What Happens When you Put Whipped Cream in an Ice Cream Maker?

I've decided to start a new hashtag. My own hashtag. It is this: #whathappenswednesday . Because it seems that every Wednesday lately, I've been posting some sort of experimental recipe that began with the question "what happens..."

The most recent mystery that popped up in my mind was this: "what happens when you put whipped cream in an ice cream maker?". I'm not talking about whipping cream. I'm talking about whipped cream, as in, ready to use to top a sundae or piece of pie.

What happens when you put whipped cream in the ice cream maker and churn it?

I didn't know the answer, but I wanted to.

So in the name of education, I hastened to the grocery store to buy some heavy whipping cream.

And I whipped it, with normal whipped cream makings: some sugar, a touch of vanilla, and a pinch of salt. 

And then I transferred it all into the chilled drum of my ice cream maker, and let it churn.

When it finished churning, it looked something like this, and removed from the ice cream maker in a single unit. 

It had the consistency of soft ice cream, and was able to be spooned with an ice cream scoop. So I put it into a cup, added some rainbow sprinkles (NECESSARY)...

and took a big bite.

Well, no surprise here: sugar and cream and vanilla, all chilly and served with sprinkles, it was an instant classic, according to my mouth. It was thick but also somewhat light. It was like ice cream, but it wasn't. It was like whipped cream, but it wasn't that either. It had a consistency somewhat like mousse that you've left in a slightly too-cold fridge. I say this as a good thing.

Gosh it was good. 

I put a portion of the whipped cream-ice cream in the freezer, and a portion in the fridge. I also used a rubber spatula to scrape out the bits on the sides of the ice cream drum into their own cup and put these in the freezer. Look, you can see my reflection in the spoon as I was scooping here. Yes, my dress matched the sprinkles! Unintentionally, but this fact does not displease me.

After a few hours, the version in the fridge was sort of like wilted whipped cream--it still held a shape, but it was droopy. Not the same as regular whipped cream.

The version in the freezer had maintained its shape but had become very hard. When left to thaw for a few minutes, it came back slightly more rigid, but still just as delicious, flavor-wise. 

Interestingly, the little crumbles I scraped from the sides of the ice cream maker drum had remained flaky, and I thought, gosh, they reminded me of something. Then it hit me: they reminded me of butter that had been left in the freezer and how it flakes when you cut it. 


And then I had a big whammo moment: basically, what I had done here by churning the whipped cream was basically make a sort of frozen sweet churned butter.

Since I hadn't removed the solids from the whey like you would making butter, it remained lighter than butter, but still, it had sort of the same consistency. 

Frozen compound butter, whipped cream ice cream, frozen whipped cream, I don't care what you want to call it. It's suitable as a rich little dessert all by itself, or you could use it an alternative topping to regular whipped cream or ice cream. 

I am calling this experiment a success in sweet excess. 

Here's how you do it.

Ice cream-churned whipped cream

Makes 2 to 4 servings depending on how hungry you are - printable version here.

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar (or more, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • Rainbow sprinkles, for serving

Whip the cream until soft peaks have formed. Add the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Continue whipping until you've attained firm peaks.

Transfer the whipped cream to the drum of your ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer suggestion (I did about 15 minutes in my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker)

Remove from the ice cream maker, and serve immediately. Top with rainbow sprinkles (not optional).


Note: I suggest storing leftovers in the freezer in individual portions and letting them thaw slightly before eating. 

Hey, if you enjoyed reading about this ice cream maker experiment, you might like these experiments too:

What happens when you make Jell-o with evaporated milk?

What happens when you put Jell-o in an ice cream maker? 

Would you use this churned whipped cream as a dessert by itself, or as a topping?