How to Drizzle Canned Frosting

by A.J. Andrews ; Updated December 06, 2017

Frosting from a can seems to fight melting every step of the way. With a lengthy order of stabilizers and preservatives like soy lecithin and xanthan gum in its ingredient list, canned frosting has everything you want – if you want to keep it emulsified on a shelf at room temperature for a few years. In short, canned frosting isn't made to drizzle, unless you "encourage" it to do so with a little heat or thinning.


  • Transfer the frosting to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it on High for 15 seconds.

Super-Speedy Microwave Easy

If you have a microwave, use it. Just add the frosting to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 15 seconds, maybe longer if you have a low-power microwave. Alternatively, transfer the frosting to a saucepan and heat it over low heat until it's fluid enough to drizzle.

You're not going to lose any detectable quality when you heat canned frosting once. Repeated heatings, on the other hand, will break the frosting, alter its taste and render it unusable. For a classic frosting that has just three ingredients, you can make your own in about 30 seconds.

Homemade Frosting Drizzle

Your own homemade frosting tastes better than canned and saves money. A 16-ounce can of frosting costs about $1.50, whereas homemade frosting coasts about half that for the same amount.

Making your own frosting gives you room to add some variation too. For example, you can substitute lemon juice for milk to get a citrus kick, or add melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate to get your chocolate fix.

Mix 2 cups powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons butter in a food processor. You can use a stand mixer or egg beater, if desired.

Add secondary ingredients. For vanilla frosting, blend in 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract; for lemon frosting, add the zest from 1 lemon and add lemon juice to taste; for chocolate frosting, blend in 3 to 4 ounces of melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate.

Thin the frosting with milk. Blend in 6 to 12 tablespoons of milk. The frosting should drizzle at around 8 tablespoons of milk, but add as much as you need to get the desired consistency.


  • When drizzling a cake, set it on a wire rack over a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or foil. When finished, just throw away the parchment for easy cleanup.

    You might find dipping small confections, such as cookies and muffins, easier than drizzling icing over them.

    You can store frosting in the freezer indefinitely.

About the Author

A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.