This Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream recipe is a healthier, dairy-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free topping. Made with canned coconut milk, the whipped cream is fluffy, creamy, and perfectly flavored with vanilla.
coconut milk whipped cream
Aside from the fact that this Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream recipe is on the healthier side, there are three main reasons why I make this vs. dairy whipped cream:
- Thick – I find whipped coconut cream to be thicker than dairy whipped cream. Likely because you start with thick coconut solids. Whereas dairy whipped cream gets its volume by merely whipping air into it.
- Creamy – Because we start with a creamy solid, the end result stays creamy.
- Stays Thick and Creamy – Whipped coconut cream holds its shape days after whipping it. Whereas, dairy whipped cream may start to ‘weep’ and loosen after a few hours.
What is Coconut Cream
Solid? Say what?! Yes, this fluffy goodness starts off as a solid – kind of like butter. The coconut cream comes from a can of unsweetened coconut milk (or coconut cream – I have found both work well).
The solids from the coconut separate from the liquid in the can and rise to the top. This is the part you scoop out and whip up. If you are in the store and you see cans of unsweetened coconut milk AND unsweetened coconut cream, both work.
I honestly have not found a real difference between the two. The can of coconut cream may have a little more coconut solid but still is solid on top with liquid on the bottom. So, I stick with the can of unsweetened coconut milk because it is a little less expensive.
What Kind of Coconut Milk to Use to Make dairy free whipping cream
I have brand recommendations below, but there are 2 key things to keep in mind when purchasing coconut milk to make Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream:
- Canned Coconut Milk – Or canned coconut cream. Either will work. Do not use carton coconut milk. We need coconut solids that only come in a can of coconut milk.
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk – You will see cans of Cream of Coconut. This product is typically used to make Pina Coladas, or I have also seen it in coconut cake recipes. This can of coconut milk is heavily sweetened and will likely not whip up.
Coconut milk Brands I recommend to Make Whipped coconut Cream
- Good and Gather from Target – It whips up nicely, is thick and creamy, and I successfully use it to make frosting and whipped cream. Pros: not a strong coconut flavor and contains guar gum. Cons: it can be hit or miss on how much coconut solid you get from can to can.
- Simple Truth Organic from Kroger grocery (i.e. King Soopers, City Market) – This brand has all the same features as Good and Gather.
- Thai Kitchen from Walmart or Amazon – This used to be my go-to, but it has become harder to find. It whips very light and fluffy. Pros: not a strong coconut flavor and contains guar gum. Cons: some may find the texture chalky, but I find this unnoticeable when whipped into frosting or whipped cream
- Native Forest Organic Coconut Cream from Whole Foods – It whips up nicely but has a little coconut flavor. Pros: comes in smaller 5.4 ounce cans (great for small batches!). Cons: It does have a pronounced coconut flavor.
Tips For Making Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream
- Refrigerate the can of coconut milk overnight – Whatever brand you choose, you are more likely to get good separation of solids and liquid when it is cold.
- Use coconut milk that has guar gum – Guar gum acts as a stabilizer in a can of coconut milk, which I find helps the coconut to whip up creamier and thicker.
- Do not shake the can – We are only using the coconut solids from the can. Shaking the can defeats the purpose.
- Use a stand mixer – A hand held mixer will work as well, but I like to make my life easier and let my stand mixer do the work!
- Sweeten as you like – I am a big maple syrup advocate because it is lower on the glycemic index. I have used honey and even powdered sugar.
- Refrigerate the whipped cream – The topping will set up even more when it is refrigerated.
- No ‘Lite’ – I do not recommend ‘lite’ coconut milk or cream as it does not whip.
- No ‘Cream of Coconut’ – This is what is typically used for Pina Coladas. There is a lot of sugar in it, and it probably won’t whip.
Cream of Coconut vs. Coconut Cream
You may see cans of ‘cream of coconut’ near the coconut milk/cream cans. We do not want to use this to make whipped coconut cream. They are not the same.
- Coconut Milk/Cream – Coconut milk (or cream, depending on the can you select) is thick, unsweetened and contains only coconut and guar gum.
- Cream of Coconut – Save this for Pina Coladas! Cream of coconut contains sugar, water, and a handful of other ingredients. The consistency is like syrup, and the coconut and liquid does not separate when refrigerated.
Maple Syrup as a Sweetener
Keeping with the healthy(ier) theme, I use pure maple syrup to sweeten the whipped cream. This adds another flavor layer to the vanilla. You can also control the amount of sweetness with the maple syrup. Sometimes I use one tablespoon, other times I will use two. It just depends on your taste and what this fluffy wonder will be topping.
The maple syrup also acts as the liquid you need to loosen the coconut solids, but you may also need some extra liquid – depending on how much of the coconut liquid from the can accompanies the solids when you scoop it out (it will happen, and that’s ok). Drop in teaspoons at a time until the coconut solids start to loosen.
What to do with leftover coconut milk
Depending on your can of coconut milk/cream, you may have some extra liquid in the can after you scoop out the coconut solids. A few ideas on what you can use this extra coconut milk in:
- Add it to your morning smoothie. Probably the easiest way to use the coconut liquid!
- Use it as part of the liquid in overnight oats or chia pudding.
- Add it to your favorite soup or stew recipe.
- Freeze it in ice cube trays and add to your lemonade, or in a dairy free float recipe.
- Use it as the liquid to make icing for a lemon loaf or Christmas cookies.
more whipped coconut cream recipes
The great thing about whipped coconut cream is you can add any flavor you like to make a great whipped topping! Try some of my other recipes!
Vanilla Whipped Coconut Cream
- 1 can (13.5 ounce) unsweetened canned coconut milk or cream, full fat (recommendations in the Blog Post)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (or any sweetener)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Refrigerate the unopened can of coconut milk overnight.
- For best results – Place a small mixing bowl in the freezer for 20 – 30 minutes before you begin to make the whipped cream.
- Open the can of coconut milk, being careful not to shake it! The coconut cream solids will be at the top of the can. Scoop out the coconut solids into your chilled mixing bowl.
- Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Use a hand held mixer (or stand mixer) fitted with the whisk attachments and start on low-speed to break up the coconut milk solids. Then turn to high-speed and beat until soft peaks form – about 3-5 minutes. Note – If the mixture is still too thick and the coconut solid is not breaking down, add some of the coconut liquid from the can, one teaspoon at a time. Any remaining coconut liquid can be saved for smoothies!
- Add additional maple syrup as needed to sweeten to taste. The whipped cream is ready to use right away, or can be covered and refrigerated. Enjoy!
- Coconut milk brand – Recommendations are in the Blog Post.
about the author ...
I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!
I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!