For the past few years, I’ve been making whipped coconut cream to top pies and other desserts. While it’s usually pretty fluffy and not runny, this isn’t always the case. I’ve always thought there had to be a way to stablilize or firm up the coconut cream so it held a bit better on top of pie. I wanted to make a no-fail dairy-free whipped cream with ingredients easily found in the grocery store.
It took quite a bit of experimentation but I have it figured out. If you saw my photo last week on Instagram, you know I went through many cans of coconut milk getting this one just right. And I’ve done it! I’m so excited to have this to share with you right before Thanksgiving. It’s perfect atop my pumpkin pie!
My experiments trying to get coconut whipped cream that would maintain its whipped texture led me down many paths. I read about some folks using gelatin to stabilize their version. I don’t eat gelatin (it’s not vegetarian) but did experiment with agar agar, which I’ve used in other recipes to get a gelatin-like effect. That wasn’t it plus I am sensitive to the flavor agar powder imparts on mild flavored dishes. Then I tried cornstarch. It was clumpy, so I sifted it. Still clumpy and a weird texture. Next I tried arrowroot, which is my favorite thickener to use in cornstarch-like preparations, such as gravy. It still wasn’t quite right, although it didn’t have any noticeable flavor difference. Finally, I found the solution in tapioca starch! This happened because I was making my Pumpkin Pie for Everyone filling and had left tapioca starch out on the counter. It did the trick, a coconut whipped cream that maintains its fluffy texture and doesn’t separate as quickly into coconut fat and coconut water. Super easy!
A couple tidbits before the recipe: I have based the recipe on full-fat coconut milk in a 13 to 14 ounce can. If you shop at Trader Joe’s, buy their canned coconut cream. It’s an entire can of what is used to make the whipped cream recipe below without the coconut water. One can of Trader Joe’s coconut cream is equal to four 13 or 14 ounce cans of coconut milk, so quadruple the recipe. If you make whipped cream for just a couple people, look for the mini cans of coconut milk. They are about the size of a tomato paste can. Cut the recipe below by half. If you prefer to not use refined sugar (I’ve used powdered/confectioner’s sugar in the recipe below), you can use maple syrup, honey or liquid stevia. Just add a little at a time, mix in and taste.
No-Fail Dairy-Free Whipped Cream
- 1 can , 13 to 14 ounces, full fat coconut milk
- 2 Tablespoons confectioners/powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
Chill can of coconut milk overnight at a minimum. (We keep our cans in the refrigerator so one is always handy.)
Get a medium mixing bowl and hand mixer with whip attachment ready to go.
Carefully open the can of coconut milk without tipping it. Because the contents are cold, solid coconut cream will be on top with coconut water beneath it.
Skim the solid coconut cream off of the top and place in mixing bowl. Using hand mixer, whip until it begins to thicken.
Incorporate confections/powdered sugar with hand mixer.
A Tablespoon at a time, mix in tapioca starch. It will noticeably thicken as you add it. It may only take one tablespoon to thicken your mixture depending on how well it separated.
Once you have reached the thickness you desire, mix in vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract. I much prefer vanilla bean paste here as you can see the pretty flecks of the vanilla bean as well as taste the more noticeable vanilla notes in vanilla bean paste.
Chill in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Will keep for a few days.
The leftover coconut water is great to add to smoothies, green juices or cocktails. No need to waste it!
I’m linking this post up with Gluten-Free Wednesday. Click over for many more gluten-free recipes.
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