Hot chocolate with orange and whipped cream

Chocolate brownies, ice cream, apple pie – all cry out for a topping of whipped cream. And the best news is you have a can just sitting in the refrigerator, waiting. One squirt, and your dessert is on its way! BUT – you push the nozzle, and nothing happens. You push again – nothing. A gurgle is about all you get. Unclogging whipped cream and even bringing a can of Reddi Whip Coconut Milk back to life is frustrating. Don’t throw the can away. Try a few “can hacks,” and maybe you’ll succeed. Your dessert deserves going that extra mile.

Making the Cream Squirt

Nitrous oxide, yes, that stuff we know as laughing gas, is what propels the cream out of the can and creates the whipped experience. If there were no nitrous oxide in the can, all you’d get when you press the nozzle would be a stream of liquid cream, not whipped. But the gas mixes with the cream, and it comes out fluffy.

The angle of the nozzle is a factor in successfully creating a puffy cloud of cream. Aim it at a 90-degree angle over your dessert, and it will clog the nozzle. A 60-degree angle gives the best whipped cream and keeps it coming.

Unclogging the Nozzle

There’s nothing more disheartening than to give your can of whipped cream a hearty shake, only to find that nothing comes out. You know there’s cream inside because you can hear it, but the nozzle is clogged. Don’t despair. There are remedies.

  • Give the can a good shake for a few seconds. This gets the nitrous oxide moving and re-blends it with the cream. Turn it to a 60-degree angle and squirt.
  • If that doesn’t work, run the can (but not the nozzle) under warm water. Your cream may have coagulated (known as being “clabbered” in dairy terms.) All the butterfat in the cream joined together and now won’t move. The warm water relaxes the butterfat, and it should squirt.
  • The nozzle is congested. Leftover butterfat and sugar are clogging it. Let the can sit upside-down in a cup of warm water for a few minutes. Don’t stick anything into the nozzle; you may puncture the valve. Wipe off the nozzle, shake the can and squirt.
  • The whipped cream can has run out of air, leaving just cream behind. This happens when you press the nozzle with the can in a vertical position, the nozzle face-up, to test whether it’s working. The gas escapes, leaving less behind in the can.

Unclogging a Commercial Dispenser

If you’re using a commercial dispenser, one that requires you to insert a nitrous oxide canister, other complications may arise that affect the cream coming out perfectly.

  • You’ve run out of gas. Check the canister.
  • There’s a leak in your canister.
  • You aren’t using enough chargers.
  • You aren’t using regular whipping cream. The heavier cream tends to clog, but the lighter version doesn’t have enough heft to mix well with the nitrous oxide.

Make Your Own

With only a handful of factories making nitrous oxide in the United States and Canada, disasters happen. In 2016, an explosion reduced a factory in Florida to rubble and thwarted its production of the gas. The major canned whipped cream manufacturers were left with a lot of cream and no nitrous oxide.

Don’t let commercial food producers ruin your pumpkin pie. Just buy a container of regular whipping cream and mix your own. You can even get creative by adding flavorings, alcohol (pumpkin pie vodka or apple-based Calvados), or food coloring, and your dessert is served with your own special touch. The best part is that you get to lick the spoon!