Dream Whip: The Shelf-Stable Topping You Should Have In Your Pantry

We all love an easy dessert. While some of us in a rush for a sugar fix enjoy diving spoon first into a pint of ice cream or opt to scavenge through the cookie boxes in the pantry, others are a fan of quick no-bake desserts. Fan favorites like pudding powder mixes, jiggly Jello, and more complex dishes, such as peanut butter bars or icebox cake, are easy to whip up for potlucks, birthday parties, or other crowd-pleasing-dependent events in a pinch.

While bringing along a tub of Cool Whip or a can of whipped cream has long been a handy and portable topping option to elevate each dessert dish, Dream Whip is another alternative that you may not know about. This sweet whipped topping comes in a packet and only takes a bit of milk and vanilla to achieve its full potential. While this topping is no longer a common staple found in everyone's pantry, it ruled the dessert world in the 1950s.

History of Dream Whip

On the list of 1950s food fads, convenient TV dinners, crowd-pleasing casseroles, and lots of Jello reigned supreme. But powdered gelatin wasn't the only convenient dessert powder mix being whipped up in mid-century households. Dream Whip was first introduced in the late 1950s, and it advertised itself as a versatile dessert topping. Coming in a box that was indefinitely shelf stable, it hit the perfect dessert trifecta: It was a low-cost, low-effort, and low-calorie topping. Dream Whip was great for any busy household cooks still trying to make satisfying desserts, even during busy days. And the advertisements seemed to work. This sweet and airy topping was spread over all kinds of desserts, from cakes and pies to, of course, Jello parfaits and molds.

Almost a decade later, the pre-made Cool Whip debuted, and, eventually, Dream Whip fell away from being the number-one dessert topping. While the peak popularity of this sweet treat has passed and has been replaced with aerosol-whipped creams and other convenient methods, Dream Whip is still a great tasting and easy dessert option. And it takes just four minutes to prepare.

How Dream Whip is made

When it comes to making some Dream Whip for yourself, friends, or family, it's just as easy as advertised. The pack has all you need to get started, and the contents can simply be emptied into a mixed bowl. After adding a big splash of some fresh milk and a few dashes of sweet vanilla to the powder, then the mixing can begin. Simply beating the mixture with a hand beater is your best bet unless you pride yourself on your impeccable arm strength. After beating until there are soft peaks, the final product should be soft and fluffy. The entire process can take less than five minutes, so it's nearly as quick as rifling through your fridge for your old (possibly expired) whipped cream can.

Dream Whip can be found at plenty of big box stores anywhere, so it's easy to get your hands on a box to see if you like it or not. And we suggest pairing your next Dream Whip endeavor with some of our own handcrafted recipes. 

How you can use Dream Whip in recipes

While 1950s advertisements suggested topping the decade's favorite cake, angel food, with Dream Whip, along with plenty of pies and Jello, it can be paired with anything you like. Jello may still be one of the most popular pairs, but using it like any other whipped topping (to top your favorite no-bake desserts, dipping fruit in it, or eating it by the spoonful) is just as advisable.

While some pies are better suited for a meringue topping, others, like our unique plum-lavender pie or blackberry-buttermilk pie, would benefit from the extra dose of sugar on top. Our no-bake strawberry cheesecake recipe is particularly delicious as the spring and summer months roll around. Topping it with Dream Whip would compliment any fresh strawberries that you also throw on top. And, of course, if you want to go old-fashioned but with a fun twist, try out our refreshing pistachio-amaretto Jello shots along with the classic topping.