Whipped Topping

  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup tap water
  • 1 cup instant non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice

First take the cup of tap water and pour it into a large deep bowl. Put this bowl of water into the freezer while you do everything else. I use a metal bowl because the water chills faster. Next place the unflavored gelatin into a small cereal bowl. Add one tablespoon of water and let is soften up. Add the boiling water to the gelatin mixture. Stir it with a fork for several minutes, to dissolve the gelatin completely. Let it sit and cool down some. Meanwhile measure the oil, vanilla and lemon juice all into a small container. Set it aside. Also measure the sugar and set aside.

When the water in the freezer has ice crystals forming on it, take it out and place it on the counter. Pour in a full cup of dry milk powder. Using electric beaters (you have to have electric beaters to make this recipe), whip the mixture at high speed until it forms stiff peaks. This will take a full five minutes.

Continue beating, and gradually add the sugar. When it is fully incorporated, gradually add the cooled gelatin mixture. When this is fully incorporated, gradually add the oil, vanilla, lemon juice mixture, in a small stream. The texture of the topping will change a little bit, becoming bright white and creamier. This is normal.

Now place the bowl into the freezer again for about 10 or 15 minutes. It will chill and thicken. Stir it with a wire whisk right before serving. You may serve it right away, or keep it in the fridge for a few days. Be sure to stir it before serving, because it tends to thicken up while it sits. Stirring it will make it creamy again.

I discovered a variation of this recipe as a teenager in a 1973 edition of The American Heart Association Cookbook. When I made it the first time, I was quite impressed with the results. Over the years, I modified the recipe, adding the vanilla and lemon juice, and increasing the recipe, to make enough for my large family. It doesn’t taste the same as the non-dairy whipped toppings you find at the supermarket. It actually tastes much better. The dry milk powder gives it a dairy flavor which, to my taste buds, is much more satisfying than the chemical fluff available in the freezer at the market. It costs about 60 cents to make. An equivalent amount from my store is $2.39. Big savings.

This recipe is quite easy after you’ve made it a couple times, and find the rhythm of it. Serve it anywhere you would regular whipped topping, and even use it in fancy pudding or gelatin creations. It holds up nicely. Great as a topping for Cream Pies. If you are trying to cut down on cholesterol, this recipe will work as well as real whipping cream on most deserts.

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Teresa - January 27, 2010

I followed the recipe exactly with the water in the freezer in a metal bowl, waited until ice crystals started forming, and added the cup of milk powder. After 7 minute + it still had not formed peaks. Any suggestion?!

    LeeAnn - May 28, 2013

    I never freeze mine, (my mom use to, It never worked for me.)
    I put it in my mixer. That worked for me.

Teresa - January 27, 2010

P.S. It made good ice cream, though!

Jennifer - April 22, 2010

I tried this recipe last night and thought is was awful! I don’t know if I did something wrong, or I am just not used to the taste of powdered milk. It tasted almost bitter. I was so disappointed as it looked so lovely! Any suggestions on how to make it better or what I might have done wrong?


Frab - July 1, 2010

can this recipe be frozen like the cool whip you buy?

mygang2000 - August 3, 2010

For my homemade whipped topping, I just buy the heavy whipping cream and beat with a wire whisk. Add a little vanilla flavoring and a little sweetner (either sugar or sugar substitute). Of course if you wanted a little homemade butter leave out the vanilla/sweetner and keep beating. It will start to seperate into butter and milk. Squeeze out the milk and you have homemade butter. Add a little salt if you prefer salted butter.

Selma - September 18, 2010

What’s the point of all that oil in the recipe? When looking for a non-diary topping, I’m trying to avoid the fat, not add more to my diet.

Mollie - October 1, 2010

This was a strange recipe that turned out surprisingly well. I added extra vanilla and sugar to mask the powdered milk flavor. Be patient with the whipping process; it takes a while.

Ainnl - March 13, 2011

I had the same problem as Teresa. I tried the recipe two times, and I didn’t get any peaks at all. I timed the beating so I am sure I didn’t beat it too little. After a while I just tossed it all in and stuck it in the freezer until it was the consistency of cream, then tried beating it again, to no avail.

I am wondering if the ingredients are especially touchy, but I have read similar recipes by other people and they have made substitutions (such as a non-dairy milk product) so it doesn’t seem as if it is that touchy, based on other peoples’ results. I am really wondering what I am doing wrong.

I tried olive oil one time, and peanut oil the next. I used Knox gelatine. For the milk I had to use a full-cream powder, as it is hard to find any powdered milk where I live: Nestle Nido. It is 3.7% milk fat when reconstituted, and consists of milk powder and .2% soya lecithin. I used fructose as the sweetener. Any advice for me from someone who has gotten this to work?

KarenLynn - July 3, 2011

I tried this recipe tonight and I followed the directions exactly although I actually let the water freeze and then thaw out on the counter. So my bowl was extremely cold! It turned out great!

Holden - November 1, 2011

how much gelatin should be added 1 packet = how many ounces?

    Sue - March 25, 2012

    @ Holden –My unflavored gelatin comes in a 4-pak totaling 1 oz., so I’d assume each packet is 1/4 oz.

    I let my water freeze around the edges of the bowl, then whipped in my Kitchenaid mixer on the highest setting with the whisk attachment for 5 min. and it turned out great. I even messed up and began to add the oil mixture before the gelatin and had to switch part way through but it wasn’t compromised. It doesn’t taste exactly like Cool Whip, but my teenaged son liked it very much! I think the secret lies in VERY cold water and really whipping it to incorporate the air needed to form soft peaks. I’m wondering about trying different extracts like coconut or orange.

Astheart - May 24, 2012

@Ainnl : Well, I wouldn´t use olive oil as it has its special flavor and I really don´t think it would go well with powdered milk and the other ingredients……

Isabella - June 20, 2012

Oh my, so good. I ate a full cupful when it was done. It wasn’t bitter as one poster found. It whipped up lovely and I can’t wait to actually use it on something later on today. It’s not whipped cream, to be sure, but such a great alternative. The recipe made about 9 cups of topping before it was stirred. One cup was approximately 146 calories. (This was measured before stirring as it loses some of the volume but becomes so creamy.) I am going to freeze some to see how that turns out and I’ll come back with the verdict.

Isabella - June 20, 2012

I froze some of the topping and it was still quite good. The taste was the same but it was not as thick.

Janet - September 24, 2012

To get something to whip (emulsify with air), it either has to be full-fat or non-fat. That’s why you can’t make meringue in a plastic bowl, because it is impossible to get the surface free of fats and oils. You can make whipped topping from heavy cream or from skim milk, but not 2% milk, whole milk, or half-and-half.

Use fat-free powdered milk, and use a sparkling clean glass or metal bowl and that should solve the problems.

@Selma – I believe the oil added at the end is a stabilizer. Try leaving it out if you plan to serve immediately.

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