We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (2024)

Straight to the Point

The iSi Gourmet Whip was well-made and produced lovely, well-aerated results. We also found a solid affordable option from Octandra that performed very well.

In the mid-'90s, a chef in Catalonia, Spain, took a whipped cream siphon and put white bean puree inside. Thus, one of the pioneers of molecular gastronomy, Ferran Adria, spawned a foam frenzy, a bubbly trend that expanded across the globe with dollops and squirts of aerated food. Adria’s own creations included the aforementioned white bean foam, as well as carrot foam and even smoked water foam, a creation the world didn’t know it needed. But while these bubbly delights entranced and bemused restaurant guests, the reality is that, with a solid whipped cream siphon and a few cartridges of nitrous oxide, you too can be a molecular gastronomist (or just make whipped cream—let’s be realistic here). We took a deeper look at whipped cream siphons (limiting our lineup to ones with 1-pint capacities) to find out how they worked and which ones were the best.

The Winners, at a Glance

iSi is a longstanding siphon brand with years of experience to back their products up, so while they are expensive, they are quality-made and will last a long time. This siphon was easy to assemble and, when properly used, produced light and airy whipped cream, cremeux (a custard and whipping cream mixture), and even fluffy buttermilk pancakes. We liked that it came with multiple decorating and injector tips, too. It's also safe for use with both cold and warm applications.

This was virtually identical to the iSi Gourmet Whip (save for one key thing: unlike the Gourmet, this siphon it's only recommended to be used for cold applications) and it too was easy to assemble and use, making perfectly aerated cream, cremeux, and pancakes. The only other downside was that it came with fewer tips. However, you can purchase more to use with it.

At less than half the price of the iSi siphons, the Kavion was a solid pick that performed just as well.

Like the Kavion, this more affordable option performed well, producing nicely aerated creams and more. Our only qualm was that the logo started to wash off during cleaning, leaving black streaks on our hands. Since our review, we have noticed that the brand name has changed from Seven Petals to Octandra.

The Tests

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (5)

  • Whipped Cream Test: We made whipped cream with each siphon, examining how well they aerated the whipping cream and if they were easy to assemble and use.
  • Cremeux Test (Winners-Only): We made banana cremeux with our favorite siphons, examining how they fared with the thicker mixture.
  • Buttermilk Pancake Test (Winners-Only): We made buttermilk pancakes with our favorite siphons, testing them with the semi-thick batter.

So, How Does It Work?

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (6)

Whipped cream siphons use nitrous oxide (N2O) to aerate whatever is placed inside. Simply put, you pour whatever it is you want to aerate into the sturdy, metal canister (most are made of stainless steel, though some use aluminum), and a cartridge of N2O is placed in a cap that is then screwed into the lid of the siphon. As the cap screws in, the cartridge is punctured and the N2O enters the canister. The next step is to shake the canister, which helps the gas absorb into whatever is inside. As professors Carlos Corvalan, Jen-Yi Huang, and Dharmendra Mishra of Purdue University explained, when the siphon is opened, there is a strong pressure drop, from the high internal pressure to the much lower atmospheric pressure. This drives the cream out of the can, and the pressure drop decreases the gas solubility. The N2O desorbs (it is released) from the liquid solution, forming the foam bubbles.

Why Nitrous Oxide?

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (7)

Nitrous oxide (colloquially known as laughing gas) is often used because it’s non-flammable and, as Corvalan, Huang, and Mishra also noted, it doesn’t affect the color of the cream, and has little influence on aroma or flavor (if anything, it's slightly sweet). They noted that using N2O can also prevent lipid oxidation in cream and create an anaerobic environment—in essence, nitrous oxide prevents the cream from getting an off-flavor due to oxidation and also prevents bacterial growth inside the siphon. (N2O is also used in the store-bought, ready-made whipped cream sold in pressurized canisters.)

There are a few downsides to nitrous oxide, however. The first is that it’s a potent greenhouse gas—whomp whomp. And in some states, like New York, you need to be 21 to buy N2O cartridges. Plus, according to Corvalan, Huang, and Mishra, while N2O is good because of its high solubility (read: it dissolves easily), this same solubility can also be a negative. They noted that although the high solubility is beneficial in the foaming process, high solubility also has a negative effect because it enables the gas to ‘escape’ from the bubbles to the liquid more easily, which decreases aeration. In essence, once you dispense your whipped cream, it’s likely to deflate a bit.

What We Learned

A Well-Made Siphon Is a Good Siphon

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (8)

Some siphons were cheaply made, and it showed: the EurKitchen had threads (etched grooves) that didn’t match up well with the lid, making it difficult to screw on properly, while the Otis’s dispensing tips wouldn’t screw cleanly onto the O-ring (a round piece of rubber that helps create an impermeable seal), which made us nervous to use it for safety reasons. Though it seems obvious, due to the somewhat “dangerous” nature of siphons (i.e. placing gas into a canister), we preferred well-made products that we didn’t fear would leak or malfunction during use. Our favorite siphons were solidly built and easy to assemble; caps screwed on easily and O-rings were completely encased in the screw-on dispensing tips.

Versatility Was a Boon

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (9)

While the iSi Easy Whip PLUS 1-Pint was a solid siphon, it really only worked well with whipped cream since it only comes and is compatible with one type of nozzle. We preferred a more generic siphon that could use different decorating/injecting tips for different preparations (for example, a straight, tubular tip for dispensing thicker pancake batter or a larger, flared decorating tip for big swirls).

More Tips Was a Boon
ProductTips
iSi Gourmet Whip Cream and Food WhipperStainless steel straight tip, tulip tip, straight tip with teeth
iSi Cream Profi WhipTulip tip, straight tip
Octandra Whipped Cream DispenserThree decorating tips, four injector tips

The Big Takeaway: Most Siphons Were Solid

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (10)

During our testing, we found that most of the poor results we encountered weren’t the result of the siphons, but of user error. Most of the siphons we tested (save for the cheaply made ones that were hard to put together and scary to use) are good siphons, so it’s really a matter of how much you want to spend and how often you’re going to use it.

Tips for Siphon Success

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (11)

Here are a few tips that will help you consistently dispense nicely aerated foams.


1. Chilling is key.

You think your cream is cold? It probably isn't cold enough. We found that chilling cream (or cremeux) for a few hours, in addition to chilling the siphon canister, ensured well-aerated results. Unchilled canisters and ingredients often resulted in sub-par aeration, pock-marked whipped cream, and runny cremeux. Sometimes we still had liquidy results even after we chilled the cream and canisters, but this was usually solved by giving the siphon a few more solid shakes.

2. When in doubt, shake it out.

While most recipes will say to shake your siphon around five times, we found a few extra shakes helped ensure proper consistency, especially with whipped cream (10 shakes was appropriate). And for sturdier liquids, like a cremeux or mousse, additional shaking is essential and prevents runny results. In short, if it’s runny, give the siphon a few more shakes. However, there is such a thing as too much shaking—this can actually cause ingredients like whipping cream to get a near butter-like consistency, making dispensing difficult. To prevent this, we recommend shaking, testing, then shaking a little bit more if needed and testing again.

3. Use liquid sugar.

If you’re making whipped cream, using liquid sugar is a good way to ensure sugar granules won’t clog the siphon. Try using an unflavored simple syrup (if making it yourself, just ensure it’s chilled before you add it to the whipping cream) or you can get creative with flavored syrups (lavender whipped cream anyone?).

4. Thoroughly clean after use.

Cleaning your siphon well is integral to ensuring smooth, airy results; any bits of food stuck in the siphon can clog it and cause spurts of liquid or runny mixtures. All of the siphons we tested came with little brushes that helped clean hard-to-reach nooks. We also recommend investing in a bottle brush to clean the inside of the canister.

5. Don’t overfill the siphon.

Most siphons have a max capacity line, and we recommend sticking to it for best results. For 1-pint siphons, like the ones we tested, this works out to be about two cups of whatever you are filling the canister with. Overfilling can lead to leaks and spurts from the decorating tip while dispensing.

6. Degas the siphon completely before opening.

To avoid whipped cream splattering everywhere, before opening up a siphon to clean it make sure you pull the trigger and release any excess gas that didn’t make it into the final product. We recommend doing this over a sink since it often will sputter and spew a little of what's inside.

The Criteria: What to Look for in a Whipping Siphon

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (12)

A good whipped cream siphon is versatile (with multiple tips) and well-made; it should be easy to assemble and use. And when used properly, it should produce even, well-aerated results.If you're looking to use the siphon for warm applications, ensure you're choosing one has this ability.

The Best Whipped Cream Siphons

What we liked: This was a great, versatile siphon that came with multiple dispensing tips, allowing us to siphon a variety of substances, including whipped cream, banana cremeux, and even buttermilk pancakes. We also liked how easy it was to assemble and how solidly built it was; we felt confident that there would be no malfunctions or leaks.

What we didn’t like: At $179 on iSi ($95 on Amazon), this was the most expensive siphon in our lineup. It was also a little large in circumference, making it a bit unwieldy to hold.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 8 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Number of dispensing tips: 3
  • Applications: Warm and cold foams
  • Circumference at widest point: 10.5 inches

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (14)

What we liked: Like the Gourmet Whip, this was a solidly made siphon that produced well-aerated foams/substances and felt safe to use while doing so.

What we didn’t like: This was also an expensive siphon, costing $147 direct from iSi ($77 on Amazon). It's also not compatible with warm siphoning applications, and we wish it came with more than two dispensing tips.

Key Specs

  • Weight (lid plus container): 1 lb 8 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Number of dispensing tips: 2
  • Applications: Cold foams only
  • Circumference at widest point: 10.5 inches

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (16)

What we liked: This was less than half the price of the iSi siphons, but it still felt solid and well-made. It was also a tad smaller in circumference, making it comfortable to hold. We liked that it comes with a variety of dispensing tips, making it ultra versatile.

What we didn’t like: There really wasn’t anything to dislike about this siphon, other than the common siphon problem of it being a little bit of a pain to clean.It's also currently out of stock (we are monitoring this).

Key Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 12.3 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Number of dispensing tips: 6
  • Applications: Manufacturer does not specify
  • Circumference at widest point: 10 inches

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (18)

What we liked: Another more affordable alternative to an iSi, this siphon was easy to use and made well-aerated creams, cremeux and pancakes. This siphon was also the only one to come with injector tips, which could be useful for filling doughnuts, choux, and more.

What we didn’t like: One small quibble with this siphon was that the logo on the outside started to wash off, leaving black streaks on our hands.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 1 lb 10.7 ounces
  • Materials: Stainless steel
  • Number of dispensing tips: 7
  • Applications: Manufacturer does not specify
  • Circumference at widest point: 10 inches

We Tested 8 Whipping Siphons—Our Favorites Made Perfect Whipped Cream (20)

The Competition

  • iSi Easy Whip PLUS 1 Pint: While this siphon did a solid job aerating whipping cream, it spurted cream out a bit and was a little awkward to hold because of the shape of the dispenser lid. We also wished it was more versatile and came with the option of switching dispensing tips. That said, if you’re looking for a no-frills, whipped cream-only siphon, this is a fine choice.
  • EurKitchen Professional Aluminum Whipped Cream Dispenser: While this siphon did a fine job dispensing whipped cream, the threads on the canister were roughly etched, and it was difficult to screw the lid on straight.
  • Otis Whipped Cream Dispenser: The metal dispenser tips were roughly cut and near jagged at the end, and we had trouble screwing them onto the lid; the o-ring wouldn’t fit into the bottom of the dispenser tip, and we didn’t feel comfortable using the siphon.
  • Ico Professional Whipped Cream Dispenser: When it came time to insert the gas cap with the N2O gas cartridge, we struggled to get it to screw on all the way; it got stuck about halfway down the threads. This resulted in a partial puncture of the cartridge and a slow leak of N2O into the air rather than into the canister—hardly optimal.

FAQs

How does a whipping siphon work?

A siphon consists of a metal canister that you fill with whatever it is you want to aerate. Then, you screw on the lid (with the dispensing tip of choice screwed into it) and screw the cartridge holder (with N2O cartridge inside) onto the lid. This punctures the cartridge, releasing the gas into the canister. Shake it a few times to help the gas dissolve into the liquid, then remove the cartridge holder and press the trigger to dispense. Once the liquid is dispensed, the nitrogen oxide expands (since it’s no longer under pressure), giving your liquid volume and bubbles.

What can you make with a whipping siphon?

Besides whipped cream, you can aerate a variety of dishes in a siphon, including soups, mousses, cremeux (custard mixed with cream), and more.

If you make whipped cream frequently, or want ultra-aerated whipped cream that keeps its shape once dispensed, a siphon dispenser may be worth investing in.

Is a whipping siphon worth it?

If you make whipped cream frequently, or want ultra-aerated whipped cream that keeps its shape once dispensed, a siphon dispenser may be worth investing in. They also great for cooks who like to experiment with textures and presentation.

What kind of gas cartridge should you use in a whipping siphon?

Most whipped cream siphons (including all of the ones we tested) use nitrous oxide cartridges to aerate. We don’t recommend using any other types of gas cartridges unless they are explicitly called for.

How long does cream in a whipping siphon last?

When refrigerated, whipped cream in a siphon can last around 10 days, though it might lose some of its aeration; make sure to shake it a few times before dispensing.

What is the best brand of whipped cream dispenser?

Two of our favorite whipped cream dispensers are from iSi, which is a longstanding siphon brand that has years of experience to back its products up. So, if we were to name just one brand "the best" it'd be iSi.

Can you put warm liquids in a whipping siphon?

Some whipping siphons, like the iSi Gourmet Whip, are able to be used in warm applications (e.g. if you want to serve warm, aerated soup). However, not all siphons are, so check the manufacturer's recommendations before using them with warm liquids.

Why We're the Experts

  • Grace Kelly is the associate commerce editor at Serious Eats.
  • Prior to this, she tested equipment and ingredients for America’s Test Kitchen. She's worked as a journalist and has done stints as a cook and bartender.
  • She has written dozens of reviews for Serious Eats, including petty knives, tinned fish, fish spatulas, and tortilla presses, among others.
  • For this review, we tested eight siphons, using all of them to first make whipped cream. Then, we used the winners to make banana cremeux and buttermilk pancakes. Throughout testing, we noted the siphons' ease of use and how they were to clean.

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