The Crucial Instruction You're Ignoring With Canned Frosting

Canned frosting is so tasty that it can be temping to eat it straight out of its container, but if you're trying to use it for more practical reasons, like actually frosting a cake, you might be missing a step that could make your frosting up to par with homemade. This crucial step is actually listed in the instructions right on the side of the can: Stir it before you spread it.

You might have never paid attention to the label on your frosting container, besides the part that denotes the flavor, of course. Store-bought frosting is a big shortcut, after all, and seems ready to be slathered all over cookies, cakes, or brownies. In reality, it needs to be stirred thoroughly for best results. TikTok user @daniellelucasbakergirl pointed out that their can of Betty Crocker frosting had the pre-stir tip on the side, and decided to use a stand mixer to try it out. 


Have you ever actually read the instructions for canned frosting? Yup it says right here, stir at room temperature! This makes the frosting much more stable and easy to pipe! #frosting #frostinghack #frostinghacks #bakinghacks #lifehacks #frostingvideo #frostingtutorial

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The creator claims that adding the extra minute or so of mixing makes the frosting more "stable" and better for piping onto cakes, almost like a buttercream. Although this tip does appear on the can, Betty Crocker also says that its frostings are "ready to use," so it's not surprising that many people don't know they're supposed to stir first for optimal results. 

What does stirring do for the frosting?

The mixing step is worth it if you want your store-bought can to taste as creamy and delicious as possible. Mixing or whipping the frosting incorporates more air into it — you can see this happen as the chocolate frosting changes from a dark brown to a light brown in the aforementioned TikTok video. Homemade frosting that's mixed thoroughly ends up so smooth and silky because of that extra air. More air in the frosting makes it fluffier and can even help it deliver its flavor more efficiently. Whipping the frosting also increases its volume and appears to leave you with more frosting to use — almost double the starting amount. 

While stirring the frosting by hand will show a marked improvement, a stand mixer is the tool to really whip the frosting into shape. If you have access to a stand mixer, use it, as it'll save your hands a workout while making your frosting fluffier than ever. A handheld mixer can also be a big help. If you only use elbow grease, you may not achieve that same level of aeration as you would when using a mixer.

There are other ways to upgrade your store-bought frosting too

After you're done stirring and whipping your frosting, there are plenty of other ways to keep kicking it up a notch. If you prefer a thicker consistency, or need the frosting to hold up when layered between cakes or used to decorate cookies, you can add extra powdered sugar to it. In the event that the frosting gets too thick, keep mixing to see if loosens it back up. You can always add milk or creamer to thin it out again. Some brands also sell canned buttercream, but it's likely not as velvety as a homemade version. For a boost, add in room temperature butter by the tablespoon until the texture is just right.

Once you have the consistency down, add-ins unlock a whole new realm of possibilities. If you're a big fan of spreads like Nutella or cookie butter, start by adding half a cup of your favorite spread to your frosting, and then more to taste. Either of these additions would nicely compliment the ultimate chocolate cake or a batch of chocolate cookies. You can also add in things that will give your frosting a more interesting texture. Chopped nuts would work well in a cream cheese frosting destined for a cranberry carrot cake. And of course, nothing says "fun" like rainbow sprinkles folded into frosting for a birthday cake.