If you think whipped cream dispensers are all fluff, then you may want to think again. If you already have one, then you probably already know how “in-“dispens-“able one can be in your kitchen. If you don’t already have one, it’s probably because you didn’t know how useful and inspiring they really are.
The most obvious use would be, of course, making and dispensing whipped cream. Once you’ve made the leap between store-bought whipped cream in a can and fresh homemade whipped cream made from your own dispenser, you will probably find yourself wondering why you didn’t get a dispenser sooner.
If you want to try making whipped cream yourself, you’ll need 1-1/4 cups of fresh, organic whipping cream, one vanilla pod and some confectioner’s sugar. Put the cream into a bowl; cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and put them into the cream. With a willow whisk, beat the cream – generally it takes about 10 minutes – until you get soft peaks. Gently stir in sugar to taste. That‘s it! It’s a bit of a workout, but in the end you’ll have the original Chantilly Cream. Just make sure to stop when it reaches the right consistency or you’ll get butter, which might not be a bad thing, either.
Butter forms when the fat droplets in the cream begin to stick together, which is caused by overbeating. As air is beaten into the cream, a colloid forms throughout the cream. This is what makes the cream stiffen and peak. Beating it too enthusiastically for too long destroys the colloid, the fat droplets bind together and the whipped cream becomes butter.
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Hand-made whipped cream generally stays lofty for an hour or two. After that it liquefies again. In the 1800s they used to get around this by adding gum tragacanth or whipped egg whites. Nowadays, stabilizers like gelatin and disphosphate are often added.
It was about the late 1800s that mechanical inventions, including centrifugal separators that extracted the cream and left skim milk, began to be used to speed and refine the process of making whipped cream.
In the 1930s a man named Charles Getz worked with two inventors, G. Frederick Smith and Marshall Reineke, to create a whipping siphon that revolutionized the industry. Its claim to fame is nitrous oxide gas, which was driven under pressure into the butterfat. When the pressure is removed, the gas leaves the butterfat and forms the bubbles that give the cream its body. The result is the more stable, durable whipped cream that most of us know today.
There are also imitation whipped creams. This fact leads us to why you might want to consider adding a whipped cream dispenser to your own kitchen tool kit. If you pick up a container off of the store shelf and read the ingredients, you’ll find that not only are there usually no dairy ingredients: there are a lot of other not-so-healthy ingredients like hydrogenated oils, preservatives, dyes, etc.
If you want to try making it the old-fashioned way, you should start with the highest-quality cream possible, hopefully organic, since this really is all about quality. Put it into a bowl and chill it to under 50-deg F. Beat it with a whisk until peaks form and it’s the right stiffness. Just remember there’s a fine line between perfect consistency and butter, so you might want to be careful to watch it diligently and not overbeat it.
You can also make it in a cocktail shaker. As long as the temperature is chill, it’s just a matter of pouring the cream into the shaker and shaking until you get whipped cream.
Homemade whipped cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, so you can make as little or as much as you like.
What do you use it on? The sky’s the limit. Almost everything can benefit from a dollop of whipped cream, including pumpkin pie or chocolate mousse, which both can be made with whipped cream as an ingredient.
Whatever you choose to do, there’s no question that making your own whipped cream produces a lighter, fresher and cleaner-tasting whipped cream that’s far superior to anything you can buy at the stores.
With all of these options, there are two reasons why you might still want to go with a whipped cream dispenser: but not just any dispenser. You’ll want the best whipped cream dispenser. Number one: you’ll get consistent results. Number two: it’s a lot less work. And you may find that once you’ve had homemade whipped cream, you just won’t ever want to go back to the store-bought version.
And this is where the fun begins. With your own whipped cream dispenser, you can make savory or sweet whipped creams and infuse them with chocolate, coffee, aromatics or even alcohol if you like. Other choices might include vanilla, almond, orange or even spices like cinnamon or cardamom…even herbs and seasonings.
You’ll be whipping out toppings for ice cream, nitro coffee and specialty coffees, frappes, shakes and lattes, savory and sweet sauces, soups, all kinds of desserts and like we already mentioned, butter. You’ll be having a blast.
What makes a good whipped cream dispenser? As we attempt to determine which ones are the best, we’ll be reviewing seven and comparing them for quality, features and affordability. We’ll be listing pros and cons and giving you our honest opinion on which are the highest-quality deals, as well as helping you sort through them and find the one with the features that you need.
Each of these models uses nitrous oxide (N2O) canisters to create the bubbles that double the volume of the cream and let it remain stable.
First, your dispenser needs to be well-made and durable. (plastic? Metal? Stainless steel? Aluminum?)
Next, ease of use. (dispense lever? Button? Switch? Manual pressure?; installing and removing canister)
Ease of maintenance. (taking apart, cleaning, putting back together; replacing parts, buying canister refills)
Capacity (for large groups, small personal, family-size, commercial)
FEATURES: Includes 3 stainless steel tips and 2 Cleaning brushes: one for dispenser, one for tips
MATERIALS: Aluminum-steel dispenser and head, stainless steel decorating tips
CAPACITY: 1 pint
PROS: We like the high-quality materials and construction. Customers are impressed by its reliability and ease of maintenance and getting replacement parts. In one case, a customer experienced stripping of the threads on the charge-holder, contacted the company, and the a new replacement part was sent by the company with no questions asked. This dispenser is an excellent choice for the price.
CONS: The stainless steel tips have been known to come loose, which allows whipped cream to come out around the base instead of the tip. Also, the aluminum charge-holder threads can tend to strip, and are less durable than plastic ones. An added disadvantage to this issue is that there could be small metal filings as a result of the stripping.
FEATURES: Works with both hot/cold liquids, ergonomic charger holder, easily cleaned –
MATERIALS: Stainless Steel canister, heat-resistant silicone gasket
CAPACITY: 1 quart
PROS: We like its construction which accommodates small chunks of foods like fruit when you want to carbonate it. Customers also like it for its solid construction and powerful performance, its ability to work with different kinds of chargers, and its capacity to produce and hold larger amounts.
CONS: Individual replacement parts are expensive. Customers have had to go to other companies to get the same part at a reasonable price. One example is having to do this when the gasket near the N2O charger gets worn, in to avoid having to buy a whole new head just to get a new gasket.
This one is an investment, but if you’re up to it, it’s a good call. It sits stably on your countertop, has a solid touch, looks professional and does what it does without apology. With double-insulated stainless steel construction, it can serve as both warmer and cooler for whatever you have in it.
FEATURES: Sealed hygienic container, double-walled vacuum insulation, stainless steel, keeps hot contents warm for approximately 3 hours, cold contents for approximately 8 hours. Includes non-slip drip tray, metal decorator tip, charger holder, dust cap, cleaning brush. Dishwasher-safe.
MATERIALS: Stainless Steel
CAPACITY: 1 Quart
PROS: We like the stainless steel double-walled vacuum insulation, which is definitely a boon for busy cooks who may not have the time to attend to it in the midst of getting everybody fed. The time factor is important for when you may have an event that lasts for hours. We also like it for its looks, ease of use and its durability.
CONS: The price is more than likely to put this item out of most people’s reach. Also, at this price, it seems that there might be some room for at least one or two more decorating tips or injector to be included
FEATURES: -Built for commercial use but also ideal for home chefs
-Includes 3 Decorating Nozzles, 4 Injector Tips & 5 Colored Silicone Grips
MATERIALS: 304/18-8 Food-Grade Stainless Steel Canister
CAPACITY: 1 Pint
FEATURES: Matte aluminum finish, durable body and head, includes 3 nozzle tips, cleaning brush
MATERIALS: High-quality commercial-grade aluminum that doesn’t hold odors or react with acidic foods, stainless steel piston, reinforced aluminum threads
CAPACITY: 1 Pint
FEATURES: Includes 3 decorating tips, bonus free recipe book
MATERIALS: Aluminum canister/head
CAPACITY: 250 mL (1/2 Pint)
FEATURES: Strong, durable, lightweight, universal 8-gram N2O charger compatibility, includes 3 decorative tips, spare N2O charger holder, silicone gasket, storage bag and free recipes. Leak-free reinforced aluminum threads. Also makes scrambled eggs and butter. Black satin finish.
MATERIALS: Aluminum body/head
CAPACITY: 1 Pint
History of Whipped Cream
The rich history of shipped cream is a long and fascinating one. (source: foodandwine.com article: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cream). Whipped cream, also known as Chantilly Cream, has been around for at least 400 years. Old recipes dating back to 1549 in Italy and 1604 in France refer to it as “milk snow” (French, “neige de lait” and Italian, “neve di latte.”) It appears possibly to have been used in English recipes as well. In 1545 “A Dyschefull of Snowe” included egg white and rose water as flavoring. Milk snow was a fluffy concoction made from milk, beaten with willow twigs until it became aerated and held a shape. An English claim that whipped cream took its current name in 1673 misses a reference to a French recipe book from 1629 that tells how to make cream for crème fouettée, meaning beaten or whipped cream in French. (Source: thegoodlifefrance.com – History of Chantilly Cream).
There is also a story behind the creation of Chantilly Cream. It’s about a French chef named Francois Vatel who was charged with preparing the food for a three-day-long party for Louis XIV, The Sun King, in honor of his inauguration. Apparently a lot of the dishes he had planned to use called for cream, and in the middle of the party supplies had run out and the delivery of cream he had been expecting didn’t arrive. (Another version says it was red meat.) (Source: en.Chantilly-tourisme.com/Gastronomy/Chantilly-cream/the-Chantilly-cream-real-history). As this version of the story goes, the shame and embarrassment overwhelmed him and he committed suicide — but historians refute that.
Other accounts have him as the long-forgotten and overlooked chef who invented the boxwood-whisked cream that he was later to develop into the famous sweetened Chantilly Cream.
You may be familiar with the film, The Man in the Iron Mask, which was a fictional version based upon the true story of Nicholas Fouquet, Louis XIV’s finance minister. This version is much closer to the truth, and unfortunately a bit darker considering that there was a real-life story behind it. In this version, Vatel was a minor detail, as was the whipped cream. He or another would have been the chef who handled the party and wound up being sidelined by a much more pressing event: the scandal of the downfall of the party’s host at the hands of none other than Louis XIV himself.
Intrigue surrounded Louis, who was only 22 years old. One of those involved Nicholas Fouquet. In 1661, Fouquet threw a housewarming celebration at his lavish estate, Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte, with the King as the guest of honor. A minister who had the King’s ear envied Fouquet’s success and accused him of embezzlement in front of the King. Needless to say, the party ended badly. Fouquet was arrested on the King’s birthday, tried and sentenced three years later for the crime of embezzlement – actually committed by his accuser’s predecessor. He died in prison in 1680.
All was made right posthumously for Fouquet, but the time for Chantilly Cream had not quite arrived.
In 1671, according to still other accounts, Vatel created a fancier, sweetened version of whipped cream at the Chateau de Chantilly, owned by the Duke de Condé. Although it’s an interesting story, there do appear to be records from several years earlier about a concoction that was “light like snow,” made with vanilla and egg white and no sweetener. Chantilly Cream didn’t actually become known as such until a century after the ill-fated party. Before that time, it was strictly a savory concoction.
It only began to be sweetened in the late 18th century, where we find ourselves back on the grounds of Chantilly — this time at the Prince of Conde’s Hamlet of Chantilly. Chantilly cream was served at the Prince’s grand dinners after concerts. One of his guests wrote about the cream afterward, mentioning its sweetness in contrast to the creams that had been popular until then, known as “shaped creams.” (Source: Francetoday.com/ Crème de la Crème: the Origins of Sweet Chantilly).
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and that you now have a better idea about which may be the best whipped cream dispenser for you. Whipped cream has come such a long way over the past 400 years, and we hope to see it continue to brighten people’s tables and fuel their imaginations for another 400. What better way than to enjoy the real thing at home from your own whipped cream dispenser?