Just a few ingredients go into this quick and easy vanilla mousse. Serve it as a simple dessert, or it can be a light frosting or filling. It has no eggs and needs no cooking.
You'll find this recipe much faster and easier to make than a classic mousse recipe. No eggs or cooking are needed, and you'll have it in the fridge chilling in just a few minutes.
The word "mousse" itself actually means "foam" or "froth". In spite of the easy preparation, this version checks that box very nicely as a light and foamy dessert.
It's not too sweet and the vanilla flavor is really allowed to shine. After one bite you will never again called anything "plain vanilla".
Ingredient and Substitution notes
Not counting the water or any garnishes, this simple recipe has just 4 ingredients!
- Heavy whipping cream (don't use regular whipping cream - your mousse won't have as good a body)
- Confectioners sugar (a/k/a powdered sugar) - a traditional mousse recipe uses granulated sugar, but it's cooked. Powdered sugar works best here.
- Unflavored gelatin
- Vanilla - We highly recommend an excellent quality vanilla. In the photo above you see a vanilla bean. Split in half and scraping the "caviar" (seeds) is very simple, but you could use a vanilla bean paste if you like. (Linked below for your convenience.) We do not recommend using vanilla extract.
- Water - this is for "blooming" or dissolving the gelatin.
Instructions for making mousse
- Chill the bowl and beaters that you will use. This gives you the greatest volume anytime you whip cream.
- If using a vanilla bean split down the middle of it. Open to reveal the pasty interior and scrape that with a paring knife.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and set aside.
- Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla at medium-high speed until partially whipped. Stop at the soft peak stage.
- Microwave the gelatin 5-10 seconds. You just want to get it to the point it's liquified.
- Slowly add the gelatin to the cream as you complete whipping to the stiff peak stage.
Now you're ready to put the mousse into serving dishes and chill for at least 2 hours.
What type dishes should you use?
Single serving dishes are the easiest and most elegant to use. This is a great time to get our your granny's crystal.
Another fun way to repurpose some of your pieces is to use martini glasses for your mousse.
Depending on the size of your dishes, and how high you pile the mousse you will get between 4 larger and 5-6 smaller servings from this recipe. It's easily doubled if needed.
Items you may need
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- This is our hand mixer. It's inexpensive but perfect for the average home cook.
- Whole vanilla bean pods for the most amazing vanilla flavor.
- You can also use vanilla bean paste and get excellent results.
- Disposable pastry bags if you want to pipe the mousse into dishes.
- A 1-M Piping Tip is what we used to get the look in all of the photos except the martini glass.
What to serve with it/ways to use mousse
It's perfectly wonderful served completely on its own. In fact, we love a small serving like this, just so we can savor every bite of vanilla deliciousness.
Or, you can use it as a filling between layers of cake and still use your favorite frosting on the top and sides.
If you choose to serve it in individual serving dishes as we've shown in these photos, just garnish with fresh fruit and a piroutte cookie. It's best to do that just before serving.
FAQ's about no cook mousse
Yes. This is the perfect make-ahead dessert. Cover and refrigerate it for up to 3-5 days. Wait until time to serve to garnish.
We do not recommend freezing it. The temperature change would compromise the fluffy texture.
A classic mousse recipe does use eggs, but this method and recipe is a good no-cook, no-egg alternative.
Vanilla Mousse (No Cooking Required)
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or scrape the inside of one vanilla bean pod
- ¼ cup confectioners sugar
- 1½ teaspoons gelatin unflavored
- 2 Tablespoons water
- Chill bowl and beaters.
- If using vanilla bean pod, slit vertically and scrape the seeds from inside with a paring knife.
- Sprinkle gelatin over the surface of water.
- Beat cream, sugar and vanilla at medium high speed until soft peaks form.
- Microwave gelatin mixture 5-10 seconds, or just until it liquifies.
- Add gelatin mixture to cream mixture gradually as you continue to beat. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- Chill a minimum of 2 hours before serving.
- This recipe makes 4 larger, or 5-6 smaller servings.
- In addition to individual servings, maybe used as a frosting on cake or cupcakes, a layer in trifles, or a filling between cake layers.
- Garnish, if desired, with fresh fruit and/or cookies.