Does Icing/Frosting Have Gelatin? (Answered)

Frosting or icing is a necessity to turn a cupcake into a cupcake. Baked goods and cupcakes can vary widely in potential allergens or ingredients that make them unfriendly for some diets. Before grabbing your next tub of icing, does icing or frosting have gelatin?

Some types of icing and frostings contain gelatin. Some icing and frosting brands will add gelatin to their product to maintain structure, which helps the icing or frosting remain stable and intact on your baked goods. Fondant icing is always made with gelatin so it can be molded into a final design. 

Recipes for icing and frosting differ, so there are plenty of options for those who don’t eat gelatin. If you don’t like making your own frosting or icing, purchasing pre-made vegan products is a lot easier than you might think. 

Does Cupcake Frosting Have Gelatin?

If you purchase premade frosting, read the ingredients carefully. Some of it will likely contain gelatin. The same is true of the icing you might purchase to decorate your cupcakes, especially if it’s colored icing. Gelatin might be added to icing or frosting to add color or so that it doesn’t melt and fall apart. 

Frosting may or may not contain gelatin depending on what type of frosting it is. Your standard store bought frosting typically doesn’t unless it’s a buttercream or a whipped frosting.

Since these frostings tend to be a bit thinner than regular frosting, gelatin may be added for thickness or to help it stand up to elements such as heat or air. 

Gelatin tends to be the preferred thickening or structural agent in icing because it’s easy to find, it’s not overly expensive, and it doesn’t have any taste. It’s easy to mold and manipulate gelatin as you need to for your different cupcake recipes.

Most importantly, adding gelatin to icing and frosting won’t have an impact on flavor. 

What Is Icing Made Out Of?

Icing will almost always contain butter, sugar or powdered sugar, milk or water, and some type of flavoring such as vanilla or chocolate. Food coloring or colored gelatin may also be added to change its coloring. Commercially available icing may also contain additives and additional ingredients. 

I like to use Watkings Food Dye because they are made with 100% natural vegetable juice, and no artificial flavors.

Icing is different from frosting even though those words are sometimes used interchangeably. Icing tends to have a thinner consistency when it’s being squeezed out of a tube or container, and it will often harden once it’s been exposed to air.

Since icing is so thin, it’s common for gelatin to be added to make sure even the most intricate icing designs stay in shape. 

How Much Gelatin Is In Frosting?

There is typically about 1 to 2 teaspoons of gelatin used to thicken or enhance frostings. If you are making frosting at home and want to benefit from having gelatin in your recipe, you’ll usually only need a small amount for a batch of cupcakes. 

Adding gelatin to your homemade icing or frosting recipe is recommended if you are baking for an event or occasion and cupcakes will be sitting out for some time.

If the area where cupcakes will be situated is warm, gelatin can help prevent frosting or icing from melting or losing its shape. 

Is Icing/Frosting Vegan?

It’s perfectly possible to find both icing or frosting that is vegan. Any icing or frosting that contains gelatin is of course not vegan-friendly since gelatin is derived directly from animals.

Additionally, many recipes or store bought icings and frosting will have some combination of eggs, milk, or butter. 

I recommend using Miss Jones Organic and Vegan Frosting, if you are looking for something with no gelatin, and more natural.

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With that said, there are numerous ways to make or purchase frosting and icing options that are just as creamy and delicious as non-vegan options. Recipes for vegan frostings and icings aren’t very complicated, and you likely have many of the necessary ingredients on hand already if you’re a baker. 

Unless you’re able to find specialty shops or sections, there’s a good chance that most baking supplies will not be labeled as vegan.

This isn’t just true about frosting and icing; this is also true about baking mixes, sprinkles, and edible cupcake decorations. 

Before you get discouraged, read labels and ingredients thoroughly as you may be surprised at just how many products are either vegan or can be made vegan. 

What Icings/Frostings Are Vegan?

Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, and Wilton are some of the most popular premade icing and frosting brands that are readily available at most grocery stores. The good news is all three of these brands have quite the selection of products that are accidentally vegan.

Though some of them aren’t advertised as vegan, they don’t contain any animal-derived ingredients. 

Finding colorful vegan icings and frosting can be a little bit more difficult depending on what shops you have available to you. If you run into this issue, finding vegan food coloring options might be more accessible.

You can mix this coloring in with a homemade vegan recipe or some white store bought frosting or icing to enhance your cupcake decorations. 

For vegans who want the advantages gelatin offers without the gelatin itself, agar agar has become a highly effective vegan alternative. It’s derived from seaweed and it offers the same kind of structural maintenance and thickening abilities that gelatin gives frosting and icings.

It’s also just as easy to change the texture and malleability of agar agar as you need to for specific recipes. 

Other Vegan Frosting Brands

Miss Jones

Simple Mills



Gelatin is a functional component of a plethora of icing and frosting recipes. Frostings and icings aren’t complicated to make, but when you have the perfect decoration in mind, you want to ensure that all of your effort is worth it.

If you can eat gelatin, having a gelatin-based icing or frosting is handy so you can feel comfortable knowing designs and decorations will last. 

If you don’t want gelatin in your frosting or icing, you don’t necessarily have to worry that your creations will automatically fall apart. You’ll just have to be more careful with cupcake storage.

Furthermore, there are many options available for vegan-friendly icings and frosting with no animal products or gelatin. Happy baking!

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