The Problem: Dairy

My love of whipped cream is immeasurable and has made me many friends in the barista world. Smiling workers who recognize me by my order the second it comes down the line, and overload my cup with the sugary stuff. A local coffee shop is even kind enough to make me my small drink in a large cup, with whipped cream on the bottom, and top of the beverage. This is whipped cream heaven people!

I can tell you from just looking at it whether the whipped cream on your Starbucks Frappuccino is going to be worth the calories, or if the bottle should be replaced. In short, I am a whipped cream expert. However, until today, I had never heard of a dairy-free whipped cream. I am lucky enough to be blessed with a lactose tolerant digestive system, and therefore have never given it a second thought, but my sister's recently diagnosed intolerance, and Reddi-Wips announcement of a new dairy-free line, has peaked my interest.  

Unfortunately, Reddi-Wips new product has not hit the market everywhere, and in my home state of Maine, we are still waiting for it to appear on our local shelves. Fortunately, we do have Gay Lea's Real Coconut Whipped Topping (the label is printed in both English and Spanish so looks for El Original Crema Batida de Coco). 

Alison Hooper

The Comparison

Surprisingly when it comes to nutrition, these two are very similar. A serving size of each is two tablespoons, and they both are fifteen calories a serving. Neither have any protein, and each have about a gram of sugar, but Coconut Whipped Topping has a higher fat, sodium and carbohydrate content. However, the difference in very minimal and I think most people know what they are getting into when they are piling on the whip. 

Alison Hooper

(Coconut Whipped Topping is on the left and Reddi-wip is on the right)

Straight Up

Unsurprisingly, coconut whipped cream tastes like... coconut. The taste was real, not artificial or sickly sweet, and the consistency was smooth like a normal whip. In comparison, it was a bit thicker, and heavier, but held its own against the original Reddi-Wip. 

On Ice 

My only two concerns about the dairy-free whipped cream were that it would taste artificial and that it would make everything taste like coconut. Luckily, as previously mentioned, it didn't have an artificial flavor at all. However, it did make the ice cream taste like coconut. 

Alison Hooper

(Reddi-Wip is on the left and Coconut Whipped Topping is on the right)

I tried it with some Halo chocolate mocha chip low-fat yogurt, and while not overwhelming, the dessert definitely had a coconut flavor. It was not unpleasant but tropical and would probably pair well with some strawberry ice cream or lime sorbet. 

Heating Up 

Can Coconut Whipped Cream stand the heat? Unfortunately no. 

Alison Hooper

(Reddi-Wip is on the left and Coconut Whipped Topping is on the right)

Within seconds of spraying the whip on my hot chocolate and sprinkling on my cinnamon, it had melted. My favorite part of a hot chocolate is the whipped cream on top, perfect for sipping, but the quick melting coconut topping was gone before the first sip. Again, the Coconut Whipped Cream gave the entire thing  coconut flavoring, and honestly was not my favorite

Final Thoughts

It is my opinion that while the Coconut Whipped cream has a great flavor, texture and over all appeal, it is not for every dessert. Its flavor is more tropical and would pair well with flavors like strawberry, banana or lime. It was a little thicker as well so I could also see using it in a trifle or with vanilla wafers. 

Reddi-Wip is versatile and a classic. For my dairy-loving friends it is a clear choice, but for the dairy-free, there is nothing wrong with a little Whipped Coconut.