Step one: Shake well.
Step two: Try to resist the temptation to direct the spray straight into your mouth.
That was the biggest challenge when we conducted our taste test of whipped topping aerosols. We had in front of us two major brands â€“ Cool Whip and Reddi-Wip – plus a generic, with varieties ranging from lite, to regular, to extra creamy.* All came in refrigerated cans with nozzles, although the packaging was surprisingly different.
Wait a minute. ALL came in refrigerated cans? Cool Whip comes in a tub, doesn’t it?
Well, yes, you can still get Cool Whip in a tub, store it in your freezer, and pull it out as needed. Now, however, you can also get it in the refrigerated section in a can – and, we must say, it is pretty “cool.”
We had six cans in front of us, including a generic. Set side-by-side, the generic was a bit squattier, with the Cool Whip looking the most distinctive. One of our chefs called it â€˜state-of-the-art design,â€™ with its sleek, contemporary build and a cap that emulates the soft dollop of topping we all grew up with. The packaging also reflected the current trend toward safety, with a clear protective seal around the cap instead of the usual tab. This modification proved to work well when putting the cap back on, too â€“ those old tabs tend to rip away part of the cap and leave you feeling like the cap doesn’t fully protect the nozzle from air.
The nozzle on the Cool Whip container was also more usable, with a definite place for your thumb rather than a straight nozzle that goes any direction. It felt more deliberate, and gave you a sense of direction as you point the can at your dessert.
The generic version was the most disappointing in actual spray, coming out with a look akin to cottage cheese. The other two were similar in appearance. One chef expressed disappointment in the loss of the dollop, saying, â€˜The cap somehow made me think it would come out looking like the usual Cool Whip from a spoon â€“ this looks like it comes out of a can.â€™ That expectation aside, however, our testers were in agreement that the major brands were uniform and creamy in appearance.
The one difference was in the Cool Whip Extra Creamy, which had a more yellow tint to it than even its own other varieties. The others were all pretty starkly white; the yellow was not unpleasant at all, and probably wouldn’t be noticed were it not for the side-by-side comparison.
The Reddi-Wip Original won in our smoothness category. â€˜It looks more like it came out of a bag with a tip,â€™ said one chef. It was also one of the top two in taste, with a tie between it and the Cool Whip Extra Creamy.
The advantages of the aerosol over the plastic container pretty much come down to convenience. â€˜It’s ready instantly; you don’t have to remember to thaw it,â€™ said one. â€˜A kid can add the topping,â€™ said another.
All of our testers were surprised at how good the taste was, since homemade whipped cream is a chef’s staple. However, given the fact that spray on whipped cream is a memory food for most of us, we gave ourselves over to the enjoyment and took an extra squirt or two.
Our advice: Avoid generics in this product, because there is a definite difference in taste and appearance. If you want the latest design, we recommend the Cool Whip with its cool container. Otherwise, strictly on taste and appearance, you won’t go wrong with either Reddi-Wip Original or Cool Whip Extra Creamy. Each offers the taste you’d expect, with the convenience and fun of a can.
See our story on Reddi-Wip’s survey of moms, and why they like real cream, here.
For Cool Whip recipes, click here.
For Reddi-Wip recipes, click here.
*Note: Reddi-Wip also comes in a chocolate flavor, which was not part of this test.