You are in exactly the right place! I know you are here to find Cool Whip Substitutes, and I am here to help you. Because you can do so much better than popping the lid off a tub of Cool Whip. I have seven different Cool Whip Alternatives for you, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find something to your liking!

If you are interested in more information about using whipping cream, see my post on how to hand-whip cream.

This post is part of my Fundamentals series, so if you like this type of deep-dive information, you can find all my Fundamental Friday posts in one place. Thanks so much for visiting.

A long collage image of a tub of Cool Whip, whipped cream with chocolate syrup, and text reading "7 homemade Cool Whip substitutes (including vegan and dairy-free)."

Why You May Want To Use an Alternative to Cool Whip

The easiest way to illustrate why it’s important to have a wide array of Cool Whip substitutes on hand is to answer some questions about Cool Whip.

Then you can decide for yourself if you still want to buy it or make your own alternatives.

What is Cool Whip?

Cool Whip is an alternative to whipped cream referred to as “whipped topping.” Some people like it because it is light, airy, and holds its shape well. It has a longer shelf-life than cream, but it doesn’t have the warm, buttery flavor of real whipped cream.

Is Cool Whip Non-Dairy?

Cool Whip isn’t dairy-free or non-dairy, because it contains skim milk.

What are the Cool Whip Ingredients?

Original Cool Whip contains the following ingredients: water, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), skim milk, and less than 2% of light cream, sodium caseinate (a milk ingredient), natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, modified food starch, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, sodium polyphosphate, beta carotene

How many carbs are in Cool Whip?

Again, referring to Cool Whip Original, 2 Tablespoons of Cool Whip contains 3 grams of carbohydrates.

So, while Cool Whip is indeed an alternative to whipped cream, it has a few marks against it.

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  • It isn’t non-dairy, which also means it won’t work for vegans.
  • There are WAY too many weird ingredients in it, including high fructose corn syrup
  • It’s basically an emulsion of fat and sugar held together with gums and thickeners
  • So as far as I’m concerned, there are a lot of way more natural Cool Whip Substitutes out there.

Let’s look at 7 substitutes that aren’t hard to make and don’t contain any weird ingredients.

Cool Whip Alternatives

I hear you asking what else you can use to top your pies or your cakes. As usual, I’ve got your backs; I’m here to help.

Here are some searches I’ve been seeing:

  • How do I make whipped cream from scratch?
  • Is there an alternative to whipped cream because someone in my family doesn’t like it? (!!)
  • “How do I make a Cool Whip Substitute?

If folks are actually searching for a Cool Whip substitute, I’m not going to let you down.

So here, for your edification, I present Seven Options for Cool Whip Substitutes. They’re very different from each other, but all have two things in common:

  1. All are made from normal, everyday ingredients.
  2. None of them contain any partially hydrogenated anything.

Whipped Cream

Softly whipped cream (or, to use the French term, creme chantilly) is a wonderful topping to spoon on top of some fresh berries or onto a slice of chocolate pound cake, for that matter.

Since it’s soft, it will sort of slowly sink into the berries.

Cream whipped to medium-to-firm peaks is your best Cool Whip substitute, because you can do that perky little dollop on top so that your pie looks like the pie in the Cool Whip commercials.

If you need your whipped cream to hold for hours-to-days without weeping or breaking down, you can make stabilized whipped cream. This may be the ultimate dairy (not non-dairy) alternative to Cool Whip.

The Best Way to Stabilize Whipped Cream as a Cool Whip Substitute

I’ve tried many ways of stabilizing cream and read about many more.

Hands down, my pick is to use Instant Clear Jel as a stabilizer.

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Here’s how you whip cream by hand:

  • Take some cold heavy cream and put it in a metal bowl like this one.
  • Start whisking. You don’t have to whisk it crazy-fast or anything, just fast enough that you get some air incorporated.
  • Once the cream has thickened a bit, add in some sugar (superfine sugar is nice because it dissolves quickly), a pinch of salt and a wee splash of flavoring. Taste, and add a little more sugar if you need to.
  • Whisk until the cream is at the perfect thickness for what you want to do with it.

If you want more in-depth information, you can read my post on how to whip cream by hand.

As you can see, whipped cream isn’t really a recipe. It’s more of a technique.

It’s more about keeping things cold and whisking well and less about how many teaspoons of sugar you are using.

Here’s a tip for getting really dense, creamy whipped cream. I don’t think that many people know about this secret, so come a little closer.

If you whip your cream in the food processor, it will be dense and smooth and creamy.

You have to be careful, because the food processor is pretty harsh, and you could end up with butter if you don’t pay close attention.

I’m serious, though, guys–cream whipped in a food processor or with an immersion blender has a dense texture that you just can’t get when whipping by hand or with a hand or stand mixer.

Whipped Creme Fraiche

This is some seriously good stuff, folks.

While true creme fraiche is pretty pricey, a very reasonable facsimile of creme fraiche can easily be made at home.

  • Stir buttermilk and heavy cream together. For every 1 cup of cream, you’ll need 1 TBSP of buttermilk. We used to make a 12 quart recipe at the restaurants, so this formula scales up very easily.
  • Okay, so you just stir them together and let it sit out at room temperature, covered, until thickened.
  • This can take anywhere from 12 to 36 hours, depending on how much you’re making and on the temperature in your kitchen, so be patient.
  • Once your cream has thickened, refrigerate until cold.

The chilled creme fraiche will be pretty thick–almost like soft-serve ice cream.

Don’t worry, though. You can whip it just like cream.

When you start whisking, it will thin out and then start to thicken again. Use the same technique that you used for making whipped cream, above.

The tang of the creme fraiche is a nice complement to very sweet dishes and is a little more of an adult flavor.

Italian Meringue

This kind of topping won’t be as rich as whipped cream or whipped creme fraiche, but Italian Meringue is fat-free!

Here’s how to make it:

  • take a cup of sugar and put it in a pot with a little water, just enough to get it wet.
  • Heat and stir to dissolve the sugar, and then bring to a boil.
  • Put the lid on and let it boil for a couple of minutes to wash any sugar crystals off the sides of the pan.
  • Bring the sugar syrup up to 245 degrees, F. (PLEASE buy an instant-read thermometer!)
  • While the sugar is coming to temperature, in the bowl of your stand mixer, whip 5 egg whites together with a pinch of salt and either a teaspoon of lemon juice or 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar.
  • Whip the whites to medium peaks.
  • With the mixer on low, slowly and carefully pour the sugar syrup in a thin stream down the inside of the bowl.
  • Once you’ve added all the syrup, increase the speed to medium-high and whip until the whites are stiff and glossy and cool.
  • Flavor it with some vanilla or mint or lemon or any kind of extract.

At the restaurant, we used to pipe little dollops of Italian meringue on parchment and store them in the walk-in freezer. (They don’t get hard in the freezer, they just keep nicely).

Then, when it was time to plate, we’d bring out a frozen dollop and hit it with a torch to brown it. You don’t have to brown this meringue, though. It’s cooked!

Whipped Sour Cream

This Cool Whip Alternative is an easy topping with a slight tang. Here’s what to do:

  • Whip cold, heavy cream to medium peaks, and then add an equal amount of sour cream.
  • Continue whipping until nice and thick.
  • Sweeten, salt and flavor as desired.

Don’t think that you can mix the sour cream and the cream together and then whip them. It doesn’t work. Trust me; I know.

Make sure you bring your cream to medium peaks before adding the sour cream.

Silken Tofu Whipped Topping

This silken tofu Cool Whip substitute is a good one is for lactose intolerant or vegan folks.

  • In a food processor or blender, mix together a package of firm tofu (10.5 oz.), 2 TBSP sugar/brown sugar/agave nectar/what have you, a pinch of salt, and a wee splash of vanilla and lemon juice.
  • Blend or process until smooth. If it’s too thick, thin with a little soy milk and blend again. If you want it sweeter, add another TBSP or two of sweetener

Whipped Coconut Cream

Another option for our vegan or lactose-intolerant or vegan friends, try whipping coconut cream. 

  • Buy full-fat coconut milk and let it sit in the fridge upside down over night.
  • Carefully skim off the very thick cream, leaving the watery part behind (you can use it in your recipes–it’s great as a liquid in cakes or in Thai curries).
  • Chill and sweeten to taste.
  • Whip it for a few minutes using your stand mixer or a hand mixer and use immediately for topping…whatever.

Key lime pie seems a good bet. A hint of lime juice is great in this, by the way.

Sour Cream Topping

This Cool Whip substitute might be my favorite. It’s not whipped and poofy. It’s cold, dense, and creamy.

This is the sour cream topping that my mom bakes on top of the chocolate cheese birthday pie, and I love it.

All you do is add

  • 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 1/2 tsp vanilla per cup of sour cream.
  • Stir in a pinch of salt, and that’s pretty much it.

Let it sit for a few minutes so the sugar dissolves, stir it, and then you pour this on top of a just-out-of-the-oven cheese cake or a hot chocolate pie, put it in the oven for 5 minutes at 300 degrees, F, let cool, and you’ve got a fantastic tangy-sweet semi-set topping that, well, it’s just the best.

And that’s why I saved it for last.

This is also my preferred fruit dip, so rather than reaching for Cool Whip when you’re serving fresh berries, top them (or dip them in) this wonderful sour cream topping!

Ways to Make Your Cool Whip Alternatives More Interesting

Some other ideas for you:

  • try using brown sugar, agave syrup, honey or maple syrup in place of the sugar when whipping cream or creme fraiche or even your tofu
  • Add citrus zest or cinnamon or espresso powder. Give some thought to what you’ll be putting your topping on and use complementary flavors.
  • For a bit of texture, consider folding in some grated chocolate, cacao nibs, toasted and finely ground nuts (all depending on what you’re making, of course)
  • There is nothing wrong with just using a little vanilla. Sometimes, less is more.
  • Fold some thick fruit puree into whipped cream for a simple mousse or “fool.”

I really hope you find at least one Cool Whip substitute to love, you guys!

If you make one and love it, please share a photo with me before you devour them, either in the Pastry Chef Online Facebook Group or on instagram by tagging @onlinepastrychef and using hashtag #pcorecipe.

I’d also love to have you join my PCO newsletter, The Inbox Pastry Chef!

Thanks, and enjoy!

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103 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the Italian meringue idea… I have 2 children with dairy allergies… I think I will be able to fold this into recipes the same way you could whip cream or thawed cool whip… Opens up so many more possibilities as neither were going to work here! Plus I am addicted to meringue anything… Another style of meringue is always welcome- very welcome!

  2. Oh my…..super site and thanks for all the yukie Cool Whip options.  Only question I have is when a recipe calls for that YUKIE stuff mixed into the recipes ingredients can you use one of your options above.  Thanks for your reply.
    .

    1. I just saw your comment! Sorry to keep you waiting:/ Yes, you can use it the same way, although if using whipped cream, you might need to stablilize it a bit with some gelatin, depending on what you’re doing with it.

  3. If you’re looking for a true replacement, try TruWhip – easy as buying it in the store and all natural, especially if you use Cool Whip because it’s lower fat than whipped cream!

    1.  “All natural” means almost less than nothing. And the fat is about the last thing you should be worrying about in whipped cream. The sugar is the only problem.

  4. Wow, you sure have a good following.  Thanks for your. substitute for Cool Whip-I never did like it anyway.  I always felt I’ll take the natural stuff, for example sugar, eggs, etc until after I retired from teaching and discovered cholesterol is a problem, so now I spend a lot of time searching for substitutes for things I have used all my life.  I taught Home Ec in my district until they eliminated it-how stupid-but I ended up teaching elementary school until I retired.  Now the lack of Home Ec classes has come back to haunt school districts in the obesity rate of their students whose parents lack the Nutrition Fundamentals.

    1. I so agree with you–kids really do need to learn how to cook and eat healthy. It is a crime how many programs have been cut from the public school systems. I’m glad you found me.

  5. Hi, just found your Cool Whip substitutes – thanks for that!! I’ve come across Cool Whip in a recipe I really want to try but we can’t buy it in my country (which by the sound of it isn’t a bad thing!!) and I didn’t know what to use instead! 🙂
    It seems to be just like a sweetened whipped cream; do people not whip their own cream in America?? I definitely want to try it in a food processor though to get that dense, creamy texture, it sounds great!!! 🙂
    Thanks heaps!! 🙂

    1. Hi, Hannah–glad you found this post to be helpful! Many Americans do whip their own cream, but Cool Whip advertises a Lot and has helped to shape the belief that Cool Whip is Better than whipped cream. I’m trying to spread the word that it is NOT! 😉

  6. Hi – thanks for these great ideas! I am impressed since I didn’t want to have to use coolwhip for the frosting (and part of a filling) for a cake I”m making for a birthday. A few questions:
    – can I use gelatin from a jello packet? I’ve already bought 2 packets and I only need one – I’m planning on using the heavy cream suggestion and noticed you say to mix gelatin to help it keep it’s shape.
    – I’m intrigued by your sour cream suggestion – any way you can use plain yogurt as a substitute – more healthy than sour cream? I am just curious.
    – also, when you mentioned the silken tofu recipe (which I thought was the soft tofu) you actually go on to say use the firm tofu (which confuses me) – could you clear up which it is – silken tofu or firm tofu?

    I really like your post and excited there are many substitutes for the Cool Whip! Thanks!

    1. Hi there, Karen. Do you mean use flavored gelatin? I guess you could, but for me, the whole idea of using something other than Cool Whip is to get rid of all the fake ingredients–and the flavorings and colorings in Jello are suspect, at best. Having said that, it might be fun to have a colored whipped cream. I’m not sure what percentage of each teaspoon of Jello powder is actually gelatin–I would bet that there is lots of sugar in it. So, for regular gelatin, I usually recommend using between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon of gelatin per cup of unwhipped cream. With Jello packs, try 1-2 teaspoons of the powder and see what happens. Let the gelatin sit in a small amount of cold water or cream for about 5 minutes, then heat and stir until no longer grainy–don’t let it boil. Just hot. Whisk it in once you’ve beaten the rest of the cream to medium peaks.

      I’m not sure if you could use yogurt or not, actually. I’ve never tried. It would be worth a shot–both are tangy, so I bet yogurt would taste just as good. I’m not sure if it would set up the way the sour cream does, but it might be worth a test run. 🙂

      If I misspoke about the tofu, I’m sorry. I’ll go change that so it doesn’t mess anyone up. Use the silken tofu. 🙂

      1. Hi Again! Thanks for the suggestions – since the recipe I am making the cake is for an orange cake, that is why I asked about the flavored gelatin. I would agree that it probably isn’t the most healthy recipe, yet I can only “healthify” it so much without tossing it totally out and starting from scratch. : )
        I have tried plain yogurt in another recipe where the frosting called for sour cream (and I tried yogurt – actually worked out pretty well. I’ve been finding that yogurt is a pretty good substitute in some of those ways and I think the benefits of yogurt outweigh sour cream.
        Thanks for clarifying about the silken tofu. I’ve been using silken tofu in some smoothy recipes and it is wonderful (recipes that won’t work with my standby of yogurt).

        I’m in the midst of baking my orange torte (as I write!) and I will let you know how it worked out with substituting heavy whipping cream for the cool whip with stabilizing orange-flavored gelatin!

      2. Well, the cake turned out alright! I think I should have whipped my peaks for the whipped cream a little bit stiffer. I guess I forgot too that there wasn’t any sugar in there so it wasn’t as sweet for frosting (though the whole cake itself was very rich and so it was a nice offset). Thanks again for the suggestions!

      3. Glad it turned out! Next time, you could try adding a bit more gelatin as well as whipping to medium-stiff peaks. Sometimes it’s nice to have a less-sweet topping, and I’m glad everyone enjoyed it! 🙂

  7. I hate cool whip! However there is a recipe that I love for the summer that calls for cool whip (uugh) mixed with cream cheese, I want to try it with whip cream, should I mix it very stiff to keep it from fluffy or just medium? Thank you.

    1. I’m afraid that whipped cream would deflate when trying to mix w/stiff cream cheese. But don’t despair–you don’t have to use Cool Whip! I’d suggest using some room temp mascarpone cheese, which is similar to cream cheese but softer. It will even whip up a bit in a mixer. I’d whip cream w/some sugar to medium peaks, blend the mascarpone ’til smooth and then fold the two together. Hope that helps:)

  8. I’m so glad I found your article. My husband is allergic to coconut. For Easter my mother brought over ambrosia salad minus the shaved coconut so he could try it, well he liked it so much he had 3 servings and was sick as a dog for the next day. I later found out that coconut oil is an ingredient in Cool Whip and although he got sick he still wanted me to try something else in place of the Cool Whip, well Rediwhip wasn’t the same. So from now on I’ll be making my own whipped topping.

    1. That’s so great! When I wrote it, I honestly didn’t even consider food allergies, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m glad you’ll all be able to enjoy Ambrosia and other good stuff without having to worry about coconut oil! 🙂

  9. Hi, Thanks for the info in this article. I found myself making banana pudding at 10:30 at night, and no cool whip. Popped online and found this site quickly. Whipped heavy cream worked great for me, folded into a pudding/cream cheese/condensed milk recipe I have. Gave the concoction just enough oomph to stay fluffy, and that’s all I needed. Thanks!

  10. I can’t find anything about ratios. If a recipe calls for an 8 oz container of Cool Whip, how much whipping cream should I use? The Cool Whip container is measured by Net Wt. not volume so I’m not sure what to do. Help please.

    1. That’s a great question, Vanessa. You can generally expect whipping cream to expand to twice its volume when it is fully whipped, so the short answer would be to whip 4 oz (by weight) of cream (or 1/2 cup by volume). But, if you’re going to be folding the cream into another mixture, you’ll want to stop whipping at about medium peaks since the act of folding continues to work the cream. I don’t want you to end up with over-whipped cream (or butter–worst case!) Also, you’ll want to stabilize the cream while whipping–you’ll need 1/2 teaspoon of powdered gelatin–this is because whipped cream will begin to weep after awhile and can mess up the texture of whatever you’re making, especially if the original recipe calls for non-weeping Cool Whip.

      Sprinkle the gelatin over 2T. of your cream, stir and let sit until for about 5 minutes. It’ll be one big chunk of solid-looking cream. Melt it over medium heat, stirring until there it’s no longer grainy. Don’t let it boil–be careful, since it’s such a small amount of liquid. Cool to room temperature and whip it into the rest of the cream once it has reached soft peaks.

      1. Thanks for your help! That’s good advice and it sounds easy! I’ll be trying it out in a couple of hours for one of my dinner recipes.

  11. So glad to have found this!

    I’m one of those Americans who are living in a Cool Whip free zone. I’ve located a Strawberry Cheese Pie recipe (like a cheesecake, but not baked and a bit softer… long story, but I’m just trying to recreate a dessert that I used to get in a little cafe/restaurant about… oh…. 20 years ago! ) Anyhow! The recipe that I’m going to try requires Cool Whip….

    Now, you mentioned adding a tsp of gelatin to the cream as you blend it with the sugar…. how much cream are you talking about?

    Thanks so much! I look forward to wandering through the rest of your site!

    1. I’m glad you found me:) Start with 1 tsp powdered gelatin per cup of dairy and adjust from there. Just bloom the gelatin for about 5 minutes in a small portion of the cream, then heat the cream up just until the gelatin is all dissolved (no longer gritty). Cool it down to room-ish temperature and then whisk it in to the rest of the cream. Mmmmm…strawberry cheese pie! 🙂 Hope that helps–take care!

    1. I do not–I find that building a foam slowly, either by hand or starting on medium w/a whisk attachment/stand mixer set-up produces a much more durable, long-lasting, stable foam than a rapid whip. Although, for convenience’s sake, they are pretty sweet! 🙂

  12. Hi,

    I’m vegan, so your silken tofu substitute looks great – thanks! You talk about stabilizing whipped cream by adding gelatin (or gelatin substitute, I suppose, for vegetarians/vegans) – would this work with the tofu concoction, and if so, how much gelatin (substitute) would you add?

    Thanks!

    1. I think that agar would be your best bet for this. Unfortunately, I have never worked with it. I think you can find it in Asian grocery stores, and there are probably usage instructions on the back. Wish I could be more helpful, but it’s just not an ingredients I’m familiar with.

  13. I believe that Cool Whip is not available in every place where there are people who want to prepare a dessert, so there is a need to ask for a substitute. People like them are asking to be answered truthfully and not sarcastically and it is not their fault that recipes put Cool Whip as an ingredient, which for them is a foreign concept.

    1. Point taken, Drea, and it would have been really obnoxious if I had just made fun of Cool Whip w/o giving some options. I’ve given several options as Cool Whip alternatives, however, and therefore, I can sleep well at night. 🙂

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