We’ve all been in this pickle before: It’s after dinner, you’re winding down for the night and you suddenly remember you volunteered to make cupcakes for the bake sale or to bring in a treat for a coworker’s birthday. Sure, you could stop at the grocery store, but you want this treat to seem at least a little homemade! That’s when I like to whip up one of my favorite chocolate cupcake recipes using what I have on hand and then decorate them the easy way with premade frosting. Now, for some bakers, canned frosting might be the ultimate no-no, but when you’re in a pinch, I say there’s nothing wrong with a shortcut.
Of course, all sweet-lovers know that not all canned frostings are equal. Sometimes you encounter some that are way too sweet or artificial, but I’ll admit that I’ve been fooled before by a good one! To find out exactly which canned frosting tastes homemade, I grabbed a handful of brands to find the best. Hoping to find a good shortcut, I picked up these options:
- Baker’s Corner Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frosting (sold exclusively at Aldi)
- Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frosting
- Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Classic Vanilla Frosting
- Great Value Vanilla Frosting (a Walmart brand)
- Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Vanilla Frosting
- Simple Mills Organic Vanilla Frosting (sold at Whole Foods)
Let’s see which ones scored the best in our blind test!
Honorable Mention: Great Value
Earning an honorable mention in this test was Walmart’s Great Value frosting. Great Value has proven itself in the past—it took top spots in our cookie dough test and gained a lot of bonus points for tasting almost like homemade. The same is the brand’s premade frosting. Testers remarked on how this one had a homemade quality to it, however it got lower marks due to its consistency. The thinner frosting was almost icing-like. It might run right off your favorite cake, but we agreed it’d be the perfect topping for some cinnamon rolls.
Runner-Up: Betty Crocker
It stands to reason that baking super-brand Betty Crocker placed highly in this test. The rich and creamy canned frosting was exceptionally smooth and light—almost marshmallowy. Testers absolutely loved the texture and appearance of this frosting. This one was a bit sweet for our tastes, but we’re positive it would be a huge hit with kiddos and folks with an extra sweet tooth.
Best in Show: Duncan Hines
Coming in at the very top was Duncan Hines and its ultra creamy frosting. This shouldn’t have come as a big surprise to our more seasoned testers. The brand got high marks both in our chocolate cake taste test and our recent blueberry muffin test.
What set Duncan Hines apart from the rest of the pack was that this frosting was so much more than just sweet. We did find it sweet but also buttery with just a hint of vanilla. A few testers commented on how it tasted a lot like icing from grocery store bakeries (which a lot of us love!). Combine that rich, creamy flavor along with a silky smooth texture and we had a winner on our hands.
Don’t get us wrong—this was one sweet test, and we enjoyed finding good, canned frostings for our last-minute bakes. However, every panelist in this test agreed: as tasty as some of these brands are, there’s nothing better than a homemade frosting (get all our favorite recipes here). And, really making a nice buttercream from scratch isn’t so hard! Just watch.