Homemade icing

3 Aug

Reader Barb from 1 Sentence Diary requested that I share my recipe for homemade icing. Since I love to make my readers happy, and today is Tasty Tuesday over on her blog, I thought today would be the perfect day to share:


  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons milk or soy milk


    1. In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer.
    2. Add vanilla.
    3. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry.
    4. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

    Some follow-up statements: 

    • One, I totally ripped this recipe off from the geniuses at Wilton.
    • Two, I do not add the sugar in as directed. I dump the whole pound in at once and let it fly. Literally.
    • Three, try to soften the butter a bit before you cream it together with the Crisco. Frozen butter makes for an ugly situation. Trust me.
    • Four, if you have it available, use a heavy-duty stand-up mixer. I’ve tried using a hand mixer and my stand-up mixer takes half the time and is tremendously easy.
    • Five, this icing tastes slightly different from bakery icing but in my opinion, this version way better.
    • Six, if you replace milk with soy milk or the margarine with a dairy free version to make is accommodating for vegetarians, vegans or people with lactose intolerance, don’t tell anyone. At first. Wait till your guests try it then tell them. The look on their faces is worth it. 
    • Seven, there are numerous variations of this recipe including: chocolate, chocolate mocha, key lime, peanut butter and extra special buttercream icing that adds whipping cream to the mix! Check out the recipes section on Wilton’s website for directions.
    • Eight, this recipe is really not as time-consuming as it seems. I typically make it while the cake or cupcakes are baking and have enough time left over to clean up the inevitable mess.
    • Nine, even though you now know what’s in it, you will still eat it. Repeatedly.

    So that’s it. My recipe for homemade icing. The next time you bake a cake or cupcakes, try this icing instead of the stuff from a can. You will never buy stuff from a can again!


    2 Responses to “Homemade icing”

    1. Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary August 3, 2010 at 10:36 am #

      Yay! Thanks for sharing. My recipe for icing works, but… let’s just say it leaves a lot to be desired. I do a lot of non-dairy baking, so the non-dairy option is a double-plus. Can’t wait to try it!

      • theemptykitchen August 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

        you’re welcome. this one is pretty much foolproof and it tastes awesome. it’s really easy to use for decorating cupcakes, too.

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