Stratocumulus clouds constitute one of the largest negative climate forcings in the global radiation budget. This forcing is determined, inter alia, by the cloud liquid water path (LWP), which we analyze using a combination of Gaussian process emulation and mixed-layer theory. For nocturnal, nonprecipitating stratocumuli, we show that LWP steady states constitute an equilibrium primarily between radiative cooling and entrainment warming and drying. These steady states are approached from lower LWPs due to reduced entrainment, while higher LWPs are depleted by stronger entrainment. An analytical solution for the LWP steady state reveals not only the environmental conditions in which a stratocumulus cloud can be maintained, but also distinct analytical properties of the entrainment velocity that are required for a stable LWP steady state that opposes perturbations. In particular, the results highlight the importance of an entrainment velocity that increases strictly monotonically with theLWPif stratocumuli are to attain a stableLWPsteady state. This is demonstrated through analysis of two commonly used mixed-layer entrainment parameterizations.