We put an Internet kitchen hack to the test to see if it’s really worth it.

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt
Updated May 24, 2017
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Does It Hack? is a new series where we take common time and energy saving cooking techniques from the internet and challenge whether or not they actually make your life any easier.

The Problem

Whipping cream. If you don’t have a mixer (or a mason jar) handy, or you just hate whisking in general, how do you achieve fresh and fluffy homemade whipped topping?

The Usual Solution

A chilled bowl and a whisk, or a mixer with a whisk attachment.

The Internet’s Solution

An empty plastic water bottle + a whole lotta shakin’.

The Test

I pitted the two manual methods against each other for time and (subjective) fatigue factors. The cartons of heavy cream were both well-chilled beforehand and I used the same amounts of confectioners sugar and vanilla extract in each batch. The plastic bottle was completely empty and dry, and not chilled in any way. The glass bowl for the whisking test was not chilled (but the room was pretty cold so there’s that). Not seen on camera, I checked the water bottle whipped cream a few times to monitor consistency and stopped shaking after a couple of those checks found no additional thickening had occurred.

Does it Hack?

Kind of. Shaking up heavy cream in a water bottle makes a pseudo-whipped topping that would pass as whipped cream to the untrained eye. What pooped out of the container was as delicious as the real thing and would be fine on a slice of pie or sundae, but it was certainly a limper consistency than what I’d like to decorate a cake to top cocoa. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m no scientist but I’d posit that the water bottle whipped cream, being in a small, closed container, isn’t able to incorporate as much air as the bowl version. Additionally, the warmth of my hands probably didn’t help the cream set up like a cold bowl would have.

Both attempts took about the same amount of time, about seven minutes, however some instructions for the water bottle method mention putting the shaken cream into the refrigerator for a few minutes to set. In that case, the bottle would take much longer than the bowl when it comes to ready-to-use whipped cream.

If you were going to use this whipped cream as a decoration or into a piping bag, the water bottle whipped cream wouldn’t hold up. It’s just too gloppy. If you really don’t want to whisk, the real hack would be to make whipped cream in a chilled mason jar which Food & Wine Mad Genius Justin Chapple demonstrates in this video. A larger, colder container means your whipped cream will aerate and set firmer for better consistency. Plus it’s way easier to scoop the cream out of a jar than wringing it out of a recyclable.