
When it comes to products like Cool Whip, meaning whipping toppings sold in tubs you can find in the freezer case, they keep quality for months. The typical shelf life of one of those is about 18 months. Once you thaw it in the refrigerator, it usually retains quality for about two weeks ([CW]).
You can refreeze Cool Whip up to 5 times (possibly more) without significant quality loss. Do that if you know that you won’t finish the tub within the mentioned two-week period.
|Homemade whipped cream (unstabilized)||1 days||3+ months|
|Homemade whipped cream (stabilized)||up to 4 days||3+ months|
|Aerosol whipped cream||Best-by + two weeks|
|Cool Whip and the like||2 weeks||1 – 2 years|
How To Store Whipped Cream
Homemade whipped cream needs refrigeration, and the same is true for most store-bought aerosol whipped creams. Any leftovers should be tightly covered so that they don’t pick up any smells and don’t dry out.
Cool whip is sold frozen, and the freezer is where it should sit until you’re ready to use it.
Homemade whipped cream loses quality quite quickly, as you already know from the previous section. In most cases, the first sign of that is that it starts to separate.
If you continue to process whipping cream way past the firm peaks stage, you will end up with butter and buttermilk. Here’s proof.
There are two ways you can mitigate the issue (besides stabilizing the prepared topping):
- Store whipped cream on a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. This way, any liquid will end up in the bowl, and the rest will be top-quality whipped cream – hat tip to Shiran from Pretty, Simple, Sweet for this one.
- Leave the last 10 percent (or so) of whipped cream in the container. That’s where the liquid will end up, and that’s what you don’t want to use. Using your whisk or mixer to fix the texture issue won’t help.
When it comes to aerosol whipped cream products such as Reddi Wip and the like, make sure the nozzle stays nice and clean. That means rinsing it thoroughly with warm water and wiping it dry after use ([REDDI]). This way, the nozzle doesn’t get clogged, and no microbes are growing there.
Freezing is not recommended for most aerosol whipped cream products. If need be, pour some whipped cream from the canister, and freeze what you’ve poured.
For Cool Whip and similar products, remember that if you want them to last as long as possible, you should refreeze them after scooping out as much as you need. And that thawing anywhere else than in the refrigerator (like in the microwave, for instance) is a bad idea.
Does Whipped Cream Go Bad?
Whipped cream loses quality much faster than it technically goes bad, even if we’re talking about stabilized whipped cream.
This homemade topping might stay safe to use for up to a week, which is similar to half and half, and noticeably less than sour cream. But its quality gets to the points it’s unacceptable much faster than that.
If you’re not sure if your whipped cream is good enough to add to fresh strawberries, ice cream, or a steaming cup of hot chocolate (or whatever recipe you love), do the following:
- Check the volume. If the volume has dropped significantly or all the stiff peaks have flattened, it’s probably no good (quality-wise).
- Look for separation. A bit of liquid on the bottom of the bowl is okay, but if your whipped cream sort of floats on that liquid, it’s time for it to go.
- Make sure it’s not sour. Heavy cream can go sour after prolonged storage, so your whipped one is worth checking too. That only makes sense if you didn’t add any sugar to it, of course.
- Look for mold. If it’s homemade whipped cream or Cool Whip, check the cream’s surface and the container’s sides. For the aerosol whipped cream, check the nozzle.
- Storage time. If yours sits in storage for much longer than I suggested earlier, it’s probably not safe anymore. Unless, you know, the producer says you can store it for much longer than your typical whipped cream.
Last but not least, if you’re not sure your whipped cream is okay to use, or its quality is questionable, discard it. Better safe than sorry.