How to fix whipped cream: A simple way to correct overbeating

If you’ve ever overbeaten whipped cream, you’re not alone. It only takes a few seconds of excess mixing to turn fluffy whipped cream into a dense, clumpy mess. The good news? You can learn how to fix whipped cream and save a broken batch in no time at all.

The next time you’re serving strawberry shortcakes or garnishing a pie with spoonfuls of whipped cream, you’ll end up with a perfect, fluffy topping. Even if the mixing gets away from you and the cream starts to deflate, you’ll know how to fix whipped cream with an easy, clever trick.

We’ll show you how.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Back to basics

If you’re looking for a quick refresher about how to make homemade whipped cream, start with our blog post: How to whip cream. It covers the basics you need to know, from the kind of cream to use, to when to add the sugar and vanilla, to stabilizing tricks for hot weather. Read this tip-filled post before you start making homemade whipped cream, and you’ll be primed for success.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Making whipped cream

Once you’re ready to make whipped cream, decide what consistency you’re looking for in the final topping.

Some people like whipped cream with soft peaks that’s practically pourable – this can be especially nice for strawberry shortcakes.

Other times you might want a relatively stiff whipped cream, say for spreading atop a chocolate cream pie that will be served in a few hours.

The final texture is up to you.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Whip for the right amount of time

The key to achieving the right consistency is whipping the cream for an appropriate amount of time.

Exact timing will vary based on the quantity of cream, the machine (or tool) you use, the speed at which you whip, as well as the temperature of the cream and mixing bowl. However, soft peaks will always take less time to form than medium or stiff peaks.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Watch the cream carefully as the mixer is running at medium-high speed, stopping it periodically to check the consistency. As soon as the whisk starts to leave tracks in the cream, pay close attention; you’ll soon see soft peaks.

Our Sift food editor, Susan Reid, encourages those who are new to homemade whipped cream to try whipping it by hand using a whisk for the first time. This will allow you to see the cream transform slowly in front of your eyes, and you’ll be able to recognize the stages of whipped cream development.

Once your whipped cream has the texture you’re looking for, stop mixing and serve it as soon as you can.

What went wrong with my whipped cream?

Fluffy, stiff peaks can turn into a dense, spreadable paste in just a few seconds.

It can feel like the cream takes forever to firm up. But once it reaches soft peaks, it progresses through the remaining stages rapidly. At this point, if you walk away from your mixer while it’s still running, you run the risk of overbeating your cream.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

This is what whipped cream looks like if you let it mix for too long. It deflates and starts looking clumpy and curd-like in texture.

Avoid stepping away from your mixer while it’s running. But if you do, and you return to a bowl of slightly yellow, clumpy curds of cream — don’t panic! There’s no need to throw away the entire batch.

What makes whipped cream “break”? The stable foam mixture made up of milk fat and tiny air pockets passes its peak of stability. Too much mixing causes the structure of the foam to break down, and allows the air to escape.

At this point, you may feel like your whipped cream is ruined. We’re here to tell you to relax! You can fix it.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

How to fix whipped cream

Most batches of overwhipped cream can be saved using this easy trick. Click To Tweet

With the mixer running at low speed, slowly drizzle cold, unwhipped heavy cream into the mixing bowl. Keep adding cream until the broken whipped cream regains its fluffy texture.

How much cream do you need to add to the overwhipped batch until it starts to come together? Well, that depends on how overwhipped your cream is.

If you’ve just let the mixer go for about 10 to 20 seconds too long and you’re barely beginning to lose some loft, you may only need a tablespoon or two of cream to return it to a fluffy, cloud-like texture.

On the other hand, if the cream looks heavy and has deflated entirely, you may need to add an additional 25% to 50% of the original amount of cream until it comes back together.

For example, if you’ve started with 1/2 cup (113g) of heavy cream and accidentally end up with an unattractive clumpy spread instead of whipped cream, measure out 1/4 cup (57g) of cream and add it slowly, pausing to check the consistency every 30 seconds or so.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

This whipped cream was “fixed” by adding more heavy cream after it was whipped too long. It’s not quite as light as cream that’s whipped perfectly from the start, but it’s certainly usable and delicious.

A few seconds at medium-high speed right at the end of mixing can help everything come together, but be sure not to overwhip your cream yet again!

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

This whipped cream is too far gone to try to return it to a whipped state. The mixture looks pale yellow and whey has begun to separate from the curds.

When you’ve gone too far

While it’s easy to fix whipped cream that’s been beaten for a minute or two too long, not all overbeaten cream is salvageable. If you’ve left your mixer running for a significant amount of time past optimum, then you might need to come up with a different plan.

If the cream at the bottom of your bowl has a yellow hue and looks paste-like and almost spreadable, then you’re on your way to making butter.

At this point, you might as well embrace it and get excited about your homemade butter!

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Continue beating your overwhipped cream until the butterfat starts to form solid clumps. You’ll notice a liquid that looks like watery milk starts to separate from the clumps of butter.

Beat the mixture a little longer until there’s a single mass. Pour off any of the liquid; this is essentially buttermilk. (You can use it in baking: try it in some of our favorite buttermilk recipes.)

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Fold the chunk of butter over onto itself a few times until it starts to look smooth. Then knead the mass gently in an ice water bath or fold it under cool water to remove excess liquid.

You’re done when there’s no more milky liquid coming from the butter when you fold or mix it.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

You can go ahead and use the freshly whipped soft butter as a creamy, decadent garnish for practically any baked good. You can even add a little salt or vanilla for flavor, if you like.

Refrigerate your butter, knowing that homemade butter has a much shorter shelf life than the store-bought variety; use it in about three to five days if possible. Otherwise, freeze it for up to a month.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Your takeaways: How to fix whipped cream

Remember these tips for making perfect whipped cream — and how to overcome the challenge of overbeating:

  • Whip your cream based on how stiff you want the peaks to be; stiff peaks take longer to form than soft peaks.
  • Don’t walk away from your mixer while it’s whipping the cream.
  • Fix overwhipped cream by slowly drizzling in liquid cream with the mixer running.
  • You may need to add up to 50% of the original amount of cream to the overwhipped batch before it comes together.
  • Make homemade butter if your mixture goes too far.

How to fix whipped cream via @kingarthurflour

Now that you know how to fix whipped cream, you’ll never need to fret if you let a batch mix a little too long. Bring it back to its lovely, luscious texture and serve your dessert with a smile!

(Or you can serve it with a pat of homemade butter instead!)

Tell us your favorite tips and tricks for fixing other culinary “disasters” in the comments, below.

Thanks to Jenn Bakos for taking the photographs for this post. Also, our thanks to Robyn Sargent, an instructor at our Baking School, for sharing the technique that was the inspiration for this post.

Kye Ameden

Kye Ameden grew up in Fairlee, Vermont and has always had a love of food, farms, and family. After graduating from St. Lawrence University, she became an employee-owner at King Arthur Flour and is a proud member of the Digital Marketing Team.


  1. Madeline Mirenda

    When you see it is going to be butter, you can add some finely chopped herbs and/or garlic or spices for delicious flavored butter.

  2. Kathryn

    I always put my bowl and beaters in the freezer before I make whipped cream. It seems to really help with speed and consistency!

  3. kevin

    do you know that heavy cream whipped to the point of butter can too be saved,
    melt over double boiler to combine milk solid and liquid, after completely melted , start to re whip by hand over an ice bath,

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      We haven’t tried this method of fixing overwhipped cream, Kevin. We’ll have to give it a try in the test kitchen and see if it works for us. It sounds like drizzling in some unwhipped cream might be a simpler option for those who are looking for a quick fix, but perhaps the melting method is a good option for those who whip their cream much too far. Thanks for sharing! Kye@KAF

  4. Linda J Gaeta

    wow! loved these articles and recipes, sorry I haven’t absorbed them earlier!

    now I wish I had cows again, would be making bread and butter daily, not such a novel idea either, I guess.

    thanks again!

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      Homemade bread and butter? What a treat! If you can find some fresh cream at a local farmer’s market and try whipping it yourself, you might find that it tastes *almost* as satisfying. We hope you give it a try! Kye@KAF

  5. Nanette

    When I taught pre-school Iused to bring my bread machine, a jar, and ingredients for bread and butter. WE would get the bread going first thing in the morning. Then at circle time the heavy cream went into the jar and it got passed around and around each child shaking it. We soon had butter. Nap time. At afternoon snack time everything was ready. Fresh warm bread with the butter we made. The kidlets loved it. I did as well.

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      I have a fond memory similar to the one you describe, Nanette. I went to a farm with my grandmother for an open house day, and they gave each kid a little baby jar filled with cream. We shook and shook and shook it until we ended up with butter. I remember being amazed by the process. Such fun! Kye@KAF

  6. Janice Sprague

    Great information! Have never heard of adding cornstarch to stabilize but would be very useful at large gatherings where even inside temperature can change when the kitchen area gets crowded.

  7. odile Feria

    very goods tips.
    I have a question for you.
    here in my country, we have a very hot and humid weather. my kitchen is about 85 F.
    and my whipped cream is ok, but a few hours later, it deflated and melt.
    how can I prevent it?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Adding a bit of cornstarch or Instant ClearJel can help stabilize the whipped cream so that it stands up taller and is less likely to melt in the heat. You only need a very small amount, just a teaspoon or so per cup of cream. Hope that helps! Kat@KAF

    2. Pat O'Leary

      Just in case you were wondering what “corn-starch” is – in many (most?) countries outside the US it’s known as “cornflour”. It’s often used to thicken sauces, sometimes used in meringues and Pavlova’s, and is also useful as a replacement for making a roux with ordinary flour as it is gluten-free.

      In the US the word “corn-flour” refers to finely ground cornmeal or maize, which is a different thing.

    3. Diane

      That’s a great tip for whipped cream. I love these tips it helps to limit the disasters that come out of the kitchen! LOL.. I have added too much milk to my mashed potatoes and found if you use some instant potatoes you can save the day. Happy cooking

  8. Annette

    I love to use my stand mixer to make homemade butter using heavy cream. So I purposely go past the whip cream point. Don’t forget to save the buttermilk.

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      Thanks for reading, Annette! I’m glad to hear making butter is a regular occasion for you. One of my favorite ways to use up buttermilk is making Buttermilk Pancakes. If you haven’t tried making these pancakes, I hope you’ll consider making them this weekend. You’re in for a treat! (You can serve them with whipped cream or homemade butter.) Kye@KAF

  9. Viv

    I did that once… and threw the mess away. Wish I’d know it was butter and could still be used! But now that I know, I won’t fear making whipped cream any more (haven’t tried since my awful failure). Thanks Kye!

    1. Kye Ameden, post author

      Try, try again Viv! I think perfectly fluffy whipped cream is in your future. And if it’s not, there’ll be creamy butter instead. You’ve got nothing to lose! Kye@KAF

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