Watery Whipped Cream

Ask the Test Kitchen

When I beat whipping cream, I can get it to form only soft peaks—then it starts breaking down and gets thin and watery. Am I doing something wrong? —M.M., Santa Maria, CaliforniaYou may be overbeating the cream, which will cause it to curdle and separate. Or perhaps you’re using ultra-pasteurized whipping cream. This cream has been briefly heated above 280 degrees to extend the shelf life under refrigeration. Unfortunately, it doesn’t whip as well. Ultra-pasteurized cream has become so common today that it can be difficult to find cream that isn’t ultra-pasteurized.

For best results, start with cold whipping cream. Choose a deep metal bowl, as the cream will double in volume. Place the bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 15 minutes before using. Beat quickly, scraping the bowl occasionally. Do not overbeat. Beat only until soft or stiff peaks form, depending on what your recipe needs.

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