How to Make Canned Frosting Taste Homemade

Don't have time to make frosting from scratch? Learn how to make canned frosting taste homemade.

Throughout my life, my mom has made almost every single one of my birthday cakes with from-scratch frosting. With time, my two brothers and I came to expect homemade frosting on desserts for most celebrations, whether we were going to have cake, cupcakes or cookies.

Even in a home that revered homemade buttercream, we still kept a can or two of canned frosting tucked away in the pantry for emergencies. And every time we’d crack one open, I’d find myself wondering how to make canned frosting taste homemade. It was never the same as the from-scratch batches!

Luckily, with a little research, we found that there are dozens of ways to doctor up a can of frosting. By using some of these tricks, you won’t notice as much of a difference between Mom’s recipe and Betty Crocker’s.
while you’re at it, you can also explore how to make box brownies better!

7 Ways to Make Canned Frosting Taste Homemade

While there are several ways to make canned frosting taste homemade, your approach should really depend on personal preferences. With our tips, you can change the consistency of the frosting, add flavor and texture, adjust the level of sweetness and more—all depending on what you want out of your can of frosting. While you’re at it you can also explore how to make box cake taste homemade!

Grab a container of one of the best store-bought frosting brands to start with and get experimenting!

1. Whip the frosting

frosting in a stand mixer mixing bowl ready to be scooped into a piping bag for cupcakes nearbyarinahabich/Getty Images

Most homemade frostings have a somewhat fluffy texture (except fudgy chocolate ganache)—so unless you buy canned frosting specifically for its density, whipping some air into the frosting is an easy and transformative way to make canned frosting taste homemade. Scoop the frosting into a bowl and beat at a medium speed until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.

Editor’s Tip: No matter what other modifications you plan to make, whipping canned frosting will make a world of difference. The thickness of store-bought frosting is one of the biggest giveaways that it isn’t homemade.

2. Thin it out

Since canned frosting is typically super thick, another way to get it to taste homemade is to make it thinner. Pour a splash of whipping cream into a bowl with the frosting and beat until it’s incorporated. If you poured in too much cream, don’t panic! Add confectioner’s sugar to the frosting tablespoon by tablespoon until it reaches a thickness you like.

Don’t have cream on hand? Milk or Baileys (if you’re feeling bold) would work, too.

Editor’s Tip: When I added whipping cream to canned frosting, the texture resembled meringue. It’d be a perfect topper for a s’mores-themed dessert.

3. Flavor with extract

Close-up of vanilla extract being poured onto a teaspoonbrazzo/Getty Images

If you’re starting with vanilla frosting, adding flavor is one of the easiest tweaks you can make. A little of your favorite extract—whether it’s almond, peppermint or lemon—would be a great addition.

It’s easy to go overboard with extracts. Start with 1/4 teaspoon, whip it in and taste. Repeat the process if you’d like a stronger flavor.

(Psst: This trick also works for making cake mix and boxed brownies taste better!)

4. Make it extra smooth

Creamy ingredients like Nutella, cream cheese, marshmallow creme, peanut butter or another nut butter will give the store-bought frosting tons of flavor with some additional smoothness. Mix in 1 cup of cream cheese or 1/2 cup of marshmallow creme or nut butter per can of frosting for a creamy delight.

5. Add a pinch of salt

We all know how store-bought frosting is almost candy-sweet. Some of us love it, but others find it a bit cloying. If you’re in the latter group (like me), tone down the sweetness by adding a sprinkle of salt. Just be careful—it’s easy to overdo and hard to recover from.

6. Give it more texture

Coconut layer cake slice with coconut frostingVeselovaElena/Getty Images

Flaked coconut, mini chocolate chips or shavings, chopped nuts and even sprinkles would be fun morsels to fold into your frosting, depending on what dessert you’ll frost.

Editor’s Tip: Before you add any mix-ins, make sure the frosting is at your desired consistency first. Otherwise it will be more difficult to fold in the extra ingredient.

7. Add color

It’s easy to dye a can of vanilla frosting; just reach for food coloring. You can even make it whiter. (Hint: It involves purple food coloring!) Learn more about how to make buttercream white.

If you want to add flavor and color at the same time, consider a few spoonfuls of your favorite jam recipe, whether it’s strawberry, blueberry or even marmalade.

Mix and match any of the above ideas to get your dream can of frosting.

Try These Homemade Frosting Recipes
1 / 39

Lauren Pahmeier
Lauren is an associate editor at Taste of Home, focusing on search engine optimization. When she’s not making sure readers can find TOH’s recipes on Google, she’s practicing her food photography, consistently finding new recipes to try and hunting down the most indulgent treats in the Twin Cities.