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You may have heard the terms “whipping” and “beating,” when baking but do you know what the difference between them is? Throughout my years of baking, I’ve gotten mixed up with these 2 mixing methods and I decided to dive in and learn the real differences between the whipping method and the beating method.
Whipping is intended to mix wet ingredients vigorously until frothy. You can use a paddle attachment or a wooden spoon to whip mixtures. Beating, on the other hand, is done to break down ingredients thoroughly when mixing them so that the mixture has a smooth and consistent texture.
In this article, I’ll dive in further to find the difference between these two mixing techniques so you can better understand when to use each of them in your baking journey. I’ll also explain how they’re similar to one another so that you know that you’re not doing it wrong!
What’s The Difference between Whipping and Beating?
The main difference between whipping and beating is that whipping introduces more air into the mixture than beating. Beating is used for breaking down ingredients and incorporating them evenly, while whipping is used when you want to add air into the mixture and make it frothy.
Also, whipping can be done with a wire attachment or a thin whisk while it is quite difficult to beat with a wire whisk.
Knowing when to use whipping and beating is important in order to achieve the desired results in your baking and cooking.
While I like to do my mixing by hand, I much rather prefer using a Stand Mixer instead. I recently wrote an article that talks about the 3 Best Stand Mixers that bakers can buy in each stage of their baking journey. After reviewing a few stand mixers, the Best Overall Mixer was the KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer. You can check out this stand mixer on Amazon!
Below, I’m going to break down each method in detail so that there will be no more confusion!
What is Whipping in Baking?
As a general rule, whipping refers to mixing ingredients until they are frothy. It is vigorous and requires either a wooden spoon, paddle attachment, whisk, or wire attachment. This technique is used when you want to add air into the mixture, usually for cakes, meringues, and whipped cream.
When whipping eggs whites or cream, make sure that your ingredients are cold so that they whip up better. Egg whites that are chilled will double in size and hold their shape better. The same goes for any dairy products like cream as they will also whip up better than room temperature ingredients.
Chill the bowl beforehand and do not take out your cream or egg whites from the refrigerator until the very last minute.
You can do this by either using an OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk or by using a KitchenAid K45WW Wire Whisk Attachment for Tilt-Head Stand Mixer depending on whether you have a KitchenAid mixer or not. Either way you choose to whisk, you can check out both of these tools on Amazon!
When I’m about to make whipped cream, I even place my bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes to chill it. I’ve noticed that doing this helps reduce the amount of whipping time!
What is Beating in Baking?
As a whole, beating refers to mixing ingredients until they are thoroughly incorporated. You can use a wooden spoon, paddle attachment, or wire whisk for this technique. This is used when you want to break down the mixture for a fluffier texture so it has an even and smooth consistency.
Beating also introduces air into the mixture, but not as much air as whipping. Beating is used for heavier bases such as doughs and batters.
When beating an egg, you want to do it slowly at first so that the yolk and white are combined evenly. Then, you can increase the speed of your beater to incorporate more air into the mixture.
*By the way, I recently wrote an in-depth article about The Differences Between Whisking and Whipping. This article talks about how and when to use the whisking and whipping methods. You can check out this article here!
How Long Should You Beat Cake Batter?
As a general rule, it is recommended to beat cake batter from anywhere between 2-6 minutes. This gives it ample time to properly beat your cake batter to the right consistency. You will know it is done when the batter has a smooth and creamy texture.
While it depends on what kind of recipe you are using, most recipes require at least five minutes to ensure that the ingredients have been broken down and enough air has been incorporated into the mix.
You want to be careful not to over mix the batter as it will give you a tough cake.
*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about The Differences Between Whisking and Beating. This article talks about when you are supposed to use each of these mixing methods. You can check out this article here!
How Long Should You Whip Eggs Whites?
Depending on the peak, egg whites should be whipped for 2-10 minutes. For softer peaks, it is recommended to whip your egg whites for 5 minutes. For stiff peaks, it should be about 10 minutes or when you lift the beater out of the mixture, the peak that forms will hold its shape and not fall over.
If possible, whip your egg whites straight from the refrigerator so they whip up faster and more effectively. Chilled egg whites will double in size and hold their shape better. However, if you use room-temperature egg whites, you will be whipping for a while and the texture might not hold well.
How long to whip egg whites:
|Type of Peak||Whipping Time||Egg White Texture||When To Use|
|No Peak||Less than 2 minutes||Liquid, slightly foamy||For broths or consommes|
|Soft Peak||Up to 5 minutes||Thick, White, Creamy||Angel Food Cake, Waffles|
|Firm Peak||Up to 7 minutes||Peaks hold, tip folds in||Soft Meringues|
|Stiff Peak||Up to 10 minutes||Peaks hold, tip stands||Hard Meringues, Souffles, Ice Cream|
Can You Mix Cake Batter By Hand?
As a general rule, you can mix cake batter by hand. This is fine to do if you are making just one cake or, say, a few cupcakes, then you can mix the batter by hand. You will just need a bowl and spoon to do so. For a higher volume of items, it’s better to use a mixer.
If, however, you are making a cake that is multiple layers or has a lot of ingredients, it is best to use an electric mixer. This will ensure that the ingredients are properly mixed and there is less risk of over mixing.
I personally do not like to mix by hand.
If I am making a small portion of cake, I’ll mix by hand to avoid having to wash the entirety of my mixer. If I know I’ll be making a grand cake or more than a dozen cupcakes, I will save my strength and just use a mixer.
*By the way, you might also want to know How To Mix Batter Without a Mixer. I recently wrote an article talking about The Right Ways of Mixing Batter By Hand, which you can check out here!
How Long Should You Whip Cream?
As a whole, depending on what kind of whipped cream recipe and how thick you want your mixture to be, it should take about 8-9 minutes. This ensures that you achieve firm peaks which gives the proper texture of whipped cream and allows it to hold its shape.
It is extremely important that you make sure your cream is cold before you start whipping it. This will help the cream whip up more quickly and create a thicker mixture.
If you whip it at room temperature, it will start to separate and you won’t achieve the beautiful peaks that whipped cream can hold.
Can You Whip Cream in A Stand Mixer?
As a general rule, you can whip cream in a stand mixer. However, you may need to use the whisk attachment instead of the paddle attachment depending on the recipe you are using. For stiffer peaks, use a whisk attachment to incorporate more air. For a creamier texture, use a paddle attachment.
The key is to start whipping the cream at a low speed and then gradually increase the speed as it starts to thicken up.
Be careful not to overwhip your cream or it will turn into butter.
If you are whipping cream for just a garnish or a topping, you should use a whisk attachment to create the thicker consistency that you need.
If you are looking to add the whipped cream into a dessert, like a mousse, you should use a paddle attachment to give it the creamy consistency you need rather than a stiff one.
*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about The 5 Main Methods of Baking. This article talks about how and when to use each baking method when making your baked goods. You can check out this article here!
Can You Over Whip Mayonnaise?
As a whole, you can over-whip mayonnaise. Over time, the emulsion that is created when making mayonnaise will start to break down. This means that the oil and egg yolks will start to separate and the mayonnaise will become thick and lumpy.
If you see this happening, it is best to stop whipping and start using your mayonnaise.
Do not keep whipping it as this will only make the separation worse and more obvious. If you notice too much separation, it is best to start over and keep a close eye on your mayonnaise.
Can You Whip Cream Cheese?
As a general rule, you can use the whipping method to whip the cream cheese. However, like whipped heavy cream and other ingredients that contain fat, it is really best to use a wire whisk instead of an electric mixer when whipping cream cheese.
Why? While an electric mixer can do a fine job of whipping the ingredients, it is more difficult to incorporate air into them when using one and you will end up with less volume in your final mixture.
A wire whisk allows for better aeration.
*By the way, I recently wrote an article about All The Different Mixing Methods in Baking. This article talks about the 10 different mixing ways you can use when making your baked goods. You can check out this article here!
Knowing the difference between whipping and beating is a crucial kitchen skill for any baker or cook!
Both techniques are used to incorporate air into the ingredients, but there are differences in how they should be done depending on what you want your final mixture to look like.