How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting Thicker

I love cream cheese, and I make quite a bit of it regularly; it is, after all, the best option for Red Velvet cake. Yet, it doesn’t always come out with the right consistency. If your frosting is thin, refrigerate it for ten minutes and add cornstarch or meringue powder if the problem persists.

Hey, everyone! My name’s Michelle, and my family really enjoys cream cheese frosting. In fact, many of my loved ones prefer this frosting over other types like whipped cream or buttercream. That said, it’s unsurprising I make it often, and I’ve learned how to fix runny messes.

Are you struggling with cream cheese that just won’t thicken? Don’t panic – and don’t throw it away. There are a few easy-peasy fixes for thin cream cheese frosting. 

Keep reading to find out how to make your frosting thicker!

How to Thicken Cream Cheese Frosting (4 Ways)

Whether you’re adding frosting to cupcakes, cake, or another yummy treat that requires this type of frosting, the last thing you want to do is try to pipe thin frosting. It will create a runny, unappealing mess, ultimately ruining your treat.

So, if you find yourself with a bowl of thin frosting, you’ll want to use one of these easy hacks to make it thick and ready for decorating:

1. Refrigerate for Ten Minutes

One of the easiest ways to thicken this type of frosting is to simply place it in the refrigerator for ten minutes. During this time, the butter will harden up a bit more, making your once-runny nightmare turn into a succulent and thick topping. Yum.

Note: Some cream cheese frostings may be hard-headed and not thicken as quickly as you’d like. In situations like this, try leaving the frosting in the fridge for up to an hour.

2. Add Meringue Powder

If you refrigerate your cream cheese but still end up with thinned-out issues, you can go to step b: otherwise known as meringue powder. Meringue powder will work to thicken up your frosting without changing the flavor or texture. 

Start with a single tablespoon of meringue powder to see how your cream cheese reacts. One tablespoon should do the trick, but if you need one or two more, don’t hesitate to add it!

3. Use Full-Fat Cream Cheese

OK, so this tip won’t help you if you’ve already made your cream cheese frosting. But if you’ve tried everything and it just won’t work, you might have to toss it and start new.

If that’s the case, ensure you’re using full-fat cream cheese.

Cream cheese that has a lower fat content has more liquid, so you’ll have difficulty turning it into a thick and decadent frosting. In reality, you might be unable to turn it into frosting.

Always go the full-fat route!

4. Add Cornstarch

If you’re not an avid baker, you probably don’t have meringue powder in your arsenal. And that’s OK! What ingredients do most people have? Cornstarch.

Go ahead and break out the cornstarch that’s been sitting in the back of your pantry for the last few weeks. Scoop up a tablespoon of the cornstarch and mix it into your frosting. Use an additional tablespoon or two if needed.

Like meringue powder, cornstarch won’t hinder the flavor or texture of your cream cheese, leaving you with a desirable topping for any treat!

Don’t Use More Sugar!

Every cream cheese frosting recipe requires powdered sugar. There’s no getting around that. With that said, many people will tell you to just toss in some more powdered sugar until the cream cheese is the right consistency.

My answer to that? Don’t do it!

Adding too much powdered sugar will cause your frosting to become overly sweet, negating the main draw to cream cheese frosting – it isn’t abundantly sweet.

That said, don’t overdo it with powdered sugar. Try meringue powder or cornstarch and refrigerate for up to an hour (although ten minutes should typically do the trick!).


See? Thickening cream cheese is super simple! Now you have the tools and knowledge to liven up thin frosting. But don’t leave yet. I have added a few frequently asked questions that might pique your interest. Let’s check it out now!

Why isn’t my cream cheese frosting thick?

Cream cheese frosting usually turns out thin because the baker uses low-quality or low-fat cream cheese. These types of cream cheese have a higher liquid content, making it challenging – if not impossible – to thicken correctly.

Does powdered sugar thicken cream cheese frosting?

Many people add more powdered sugar to thicken their frosting because it works. However, more powdered sugar will render your cream cheese very sweet, which many people try to avoid when going the cream cheese route. I don’t recommend it!

Will cream cheese frosting harden in the fridge?

Cream cheese will most certainly harden in the fridge! That’s why it’s my number one solution to thin cream cheese frosting. Stash it in the refrigerator for up to an hour (although ten minutes is likely enough).

Cream Cheese Frosting Can Easily Thicken Up!

Cream cheese frosting can sometimes end up too watery. The best way to avoid this is to use full-fat cream cheese. If it’s still liquid, store it in the fridge for ten minutes (up to an hour), or add a tablespoon of merging powder or cornstarch until it’s thickened up.

How do you fix runny cream cheese frosting?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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