20 Ideas to Improve Store Bought Frosting


It’s one thing to bake a cake, cupcakes or cookies. But it’s another thing to make your own frosting. Store-bought icing can be a lifesaver by providing a quick and convenient way to frost a dessert right out of the box.

The problem? Canned frosting can sometimes be too sweet, bland, or the wrong consistency for what you need.

“You can add so many different ingredients to your canned frosting to take it to the next level,” says dessert and food blogger Melissa Johnson of Best Friends For Frosting. “Mixing cream cheese, whipped cream, lemon zest or even Nutella can make such a difference.”

From making the frosting creamier or fluffier to changing its flavor, these easy changes are sure to impress anyone you plan to share your dessert with.

Make more creamy

Many store-bought frosting options lack body. Mixing in additional ingredients to make the icing creamier will result in extra richness and a better mouthfeel with every bite.

Mix the cream cheese: Want extra creamy frosting? Cream cheese is the answer. “Mix an 8-ounce package of softened cream cheese,” says Johnson. “The acidity will also help remove excess sweetness from store-bought frosting.”

Add Peanut Butter: Mixing in ½ cup of creamy peanut butter, or any nut or seed butter, can help improve the consistency of store-bought frosting. Of course, this will also add flavor. Consider adding it to chocolate or vanilla frosting for a creamy, flavorful twist.

Make thicker or thinner

light pink birthday cake with lit hot pink candles

Changing the texture of the icing can make it easier to decorate some desserts like cakes.

Sean Justice/Getty Images

Depending on what you’re using the store-bought frosting for, a thicker or thinner consistency may be needed. Making the icing thicker will make baking and decorating a cake easier. Thin, fluffier frosting works best with cupcakes.

Add the heavy whipping cream: Johnson suggests making the frosting fluffier by mixing in heavy whipping cream 1 tablespoon at a time. “If it gets too runny in the process, add 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar to even it out,” she says.

Add the whipped cream: “Add fresh homemade whipped cream to your frosting for a richer, airier taste,” says Johnson. Mix equal parts frosting with whipped cream, but be sure not to use canned whipped cream. Canned whipped cream is too light and does not hold its shape while mixing. Homemade whipped cream, or even thawed whipping topping, is best.

Thicken it with powdered sugar: Need an icing that can be applied to a cake? Thicken store-bought icing by mixing in powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Whisk it until frothy: To make the frosting frothy, it must be airy. Add the container of frosting to a bowl and use a hand mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip it for 3 minutes.

Improve flavor

For many, vanilla or chocolate frosting is tasty enough right out of the container, but it can be improved. Boost the flavor of the frosting or use it as a base to add other flavorings to create the perfect cake pairing.

Play with citrus fruits: Do you like the flavor of lemon, lime or orange? “Incorporating grated orange or lemon zest will add a whole new layer of sweetness and semi-sour,” Johnson says. Stir in 1 tablespoon citrus zest to enhance the flavor of the frosting, which will also help tame the sweetness.

Improve chocolate: Choose chocolate icing? Johnson suggests kicking the chocolate flavor up a notch by mixing in cocoa powder 1 teaspoon at a time. Another option? Chocolate and hazelnut accord. “Use Nutella or any brand of hazelnut spread for the chocolate frosting. Add 1/2 cup Nutella and mix well with a hand mixer for a great way to boost flavor,” she says. .

Add flavored syrups: “You know those flavored syrups from the grocery store? They’re not just for snow cones and lattes,” Johnson says. Mix in 1 teaspoon of a flavored syrup like cherry, raspberry, or caramel nut to add extra flavor.

Use snippets: Mixing extracts is one of the easiest and best ways to enhance flavor. Mix options such as pure vanilla extract, pure almond extract or pure peppermint extract. Use a spatula or hand blender to mix the extract 1 teaspoon at a time.

Make it colorful

pink, purple and yellow frosting in three separate bowls

You can add color to the frosting with gel food coloring, or use freeze-dried fruit or jam.

Tim Young Photography/Getty Images

Store-bought vanilla frosting will be white right out of the box. Using other ingredients to tint the frosting will make a dessert vibrant and fun.

Use gel food coloring: Using colored icing is one of the easiest ways to spruce up a cake or cupcakes. Start with two drops of gel food coloring and stir, then continue adding food coloring one drop at a time until the desired color is achieved. Liquid food coloring tends to change the texture of the icing, but gel food coloring will help hold its shape.

Use freeze-dried fruit powder: Add color and flavor by introducing ground freeze-dried raspberries or strawberries. Mix 1 cup of fruit powder.

Jams or preserves: To create a light pastel shade and add a splash of flavor, add jams or fruit preserves. Blend into a thick jam 1 tablespoon at a time until you have reached your desired color or taste.

Incorporate crunch and texture

To create a truly unique dessert, adding texture is a great option. Make store-bought frosting more interesting with crunch in every bite.

Mix the crushed walnuts: Stir in ½ to 1 cup finely chopped toasted peanuts, pecans or walnuts to add a nutty crunch.

Add colored nuggets: For confetti frosting, rainbow sprinkles will do. Stir in ¼ to ½ cup rainbow jimmies or rainbow nonpareils for a party cake.

Add grated coconut: Shredded coconut can add a nice texture and just a hint of flavor to vanilla frosting. Stir in ½ cup to 1 cup.

make it less sweet

Store-bought frosting can be incredibly sweet, but it doesn’t have to be. A salty or tangy ingredient mixed in can help reduce the sweet taste.

Add salt: Limit the sweetness of store-bought icing, starting with ⅛ teaspoon of salt. Use a spatula to incorporate the salt or whip the icing with a hand mixer and add more for an even saltier bite

Use a drop of lemon juice: Mixing in a drop of lemon juice will tame the sweetness of store-bought frosting, and such a small amount won’t change its flavor. Stir in with a spatula or whip the frosting with a hand mixer.

Insider’s Takeaways

Store-bought frosting can be a convenient option for topping and decorating a cake, cupcakes, or even cookies in no time. Store-bought icing can be enhanced with a variety of mixes to amp up the creaminess or change its consistency, texture, flavor, and color.

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