What Is Cool Whip? And Is It Whipped Cream?

When it’s time to celebrate a big milestone, from getting an A+ on a really hard assignment to finally signing those divorce papers, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a big old ice cream sundae. While there can be some arguments made about a few fringe sundae ingredients, the basics are not up for debate. You need to have ice cream. You must have chocolate syrup. There has to be a cherry on top. And that cherry sits on a pile of whipped cream or Cool Whip. But wait a second. Everyone knows what Cool Whip is, right? Is Cool Whip the same as whipped cream? What is Cool Whip made of? Is Cool Whip dairy free? Is it keto and gluten free? How long does it last in the fridge? What is Cool Whip? It’s very cool that you asked, because I’m about to whip up some answers.

What is Cool Whip? 

Let’s get this out of the way: Cool Whip is not whipped cream, it is imitation whipped cream. It was developed in the mid 1960s by George Lorant and William Mitchell. Mitchell was the food scientist responsible for Pop Rocks and Tang. Cool Whip was meant to be a whipped cream substitute that could be mass produced easily and stored longer as it was sold frozen and had to thaw before use. It was a hit for General Foods, later bought out by Kraft.

So, what is Cool Whip made of? 

A lot of stuff. The majority of Cool Whip is hydrogenated oil and high-fructose corn syrup, but let’s see what else is in there. According to the Kraft website, Cool Whip’s ingredients are water, hydrogenated vegetable oil (coconut and palm kernel oils), high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, skim milk, less than 2% of light cream, sodium caseinate, natural and artificial flavor, xanthan and guar gums, polysorbate 60, sorbitan monostearate, sodium polyphosphate, beta carotene (color). For comparison, whipped cream is usually made of milk, heavy cream, and sugar. 

Back when Cool Whip was first invented, it was dairy-free. But at some point, skim milk made its way into the ingredient list. Also, Cool Whip contains sodium caseinate, a milk-protein. So no, present day Cool-Whip is not dairy-free. That also means Cool Whip is not vegan. Cool Whip is not exactly keto friendly either. Keto diets usually avoid high fructose corn syrup. But it is low in calories, so depending on how strict a keto program is, a small serving of Cool Whip may work in a low carb/keto diet. Cool Whip is completely gluten free, though! 

How long does Cool Whip last?

Cool Whip can last a while in the freezer. You can freeze that bad boy and keep it for three or four months. Once it’s thawed, store it in the fridge for one to two weeks. An opened tub of cool whip can last in the fridge for seven to ten days. Unless it’s in my house, in which case it’s usually gone within an hour after opening. Cool Whip can be used as a topping on desserts, or dip some fruit like strawberries in there. People bake with Cool Whip and use it in all sorts of recipes. Or do what I do and just sit with a tub of it and scoop handfuls straight to your mouth. It’s an imitation whipped cream that doesn’t require whipping. It’s a marvel of modern science. And it’s delicious

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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