What can you add to canned frosting to make it better?

Canned frosting is a quick and convenient way to decorate cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods. However, many find canned frosting to be overly sweet or lacking in flavor. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to customize canned frosting to make it taste better.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about improving canned frosting:

Why would I want to change canned frosting?

You may want to change up canned frosting if you find it too sweet, not flavorful enough, or just want to personalize it. Adding extra ingredients can make it taste less artificial and give it more depth.

What kinds of ingredients can I add?

All sorts of ingredients can be stirred into canned frosting to improve it. Common add-ins include cocoa powder, peanut butter, jam or jelly, spices, extracts, and more. Get creative with flavors!

How much of an ingredient should I add?

Start with small amounts, like 1/4 cup or a few teaspoons, then adjust to taste. Be careful not to thin out the frosting too much. Add thick ingredients like nut butter slowly.

Should I avoid any types of ingredients?

Avoid adding anything too wet or hot, as that can melt the frosting. Ingredients like fresh fruit, yogurt, and honey are likely to make the frosting too thin.

Flavor Boosters

One of the easiest ways to improve canned frosting is by stirring in extra flavor. Here are some great flavor boosters to consider:

Cocoa Powder

For chocolate or mocha flavored frosting, mix in unsweetened cocoa powder a tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired chocolate intensity. Cocoa adds richness without making the frosting sweeter.

Instant Coffee or Espresso Powder

Coffee is another way to reduce the sweetness of frosting. Mix in a teaspoon of instant coffee granules or espresso powder. It will enhance the chocolate flavor if you added cocoa too.


Almond, vanilla, maple, orange, peppermint…the options are endless when using extracts. They pack a lot of flavor without thinning the frosting. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and add more to taste.


For more unique flavors, spice it up! Ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom are delicious mixed into chocolate or vanilla frosting. Try a pumpkin or chai spice blend too.


Just a pinch of salt helps balance sweetness and enhances other flavors. Add just 1/8 teaspoon at a time so you don’t over-salt the frosting.

Texture Boosters

In addition to flavor, you can adjust the texture of canned frosting by mixing in extra ingredients. Here are some to try:

Peanut Butter

For a thicker, richer frosting, mix in smooth peanut butter a tablespoon at a time. This adds nutrition too! Other nut butters like almond would also work well.

Mascarpone or Cream Cheese

Blending in a few tablespoons of mascarpone or full-fat cream cheese makes frosting creamier. Be sure to let it soften first.

Whipped Cream

Fold in some whipped cream to lighten up canned frosting. Whip heavy cream with a bit of powdered sugar. Mix in a few tablespoons at a time.

Marshmallow Fluff

For an extra fluffy, pillowy frosting, stir in a few big dollops of marshmallow fluff. Let it fully incorporate.

Sprinkles or Crushed Candy

Add extra texture and festive sprinkles of color by folding in rainbow sprinkles, crushed peppermint, or other decorations. Try coordinating with the cake flavor.

Easy Mix-In Ideas

Here are some quick and easy ideas for ingredients to mix into canned frosting:

Flavor Combos Amount to Add
Cocoa Powder + Instant Coffee 1-2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder + 1 tsp Instant Coffee
Peanut Butter + Honey 2-3 Tbsp Peanut Butter + 1 Tbsp Honey
Lemon or Orange Extract + Grated Citrus Zest 1 tsp Extract + 1 tsp Grated Zest
Cinnamon + Nutmeg 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon + 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
Raspberry Jam + Lemon Extract 1/4 Cup Jam + 1/2 tsp Extract
Crushed Peppermint + Cocoa Powder 1/4 Cup Crushed Candy + 1-2 Tbsp Cocoa

Try out any of these flavor combinations or get creative with your own! Taste and adjust amounts as needed.

Ideas for Different Cake Flavors

The additions you mix into canned frosting can complement or contrast the cake flavor. Here are suggestions for some popular cake types:

Chocolate Cake

Boost chocolate flavor with cocoa powder, espresso powder, or dark chocolate chips. For texture, try peanut butter or cream cheese. Top with crushed candy or chocolate shavings.

Vanilla or White Cake

Enhance vanilla flavor with extract, vanilla beans, or almond extract. Fold in fruit jam or preserves and coordinate with zest. Top with chopped nuts for crunch.

Carrot Cake

Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and orange or pineapple juice to complement spices. Fold in crushed pineapple or chopped nuts. Top with shredded coconut.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

Stir in pumpkin pie spice blend, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Mix in mascarpone for richness. Top with chopped pecans or peanut butter chips.

Red Velvet Cake

Boost color with beet powder or red food coloring. Flavor with vanilla, cocoa powder, or chopped chocolate. Top with white chocolate chips or shaved coconut.

Storing and Serving Improved Frosting

Here are some tips for storing and serving your improved canned frosting:


Store improved frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. The additions may shorten shelf life. Frost cakes just before serving.


For best results piping, avoid ingredients that thin the frosting too much. Stir thoroughly before transferring frosting to a piping bag.


Finish off your frosted cake with extra toppings like chopped nuts, coconut, sprinkles, or drizzles of peanut butter or caramel sauce.


Let your flavored frosting shine by frosting cupcakes or unfrosted cake layers. Improved canned frosting also makes a great dip for fruit or baked treats.

Troubleshooting Issues

Here are some common issues and how to avoid them when improving canned frosting:

Too Thin

If your frosting becomes too thin, chill it briefly in the refrigerator to thicken. Avoid adding more liquid ingredients.

Too Stiff

If your frosting thickens too much, stir in a teaspoon or two of milk or cream to loosen. Do not add liquid all at once.

Too Sweet

Bittersweet chocolate, cocoa powder, extracts, citrus zest, nut butters, and spices can help offset excessive sweetness.

Bitter or Off Flavors

If flavors taste off, try adding a pinch of salt or drops of vanilla. Taste and adjust carefully when adding cocoa or spice blends.

Watery Layer on Top

This separation happens if ingredients were too wet. Mix well before using and avoid piping. Refrigerate to re-blend water.


With just a few extra ingredients, you can easily take canned frosting from artificial and one-note to fresh, flavorful, and delicious. Cocoa powder, nut butters, extracts, and spices are simple ways to customize canned frosting to complement your cake flavors. Get creative with mixing and matching add-ins to make your frosted treats truly special.

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