How To Thicken Frosting

When you’re baking, it’s better to start out with an extra thick frosting, because it is easier to thin out. This is not to say that you cannot thicken frosting, because you can.

However, it is more difficult to do. Thick frosting is great for most baking, and you need a thick buttercream frosting in order to have a solid and well-built cake.

Nobody likes runny frosting, and a firm royal icing is just as important as a thick buttercream frosting.

In this article, we are going to be showing you how to thicken frosting without ruining it. Let’s get started!

What Is Frosting?

Frosting is the sugary, creamy icing that is on top of cakes, cookies, and lots of other baked goods. Frosting is the thick and fluffy icing that will make or break a great cake.

Royal icing, buttercream frosting, and cream cheese frostings are some of the most common frostings.

However, Swiss meringue frosting, Italian meringue frosting, and French buttercream frosting are also just as popular in the prestigious baking world.

How Do You Make Perfect Frosting?

For this purpose, we are going to tell you how to make perfect vanilla buttercream frosting.

The key to great buttercream is butter, more butter, and butter! Jokes aside, whipped butter, with powdered sugar is the way to achieve the perfect consistency of buttercream.

Adding butter to sugar is always delicious, but powdered sugar and butter is what makes the perfect frosting.

To make perfect consistency frosting, use an electric mixer, or even a hand mixer. This will get all the air into your cream frosting, meaning it will be light and airy.

Additionally, make sure that your butter is softened. If your butter is soft, you can gradually add the sugar, without the frosting becoming curdled. Nobody wants warm frosting, so softened butter that is not warm is the key to great buttercream.

Whip the frosting fast, on a medium speed for around eight minutes. When the butter is ready for its desired consistency, add your confectioners sugar. This should always be sifted into the frosting.

How To Thicken Frosting

So, now we know how to make the perfect buttercream, how can you actually thicken frosting?

How To Thicken Buttercream

If your frosting is too runny, it will slide off the cake, and it will not be a spreadable consistency. We need frosting to be thick and firm.

To thicken buttercream, let your buttercream sit in the fridge, making sure to tightly cover the top with plastic wrap. This will help it firm up, and form a hardened skin.

If the frosting has not thickened after being in the fridge, add some more confectioner sugar. Add the ingredients gradually, otherwise it will become clumped. Making frosting is pretty simple, and you need to reach the desired thickness.

How To Thicken Royal Icing

Royal icing is often used on cookies, but you need it to be smooth and thick, Raw egg whites are the key to royal icing, but so is confectioners sugar.

To thicken royal icing, add more sugar, or add corn starch. This will thicken it up. Also, give it time to thicken in the fridge, making sure to tightly cover the top with saran wrap.

Other Popular Ways To Thicken Frosting

What is the best way to thicken frosting? Well, there are many types of frosting, and ways to thicken each. For example, thickening cream cheese frosting is different from thickening whipped cream frosting.

Add Flour

A popular way to thicken frosting is by adding flour. You can use all purpose flour as thickening agent for frosting, but it needs to be cooked. Add flour whilst using an electric mixer or whisk.

How to thicken frosting

Add Meringue Powder

Meringue powder is sweet, and is typically used for buttercream. Add meringue powder to buttercream, spoonful at a time. This will thicken up runny frosting.

Add Butter

Butter is an obvious choice for thickening frosting. Although more powdered sugar may be the obvious choice, sometimes butter is better.

To thicken runny icing, add softened butter, one spoon at a time. Continue doing this until it has reached its desired consistency.

Add Unflavored Gelatin

Unflavored gelatin will act as a thickener for frosting, and you should add two spoons at a time. Gelatin acts as a thickening agent, so it should be thicker than using additional sugar.

Add Cream

If you need your frosting firm, add whipping cream to whipped cream frosting, or just regular frosting. Whipping cream will thicken frosting naturally, making frosting thicker.

Try using heavy whipping cream or heavy cream, too. Heavy cream is often the same as whipping cheap, and the more whipping cream, the thicker the icing! Avoid sour cream, as this tastes weird.

How Do You Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting?

Cream cheese frosting is a popular frosting, especially for chocolate cakes or carrot cakes. Cream cheese frosting will differ in its thickness depending on how warm the icing is.

Warm icing is not firm, but cream cheese needs to be softened to be whipped. The best way to thicken a runny cream cheese frosting is to put it in the refrigerator, and let it firm up.

If this does not work, grab a mixing bowl, and add more sugar. When it comes to using the piping bag, you will see that cream cheese frostings are a lot thicker.

You can try adding butter, arrowroot starch, or more powdered sugar to your cream cheese frosting. Thick frosting is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite cakes.

Final Thoughts

Thickening frosting is more difficult to do than thinning out frosting, but with our tips and tricks, you will have no issues.

Thickening agents are necessary for thickening icing, and using things such as heavy cream, softened cream cheese, and more powdered sugar, will make your frosting thicker than ever.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

About the Author