Fun with Power Tools: What is the Fastest Way to Make Whipped Cream? (UPDATED)

I’ve had some fun with my cordless drill in the past, turning it into a power scrub brush. I wondered what other tasks I could turn to my drill to complete, and then it hit me: Whipped cream! I checked my drill, and it could easily hold one beater.

While I was at it, I figured it made sense to give this test practical applications as well. In addition to the cordless drill, I tested a stand mixer and hand mixer to see which one was better at making whipped cream.

The setup for this experiment was pretty simple. I followed best practices for whipping cream (chilling everything, including the bowl and beaters beforehand), then started beating 6 ounces of heavy whipping cream. I stopped the timer when the cream stiffened up and soft peaks formed.

Aside from the novelty of testing to see how well a drill would do at whipping cream, I was eager to know the results of this test. I typically use my stand mixer to make whipped cream, because I assumed it was faster. This test would give me a definitive answer.

The results, from worst to first …

Cordless drill – unable to whip cream

I gave up after more than 4 minutes of whipping. The cream had taken on about half the air necessary to turn stiff, but it was still quite liquid. Who knows how long it would have taken to stiffen, but it was impractical to keep trying.

I hoped the drill had a chance because it turned at a higher RPM than the hand mixer. (The drill turns at 1,400 RPM. I have been unable to determine the RPM of the hand mixer, but it is noticeably slower.) Of course, with only one beater, the drill was missing half the beating power of the hand mixer. Plus, the beaters in the hand mixer turn in opposite directions to force the liquid in between and aerate it significantly faster. With only one beater, the magic is gone.

Stand mixer – 2:05 to soft peaks

The main problem with the stand mixer is that it whips cream by slamming the liquid against the sides of the bowl. This means the potential for spraying your entire kitchen with globules of cream is quite high. It’s not wise to turn the mixer to high speed when the cream is completely liquid, or it really will be flying everywhere. Even on lower speeds, the cream still sprayed.

Hand mixer – 1:39 to soft peaks

There’s no question I was surprised by this result. I pushed this mixer to the limit, holding down its “burst” button for the entire whipping time. The mixer held up, and handily defeated the stand mixer. Not only that, but it whipped much more cleanly – there wasn’t a single droplet of cream on my hands or the counter, or even the sides of the bowl!

From now on, I’ll use my hand mixer to whip cream. I’ll return my drill to its rightful place in the bathroom, serving as a scrub brush.

Updated, 9/27/11

I had a brain fart. And my readers let me know it. I tested the paddle attachment of the stand mixer, not the whisk attachment. I can’t explain why I didn’t realize I was using the wrong attachment. I’ve used the correct attachment to whip cream or egg whites plenty of times. In my head I was thinking “paddle attachment” and I completely ignored the whisk, even though it was sitting in front of me. I hope in 15 years I’m not reaching for a fork to slice a tomato.

Stand mixer with whisk attachment – 1:08 to soft peaks

As everyone suggested, the stand mixer with the whisk did perform the best – by a significant margin. Just for fun I kept whipping the cream another 30 seconds to compare it to the speed of the hand mixer. I was well on my way to making butter. While the stand mixer was the fastest, it wasn’t the cleanest (at least on top speed). There were a few cream splatters on the countertop. I think that is to be expected, however. When you’re driving a Ferrari, after all, you expect to burn a little rubber.

  • ben

    i love your blog.  but i don’t understand why you’re using the paddle attachment of the kitchen aid mixer for whipping cream instead of the whip.

  • Quinnshouse

    The whisk in the kitchenaid works great but I am going to start using hand mixer as I too am sick of whip cream dots everywhere!

  • CSF

    Mark, you need to get the “whipped cream” attachment for the mixer.  I’ll bet you could come in under 1:39 with equally soft peaks.

  • Benjiavila

    yeah the flat beater/paddle will thicken your cream but it won’t aerate it as much as when you use the whip attachment.  So you woujld get more volume if you used the whip attachment

  • Tatiana and Jim Promessi

    I love using my stainless steel whisk with a chilled, absolutely dry bowl. It’s surprisingly easy and feels magical to watch the cream set up through my own power. That said, it’s great fun to read about your equipment comparison tests.

  • Anonymous

     Great idea, saves the money in buying a whisk, everyone has a cordless drill in the house somewhere!

  • Anonymous

     Great idea, saves the money in buying a whisk, everyone has a cordless drill in the house somewhere!

  • Mark Evitt

    Thanks for correcting my error – I can’t explain why I thought to use the paddle attachment instead of the whisk attachment for my stand mixer. At least I didn’t try the dough hook! I’ve updated the post after testing the whisk.

  • Sam

    Great to have all the stats!

  • Oliverkite826

    How about using the balloon whisk in the drill?

    • Mark Evitt

      I like the way you think! The chuck on my drill doesn’t open wide enough to hold the balloon whisk, so I’d have to come up with some sort of adapter.

      • Jake Blanton

         Obviously you need a larger drill!

        ohh ohhhh oohh ohhhh

  • Hiker275

    I’m perplexed that the drill couldn’t do the trick. With a hand held wire wisk, I’ve whipped to nice peaks. It took a while… 4-6 minutes, maybe a while longer, but nothing close to 15-20 minutes. So given the rpm of a drill… I’d think the 4 minutes would have been plenty. Hmmmm. 

    • Mark Evitt

      My guess is because the motions are different. There’s more lifting and folding when whipping by hand. Plus, a hand whisk can grab more cream than one beater.

  • Judy

    Good to know that if the power goes out I can still use my cordless drill to whip up some dessert topping!

  • Fakeemail

    You left a real hand beater out of the test.  You know, the kind you turn by hand.  My cousin in law has one with a top that prevents splatters and she does up whipped cream pretty fast.

  • Mary Wilson

    I’m surprised you don’t have the splash guard tool for your big mixing tool!

  • RFF

    the drill with one beater is great to mix the oil back into natural peanut better… which can burn out a hand mixer’s motor.

  • Rayhoodring

    Your blog made me laugh out loud!

  • JessM

    My husband just wanted me to add that you simply were not trying hard enough with the power tools – surely a rattle gun or similar… or even two cordless drills would have done the job! 😉

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