How to Ice a Cake

Fixing Buttercream Too Thick: 7 Simple Solutions

Fixing Buttercream Too Thick: 7 Simple Solutions

Buttercream is one of the most versatile and delicious frosts you can make. However, it can be tricky to get it right. One common issue when making buttercream is that it can sometimes become too thick. This makes the frosting difficult to work with. Luckily, we have the solutions for you. This blog post will cover simple solutions to fix the buttercream too thick issue. 

By the end of this article, you’ll learn how to always get the perfect consistency with your buttercream frosting, and you can enjoy your yummy creation without worries. 

the image displays frosting consistencies to easily identify a buttercream too thick situation

Buttercream consistency

Why Is My Buttercream Too Thick?

Before learning the solutions to the problem, it’s essential to learn what causes the buttercream to too thick situation. Below are a few reasons why this happens.

1. Overbeating

One of the reasons why your buttercream becomes too thick is because you overbeat it. When you beat the buttercream for too long, it causes the butter to separate, often resulting in a clumpy and thick texture.

2. Too Much Powdered Sugar

Although powdered sugar can help you achieve a structure in your frosting, it can sometimes cause problems. Too much powdered sugar can cause your buttercream to become too thick. Although it is a crucial ingredient when making buttercream, caution is essential.

3. Temperature

One of the reasons you’ll find the frosting too thick is the temperature. If the buttercream is too cold, it will become too thick and difficult to use. This works both ways, as you’ll find the buttercream too runny if it is too warm.

the image perfectly showcases a buttercream too thick situation

A buttercream too-thick frosting example

Fixing Buttercream Too Thick – Simple Solutions to Try

Now that you know what causes the buttercream to become too thick, below are simple solutions you can try to fix the problem.

1. Add More Liquid

This is the simplest way to fix the problem when you find your buttercream too thick. Adding liquid will help to thin out the thick buttercream. You can add milk or cream, which are the most common choice. Add a tablespoon at a time and mix well between addition to achieve the right consistency and avoid adding too much. Alternatively, you can try using other liquids like fruit juice; this would add a new flavor to your frosting. 

2. Try Gelatin

Gelatin is another excellent option when you find the frosting too thick and want to thin it out. Like the liquid, add one tablespoon of gelatin at a time and mix well between each addition. Continue this process till you get the desired consistency. This method works best if you use the buttercream frosting for dry-baked goods like cake pops.

3. Use Melted Chocolate

If you like chocolate, you’ll love this simple solution. Adding a few tablespoons of melted chocolate to the buttercream will thin it out. Additionally, this fix helps to give your frosting a flavor boost. However, you need to ensure you don’t add too much so it doesn’t ruin its consistency.

4. Heat the Buttercream

This is a simple solution to soften the buttercream if the cold temperature causes the buttercream to become too thick. Make sure you heat it gently in short bursts in the microwave. Additionally, stir frequently if you’re heating over a boiler to avoid overheating and melting the butter. Once it becomes soft, cool it down to room temperature before decorating your cake.

5. Add Additional Fat

Another simple solution you can try out if you find your buttercream too thick is to mix in additional fat. This would solve the problem if the buttercream became too thick because of overmixing or too much powdered sugar. Add softened butter to the mix one tablespoon until you achieve the ideal consistency. However, ensure you don’t add too much fat to prevent the buttercream from becoming too greasy. 

6. Add Liquid Sweeteners

When there is too much powdered sugar, you can use liquid sweeteners to thin it out. You can use liquid sweeteners like corn syrup, honey, or maple syrups. Add the liquid sweetener in small amounts until you achieve the desired result. A liquid sweetener is an excellent option because it adds flavor to the buttercream. 

7. Use a Mixer

A hand mixer or stand mixer on low speed can also help fix the issue. Using a mixer when you find the buttercream too thick can make it lighter and fluffier. However, you need to take care not to overmix the buttercream. Overmixing can also cause it to become too thin or lose its structure.

How to Avoid Making Buttercream Too Thick

While these solutions can help you fix the problem if you find the frosting too thick, the expert tips below will help prevent it from becoming too thick in the first place.

  • Use the right amount of powdered sugarAlways measure your powdered sugar carefully and use the right amount when making the frosting. A 1:1 ratio of sugar to butter ensures you get your desired consistency. If you’re adding liquid to the buttercream like citrus juice or melted chocolate, you could add as much as twice the amount of icing sugar. Therefore,  a 2:1 ratio of sugar to butter in that case.
  • Mix on low speedTo prevent the buttercream from becoming too thick, you should use a low speed when mixing your buttercream. Additionally, mix it only till it becomes smooth and well combined. 
  • Use ingredients at room temperatureYou should also ensure your butter and other ingredients used in making the buttercream frosting are at room temperature. This will help ensure your frosting is smooth, light, and fluffy.

the image displays a perfect frosting consistency after a buttercream too thick situation is resolved

Perfect buttercream consistency


  • How do you loosen stiff buttercream? One of the ways you can loosen stiff buttercream is by adding more liquid like milk, flavored extracts, or even a touch of liquor. However, you can also try out any of the simple solutions above.
  • Can I add water to the buttercream? Yes, you can. Add some tablespoons of cooled boiled water if you find the buttercream too thick. This would help to soften the consistency and make it more spreadable.
  • What happens if you whip buttercream too long? Too much whipping will leave air bubbles in your buttercream. Although this won’t ruin the texture or flavor of your buttercream, it won’t look as beautiful or smooth as you would prefer.
  • Can I add flour to buttercream? Except you’re making Ermine Frosting, adding flour to the buttercream is generally not a good idea.


There are varying reasons why you might find the buttercream too thick. However, the simple solutions we shared in this article provide an easy way to fix the problem. Whether it’s adding more milk or cream, heating things, or using a mixer, there are many ways you can thin out the thick buttercream and make it easier to work with. With the tips in this article, you can make the perfect buttercream frosting for your baked goods every time. What do you do when you find you frosting too thick? Share with us.


How To Ice A Cake

How To Ice A Cake

Compiled and written with love from our editorial team.

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