Wondering if the new dairy-free, vegan heavy whipping cream alternative from Silk is perfect? I asked the questions and found the answers.
First of all, this post is NOT sponsored by Silk or any brand other than myself – Cooking on Caffeine. What you’ll find here are my own personal, honest opinions, based on how I use the product and my own tastes.
I stumbled on this product at my local Walmart today while looking for my favorite oat milk creamer (which they didn’t have, and I am upset). It was next to the dairy whipping cream, and was flanked by their new dairy-free half and half (which I didn’t purchase).
Of course it caught my attention, and of course I bought it. I have so many questions! I have so many recipes to test! Does it go well in coffee like cream? Does it actually whip up (and stay whipped)? Does it make perfect, luscious ice cream? How does it cook? Does it give a silky mouthfeel like dairy cream? Does it separate like dairy cream? Can I overwhip it?
Whew. So many questions.
And I’m sure you have the same questions I do, so I’ve decided to do all the testing and post the answers here because we all need answers!
Let’s get the dairy-free whipping cream party started!
What’s it made of? Is it safe for my allergy or diet?
According to the packaging, it’s certified gluten-free, so that’s the one allergen you can be 100% sure you’re safe with here.
Unfortunately, there is a cross-contamination warning for dairy, soy, and tree nuts. What does that mean? It means this product is made in the same building that houses those allergens – they aren’t included in the whipping cream, but they can’t give a guarantee that particles haven’t found their way into it.
Super special thanks and shoutout to Raechel Carr from the Deliciously Dairy Free Facebook group for sharing the screenshot below of her email response from Silk regarding cross contamination with us!
If you are extra sensitive and risk anaphylaxis if you consume dairy, tree nuts, or soy – this isn’t the product for you. if you are allergic to coconut, this is not safe for you as coconut is a main ingredient. It also contains fava bean protein, which is a legume – so avoid if you’ve got a legume issue. It also contains guar gum and sunflower seed oil and lecithin – so avoid if needed. See the email above for more info.
The bottom line is that if you’re avoiding animal products, this is safe. If you’re dairy-free by choice, you’re safe. If you’re only mildly intolerant of dairy, tree nuts, or soy, you make the call but you should be ok.
If you don’t have to avoid cross contamination, this is an exciting product because it’s made without soy ingredients! It has historically been very difficult to find whipped cream alternatives that are soy-free – so now the soy-avoiders can rejoice!
It’s also sugar and carb-free, so the keto/low carb community will rightfully be dancing for joy when they find this product!
You will also notice a complete lack of carrageenan – which is nearly unheard of for dairy-free alternatives.
Beyond just ingredient items, this vegan whipping cream is Non-GMO Project Certified, which will put a lot of minds at ease who are concerned about that sort of thing.
Guess what’s also missing? Palm oil. It’s pretty much a win win win win.
What does it look like?
It’s pure white and thicker than milk.
How does it pour? What’s the viscosity like?
It isn’t as thick as I imagined it would be – more like a half and half type consistency than heavy whipping cream – but definitely better than any plant milk I’ve come across, except for super fatty canned coconut milks.
What does it taste like?
It tastes like.. nothing really. It’s not sweet at all, but there are no bitter or sour notes either. It’s completely neutral.
Is it great in coffee?
Um, YES. I absolutely loved it in my coffee!
Back in my dairy days, I drank my coffee with half and half – and this is exactly like it.
I was afraid it was curdling as I poured it into my hot coffee (which I brew quite strong) since most plant milks separate right away. It looked like it was doing it, but as soon as I stirred it all smoothed out.
And guess what? It stayed that way! It didn’t separate at all over the 45 minutes I had it sitting. Huzzah!
Does it whip?
This answer is a little more complicated.
Yes, it whips. But not well. I used a cold bowl and cold beaters and cold whipping cream, and I added some pure powdered sugar since whipped cream should be a little sweet, but could only get it to very soft peaks. It would be perfect for dolloping over hot pie or fresh fruit. (Note: I was using my humble four-speed Kitchenaid hand mixer. Something more powerful may have been able to get to stiff peaks)
After mixing for a little more than five minutes on high speed, it started to separate – badly. Just like dairy whipping cream (which I guess could be considered a good thing? It’s like dairy except that I couldn’t get it to stiff peaks).
HOWEVER! I drained off the liquid “whey” (I poured the contents of the bowl into a fine mesh sieve and stirred it around with a rubber spatula, pouring out whey as I could) and whipped what was left AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. It was super stiff, fluffy, smooth, creamy, and delicious. I put some on my coffee and it was amazing.
The only issue here is that there is the faintest aftertaste of coconut since it’s concentrated, now. It isn’t bad though. I dislike coconut and it’s not enough to bother me. Other than that, it’s just like fresh dairy whipped cream!
So does it whip? Yes, no, yes.
As for the “whey”, I’m going to try using it as milk in a cake recipe. (Update: I ended up using it in my coffee as creamer and it was darn delicious)
It’s kind of disappointing that half of the whipping cream is going towards “whey”, but the quality of the concentrated whipped cream is high enough that I may just keep buying it for things like flavored butters.
Can I overwhip it?
Yes, yes you can. See the above paragraph. 😉
Does it stay whipped?
It will if you fridge or freeze it immediately. Within an hour, the room temp whipped cream was already super soft and melty. Because of this I don’t recommend trying to put it between cake layers unless the cake layers are absolutely frozen, going straight into the freezer, and going to be served while cold. To see the before and after freezing, check the paragraph below – but here is a before and after of the room temp whipped cream:
And here is a before and after of my refrigerated whipped cream, two hours between photos:
Does it freeze well?
After being whipped, YES! Here is a before and after photo of it being whipped, separated, and whipped again (as outlined above) as a small sample:
**I have a bit of un-whipped in the freezer overnight and I’ll test it in the morning and update here with results** I’ll also be testing homemade ice cream with it in the near future. (Update: it whipped up fantastically!)
Does it heat/cook well?
Oh, does it.
It’s a thing of beauty, y’all. Even if you have zero interest in trying to make whipped cream, you’ll love cooking with it! I made a five minute alfredo to test if it would 1) heat without curdling, and 2) tolerate an acid (lemon juice) being introduced and still hold up. It also has salt, and a handful of other seasonings for testing.
I’m happy to report that it passed with flying colors! And it was delicious. I’ll get the recipe up soon!
Does it curdle/separate?
In coffee it does not (YAY!) but it does while whipping after soft peaks. You’re safe to cook with it, though!
Is it everything I’ve been dreaming of?
Well, maybe not everything. I wish it whipped up stiffer right out of the carton, but apart from that I am super impressed! I’m having visions of all kinds of pasta sauces, flavored vegan butters, and of course – delicious coffee.
If you want whipped cream though, you’ll have to work for it and chill it right away. And if you don’t want to do all that work, I suggest trying my American meringue buttercream recipe and letting it whip for 15 or so minutes. You’ll get a light and silky faux whipped cream that’s much more stable than this one.
Overall, I think this is a quality product and I will definitely be purchasing it again. I hope that they can get rid of the cross contamination risks so more folks can enjoy it. Despite its shortcomings though, it’s exciting that we have things like this becoming commercially available, and I can’t wait for them to get better and better!