How to Ice a Cake

Help! Why Is My Buttercream Too Runny? 4 Easy Fixes

Help! Why Is My Buttercream Too Runny? 4 Easy Fixes

If you have a sweet tooth like most of us, it must be hard for you to turn away from desserts. It becomes seven difficult when it’s cake or cupcakes covered with buttercream frosting. This is an absolute favorite for most people because of its rich taste and creamy texture. However, not many people get buttercream right. You might find the buttercream too runny sometimes, leaving you wondering how to fix it.

You’re in luck. We have easy fixes that you can try to achieve the perfect consistency with your buttercream, and we’ll discuss them in this article. Without further ado, let’s dive right in. 

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

Buttercream consistencies

Why Is My Buttercream Runny?

No one wants runny buttercream on their newly baked dessert. If you keep making runny buttercream, it’s essential to find out what’s causing the problem to avoid it. Below are the top reasons you keep getting runny buttercream. 

Surplus Liquid

One of the main reasons why you keep ending up with runny buttercream is surplus liquid. Most times, you’re adding too much milk to the mix. It can be tempting not to follow the recipe to the letter and maybe add four tablespoons when it calls for only two. If you’re doing this, then that could be the reason why.

Hot Kitchen Temperature

If you find the icing too runny, maybe it’s because you’re baking in a hot and humid kitchen. When you’re making buttercream in a hot environment, it could cause the buttercream frosting to appear runny. Therefore, cooling the kitchen before you start baking is essential. If you live in a humid and hot environment, wait until the temperature comes down before frosting.


Mixing is a crucial part of making your buttercream frosting. However, if you find the buttercream too runny, it’s probably because you mixed it for too long. Overmixing causes air pockets to form within your buttercream. This would result in a runny mess most of the time. 

Warm Ingredients

Although we already pointed out that a humid environment is a terrible choice when making buttercream, warm ingredients are also a no-no. Pay attention to the temperature of ingredients used because warm ingredients are more prone to being runny than ingredients at room temperature. 

the image displays an example of a buttercream too runny

An example of a buttercream too runny

Buttercream Too Thick: Easy Fixes to Try

Runny buttercream will never look good on your dessert. However, this doesn’t mean you must toss it out if you get a runny result. The easy fixes in this article can help you bring your buttercream back to life; let’s take a look.

1. Add Powdered Sugar

The easiest method to fix runny buttercream is by adding powdered sugar. Make sure you add a tablespoon at a time and mix between each tablespoon till you achieve the desired result. One reason powdered sugar is an excellent option for fixing your buttercream is that it can act as a thickening source. It also has a sugary taste that won’t overpower the frosting taste. 

2. Chill It

A quick trick to help fix your runny buttercream is chilling it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Sometimes, all it takes is a chilly environment, and your buttercream will thicken. However, there are times when time in the fridge will cause the outer part of the buttercream to become thicker while the insides remains runny.

Don’t fret; simply scrape out the thick sides and use it. Alternatively, you can mix the runny and thickened parts, and you’ll get better results. 

3. Add Some Cornstarch

Cornstarch is an excellent alternative if your buttercream frosting is already sweet and you don’t want to use powdered sugar. Add one tablespoon of cornstarch into the buttercream frosting and mix it up. However, you should avoid adding too much cornstarch as it could interfere with the flavor, resulting in a starchy flavor. 

4. Increase the Mixing Time a Bit

Sometimes, you only need to extend the mixing time a while longer. Although this sounds counter-intuitive, it works excellently to help you get a thicker consistency. Try mixing for a minute or longer than indicated in the recipe, and you might get a thicker consistency. 

5. Mix in Meringue Powder

One easy fix that seems to work for most bakers is meringue powder. It’s an excellent alternative if you don’t want to use powdered sugar or cornstarch. Meringue powder is made from gum, sugar, and egg white. You have to sprinkle a tablespoon of the powder into the buttercream and then mix well. This would help you achieve a much thicker consistency. 

How to Prevent Runny Buttercream

Now that you know what to do when you find the buttercream too runny, the expert tips below can help you avoid having runny buttercream in the first place. Like they always say, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, check out the tips below to prevent a buttercream too runny situation.

1. Measure the Ingredients

If you’re using a recipe instruction for making buttercream frosting, then follow it to the letter. The proper amount of butter and other ingredients will help you get the ideal thickness of the frosting. Be precise with the measurement, and you’ll easily achieve your desired consistency.

2. Cool Down the Kitchen

Another way to avoid a buttercream too runny situation is by avoiding humidity and heat altogether. These are the enemies of buttercream, so if you want a smooth consistency, keep away from them. Always use the air conditioner when making buttercream frosting, or wait till cooler times of the day to make your frosting. 

3. Do Not Overmix

If you want to mix your buttercream, try not to do it too long. Mix till soft peaks start forming and thicken. It usually takes 3-5 minutes on high power or medium-high to get the desired result. Once you begin to see the thickness and peaks, it’s a sign to stop mixing altogether. Overmixing usually causes the buttercream to deflate and become too runny, so avoid it. 

4. Use Cool Ingredients

If you don’t want to find the icing too runny, you should never use warm ingredients when making buttercream. Always use ingredients chilled in the fridge when whipping your buttercream frosting together. Using cold ingredients will help you avoid a buttercream too runny situation. 

the image displays a frosting to explain how to prevent buttercream too runny on your frosting

Buttercream frosting

Buttercream too runny FAQs

  • How do I make my buttercream more stiff? If you want your buttercream to be stiffer, always prepare the frosting according to the recipe. This would help you achieve a stiff consistency in your buttercream frosting.
  • Can you overmix buttercream? Yes, it’s entirely possible to overmix. Overmixing can cause a buttercream too runny issues. Therefore, it’s best to stop mixing when you notice thickness and peaks.
  • How do I fix runny cream cheese frosting? You can save your cream cheese frosting the same method you save your buttercream frosting. Try powdered sugar or any of the easy fixes outlined in this article. 


If you find your buttercream too runny, it’s mostly because you overmixed or added surplus liquid. Luckily, the easy fixes in this article can help you achieve a smooth and thick consistency. If you also apply the tips we shared to avoid runny buttercream frosting, you’ll enjoy a perfect result every time you make buttercream frosting. What do you do when you find your buttercream too runny? 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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