How do I make store bought frosting better?

When it comes to making cakes and cupcakes, the frosting is often the star of the show. While store-bought frosting is convenient, it can sometimes leave something to be desired in terms of texture and flavor. Luckily, there are several easy ways to elevate basic canned or tub frosting into something truly special. Keep reading for tips on how to make store-bought frosting taste homemade!

Add More Flavor

One of the easiest ways to improve store-bought frosting is to mix in more flavor. Here are some ideas:

  • Stir in vanilla extract, almond extract, or maple syrup for a richer flavor
  • Blend in cocoa powder or melted chocolate chips for chocolate frosting
  • Mix in fruit purees such as raspberry, strawberry, or mango for fruity frosting
  • Add peanut butter for peanut butter frosting
  • Fold in crushed candy, like peppermints or butterscotch chips
  • Stir in spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger

Start by adding small amounts of your extra flavoring, then taste and adjust as needed. A teaspoon or two is usually plenty to start for extracts, powders, or spices. For mix-ins like fruit or chocolate, a 1/4 cup or less should suffice. Go slow, as you can always add more but it’s hard to take away flavor.

Change the Texture

Besides boosting the flavor, you can vastly improve the mouthfeel of store-bought frosting with just a few tweaks:

  • For thicker, fluffier frosting, beat in a pinch of baking powder
  • For silkier frosting, blend in a spoonful or two of milk, cream, or coconut milk
  • For firmer frosting that holds its shape better, chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes
  • For smoother, lump-free frosting, sift confectioners’ sugar before mixing it in

It’s amazing how small additions like a splash of milk or cream transform the texture of frosting into something lush and velvety. Refrigerating firms up the frosting so it can hold peaks and pipes well. And sifting powdered sugar removes lumps for a super smooth final product.

Lighten Dark Frosting

Is your chocolate or caramel frosting looking a little too dark for your cake? Lighten it up easily with these tricks:

  • Stir in a dollop or two of marshmallow cream or marshmallows
  • Blend in some peanut butter for nuttier flavor and lighter color
  • Fold in whipped cream or whipped topping for a fluffier, lighter texture
  • Mix in a small amount of white frosting for a creamy, lighter look

Bit by bit, add your lightening ingredient until the color suits your cake and preferences. Taste as you go to ensure you still have enough chocolate or caramel flavor. A couple tablespoons is usually enough to lighten a 16 ounce tub of frosting.

Add Visual Interest

While we eat with our mouths, we first experience food with our eyes. Take store-bought frosting from boring to beautiful with these easy visual upgrades:

  • Swirl in food coloring using a toothpick for colorful swirls
  • Fold in chocolate or rainbow sprinkles for flecks of color
  • Reserve some frosting, then tint it a darker shade for contrast
  • Pipe on decorative details like rosettes, clouds, or stripes
  • Top with luster or pearl dust for shimmer
  • Coat sides in coconut, chopped nuts, crumbled cookies or candy bits

A few simple embellishments make frosted cakes look worthy of a bakery display. Don’t be afraid to get creative with colors and textures to take your cakes to the next level.

Boost Store-Bought Buttercream

Buttercream from the grocery store usually tastes flat and greasy. Punch it up with these easy tricks:

  • Whip in cream cheese for tang and richness
  • Mix in nut or seed butters like almond or sunflower for nutty flavor
  • Blend in melted white chocolate or candy melts for creaminess
  • Beat in marshmallow fluff for fluffy texture and sweetness
  • Stir in extracts, zests, spices, or powders for more flavor

A few simple mix-ins can transform bland, boring buttercream into something irresistible. Fold additions in gradually until you achieve the desired flavor and texture.

Fancy Up Whipped Topping

Whipped topping from the grocery store is convenient but lacks the richness of real whipped cream. Make it taste like you just whipped it fresh with these easy additions:

  • Fold in sweetened condensed milk for creamy thickness
  • Stir in powdered sugar a tablespoon at a time for sweetness
  • Beat in vanilla, maple, almond, or other extracts for flavor
  • Mix in chocolate hazelnut spread for chocolatey depth
  • Whip until stiff peaks form for thicker texture

With just a couple extra ingredients and some extra whipping, you can totally transform whipped topping into something that tastes truly homemade. Adjust sweetness and flavor to your taste.

Doctor Up Canned Frosting

Canned frosting can be unbearably sweet. Counteract the sugar overload with these fixes:

  • Mix in cream cheese for tanginess
  • Stir in Greek yogurt for creamy, smooth texture
  • Blend in nut butter for nutty richness
  • Fold in berries, jam, or preserves for fruity flavor
  • Add coconut flakes for tropical vibe
  • Splash in milk or cream to thin out consistency

Cool, creamy ingredients tone down canned frosting’s cloying sweetness. Citrus zest or extracts also cut through the sugar nicely. Adjust additions until the frosting tastes balanced, not overly sweet.

Troubleshooting Frosting Issues

Even doctored up store-bought frosting can sometimes give you trouble. Here’s how to troubleshoot common issues:

Issue Fix
Too thin or runny Chill to firm up, stir in more confectioners’ sugar, or whip longer
Too thick or stiff Beat in milk, cream, or coconut milk to thin
Too greasy Add cream cheese or powdered sugar to cut grease
Too sweet Blend in cream cheese, nut butter, or extracts to counter sweetness
Watery beads on surface Whip frosting for longer to incorporate moisture
Grainy texture Sift confectioners’ sugar and/or cream ingredients together first

With a few simple tweaks, you can get temperamental frosting back under control. Adjust consistency with liquids or chilling, reduce grease with cream cheese, and fix graininess by sifting. With the right fixes, lackluster frosting can still shine.

How to Store Homemade Frosting

Leftover homemade frosting will keep for about a week in the fridge. For longer storage, consider these tips:

  • Store frosting in an airtight container to prevent drying out
  • Freeze for 1-2 months for longer storage
  • Thaw frozen frosting in the fridge before using again
  • Stir well before using to evenly distribute moisture
  • Add milk or cream to loosen if frosting seems stiff

Lightly covering the surface with plastic wrap directly on the frosting before sealing the container helps prevent crusting. Always use clean utensils when dipping into stored frosting to prevent contamination.

Decorating Cakes with Frosting

Doctoring up store-bought frosting is only half the battle – you still have to decorate the cake! Follow these pro tips:

  • Crumb coat: Apply a thin layer of frosting first to seal in crumbs
  • Chill: Refrigerate cake after crumb coating so frosting firms up
  • Nice and even: Use an offset spatula to smooth on frosting in even layers
  • Decorate: Embellish with piped designs, fresh flowers, or chocolate shavings
  • Get creative: Try two-toned frosting, drip designs, ombre colors, etc
  • Style it: Top with fruit, candies, sprinkles, cookies, nuts, or other decor

Frosted cakes look professionally decorated when you take the time to crumb coat, chill, and evenly frost. Then have fun adding you own unique decorative touches!

Creative Uses for Leftover Frosting

Don’t let leftover frosted cakes go to waste! Use extra frosting in these fun ways:

  • Sandwich cookies together for cake-like cookie sandwiches
  • Stuff or pipe into doughnuts, cannolis, or cream puffs
  • Fold into banana bread or pumpkin bread batter before baking
  • Blend with ice cream or milk for a frosty milkshake
  • Swirl into oatmeal, yogurt, or overnight oats
  • Top waffles, pancakes, or French toast for breakfast

Let leftover frosting inspire you to create new dessert mashups! It amps up the flavor of all kinds of baked goods, from breads to donuts. You can even churn it into milkshakes or blend it into breakfast dishes. Get creative with the possibilities.

Inspired Frosting Flavor Combinations

Spice up basic vanilla or chocolate frosting with these creative flavor combos:

Cake Flavor Frosting Flavor Ideas
Chocolate Peanut butter, mint, mocha, orange, raspberry
Spice Cream cheese, maple, salted caramel, spiced rum
Carrot Cream cheese, pineapple, orange, candied ginger
Red Velvet Cream cheese, white chocolate, cherry, cheesecake
Vanilla Butterscotch, hazelnut, coconut, cookies & cream
Lemon Blueberry, raspberry, lavender, honey

Complementary flavors take cakes from “meh” to magnificent! Play around with unexpected flavor combos to make frosted cakes that really wow.


While it’s quick and convenient, store-bought frosting often leaves much to be desired. With a few easy tricks like boosting flavor, tweaking texture, and enhancing appearance, you can easily transform basic canned or tub frosting into something special. The possibilities are endless for customizing store-bought frosting to suit your particular cake or cupcakes. So don’t settle for boring – spice it up with bold new flavors, tempting textures, and eye-catching embellishments. With a little creativity, even humble store-bought frosting can become the crowning glory on your cakes!

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