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How to Stabilize Whipped Cream

 I have a recipe for a potato chip dip that calls for whipped cream. Is there any kind of preservative to put in it to make it stay?

 Whipped cream, as you know, is a very fragile foam of air bubbles, a water film, and droplets of fat. The fat wants to turn into butter; the water wants to weep out of the foam; the air wants to escape back into the atmosphere of your kitchen. And you have the bright idea of trying to incorporate it into something that you're going to slather on potato chips. How long do you expect this wonder dip to last?

There are a few things you can do to stabilize whipped cream, but we can't guarantee how long they will hold. Nor can we predict what will happen when you add your other dip ingredients. One method to stabilize whipped cream is to add two teaspoons of nonfat dry milk powder for each cup of cream before you whip it.

Another more elaborate method is to add gelatin to your whipped cream. The challenge is that you want to keep the cream (and bowl and beaters) cold, but that you have to heat gelatin in order to dissolve it. Add hot gelatin to your whipped cream and you will defeat your purpose and deflate the cream. The best approach is to soften the gelatin by sprinkling it on cold water and waiting a bit. Then heat the mixture enough to get it to dissolve (but keeping it below boiling, which reduces the gelatin's holding ability). Allow it to cool to roughly body temperature, and then incorporate it into the whipped cream. If you allow the gelatin to cool too much, it will set into one large sheet the moment you stir it into the whipped cream. If it is the right temperature, you will be able to incorporate some amount of it into the whipped cream, without causing the cream to deflate.

Another method for incorporating gelatin into whipped cream involves melting a marshmallow and incorporating that into the whipped cream near the end of the whipping (but we're assuming you don't want the sweetness of the marshmallow in your dip).

There are also some packaged stabilizers you may be able to find in supermarkets and cake decorating stores. Dr. Oetker's Whip It is one brand name, and is a starch product that binds the liquid parts of the whipped cream together, helping it to remain stable for several hours.

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