How to Thicken Frosting

How to Thicken Frosting

Who doesn’t love “frosting on the top”? Yes, we know the saying tells “icing,” but what’s better than fluffy, soft, colorfully sprinkled, and thick frosting decorations on our cakes, pastries, and cupcakes. And indeed, we do like it in this way only. However, if you are new to cake decorating or designing, frosting can be both your friend and a foe. Its right consistency can make or ruin your day as well as your cake. And if you get hit with the question “how to thicken frosting,” you are at the right place.

So, what should you do to make sure that your frosting comes out thick while preparing? Let us dive in deep. 

We will start by learning the difference between frosting and icing because most people get confused. 

  • Icing’s main is mainly sugar, whereas the frosting’ ingredient includes butter or cream.
  • If you want to decorate your pastries, cakes, or cupcakes with a design, then you use frosting as it can hold the shape you want it to have, which ice can’t do.
  • Icing is flowy and thin, and to make it this way, it is ‘whipped,’ though frosting is fluffy and thick and is only ‘mixed,’ not whipped. 

(NOTE: Remember the difference between mixing and whipping, or else you will end up with the recipe gone wrong.)

chocolate frosting
Photo by Pixabay

What is Frosting?

It is a fluffy paste that is thick, not runny, and helps maintain the shape of your pastries, cake, or cupcakes and stick it all together. And not only this, frosting makes your cakes look pretty!   

The main ingredients used to prepare frost are sugar, cream, or butter, and any flavoring of your choice. However, the popular ones are vanilla, chocolate, or lemon.

colorful frosting
Photo by Pexels

My frosting is too runny. What to do?

Mastering the cake is half-battle won, but the challenge ahead of you to decorate it with the frosting is the other half. Your cakes or pastries can fall flat if the frosting doesn’t have the consistency and the thickness it needs to keep intact. If the frosting on your cake is too thin, it will become a leaning tower of Pisa. 

How To Thicken Frosting?

Thicken Frosting Using Sugar

The most traditional thickening agent used to give your frosting its desired thickness is sugar, and it is readily available and a hassle-free process. You will need powdered sugar, a spatula, a mixing bowl, and an electric mixer. 


  1. Pour your already prepared frosting into the bowl.
  2. Using an electric mixer, start whipping the frosting until you see it becoming fluffy and increasing in volume. 
  3. Now, you gradually start adding confectioner’s sugar or powdered sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) to the mixture and keep adding it until you see your frosting thickening. 
  4. You can even add flavors of your choice during this step, such as vanilla, chocolate, mint, coffee, etc.

NOTE: Remember not to whip the cream for a long time, turning the frosting gummy or sticky.   

Tricks and Tips:

  • If you are looking forward to having a firm frosting for decoration, place it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Somehow even after giving due diligence, your frosting turns out to be too thickening; add a few drops of water.

Using Gelatin To Thicken Frosting

For this, you will need unflavored gelatin powder, a measuring cup, cold water (for mixing gelatin), boiling water (for melting gelatin), and an electric mixer. 


  1. In a small bowl, pour your frosting in and smoothen it with an electric mixer. 
  2. Side by side, in a measuring cup, mix 1 part of unflavored gelatin powder with three parts cold water and let it sit for at least five minutes or until you see swollen granules. 
  3. After the gelatin has ‘bloomed,’ boil it until fully dissolved. Do not forget to stir. You can even microwave it to melt it but be careful and keep an interval of around 15 to 20 seconds between melting. 
  4. After successfully melting the gelatin. Start to pour it into the frosting in a thin stream. 
  5. Keep on whipping the frosting until the gelatin mixes well. 
  6. You should use the frosting right away after getting them all done, or else you will not get a smooth frosting as the gelatin will start to harden.   


Yes, you can use flour too to thicken your frosting. However, you can use it only by warming up your frosting, as the flour has a distinct taste that can only be removed by heating the frosting. To do this, you will only need flour and a gas stove. 


  1. In a pot, pour over your frosting and keep it over the stove to warm up. 
  2. Now, slowly start sprinkling the flour and do this until you get the desired consistency. 
  3. As you reach the needed thickness, remove the frosting from the stove and keep it aside to cool down.

NOTE: Remove the frosting from the stove as soon as we reach the desired thickness; otherwise, the flour will overcook and can make your frosting sticky.

delicious frosting on the top
Photo by Pixabay


So this is not a common way of thickening a frosting, but it may come in handy if you have nothing else by your side. Cornstarch is for correcting whipped cream frosting and simple buttercream. 

You will need milk, cornstarch, and a beater for this process. 


  1. Firstly, in a tablespoon of milk, add cornstarch and stir.
  2. Then, pour this mixture into the frosting and beat it with the help of a beater. 
  3. After beating for a while, wait and leave it to stand and watch it get firmer and reach the desired thickness. 


  • You can use any beater, electric, or hand beater.
  • Always begin by adding a tiny amount of cornstarch and gradually increase the sprinkling, if needed. 

Thickening Frosting with Refrigerator

This is the easiest way to thicken your frosting, that too effortlessly. And you surely do not need anything apart from having a refrigerator at your home. 


  1. Keep your frosting into the refrigerator for about half an hour to ninety minutes straight.
  2. Then, take it out and check its thickness. 
  3. If you fail to reach the desired thickness, keep it again inside for about ten to fifteen minutes. 
  4. And voila! Your thickened frosting is ready to decorate your cakes and pastries.  

NOTE: Always make sure while using this method that your frosting is at room temperature.

Read more: How To Freeze Cake 

Meringue Powder

Meringue powder is a combination of sugar, gum, and dried egg whites, and if you have no problems with the use of eggs in your cakes, you can go for this to correct your frosting. It is best for royal frosting.


You need to add about one to two teaspoons of meringue powder into your frosting while adding the sugar.

NOTE: Remember not to add too much meringue powder in the frosting as it will lead to extreme thickening, which you might not like.  

Jillian Noon

Hi, I am Jillian Noon, the owner of this beautiful cooking blog. I create this blog to share my passion for cooking and other kitchen & food tips. I hope you will enjoy it!

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