How To Thicken Store-Bought Frosting So You Can Pipe With It

Store-bought frosting can be a helpful shortcut when you're in a pinch, but if you're using it to pipe, it can sometimes miss the mark. To help with spread-ability, canned frosting often has a thinner consistency than the homemade stuff. While this is helpful when you're simply smearing the frosting on a cake with a spatula, it typically doesn't provide enough structure for piped designs, causing them to fall flat. Luckily, making store-bought frosting thick enough to pipe is easy with a hand mixer and some powdered sugar.

While powdered sugar is just pulverized granulated sugar, most manufacturers also add cornstarch to the mixture, which works to prevent the fine powder from clumping together. When powdered sugar is added to canned frosting, the cornstarch gets to work absorbing some of the moisture, causing the frosting to stiffen. Because too-thick frosting will also be difficult to pipe, blending the sugar in with a hand mixer in increments of a tablespoon allows you to have more control over the texture. However, the additional sugar may cause the frosting to become too sweet, so adding a pinch of salt can reinstate the flavor balance.

A spoonful of sugar makes for good piping

Although canned frosting often has a thinner consistency, it's also a bit denser. Using a hand mixer creates tiny air bubbles that cause the frosting to become lighter and fluffier. In addition to the powdered sugar, you might even consider blending a tablespoon or two of butterĀ into the ensemble. Not only does this create a smooth buttercream consistency, but it also makes for easier piping. Because it is so creamy and light, yet sturdy enough to hold its shape, American buttercream is the best frosting to use for piping.

Alternatively, if the frosting is too thick to create the desired effect, you can thin out store-bought frosting by using the hand mixer to blend some milk into it. Since you've already got the mixer out, you may as well throw in a few other ingredients that can elevate the taste of your homemade-ish frosting. Peanut butter, Nutella, or jam can easily be incorporated for a creamy and flavorful boost. Coffee creamer, coffee, liqueur, and different flavored syrups can also be good additions, though more powdered sugar will also have to be brought in to offset the excess liquid. If you're in the mood for a little more texture, crushed nuts or candy bits can also be put in the mix.