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If you’ve ever whipped cream by hand with a whisk, you know what a laborious and time-consuming process it is. Those whipped cream dispenser cans are so much easier and more convenient… but they’re also never quite the right sweetness, and sometimes have a hint of unpleasant flavor or mouthfeel.
Enter the iSi Gourmet Whip. This device offers the best of both worlds: with just a few shakes, you can create homemade whipped cream that dispenses out of a can. This means you can adjust the sweetness to your liking, and include other flavors or additions if you want.
And, best of all, the iSi isn’t limited to whipped cream. Unlike many other dispensers on the market, this one is designed for both warm and cold applications. That means that you can use it to create espumas and culinary foams for both sweet and savory dishes. And if you use a different kind of charger, you can create carbonated drinks instead of foams.
But does it live up to the hype? Does it actually do everything it promises? Read our full hands-on review of the iSi Whipped Cream Dispenser to learn where it shines, where it struggles, and whether we think it’s worth the money.
Specific Product: the iSi Gourmet Whip
iSi offers five different whipped cream dispensers:
- Easy Whip Plus
- Cream Profi Whip
- Gourmet Whip
- Thermo Whip
- Thermo Xpress Whip
Only the last three options are capable of both warm and cold applications. The Thermo line seems better tailored for professional and restaurant settings (and has a price tag to match). As a result, we settled on the iSi Gourmet Whip for our review as the most versatile yet affordable option for home cooks.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name, most whipped cream dispensers (even our other top picks) are specifically designed for making whipped cream. The iSi Gourmet Whip stands out in this regard, because it’s created to handle both warm and cold preparations. This means you can make whipped cream, of course, but also espumas and gourmet culinary foams in a range of temperatures to go on your savory dishes.
One of the most memorable desserts I’ve ever had was at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Thailand, and involved mango in a wide range of preparations. One was a delicious, light, creamy foam.
With the iSi Gourmet Whip, you should be able to whip up (pun intended) your very own mango espuma for a similar dessert.
What about finishing a risotto with some saffron foam? Or a version of a caprese salad where the basil comes as an espuma rather than leaves? The possibilities are endless, and the iSi dispenser is intended to help you achieve whatever you can dream up, whether it’s warm or cold, and sweet or savory. But that’s a bold claim to live up to, so we’ll dig into whether this tool actually achieves what it promises.
The Gourmet Whip feels solid and high-quality as soon as you take it out of the box. It has some heft and weight to it, and definitely comes across as a quality tool rather than a flimsy gimmick. Once you pick it up, it’s immediately clear that this tool is one of the best options out there.
We were disappointed to find that the Amazon listing for the iSi Gourmet Whip was misleading. It specifically says that the tool comes with three stainless steel tips, when in fact it has one stainless steel tip and two plastic ones. We’re hoping they’ll update this information to be more accurate!
For us, the inclusion of plastic instead of stainless steel tips wasn’t a big deal. However, if you’re someone who prefers to avoid plastic in the kitchen, this might be a serious issue. Besides, you should be able to trust that a product comes with what’s promised!
On the other hand, we definitely appreciate the inclusion of a cleaning brush designed to work with this product. It can definitely be a challenge to thoroughly clean the tips, so the included brush is a thoughtful touch.
We also wish that the package included some beautiful, full-color recipe cards or a recipe booklet. We don’t expect this with truly professional tools designed exclusively for restaurant use (presumably a chef would already have ideas in mind!).
But since the Gourmet Whip is a popular choice among creative home cooks who may prefer some guidance, those recipe cards would have been a nice inclusion. The Breville Smoking Gun is a brilliant example of how gorgeous and inspiring these recipe cards can be, as you can see in our pictures! It would have been nice if iSi had followed Breville’s lead.
Fortunately, iSi doesn’t leave you completely on your own to figure things out! They offer a bunch of recipes online. We just find that gorgeous printed recipes help add a little something extra (and make sometimes expensive kitchen gadgets feel more worth the price.) Also, be aware that the online recipes from iSi are sometimes confusing to say the least. Some of them read as having been translated and not proofread by a native English speaker.
Using the iSi Gourmet Whip for the First Time
For a first attempt, I didn’t want to get too creative, because it was all about testing the tool rather than making a gourmet recipe. So I simply mixed some heavy whipping with a couple spoonfuls of my homemade elderflower syrup to add sweetness and flavor.
I poured the mixture into the Gourmet Whip, screwed on the lid, and inserted a cream charger as instructed. It took more pressure than I expected to twist the charger holder onto the device, but soon it released its contents. Once it was empty, I removed it and put the cap in place. Next, I gave the dispenser six firm shakes.
Then it was the moment of truth: I turned it upside-down over a slice of cheesecake and pulled the handle to release the whipped cream. And it definitely came out!
I’ll be honest with you: this first use was meant to be a simple test that never saw the light of day. But the result was so funny that I can’t help but share. As you can see, a huge sprawling mound of whipped cream sprayed out before I figured out how to control the device and got one single nice line across the top.
The moral of this story: practice before you need to actually produce nice-looking results! By the next time I used this whipped cream dispenser, I was already much more comfortable with how much pressure to apply to get pretty swirls of cream instead of a chaotic pile.
My impressions after the first use were overwhelmingly positive. My own initial incompetence aside, the iSi performed exactly as expected. The whipped cream was quick and easy, and had a beautifully fluffy texture and perfect mouthfeel.
Putting the iSi Whipped Cream Dispenser Through its Paces
Of course, one test with just a flavored whipped cream isn’t enough to write a full review! I tested the iSi with several other preparations, and will go into some depth about three:
- An herb-infused finishing oil
- A warm tomato-saffron foam
- iSi’s recipe for 40-second chocolate cake
The idea is that each of these three preparations uses different techniques with the iSi, and should thoroughly explore what it’s able to do. The herbal oil tests the device’s ability to infuse (even without the Rapid Infusion Set). The tomato-saffron foam enters into the world of savory espumas. And the plum soda combines infusing fresh flavors into liquids with creating a soda.
For the herb-infused oil, I picked various herbs from my garden: thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and sage. These went into the iSi along with neutral oil. I then dispensed a N2O charger into the canister, gently swirled it, and set it aside for two hours.
The result was subtle, but noticeable. I deliberately used neutral oil to be able to accurately tell how much herbal flavor was extracted. It ended up having the herbal notes of some high-quality olive oils; in fact, I would have guessed the base was olive oil if I had been guessing blindly. The rosemary was (not surprisingly) the dominant note. Overall, it wasn’t an overwhelmingly herbal flavor, but the result would make a great dipping oil for a nice bread. (It would be even better made with good-quality olive oil to enhance the herbal notes, of course.)
For the tomato-saffron foam, I infused saffron into hot water for 10 minutes before stirring in tomato paste, cream, and a bit of salt. I strained the mixture through cheesecloth and poured the resulting liquid into the iSi, which I charged with N2O.
The result was richly flavorful, although the texture wasn’t ideal (but that was my fault; I shook it too much!) I used it as a finishing touch in a dish of shrimp in white wine and saffron broth with my own garden peas and thyme. Despite my mistake in making the foam too thick, it was a nice addition, and added a subtle tomato flavor.
For the 40-second chocolate cake, I followed iSi’s recipe exactly. Or as exactly as possible, anyway. The recipe turned out to be very vaguely written. For example, the instructions say to add salt, but this isn’t included on the ingredients list and there’s no indication of how much to add.
Butter is listed as an ingredient, and is presumably incorporated during the step that says “mix everything,” but there’s no indication of whether it should be melted or softened.
And I took the step that says, “Stir the flour and the melted coating” to mean I should stir them together with each other, but in hindsight, I think it meant to stir both the flour and the melted chocolate into the eggs, icing sugar, and mystery salt.
Anyway, you get the idea. The recipe writing is a mess and didn’t give me a whole lot of confidence that the dessert would turn out well.
The result surprised me. The cake was much lighter and airier than shown in the pictures, which wasn’t ideal. There was no way to turn it out of the ramekin onto a plate, for example, because it would just collapse. But it was loosely a cake, and tasted pretty nice. The recipe needs some work, but I’m impressed that this sort of application is possible with the device, and will explore the concept further.
Specs & Features
- Maximum liquid temperature: 165° F (74° C)
- Minimum temperature: 34° F (1.1° C)
- Capacity: 1/2 pint or 1 pint (two models available)
- Chargers included? No
Other Comments and Considerations
Keep in mind that iSi whipped cream dispensers are only intended for use with iSi chargers. Using chargers made by other brands voids your warranty. If you’re somewhere that you can easily get iSi chargers, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, in certain parts of the world, they’re hard or impossible to find.
Other chargers do technically work in this device (as we were forced to figure out due to location constraints), so it’s up to you whether you’re willing to void the warranty.
The iSi Gourmet Whip also technically isn’t designed to work with CO2 chargers to create soda. Again, this is something we’ve experimented with and have found to work. However, please proceed based on your own judgment. If you’re looking for a device specifically designed for making sodas, you may prefer the iSi Sodamaker.
Pros & Cons
The Gourmet Whip is incredibly versatile, and could serve an equally versatile audience. With that said, we believe it’s best for adventurous home chefs or users who are inspired to branch into new ideas.
If you only want to make whipped cream easily, you won’t need the iSi. Instead, you can check out various other options on our list of the best whipped cream dispensers. Many of those will do exactly what you need at a much lower price.
But if you’re adventurous in the kitchen and want the option of exploring your creative ideas, you can’t go wrong with the iSi. It works perfectly as a simple whipped cream dispenser, but also leaves the door open for various other preparations that you might want to try.
The iSi Gourmet Whip is definitely higher in price than many other whipped cream dispensers… but that makes sense, because it’s designed to handle so much more than whipped cream. Those cheaper devices tend to be just for whipped cream and cold applications, while the Gourmet Whip can handle warm uses as well.
Plus, if you’re lucky, you might catch it on sale! Check the Gourmet Whip’s price on Amazon now to see whether there’s a sale going on.
All things considered, the price is very fair considering everything this tool can do and its high-quality construction. If you can afford it, we definitely recommend getting the Gourmet Whip so that you’ll have the option of branching out into warm espumas and foams instead of being limited to cold whipped cream.
As always, the big question is whether the product tester decides to keep the device. As normal people with normal-sized home kitchens, it’s not realistic for Cuisine Technology’s product testers to keep everything they try out for reviews!
So what’s the verdict—will the tester keep the iSi Gourmet Whip, or give it away?
Our tester says: “I’m really impressed with the Gourmet Whip, and have lots of projects in mind for it already. I can see it becoming a staple in my kitchen, because it opens up so many possibilities that would be difficult or time-consuming without it. So yes, I’ll definitely keep it!”
There aren’t really direct alternatives to the iSi lineup, because the Gourmet Whip and Thermo Whip are designed for both cold liquids (like whipped cream) as well as warm liquids (great for savory espumas and foams). But if you’re just looking for a whipped cream dispenser, and the iSi sounds like overkill, here are a couple of great options!
For a complete kit
The Otis Classic Whipped Cream Dispenser Pack. This dispenser is designed for use with cold liquids only, so don’t plan to use it for warm espumas. But it’s a great kit that’s still very versatile—and for a more affordable price than the iSi Gourmet Whip.
For a high-quality yet budget-friendly option
The EurKitchen Professional Whipped Cream Dispenser. Again, this is only for cold liquids. But if you don’t need anything fancy and just want a solid, reliable, high-quality whipped cream dispenser at a great price, the EurKitchen is a great pick.