Whipped cream is a fantastic treat for those who follow the ketogenic or low carb lifestyle. Heavy whipping cream, when whipped, only has a little over 3g of carbs per cup, with a whopping 44g of fat. I’m not suggesting you eat a pile of whipped cream with every meal, but for a quick sweet treat, you can top some strawberries or raspberries with a bit of whipped cream (even unsweetened), and have a wonderful dessert to satiate your sweet tooth.
Unfortunately, whipping heavy cream to a foam by hand takes a lot of effort, and even with electric appliances, it can seem to take forever, and sometimes it will collapse after just a couple of hours, making quick easy access to whipped cream just out of reach for many. There are a couple of sugar free commercial options available at retail grocery stores, but they often use highly criticized artificial sweeteners, various chemicals and stabilizers, or even worse, hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Luckily for us, there is a quick way to produce whipped cream that doesn’t contain any unnecessary ingredients, with minimal effort: the whipping siphon. The whipping siphon allows you to make a pint of whipped cream (or even a quart on some models) in seconds, and store it for immediate dispensing for at least a week. It’s really as easy as pouring in your heavy cream, screwing on a the lid, pressurizing it with a small nitrous cartridge, and giving it a few shakes.
While you can make plain old whipped cream with a basic model whipping siphon, the model picture above is the Gourmet model from iSi, which can be used to make hot or cold preparations, as well as handle thicker foams and mousses. The main reason I purchased the gourmet model was to make extracts and infusions (Madagascar vanilla extract, and cinnamon extract from real Ceylon cinnamon), which normally would take weeks or months to produce, but under the higher pressure within the siphon, similar effects can be produced in a matter of hours.
The key to the whipping siphon is the nitrous oxide cartridge. Nitrous oxide (N2O) easily dissolves into fat, which heavy cream has in abundance. While under pressure the cream remains a liquid, but when you pull the trigger to dispense the cream, the nitrous saturated cream is then exposed to a much lower pressure, and it rapidly expands, creating a foam. This is a similar principle to what happens when you shake up a can of soda and open it (in fact, you can also charge a whipping siphon with a CO2 cartridge to create sodas or infuse berries with a pop-rocks like sensation). This pressurized canister means that you can have whipped cream ready to be dispensed at a moments notice, ready to top some berries, yogurt, or chaffles (or just your tongue).
Some models also have various options for tips of different shapes to create different decorations with the foam, or injector tips so you can inject the foam into a food product. Overall, the whipping siphon is a very handy tool to have around, but what should you look for in a siphon? A quick search reveals a large selection of models, many of them being cheap Chinese aluminum canisters with plastic heads for $30 or less. I would avoid these at all costs, because we are dealing with a very dangerous pressure vessel, and usually the lowest cost option is not ideal. There are numerous cases of these cheap whipping siphons failing catastrophically and injuring or killing the user.
What to buy?
I would stick with a reputable brand such as iSi, who has been producing soda siphons and whipping siphons that are highly reliable for decades. They offer the Easy Whip for $60-70, which is an excellent solution for just whipped cream, but is not ideal for thicker foams and mousses, nor can it be used in hot applications. It is made out of durable stainless steel instead of aluminum, which reacts differently to being pressurized. While it does have a plastic head, it seems to be much sturdier than those found on cheap Chinese models. Probably the nicest feature is how easily the tip comes off for cleaning after dispensing (a quick rinse under hot water prevents a nasty buildup in the nozzle). While the Gourmet whip has more tip options, it is certainly more work to unscrew the tip, rinse it thoroughly and brush it with the included cleaning brush, and screw the tip back onto the dispenser. This is why I primarily use the Easy Whip for “every day” whipped cream, and reserve the Gourmet whip for extract making and thicker foams, such as a peanut butter whipped cream mousse.
The Gourmet whip is fairly expensive at around $120-150, but iSi also offers a model called the Profi, which can be found for $80-100, is nearly identical to the Gourmet, but can only be used for cold preparations. Additionally, you need to buy the canisters of nitrous oxide, called whipped cream chargers. Once again, I would recommend sticking with iSi brand. I have used Blue Flag and iSi chargers, and I noticed a slightly off taste when using the Blue Flag brand. A pack of 50 chargers will cost around $30-35, so you don’t really save all that much by going with a cheaper brand.
- iSi Easy Whip 1 pint – $69.99
- iSi Profi 1 pint – $104.95
- iSi Cream Chargers – 24 pack – 50 pack
- Get an additional 10% off at BakeDeco.com by signing up on their site!
How to use a whipping siphon:
Monkfruit Sweetened Whipped Cream
- Whipping Siphon
- 1 Nitrous Oxide Whipped Cream Charger
- 1 pint Heavy Cream (Must be at least 28% fat to work with a whipping siphon. Most heavy creams are around 36% fat.)
- 20 drops Liquid Monkfruit Extract (Sweeten to taste, I find 16-20 to be good, if have an extreme sweet tooth, 24-30 may suit your taste. Even without sweetener, whipped cream tastes good, and pairs will with already sweet foods.)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract (Optional, but delicious.)
- Pour heavy cream, sweetener, and vanilla extract into the whipping siphon.
- Inspect the silicon gasket in the head and screw on the head. Shake the whipping siphon several times to mix the ingredients.
- Insert a nitrous oxide charger into the carrier and install the carrier into the head, you will hear the canister pressurize.
- IMPORTANT: Shake the whipping siphon a MAXIMUM of 5 times for heavy cream. You should still be able to hear/feel liquid sloshing around inside the canister. Shaking the pressurized siphon excessively will produce a stiffer foam, which may be desirable (consistency similar to Ready Whip), but will leave a significant amount of whipped cream stuck in the canister.
- To dispense whipped cream, fully invert whipping siphon, note the feeling of the liquid cream shifting to the head. Depress the button or lever.
- If only gas comes out, give the siphon a single downward shake and note the feeling of the cream settling to the head. Do not shake the siphon in between dispensing, as this will cause the cream inside to thicken and more will become stuck inside the canister.
- Remove nozzle and rinse with hot water after done dispensing.
- Once all whipped cream has been dispensed, hold the lever or button to depressurize the whipping siphon. Unscrew the head and use a spoon to remove any remaining whipped cream (the more you shake the canister, the more there will be at this point). Rinse all components with hot water, use a bottle brush on the canister, and use the included brush to clean the tip and nozzle.