How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting Thicker Without Powdered Sugar? (Revealed!)

To thicken cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar, reduce liquid, use sour cream instead of milk, add more cream cheese, or refrigerate before use. Other sweeteners like honey or agave nectar can also be used.

What Are the Causes of Thin Frosting?

Before I go on to discuss how to resolve this problem, let’s take a look at what causes thin cream cheese frosting in the first place.

Typically, it’s the amount of powdered sugar that you add when mixing the frosting.

The sugar thickens and sweetens the frosting.

But, of course, if it’s reached its desired sweetness, you don’t want to be adding any more!

And you may not want to use powdered sugar anyway.

Or maybe you didn’t add enough cream cheese in the first place?

Another factor that affects the thickness and consistency is the liquid you add to the frosting.

You could end up pouring in too much liquid rather than adding it gradually.

And, like the majority of people, myself included, you probably use milk, and this inevitably leads to a thinner consistency.

Not beating enough air into the mixture can also result in thinner frosting.   

What Are the Solutions for Thicker Frosting?

Now that I have established the reasons for thin cream cheese frosting let’s see what we can do about it.

The main thickening ingredient is powdered sugar.

Once you have added the required amount and reached the level of sweetness you desire, you don’t want to add any more sugar.

Or maybe you don’t want to use powdered sugar in the first place.

In that case, you could consider other sweeteners such as agave nectar or honey.

One of the simplest solutions to thicken the frosting is to simply add more cream cheese.

Unfortunately, that could change the taste, making it more sour than sweet and not suitable for a dessert.

When you are getting your ingredients together, try substituting the milk for sour cream.

It sounds odd, but it does work and gives a thicker texture to the frosting. 

Milk is quite thin, and you can also accidentally end up pouring too much in.

My Tips for Success

So, here are a few of my tried and tested tips for thicker cream cheese frosting.

And preferably without using powdered sugar!

Try refrigerating it for a short period before use, but be aware that as it warms up again, you may lose the consistency.

From an opposite point of view, use room-temperature ingredients to make cream cheese frosting.

Take them out of the fridge a good 30 minutes beforehand.

I suppose this next tip goes without saying, but you never know!

Add the ingredients gradually, so you can control the consistency as you go along.

Tipping all the ingredients in the bowl at once is never going to work!

Remember to keep tasting the frosting as you mix, and adjust the sweetness as necessary.

And my final suggestion offers a temporary fix.

Try using an electric mixer to beat more air into the frosting mixture.

In reality, this just gives the illusion of thicker frosting, and it could collapse at any given moment!

So, perhaps best used when wanting to use the frosting as a filling rather than for piping fancy swirls on cupcakes. 

How to Make Cream Cheese Frosting without Powdered Sugar

My Thoughts

  • Cream cheese frosting typically uses powdered sugar for frosting
  • Honey or agave nectar can be used as sweeteners instead
  • Using a thicker liquid such as sour cream can improve the consistency
  • Simply add more cream cheese!
  • Use an electric mixer to beat air into the frosting

Nothing wrong with experimenting with different ingredients and methods to discover the perfect cream cheese frosting consistency for your needs.

You may also wish to read if you can use cream cheese spread in frosting!

What are your go-to strategies or ingredients for thickening cream cheese frosting without resorting to more powdered sugar?

Let us know in the comments below!

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