Cooking Tips
Heavy Cream vs. Whipping Cream: What’s the Difference?
Whipping cream’s name doesn’t tell the whole story.
Danielle Lapierre

Whipped cream is convenient to buy at the store, but it’s also supereasy to make at home. Plus, you’ll notice the difference in flavor. But when you’re at the store, ignoring that can of the premade stuff, which cream should you buy? Heavy cream or whipping cream? The answer may seem obvious, but it’s not the one you think.

Believe it or not, there’s a big distinction between heavy cream (also sometimes called heavy whipping cream) and regular whipping cream (which can be known as light whipping cream). The distinction is the fat content. And the amount of fat can be the difference between a failed whipped cream and a stable one.

In order for your cream to hold enough air and become properly whipped, it needs to be at least 30 percent milk fat. So the less milk fat there is, the more unstable your whipped cream becomes. Heavy cream contains 36 percent or more milk fat, while whipping cream contains 30 to 36 percent. 

Cook’s Country discovered with their recent recipe for Failproof Sweetened Whipped Cream that heavy cream is the key to a whipped cream that is truly failproof. The heavy cream makes the final product thicker and more luxurious and helps it hold its shape longer. This is ideal if you want to save some for later.

When you use regular whipping cream, it will come together just fine, but you will notice a difference in texture, height, and stability. It will work if you’re eating it right away, but it probably won’t last long in the fridge.

All in all, if you want better whipped cream, skip the canned stuff and skip regular whipping cream. Heavy cream is key. Especially if you want a dollop that is worthy of an Instagram story.