How to Thicken Up Icing Without Powdered Sugar: Easy Ways

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Last Updated on February 22, 2023

Today, we’re going to be taking a look at how to thicken up icing without powdered sugar. Powdered sugar is one of the most common ways to thicken icing, and you may know it better as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar.

Baking with frosting is as close to magic as a recipe gets. The only problem is, sometimes the consistency makes it difficult to use. This article shares many ways of achieving thickened frosting without powdered sugar. Let’s take a closer look.

What is Powdered Sugar?

Powdered sugar is known under many names, and you may know it better as one of the following: icing sugar or confectioners’ sugar. This type of sugar is simply white granulated sugar that has been ground into a very fine texture. Then an ingredient such as starch is added to ensure there are no lumps in your powdered sugar.

This type of sugar is most commonly used for icing, frosting, or simply dusting onto your baked goods to add sweetness.

How to Thicken Up Icing Without Powdered Sugar

While powdered sugar is the most common way to thicken up icing and frosting, there are plenty of other effective alternatives to use. Let’s take a closer look at some of my favorites.

  • Butter (or Shortening). Before you add butter, it must be softened to room temperature first. Once softened, add around a tablespoon at a time. Beat in completely before you decide on whether you need to add more. Not only will this make your frosting thicker, but also fluffier too!
  • Cream Cheese. If you don’t want to add sweetness, but a tang instead, cream cheese is the way to go! Much like butter, you’ll need to soften your cream cheese to room temperature first. Once softened, add around a tablespoon at a time, to achieve a thick and creamy frosting.
  • Meringue Powder. This is likely to change the taste of your frosting, so you may need something to sweeten it up slightly, but just add around a tablespoon at a time and taste it before you use it.
  • Cornstarch. Before you add cornstarch, sift it first for the best results. You can add in a maximum of around 1/4 cup of cornstarch to your batch of frosting. However, add it gradually until you’re happy with the consistency.
  • Flour. After sifting your flour, whisk in a tablespoon at a time until you have a delicious, thick frosting.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream. You’ll likely need around 1/4 cup of this cream and it’ll make a rich and decadent frosting. This is one of my personal favorites to enhance the flavor and texture of my frosting.
  • Cocoa Powder. This can only be used for thickening chocolate frosting. Cocoa powder can be quite a bitter tasting, so only add a teaspoon at a time until you’re happy. It may need sweetening with powdered sugar if you’ve added too much to your frosting.

frosting without powdered sugar

How to Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting Without Powdered Sugar

Thickening cream cheese frosting is super easy in comparison to the traditional frosting. Before you add any ingredients, try placing them in the fridge. This should help the cream cheese to firm up and it should change consistency on its own. If this doesn’t work, try adding a few tablespoons of cold heavy whipping cream.

My Frosting is Too Runny – What Should I Do?

If you find that your frosting is too runny, first try placing it in the fridge to chill. This is a simple fix for many types of frosting. If this doesn’t work, try using one of our options above such as butter, shortening, cocoa powder, or meringue powder.

How to Use Cornstarch to Thicken Frosting

If you use cornstarch to thicken your frosting, it’s best to first make a slurry. Make a slurry by adding a tablespoon of milk to a tablespoon of cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well and then gradually add to your frosting. Make another slurry if needed and add until your frosting is thick enough.

How to Thicken Chocolate Frosting

The best way to thicken chocolate frosting is either heavy cream or cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is the obvious choice as you won’t lose the chocolate flavor. But if you’d prefer, you can use a few tablespoons of heavy cream instead.

How to Make Royal Icing Thicker

When it comes to thickening royal icing, powdered sugar is definitely the best option. However, if you’re looking for alternatives, it’s best to use thickeners that aren’t sweet such as cornstarch, meringue powder, or gelatin.

How Do I Fix Runny Cream Cheese Frosting?

A: If you have runny cream cheese frosting, then it is likely that the butter was not fully incorporated into the mixture. This can be fixed by adding more flour or stirring in the butter with a whisk.

How Can I Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting Without Cornstarch?

To thicken cream cheese frosting without cornstarch, you can use a combination of flour and shortening. This will create a thicker consistency that is similar to the texture of store-bought frosting.

The “how to thicken icing sugar” is a question about how to make frosting without powdered sugar or cornstarch. This can be achieved by using a mixture of shortening and flour. The shortening will create the thickness that you need, while the flour will give it the right consistency.


I hope this post has helped you to become more familiar with how to thicken up icing without powdered sugar and give you lots of options to try yourself. While powdered sugar is usually the easiest thickener to use, there are plenty of great alternatives. Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to thickening up icing without powdered sugar? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below. And remember, sharing is caring!

Related Tags

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