Our Guide to How to Make Store-Bought Frosting Better
Don't have time to make frosting from scratch? We share several different ways how to make store-bought frosting better.
Throughout my life, my mom has made almost every single one of our birthday cakes with from-scratch frosting. With time, my two brothers and I came to expect homemade frosting on desserts for most celebrations, whether we were going to have cake, cupcakes or cookies.
However, even in a home where the value of homemade frosting was instilled in us early on, we still kept a can or two of canned frosting tucked away in the pantry for emergencies. And every time we’d crack one open, I’d find myself wondering how to make store-bought frosting better. It was never the same as the homemade batches!
Luckily, with a little research, we found that there are dozens of ways to doctor up a can of frosting. By using some of these tricks, you won’t notice as much of a difference between Mom’s recipe and Betty Crocker’s.
How to Make Store-Bought Frosting Better
While there are several different ways to make canned frosting taste better, it really depends on your personal preferences. With our tips, you can change the consistency of the frosting, add flavor and texture, adjust the level of sweetness and more—all depending on what you want out of your can of frosting.
Make it fluffier
Most homemade frostings have a somewhat fluffy texture (unless we’re talking chocolate ganache)—so unless you buy canned frosting specifically for its density, whipping some air into the frosting is an easy and transformative way to make store-bought frosting better. Scoop the frosting into your stand mixer and beat at a medium speed until the frosting is your desired consistency.
Editor’s Tip: I’d recommend whipping your canned frosting no matter what other additional modifications you plan to make. The thickness of store-bought frosting is one of the biggest giveaways that it’s not homemade.
Thin it out
Since canned frosting is typically super thick, another way how to make store-bought frosting better is to make it thinner. Pour in some whipping cream into your mixer with the frosting, and beat until it’s all incorporated. But if you added too much, don’t panic! You can add confectioner’s sugar to the frosting tablespoon by tablespoon until it’s back up to par.
Other liquids you could try using to thin out store-bought frosting include milk or even Bailey’s if you’re feeling brave.
Editor’s Tip: When I added whipping cream to canned frosting, I found the texture to be slightly meringue-like. It’d be a perfect topper for a s’mores-themed dessert.
If you’re starting with plain or vanilla frosting, adding flavor is one of the easiest tweaks you can make. A teaspoon of your favorite extract—whether it’s almond, peppermint or vanilla—would be a great addition. Cocoa powder would be perfect, too.
Otherwise, Nutella, cream cheese, peanut butter or another nut butter would give it tons of flavor as well as some added smoothness.
Make it less sweet
We all know how store-bought frosting is almost candy-sweet. Some of us love it, and some of us don’t. If you’re the latter (like me), you can tone down the sweetness by adding a sprinkle of salt. Just be careful—it’s easy to overdo and hard to recover from.
If you choose to add texture to your canned frosting, make sure the frosting is at your desired consistency first, otherwise it will be more difficult to whip in the mixer after you add your mix-ins.
Mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, chopped nuts, and even sprinkles would be fun morsels to fold into your frosting, depending on what dessert you’re spreading the frosting on top of.
However, if you want your frosting even whiter than you found it in the container, there’s a fix for that, too. (Hint: It involves purple food coloring!) Learn more about how to make buttercream white.
If you want to add flavor and color at the same time, consider a few spoonfuls of your favorite jam recipe, whether it’s strawberry, raspberry or blueberry.
Mix and match any of the above ideas to get your dream can of frosting.