5 Easy Ways on How to Thicken Frosting

Cupcakes, cakes, and other pastries will never be the same without frosting. After all, it is the frosting that boosts not just the taste but the appearance of baked goodies as well. However, thin frosting can also break your entire cupcake experience.

This is why it is important for bakers to get the right frosting consistency. Sadly, there will be times when you end up with a frosting that doesn’t seem to thicken. Before you lose all hope, we present to you the different methods on how to thicken frosting in the easiest way possible.

How to Thicken Frosting: The 5 Methods You Need to Know

Below are the five easy techniques that you can employ to save your frosting and make it as thick as possible.

Method #1: Thicken Frosting Using Powdered Sugar

This is the most commonly used method in thickening frosting. After all, this is the main component of your frosting. But please keep in mind that this can alter the taste of the pastry, so this may not be an option if the cupcake is already too sweet.

What You Will Need:

  1. Powdered sugar
  2. Meringue powder
  3. Whisk (preferably, electric)
  4. Mixing bowl

Step 1. Add the sugar a little portion at a time.

Sprinkle around 1 to 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar into the frosting and mix it well using the whisk.

Pro Tip: There will be a tendency that the frosting will become too thick or sweet if you add too much amount of powdered sugar at once. If this happens, it is recommended that you add more liquid to thin it out.

Step 2. Add meringue powder.

If you want to reduce the sweetness of the frosting, the best thing that you can do is to add meringue powder. This can help with the consistency of the frosting without altering its taste.  This is because the powder is made from egg whites, gum, and sugar. Its sugar content can absorb the extra liquid in the frosting. On the other hand, its gum content is a popular natural thickener.

But too much of meringue powder can make the frosting too thick. This is why it is crucial that you follow this simple guideline: add 1 to 2 teaspoons of meringue powder if you use more than ½ cup of powdered sugar to thicken the frosting.

Add everything into the mixing bowl and mix well.

Method #2: Thicken Frosting Using Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a type of dry starch which can absorb excess liquid from the frosting without affecting its sweetness.

What You Will Need:

–    Cornstarch

If you do not have cornstarch at home, you can substitute it with arrowroot or tapioca starch.

Pro Tip: Arrowroot is an excellent option if your frosting contains either sour cream or buttermilk. On the other hand, tapioca is an excellent choice for frostings that need to remain cold.

  • Electric Grinder
  • Mixing bowl
  • Whisk or mixer

Step #1. Grind the cornstarch.

Place two teaspoons of cornstarch (or the starch of your choice) in an electric grinder. Grind the starch until it turns into a soft powder.

Pro Tip: This is done to avoid clumping of cornstarch.

Step #2: Add the cornstarch to the frosting.

Add the cornstarch to the frosting, ½ teaspoon at a time. Mix it into the icing using either a mixer or whisk. Stop adding the cornstarch once you have achieved your desired thickness.

Method #3: Thicken Frosting Using Heavy Cream

If you are preparing a frosting that has to be chilled and beaten, the best way to boost the thickness of the frosting without adding to its sweetness. The cream will deliver a thick and rich yet fluffy and light texture that is perfect for the type of frosting that you are making.

This option is also recommended if you plan to heat or whip your frosting after the cream has been added.

What You Will Need:

  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Tablespoon
  • Whisk or Mixer

Step #1: Place your frosting inside the mixer.

Step #2: Add heavy cream to the mixer.

You will need to add around 3 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Using the mixer, whisk the heavy cream into your frosting.

Pro Tip: Make sure to add only small amounts of heavy cream, preferably one tablespoon, at a time.

Method #4: Thicken Frosting Using Cream Cheese

If the frosting is not just too thin but too sweet as well, cream cheese is here to your rescue. It does not only add thickness to the frosting, but it also brings a tangy flavor which can combat the extra sweetness that it has.

What You Will Need:

  • Blender
  • Cream Cheese

Step #1: Soften the cream cheese first.

The fastest and easiest way to soften cream cheese is to unwrap it and place it in the microwave. Set it on high for 15 seconds. This duration is applicable for an 8-ounce of cream cheese. It is recommended that you add 10 seconds for every additional 8-ounce of cream cheese.

Step #2: Add the cream cheese to the frosting.

Add around 30 ml of cream cheese to your frosting. Blend it well.

Method #5: Thicken Frosting by Refrigerating It

If you want to boost the thickness of your frosting without adding any ingredients, one excellent method to try is by refrigerating it. This is perfect for frostings which have thin texture because they need time to set.

This option is recommended for frosting that has been cooked on the stove. It is also a perfect method for frostings that contain oil or whipped cream. This is because the mentioned ingredients are sensitive to the heat and have the tendency to thin when exposed to room temperature. Refrigerating these is the best way to keep them nice and thick.

What You Will Need:

  • Plastic film
  • Refrigerator

Step #1: Cover the bowl.

Cover the bowl that contains the frosting with a thin plastic film. This will prevent overexposure of the frosting which may cause it to dry out.

Step #2: Place the bowl in the refrigerator.

Place the covered bowl with frosting in the refrigerator (not the freezer) for 30 to 90 minutes. Check it from time to time to see if the frosting has already achieved your desired consistency.

In Summary

When it comes to frosting for cupcakes and cakes, the thicker, the better. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways on how to thicken frosting. You can do it by adding certain ingredients or by refrigerating it. Just make sure that you choose the right method by taking into consideration the type of frosting you are trying to make.

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