Skip to Content

9 Ways to Fix Grainy or Gritty Cream Cheese Frosting

Even with our best efforts and following the recipe exactly, sometimes frosting does not have the ideal texture or taste. It can take a lot of practice to get the correct frosting ingredient ratio and whisking technique down, but even the most experienced bakers run into problems with their frosting. One of the most common issues with cream cheese frosting is that it can have a gritty or grainy texture, but luckily, there are many ways to fix it.

The best method for fixing the graininess or grittiness of your frosting depends on your recipe, technique, and environment. To learn more about what you can do to fix your gritty or grainy cream cheese frosting, keep reading.

Home Baked Cupcakes With Red Berries and Butter Cream Frosting

1. Keep Whisking the Frosting

The first thing you’ll want to do to smooth out your frosting is to keep whisking it—whether it be with the whisk, hand mixer, or standing mixer that you previously used to blend all the ingredients together.

This is because the most common reason that reason cream cheese comes out grainy is that the sugar hasn’t yet been fully incorporated into the wet ingredients of the frosting, so the best and quickest fix is to do just that: incorporate the sugar into the wet ingredients by continuing to whisk it.

However, be careful! If you over-whisk the frosting, it could turn an easily fixable frosting into an unfixable one. Over-whisking causes extra graininess and curdling, as the constant blending causes the ingredients to bind together too much and curdle.

By the way, the value of a good whisk, like the simple but effective one I use, found on Amazon, cannot be overstated. In fact, it might be my favorite tool in the kitchen and is great for tasks like this!

White cream cheese frosting or buttercream in a mixer

2. Add More Milk

Another thing you can do to smooth out your frosting and get rid of that grainy, gritty texture is to add more milk. The majority of cream cheese frosting recipes call for milk, and milk can help to dissolve the sugar, eliminating that grainy texture that comes from the sugar. If your recipe does not call for milk, you can still add it, but we would suggest adding an ingredient listed below that is already listed in your frosting recipe’s ingredient list.

The best method for adding milk to your cream cheese frosting is to add only a tiny bit of milk at a time, roughly 1 teaspoon. Between each teaspoon you add to the mixture, you’ll want to beat the frosting thoroughly, repeating the process of adding a teaspoon of milk and then beating thoroughly until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Remember not to overbeat or whisk the frosting too much.

If you happen to add too much milk, causing the frosting to become too liquidy during this process, you’ll need to refrigerate the frosting for 30 minutes so the frosting can set, then beat the mixture with your hand mixer until the liquid and dry ingredients come together.

3. Whip a Tablespoon or Two of Heavy Cream

If your recipe calls for heavy cream already, we would suggest adding a bit of heavy cream to your frosting. This will help break down the sugar and smooth out the texture so that it’s no longer grainy or gritty.

We recommend starting off with just one tablespoon, then whipping it into the frosting using your hand mixer or stand mixer for about 30 seconds. Then, based on your personal judgments of how it improved the frosting consistency, you can add another tablespoon or two at a time until it reaches the perfectly smooth frosting consistency you desire.

If your recipe does not call for heavy cream, you can still add some in, but we would suggest adding a bit more of a previously-incorporated wet ingredient into your cream cheese frosting.

Homemade whipped cream cheese frosting in a bowl with a spatula

4. Incorporate Buttercream

There are several baking forums that suggest incorporating buttercream frosting into your cream cheese frosting to smooth out the texture. This is a great option because you don’t have to worry about using an ingredient that is already in your recipe. You can simply use this method for any cream cheese frosting recipe.

Keep in mind that if you’re making a dessert that specifically calls for cream cheese frosting or you simply prefer the taste of cream cheese frosting over buttercream, this method is going to change the taste and consistency of the frosting overall, but it will help it come out smooth.

The best way to go about this is to make the buttercream frosting separately, halving the recipe, so you don’t make too much frosting. You don’t need to add any flavoring, whether that be a vanilla extract or cocoa powder, as the flavoring of the cream cheese frosting is enough.

Once you’ve made the buttercream frosting in a separate bowl, slowly add the buttercream frosting to your cream cheese frosting and blend, incorporating more and more buttercream frosting into the mixture while blending until you reach the desired smooth, fluffy consistency.

Related How Long Buttercream Frosting Lasts (With Storage Chart).

5. Add More Cream Cheese

You can also add more cream cheese to the frosting mixture to make the consistency smoother. This is a great alternative to many of the others because every recipe already calls for cream cheese. However, if your cream cheese frosting is curdling, adding more cream cheese will not improve that. Make sure you only add about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at a time while you blend the mixture.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

6. Blend in Some Lemon Juice

Because lemon juice is acidic, it works great to break down the sugar in cream cheese frosting and smooths out any grainy texture. It can be incorporated into any cream cheese frosting recipe.

Simply add a few drops of lemon juice at a time while blending the frosting. Make sure you evaluate the texture regularly and stop adding lemon juice when the sugar appears to have been broken down and the texture has improved. Taste test the mixture along the way as well.

Keep in mind that lemon juice will add a tangy taste to the frosting, so if you don’t want that, you may want to try another alternative to smooth out your frosting or add about a 1/8th teaspoon of vanilla extract to your frosting to even out the taste.

If you’re worried about the flavor, add a bit of orange juice to the mixture instead, as it is acidic enough to break down the sugar and won’t add as much tang to the frosting as the lemon juice will.

7. Heat the Frosting in the Microwave

The next thing you can try to fix grainy cream cheese frosting is to heat the frosting in the microwave for about 10 to 15 seconds. The heat will help to melt the butter and cream cheese a bit while also breaking down the sugar. Once the frosting has been heated for 10 to 15 seconds, carefully take it out, then blend the ingredients together, as the heat may have caused some separation.

Then let the frosting cool in the refrigerator until it reaches the perfect temperature for spreading or piping onto your favorite desserts. If it has not reached the desired consistency, repeat the process. However, we don’t recommend heating the frosting for more than 30 seconds total.

Related How To Fix Runny Meringue (And Prevent It).

8. Let the Frosting Sit at Room Temperature

Sometimes all the frosting really needs is to sit at room temperature for a little while. Instead of messing with the frosting too much, you can try letting it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes. Cover the bowl with a towel to prevent flies, pets, or curious children from having a taste.

Oftentimes, this is all it takes to get the ingredients to combine and for the sugar to break down. Once you’ve let it sit for 30 minutes, you can give it one more beating with your hand mixer and evaluate the texture. Don’t let it sit out for too long (more than two hours), as this can cause the milk and cream cheese to spoil.

Red velvet cake with a cherry on top

9. Start Again Using These Tips

If all else fails, you may have to start again. While this can be a pain, we have plenty of tips that you can keep in mind during your next attempt to ensure that your frosting comes out smooth and fluffy, just the way you like it.

Tips For Making Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Sift your powdered sugar before incorporating it into the frosting.
  2. Make sure you use the correct amount of sugar or start out with less sugar than used previously, as too much sugar causes graininess.
  3. Don’t freeze the cream cheese, and allow it to reach a warm temperature before incorporating it into the frosting.
  4. Make sure your kitchen isn’t too hot or too cold.
  5. Don’t over-whisk your frosting.
  6. Beat the cream cheese in a separate bowl before incorporating it into the mixture.

For more, don’t miss 4 Easy Ways to Fix Grainy Frosting (And Avoid it Next Time).