Light and fluffy frosting that is entirely dairy free! Whipped coconut cream makes it possible to eat your cake and the frosting too - all without dairy. And it's also gluten-free.
This updated post was originally published in August 2015.
About Coconut Whipped Cream
Dairy-free whipped cream is totally possible. Whether you are lactose intolerant, vegan or paleo, homemade coconut whipped cream is perfect to frost desserts or add as a topping on drinks.
This coconut frosting is very easy to make. It uses only three ingredients, including coconut cream, maple syrup (or another sweetener), and vanilla. However, you can flavour it with other ingredients as well such as cinnamon, cocoa powder, orange extract, lemon extract, coconut extract, and more.
Coconut cream is naturally sweet with coconut flavor so it is a wonderful natural food to top delicious desserts with. It also has the unctuousness of a typical frosting, making it incredibly appealing for all dessert lovers, and an excellent replacement for the usual butter, cream, powdered sugar, and eggs that are typical components of frosting recipes.
Planning Ahead to Make Whipped Coconut Cream
A little bit of planning ahead is required when making coconut whipped cream. The base is a can of full-fat coconut milk that has to be refrigerated for 1-3 days.
If you ordered canned coconut milk online, you’ll first want to give them a rest in the pantry for about a week before moving them to the fridge. Even store-bought cans that got shaken up during the transport home benefit from a 24 hour rest period before refrigeration.
How the Refrigeration Process Works
While in the fridge, the lighter full-fat coconut cream separates from the water and solidifies at the top of the can. Once you open the can, the cream can easily be scooped off with a spoon and whipped into luscious airy clouds of heaven.
The remaining watery liquid doesn't have to be wasted. You can simply use it in your next smoothie or even freeze it until you are ready to use it for another purpose such as a coconut water lemonade, as a cooking liquid for coconut rice, or in frozen treats like ice pops.
Unfortunately, the separation of the cream and coconut water does not occur with some brands of coconut milk. This is because some brands use emulsifiers that are added to prevent separation.
I used to have the most success with Thai Kitchen brand (back in 2014/15), but not anymore. Instead, I now look for coconut milk brands that list coconut (extract) and water as the only ingredients.
Since we lived in Thailand I am especially impartial to Aroy-D brand. It was the most common brand there and being able to get it here as well makes me almost nostalgic.
Also, their coconut milk and cream is very reliable for making coconut whipped cream successfully.
Instructions: How to Make Coconut Whipped Cream
Once your coconut milk has chilled, you will be ready to make the coconut whipped cream. The next step will be to chill your mixing bowl and beaters for at least 30 minutes before whipping the cream. This can be a regular mixing bowl and beaters from an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer bowl and the whisk attachment.
Then add the hardened coconut cream, maple syrup, and vanilla to the chilled bowl before beating the mixture on medium speed until it is fluffy.
At this point, you can use the cream to frost cupcakes or layer cakes, or even spoon on top of hot chocolate. It would be particularly great on a coconut cake garnished with toasted shredded coconut.
Can I use Canned Coconut Cream Instead of Coconut Milk?
Yes, absolutely! When I first published this post (in 2015), coconut cream wasn’t too widely available in Canadian stores. If I could find any, it was usually tiny 4-ounce cans. Now that normal 14-ounce cans of coconut cream are much more common, I actually prefer using that for making whipped coconut cream.
The process is still the same. You still need to refrigerate the can of coconut cream because it still contains water that needs to be separated from the full-fat coconut cream. However, the benefit over using coconut milk is that there is much less water in coconut cream. As a result, each can yields as much as twice the amount of whipped coconut cream.
The other benefit is that coconut cream usually doesn’t harden as much as coconut milk when it separates. Sometimes barely any whipping is necessary to make light, fluffy whipped cream consistency.
What Brands of Coconut Milk Make the Best Whipped Coconut Cream
As mentioned above, any brand that uses nothing but water & coconut (extract) is your best bet!
- Aroy-D coconut milk or coconut cream is my favorite. They even make an organic version
- Another good one is Savoy
- In Canada I also like Real Thai brand
How To Use Coconut Whipped Cream
Your imagination is really the only limit. Wherever you would typically use whipped cream you can use coconut whipped cream instead.
1. My favorite way to use whipped coconut cream is as a simple healthier cupcake frosting. It’s one way to turn healthy muffins into fancier cupcakes worthy of a party. For that, I chill my reusable piping bag and a large star tip before filling in the whipped coconut cream frosting. You will want to work fairly quickly when piping the frosting so that the warmth of your hands doesn’t melt the coconut cream.
2. If strawberries and cream is a dessert you used to enjoy, now you can make strawberries and coconut cream!
3. And finally, whenever I make a healthier version of frappes I like to top them with coconut whipped cream.
How to Flavor Coconut Whipped Cream
You can use almost anything to flavor and sweeten coconut whipped cream. Again, just use your imagination!
I usually just use a little sweetener (like maple syrup, but you could also use powdered confectioner’s sugar) and some vanilla extract for flavoring. Meanwhile, a sugar-free sweetener alternative that I recommend is monk fruit syrup, powdered sweetener or even stevia. You can also add a pinch of salt to bring out the sweetness more.
If you would like to change the flavour of the coconut cream for other purposes, feel free to stir in your choice of flavor extracts or ground spices. How about muddled fruit like strawberries, lemon/lime juice, or even caramel sauce?! Cocoa powder or melted cooled chocolate would also be awesome to make whipped coconut cream chocolate frosting. Mmm…chocolate + coconut. Yum!
How to Store Whipped Coconut Cream
Unlike most buttercream frosting, this coconut cream needs to be stored refrigerated – unless it is winter and your kitchen's room temperature is quite cold. I recommend topping desserts or drinks only right before serving.
You can make the whipped coconut cream ahead of when you plan to serve it and store it in the fridge until ready to use.
How to Use Leftovers
If you happen to have any leftover coconut milk icing, it can be stored refrigerated for a day or two. After that, I freeze it in ice cube trays. The coconut cream cubes can be used in smoothies as a flavourful, frosty component, however, you can also thaw them in the fridge and then re-whip them to use as a frosting on desserts or add as a topping on hot beverages.
More Tips for Making Whipped Cream with Coconut Milk
If you want to get even more nerdy and learn nearly everything there is to know about full-fat coconut cream (the thick creamy stuff you can isolate from the top of either coconut milk or cream).
More Recipes You'll Love:
Whipped Coconut Cream
- 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk or coconut cream* chilled
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or other (sugar-free) sweetener to taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- optional: other flavor extracts ground spices (like cinnamon) or cocoa powder
- Chill the can of coconut milk for 1-3 days. The full fat coconut cream will separate from the water in the coconut milk or coconut cream. It will accumulate at the top and harden.
- Before opening the can, chill a bowl and the beaters of your electric mixer for about ½ hour. Open the can and scoop out only the hard coconut cream that should have settled on top**. Add the hardened cream to your chilled bowl. The remaining clear liquid can be used in, baking, smoothies, or discarded.
- Using a hand mixer, whip the coconut cream with maple syrup, vanilla extract and other optional flavors until fluffy.
- The whipped coconut cream should be stable enough to ice cake or cupcakes with. You can even fill it into a (chilled) pastry bag with piping tip, to frost cupcakes with fancy swirl patterns.
Products used to make this Whipped Coconut Cream Recipe:
Coconut cream may not whip if it hasn't been chilled long enough or if it contains too much liquid. Ensure the can has been refrigerated for 1-3 days and opt for brands without added emulsifiers.
Yes, when properly chilled and whipped, coconut cream achieves a thick, airy texture similar to regular whipped cream. The process of refrigeration separates the thick cream from the water content, resulting in a thick consistency when whipped.
Coconut cream serves as a dairy-free alternative to heavy whipping cream. It can be whipped to a similar texture and used in various recipes, providing a rich and creamy element without the use of dairy products.
Coconut whipped cream typically comprises chilled coconut cream, sweeteners such as maple syrup or powdered sugar, and flavorings like vanilla extract. It can be customized with various flavor extracts or ground spices for added taste.