Substitute for Cool Whip

I try not to buy cool whip. Too processed for me. Anyone ever read the ingredients?

Water, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils are the first 3 ingredients followed by chemical terms. So basically it’s water fake sugar and oil. Bla. I don’t know about you, but I like eating real food, you know, the good stuff.

So, I was limited to what sweets I made. I mean, there’s so much yummy looking deserts that call for cool whip, and I had to turn them down. So I have been despertaly trying to find a substitute for cool whip.

So after some searching and experimenting, I’ve finally found it. With this recipe, it  doesn’t get watery, and holds its stiff shape, I would say, even better then cool whip. And tastes much much better, and it’s nice to know you’re not eating chemicals. It’s great for decorating cakes, cupcakes, pies, anything that uses cool whip really. 

There’s a couple ways to make it. One way is by using cornstarch and heavy whipping cream. You can check out the recipe here. I used it in my blinchiki. Although that recipe was great, it wasn’t perfect. The cornstarch didn’t dissolve, and it added a gritty feeling to the cream. 

So that led me to this recipe.Heavy whipping cream with gelatin. The perfect substitute for cool whip. I have to admit, between trying to put my kids to sleep and take photos of the cream, it took several hours. (Don’t you love it when every time you need to get something important done, that’s when the kids are cranky?) And even though the cream was out on my counter for several hours in this summer weather, it didn’t get runny. 

This recipe makes about 3 cups, which is equivalent to an 8 oz tub of cool whip. I used 1/4 cup of sugar, although I thought it was great, my husband said it needed more sweetness, so for those that like it really sweet, use 1/2 cup of sugar.Recipe adapted from:



1.5 tsp unflavored gelatin

2Tbsp cold water

1.5 cups cold heavy whipping cream

1/4-1/2 cups confectioners sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place your mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Heat water in a double boiler (or use a saucepan with a glass dish like I did).

While the water heats, add the gelatin into the 2 Tbsp of water, swirl it around, and let sit for about a minute, so the gelatin absorbs the water. 

Place the gelatin dish on top of the hot water, and stir constantly over low heat until gelatin dissolves and liquifies. Take off heat and allow mixture to cool for a few minutes, but no longer or it will set. 

*Update*  A super quick alternative to the double boiler, heat in microwave for about 30 seconds. 

Whisk heavy cream on high speed for about a minute. I strongly suggest a heavy duty electric mixer for the job. It’s truly a great investment. I can’t say enough how much I love mine.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract, and whisk for another minute. 

Add the gelatin slowly while whisking. Whip for another minute.

You’ll know when it’s done when the cream holds it’s peaks.

Priatnogo Appetita!

*UPDATE* I received comments asking if this recipe will hold up in dishes such as a trifle. So I made a brownie trifle using this recipe in place of the cool whip.  sub for cool whipAfter making it, it was left on the counter for about an hour before we left to church and then it was in the car for 3 hours in 48° weather. Then in a warm house for about an hour and finally in the fridge for 2 hours. So after 7 hours being in and out of the cold, we devoured it. I’d say it held up very well. Not a bit runny. The only difference I noticed was it got a little less”fluffy.”

I think it’s safe to say this recipe works in trifle desserts made about 7 hours in advance.

Substitute for Cool Whip

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Substitute for Cool Whip


  • 1.5 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 2 Tbsp cold water
  • 1.5 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2 cup confectioners sugar


  1. Place mixing bowl and whisk in freezer for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Add water and gelatin in a small bowl, mix, and let sit for a minute.
  3. Add mixture to double boiler and stir constantly over low heat until gelatin dissolves and liquifies. Or place in microwave for 30 seconds or until it liquifies.
  4. Take off heat and let cool for a minute.(Don't allow it to set)
  5. Add heavy cream to the slightly frozen mixing bowl and whisk on high speed for a minute.
  6. Add vanilla and sugar, whisk for another minute.
  7. Add gelatin mixture slowly while whisking. Whisk for another minute, until cream holds its shape.


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Comments: 60

  1. Pink Fluff - YelenaSweets June 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm Reply

    […] 8 oz package cool whip, softened (or use substitute for cool whip […]

    • Marilynn Mitchener March 27, 2014 at 10:13 am Reply

      I’m allergic to corn… all forms of it and these recipes include corn starch… Confectioners sugar — do you mean icing sugar because that also contains corn.

      • Yelena March 27, 2014 at 5:01 pm Reply

        Yes icing sugar or powder sugar. I believe there’s some companies that don’t add cornstarch to the sugar, I’m sure some health food stores might have those.

      • Sunny Rivers April 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm Reply

        Marilynn – For years I have made my own powdered sugar. I choose to use organic sugar, and then grind it in a seed grinder/coffee mill, or a high-speed blender. I have never had a problem substituting my own powdered sugar in a recipe.

        And thanks Yelena for sharing this recipe.

        • Yelena April 15, 2014 at 12:32 pm Reply

          Your welcome, and thanks for the advice! I was wondering if homemade powdered sugar can be substituted, but I’ve never made it so I wasn’t sure.:)

    • Marilynn Mitchener March 27, 2014 at 6:38 pm Reply

      I’ve checked with one health food store in our area (Canada) — part of the issue is that corn is permissible in Gluten free diets… I’m not aware,of any companies in Canada who make icing/confectioners sugar that don’t add corn starch. I called Redpath… long ago and found that icing sugar is 5% corn starch. I can get very fine sugar without corn starch in it… but I wonder how well the recipe works without the corn… I’ve used tapioca starch in cooking.. perhaps that will work

      • Yelena April 2, 2014 at 12:07 pm Reply

        They also sell potato starch in our supermarkets, if you have that maybe that would be a great alternative, although I’m not sure if it will change the taste. You can also add more gelatin to the cream instead of using starch.

      • Yelena April 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm Reply

        I’m not familiar with tapioca starch, but sounds like a good alternative also.

  2. Nichole July 24, 2013 at 10:32 pm Reply

    Oh yes! I, too, have avoided making things because I refuse to eat cool whip. Gonna give this a whirl over the weekend. =) Thanks for sharing it.

    • Yelena July 25, 2013 at 11:34 am Reply

      You’re welcome, I hope you enjoy it.

  3. Nadia August 20, 2013 at 12:50 am Reply

    I totally understand you about the kids….Yeah and I try to substitute cool whip with whipped cream(heavy cream+p.sugar) Now I’ll try your recipe for it.Thanks.

    • Yelena August 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm Reply

      I’ve used that before too, but it tends to get runny in some recipes. Although this way is a little bit more work, but I get no more runny frosting :) Your welcome!

  4. Donna August 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm Reply

    Just wondering if I can freeze & how long it will keep? Looks so much better than cool whip. Thanks

    • Yelena August 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm Reply

      Yes, I actually have some in my freezer now. How long it will keep? I’m really not sure, but to be safe, I’d say no more then 3 months. The longest I’ve had it in the freezer was for one month, and it still tasted great. Just thaw it out before using.

  5. Joy September 6, 2013 at 8:23 am Reply

    Have you used this as an ingredient and just as frosting or a topper? I want to make a layered dessert that calls for cool whip. Do you think this will work?

    • Yelena September 6, 2013 at 10:03 am Reply

      Yes I’ve tried using this instead of cool whip as an ingredient with good results. But most of the recipes I used called it in frosting or filling, so it depends on what exactly you are making, but I wouldn’t doubt that it will work. Give it a try.

  6. Cake Cookies September 6, 2013 at 11:57 am Reply

    […] like Cool Whip because it’s just too processed. So, I did a little Google searching and found this recipe for homemade Cool Whip. It’s basically homemade whipped cream with unflavored gelatin, which gives it a thicker […]

  7. Rose November 6, 2013 at 7:45 pm Reply

    I’m so glad you posted this! I guessed the gelatin & cream combo but not the other ingredients. Thanks.

    • Yelena November 6, 2013 at 11:39 pm Reply

      Your welcome! Glad the recipe helped :)

  8. Colleen November 12, 2013 at 8:23 am Reply

    I was thinking of making a trifle dish that usually calls for cool whip. Do you think that this will hold as well, with the layers of cake and pudding?

    • Yelena November 18, 2013 at 10:07 am Reply

      As much as I would like to say yes, I’m not 100 % sure. I’m actually planning on making a trifle soon and will be using this recipe instead of the cool whip, so I will let you know how it turned out as soon as I make it.

    • Yelena November 18, 2013 at 10:53 am Reply

      I’ve made the trifle this past weekend, and it turned out quite well. The cream did not run, held it’s shape for 7 hours, and did not mix into the pudding. The only difference I’ve noticed was it kind of “flattened” or lost a bit of its fluffiness towards the end (see pic above). We all loved it and it disappeared quickly. :) Hope this helps!

  9. Evalyn November 17, 2013 at 9:29 pm Reply

    I’m eager to learn how the trifle dessert held up with this recipe. I have many favorite dishes that I won’t make anymore because I don’t want all the hydrogenated fat and chemicals offered to us in Cool Whip. I’m putting this to the test. I’ll post how it turns out. Thank you soooooo much!!!

    • Yelena November 18, 2013 at 10:48 am Reply

      The trifle held up very well! I made it 7 hours in advanced and it didn’t get runny. We can finally make those dishes that call for cool whip :) I’d love to find out how yours turned out!

  10. Aurora November 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm Reply

    This looks marvelous, I’m yet to try and make this at home!
    Did you use powdered gelatin?
    Thank you so much!

    • Yelena November 18, 2013 at 7:29 pm Reply

      Thanks Aurora, yes I used Knox powdered gelatin.

  11. Lee November 25, 2013 at 12:16 am Reply

    Thanks for posting this recipe, gonna give it a shot at making it tonight as we need it for thanksgiving recipes. We moved from the USA back home to Australia and well… Us Aussie’s don’t have Cool Whip and it’s kind of a vital ingredient for the kids beloved Frogs Eye Salad. Hopefully this one is the recipe that will give them that. :)

    • Yelena November 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm Reply

      Your welcome, sounds like fun salad, I hope this recipe works in the frogs eye :) don’t want to let the kids down!

  12. Jada Vaughan November 26, 2013 at 9:04 pm Reply

    Will this work in a fruit salad that is truly held together by cool whip?

    • Yelena November 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm Reply

      That I don’t know. I will have to do another test run and find out.

  13. Tracy Nina Singer January 6, 2014 at 12:58 am Reply

    Will this hold up in 4 ingredient cheescake?

    • Yelena January 6, 2014 at 1:04 am Reply

      Yes I think it will, I just read some of the comments for that recipe and someone made it with 2 cups fresh whipped cream, with success!

  14. Dorthe January 8, 2014 at 11:40 am Reply

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I refuse to use Cool Whip for its list of harmful ingredients.
    I´m going to use this as a substitute for my husband´s birthday Coconut Sour Cream Cake.
    I´ve avoided hydrogenated fat now for almost 17 years.

    Finally the food manufacturers are seeing that people are becoming more enlightened and choosing more healthful foods. I was recently at a Publix Food Store and they have labels which indicate which foods are Gluten free and which contain only ¨natural¨ingredients. Nice surprise.

    • Yelena January 8, 2014 at 2:53 pm Reply

      Yea, it’s nice to see people are realizing what harmful chemicals are in their food, and it’s nice to see more healthy options in our supermarkets. But I still read the labels even if it says “natural ingredients” you never know…hope you enjoy the recipe! :)

  15. Ann-Kristin January 15, 2014 at 4:59 am Reply

    No Cool Whip in Italy – I always skipped recipes asking for it, today I had some time and because I really liked the look of a cake I found on the web, I did a search and found your tip Yelena! Thanks so much – you do confirm my suspicion about CW … chemicals, processed food … Now I will try out your homemade stuff, it sounds fantastic :-)
    PS In case you wondered: Ann-Kristin is not an Italian name, I’m a German expat who really loves creamy cakes and things like that – the Italian cuisine is world famous, but not really where confiserie is concerned ;-)

    • Yelena January 16, 2014 at 9:25 am Reply

      That’s great! I hope your cake turns out delicious. :)

  16. Kirsten January 25, 2014 at 8:56 am Reply

    I’ve folded this into peanut butter pie. It’s pretty stiff and I maybe would back off the gelatin just a touch next time… that said, can’t go wrong with a frozen peanut butter pie. I’m glad to find something that will hold it’s shape!

    • Yelena January 26, 2014 at 10:17 am Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, peanut butter pie with whipped cream sounds so good!

  17. Ginny March 16, 2014 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Have you tried any of the flavors they have now with cool whip with your version. Like chocolate or strawberry.

    • Yelena March 16, 2014 at 10:07 pm Reply

      I’ve never tried it, but it sounds like a great idea. Maybe I’ll put cocoa powder in the whipped cream next time :)

  18. Susan April 9, 2014 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Thank you so very much. I hated buying cool whip because of the chemicals. I really appreciate a natural substitute. I’d love to see the recipe for your brownie trifle. S>

    • Yelena April 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm Reply

      Your welcome, hope you enjoy it! I am planning to post it in the future :)

  19. Elaine May 23, 2014 at 11:01 pm Reply

    I’m trying this in pistachio salad (pudding mix, pineapple, marshmallows, sour cream cool whip)! What do you think?

    • Yelena May 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm Reply

      The combination sounds amazing, I have no doubt the whipping cream would fit right in.

  20. Jacquie hughes June 10, 2014 at 12:25 pm Reply

    Hi thanks for posting this I’m going to try it for a oreo cake for my sons bday hope it works as I can’t buy cool whip here

  21. Nicole June 24, 2014 at 8:03 pm Reply

    Hi there, I just tried this recipe and as soon as I put the gelatin mixture in, it turned into a clumpy gloppy mess. What did I do wrong? What a bummer.

    • Ginny Shuflin June 24, 2014 at 8:15 pm Reply

      I make this all the time, maybe the gelatin was too hot for putting in the whipped cream. I also let is drizzle down the side of the mixing bowl with the beaters going about half speed, then mix on high when all the gelatin is mixed in. I use the microwave and don’t use 30 seconds, just until the mixture is liquid, then I constantly swirl it in the container to cool it and keep it from setting up. Do you freeze the bowl? That also helps to cool the gelatin when it drizzles down the sides of the bowl. Keep trying, it is amazing.

    • Shayla Mills February 27, 2015 at 2:19 pm Reply

      I just did this same thing :( Gotta try again. Boo

  22. Nicole July 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm Reply

    I just made this for a no bake cheesecake for 4th of July. It came out AMAZING and without that too sugary taste. Nice to have some left over to have on hand. I don’t think I’ll ever buy Cool Whip again!

    • Yelena September 14, 2014 at 9:50 pm Reply

      Wow nice! Thanks for the feedback.:)

  23. Gabi July 2, 2014 at 10:36 pm Reply


  24. Lynette Kingipotiki August 2, 2014 at 4:40 am Reply

    Hi I am from New Zealand, so cannot get half the items for reciepes, so just stopped making anything. Thank you thank you so much for this recipe for cool whip. Thank you again.

    • Yelena September 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm Reply

      Your very welcome, glad to be of help!

  25. Nancy October 1, 2014 at 9:25 pm Reply

    I’ve tried this twice, and it never works, help? the cream is cold (+2hrs in freezer), bowl and mixer too. But, no matter what i do, or how long i mix it, it simply doesn’t work.

    • Yelena October 2, 2014 at 10:16 am Reply

      I’d love to help you, what happens to the cream? Does it still stay in a liquid form? Or does it get clumpy?

      • Ginny Shuflin October 2, 2014 at 10:21 am Reply

        Yelena, it looks like she said she is freezing the cream. I understand freezing the bowl and whisk, but not the cream. If she is freezing the cream she could be breaking it and it will never turn into anything, except maybe butter.

      • Nancy October 3, 2014 at 11:39 am Reply

        It get a little thick as I whip it, but as soon as I stop it falls back to slightly thick liquid, no matter how long I whip nothing happens, I use a hand mixer, I don’t think that should matter. The cream is not frozen just very cold.

        • Yelena October 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm Reply

          Hmm, I’m not too sure what’s going on. Try buying a different brand heavy whipping cream. Not all heavy cream is made the same. I’ve made it with the walmart brand and although it whipped up, I wasn’t too happy with the results. Hope it helps!

  26. Kristina November 24, 2014 at 2:01 pm Reply

    I have a fruit dessert that requires about 9 oz. of whipped cream in it. Would this hold up for that type of dessert? It’s fruit, cream cheese, and whipped cream, then frozen until served.

  27. Tina December 4, 2014 at 1:12 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing healthy. My grandma used THIS VERY RECIPE as sub for whipped topping. More healthy and she loved to make all things from scratch. Good to see that THE OLD FASHIONED HAS COME TO THE NEW AGAIN!!

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