Whipping food means that you beat the substance quickly, incorporating air, smoothing out the texture, and expanding the volume. The process is named after the tool used for it: the whip, better known as the whisk.
When you think whipping, your mind likely goes straight to egg whites and heavy cream. Fluffy egg whites help build height in soufflés and cakes, while whipped cream is a crucial topper for cobblers, sundaes and more.
But these two aren’t the only edibles that deserve a whipping. Both sweet and savory foods can turn smooth, creamy and fluffy when you incorporate some extra air. Here are 11 of our favorite candidates.
To make the creamy accompaniment to our pan-roasted ribeye, shipping this month, smooth out sometimes-crumbly fresh goat cheese by whipping it well. Some recipes for whipped goat cheese create an even creamier result by combining the whipped cheese with unsweetened whipped cream.
This is brilliant kitchen chemistry for you. Maple syrup has all sorts of fascinating properties that allow the sweet stuff to turn into sugar, cotton candy and taffy. When you heat the syrup to 235°F, you change its chemical structure. Then, by stirring the syrup as it cools back down—that’s the whipping part!—you force it to form teeny-tiny crystals that are so tightly concentrated that the mixture becomes opaque and spreadable. The resulting maple butter is awesome spread on toast, crepes or slices of fresh fruit.
(Image: Kitchen Heals Soul)
The fat that collects at the top of a can of coconut milk, above the liquid, morphs into a whipped topping that’s perfect for vegan or kosher eaters. As we showed you when we talked about the amazing things coconut can do, whipped coconut cream comes together in a flash: simply scoop the solids off a can of chilled coconut milk, then whip them in a bowl until they’ve reached a creamy, fluffy consistency. You can sweeten it with a bit of sugar, honey or agave nectar, and add a slip of vanilla extract, if you like.
(Image: Girl Makes Food)
Like goat cheese, feta can be whipped into a creamy dip or spread that lets the flavor of the cheese shine through, while replacing its slightly falling-apart texture with a dreamy, rich softness. That’s achieved by whizzing feta in the food processor with some cream cheese, olive oil, and seasonings. The processor plays the role of the whip here, and the resulting dip makes a great sandwich spread or crudité dip.
(Image: What’s Gaby Cooking)
There’s little you can do to improve on the taste of whipped cream: it’s delicious all on its own. But one downfall of whipping your own cream is that it can lose that perfect fluffy texture if you whip in advance. To stabilize the cream, add some full-fat yogurt or crème fraiche when you start whipping. Depending on how much you add, the yogurt will also add a tangy taste that can help cut cream’s extreme richness.
A Lebanese paste known as toum is the product of an absolute ton of garlic, canola oil, and a vigorous whir in the food processor or blender that turns the cloves into a fluffy, ethereal whip that’s traditionally spread onto kebabs. But the whipped-up garlic paste can also become the spread on garlic bread, the flavoring for an easy soup, or the seasoning in some very garlicky avocado toast.
(Image: Splendid Table)
Here’s a deep thought: if butter comes from over-whipped cream, what happens when you whip butter? Restaurants often soften sticks of butter, then whip them up as if they were going to make buttercream. They also add in milk, both to keep the butter soft and to extend the quantity. The result is a gorgeous, smooth spread that you can apply to toast without roughing up the surface. The basic recipe has you whip half a pound of butter with ¼ cup milk until the ingredients are fluffy and homogenous. But you can also skip the milk and just whip the butter into shape, or use the whipping as an opportunity to flavor your spread, perhaps with honey and vanilla.
(Image: Barefeet in the Kitchen)
When you whip it, the curds in ricotta smooth out and the fresh cheese goes from a dense mass to a light cloud of a dip. A bit of cream cheese and a pour of milk help the process along, and toppings like olive oil, lemon zest, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper turn the whipped ricotta into an elegant appetizer.
The oldest and oddest recipe on this list is whipped jelly, a dessert loved by home cooks back in the 19th century. The idea here is simple: you take a wine jelly, whisk it over ice with lemon juice, then incorporate preserved fruits. The mixture becomes frothy with whipping, and it sets enough that you can pour it into a mold, keep over ice, and serve with dessert. The recipe, from 1877, could be an intriguing dessert to serve at your next (very) retro dinner party.
Ganache—the chocolate-and-butter mixture that forms the base of truffles—is dense and fudgy when you first stir it together. But if you let the emulsion of cream and chocolate rest before beating it energetically with a whisk or an electric mixer, you’ll see it change texture from dense to crumbly and finally to light and fluffy. This tasty recipe flavors the creamy whipped chocolate with caramel.
An appetizer not likely to be approved by cardiologists, this spread made from the cured back fat of pigs was popularized by Mario Batali in the early aughts. The chef converted many who never thought they’d be dipping into lard voluntarily! Whipping lard into a texture you can spread on bread is a little bit of a process. First, run lard through a meat grinder before “massaging” in vinegar and garlic for seasoning and texture. If you don’t have a grinder, you can also whip the lardo by spinning cubes in the food processor.