How to survive the great whipped cream shortage of 2016

Here's how to make your own instead
Homemade whipped cream
The U.S. is facing a shortage of canned whipped cream. Luckily, you can whip up your own topping at home. Rhett Sutphin on Flickr

There’s nothing like a dollop of whipped cream to kick a sweet treat—especially holiday fare like hot chocolate and pumpkin pie—up a notch. And let’s be honest: Who here hasn’t squirted Reddi-wip directly into her mouth? But we may have to bid farewell to the carefree days of squirting whipped cream out of a can. Nitrous oxide, the gas that aerates this type of topping, is facing a shortage—which means that whipped cream will be in limited supply until at least February.

In August, The Washington Post reports, two trucks and a holding tank filled with nitrous oxide exploded at a chemical plant in Florida, killing one worker and forcing the company, Airgas, to reduce its production of nitrous oxide. The resulting shortage has temporarily halted the production of whipped toppings.

Although we have begun importing nitrous oxide from Europe, it will first go to dentists, who use the so-called laughing gas as an anesthetic. A representative of Conagra, the company that makes Reddi-wip, told the Post that its whipped cream production won’t be back to normal until February.

Luckily, it’s actually pretty easy to make whipped cream at home—even if you don’t own a mixer. We adapted these instructions from two different recipes.

Tools & Materials

  • Metal mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (depending on how sweet you want it to be)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)


  1. Chill a metal mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer.
  2. Once the utensils have cooled, combine the ingredients in the bowl.
  3. Whip the mixture with the whisk. At first, it will seem like nothing is happening, but eventually you will see bubbles in the liquid. After several minutes of work, it should begin to form soft peaks.
  4. Once the cream forms stiff peaks, you’re done! You should have nearly 2 cups of whipped cream.