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The Best Quick and Easy Cool Whip Frosting Recipe

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If you want to make a delicious, homemade frosting from scratch that is super easy, this recipe is for you.

Make this light and fluffy Cool Whip Frosting. With yummy vanilla flavor and just 4 ingredients, this is the perfect way to finish a cake or cupcakes.

Close up of frosting in a bowl on a wooden cutting board.
This Cool Whip Frosting Recipe uses simple ingredients to create the best topping for all your baked goods!

I’m not a skilled baker. And I suck at decorating cakes. But what I do excel at is knowing delicious desserts. I like to find frosting recipes that are easy, tasty and great for all skill levels to make. Cool Whip Frosting is bomb.

Do people still say that? I’m 44. My natural inclination was to say “the bomb” but I KNOW that’s over.

Flower decorated cake with text around it.

Why this recipe works

Cool Whip is such a hard-working dessert ingredient. But I feel like it’s totally underrated. From topping pie to creating nostalgic desserts, like my favorite Strawberry Angel Food Cake dessert, it’s super versatile.

One of my favorite ways to use it is to create frosting with Cool Whip from scratch. It’s sweet and creamy and is such a good way to decorate sheet cakes.

While I typically use my favorite Buttercream Frosting recipe to ice all of my boozy cupcakes (because it’s easy to modify the flavor), I love to use this recipe for easy Cool Whip frosting when I’m looking for something basic and easy.

You should also take a glance at my Russian Buttercream Recipe to see if you might be into it for next time.

This frosting isn’t as sweet as a traditional frosting which is great for people who don’t traditionally like frosting. It’s also not one of the thicker frostings. (It may not pipe as well as other frostings but I’m not sure because I refrain from piping at all costs…).

I also don’t hate to eat it right off the spoon. If you aren’t a fan of the way Cool Whip tastes, you won’t like the taste of this Cool Whip Frosting. You should know that going in.

Ingredient Notes

Labeled ingredients to make Cool Whip Frosting.

Just a few ingredients and a hand mixer is all you need to make this yummy vanilla frosting.

Scroll down to the end of the post for a printable recipe card with full measurements and more detailed instructions.

Cool Whip has its own distinct flavor that is really tasty but adding dry vanilla pudding powder really levels up the taste. While I haven’t used vanilla extract in my recipe, you can add it if you want to drive that vanilla flavor home even more.

Milk helps to make this frosting the perfect consistency and powdered sugar sweetens it up perfectly. I used whole milk because that is what I always have on hand.

If you don’t have milk you could substitute heavy whipping cream.

And if you can’t find a tub of Cool Whip or don’t love the flavor, you could always make your own whipped cream by mixing cold heavy cream until medium peaks form, then follow the rest of the recipe as shared here. It will really elevate this recipe and make it taste more homemade.

How to thaw Cool Whip Fast

While the best way to thaw Cool Whip is in the fridge for 4 hours. But it will keep fresh in the fridge for about 2 weeks (that’s a long time!) so you can thaw it when you remember.

But if you do happen to forget, there are a few ways you can thaw it quicker. The tub is not microwavable so you’ll need to move the Cool Whip into a heat-safe bowl.

Use the defrost setting on the microwave in 30 second intervals. Take care not to stir too much as that can break down the Cool Whip and cause it to become watery.

Or you can leave it in the container and try running it until room temperature water for a few minutes to get it to soften.

While Cool Whip is pretty thick when just out of the freezer, even allowing it to thaw for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge would allow you to be able to make this great frosting.

How to make Cool Whip Frosting

It’s really so easy! I’m not a scratch baker, so this easy recipe suits my skill level perfectly!

1. Add dry ingredients

Dry vanilla pudding powder in a large glass mixing bowl.

Grab a large bowl and add dry vanilla pudding mix.

Pouring powdered sugar into a bowl of dry vanilla pudding powder in a glass bowl.

Add the powdered sugar to the bowl.

2. Add wet ingredients

A hand pouring a glass of milk into a glass mixing bowl with powdered vanilla pudding.

Add the milk to the bowl.

3. Mix to combine

A hand mixer in a bowl of mixed pudding and milk.

Mix on low speed, with a hand mixer, until blended.

4. Let it set

Vanilla pudding and milk that has been set up in a bowl to make Cool Whip Frosting.

Let mixture stand 3 minutes. This will allow the pudding powder to start to activate and thicken up. This will help the structure of the frosting.

The picture above shows how thick it gets. These are the marks left from the hand mixer that I left sitting in the bowl as it thickened.

5. Fold in Cool Whip

A bowl of vanilla pudding in a large glass bowl with Cool Whip on top and a spatula sticking out.

Fold in thawed Cool Whip. Make sure it’s well blended. Then stop. Try not to over mix!

6. Chill it

Place the frosting into an air-tight container when finished, and in the fridge, until you need to use it. Because you are using thawed Cool Whip, it will be a bit loose immediately after mixing.

Piped spiral of Cool Whip Frosting in a bowl of frosting.

The above, is a terrible photo, but I quickly put the Cool Whip Frosting into a plastic storage bag and cut the corner off and piped some into a circle to show you how stiff it is after it’s been in the fridge for about an hour.

As it warms up, it will likely lose its firm shape.

Bowl of frosting on a table.

Storage

Keep this yummy vanilla pudding Cool Whip Frosting in the fridge until ready to frost the cake or cupcakes.

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator as well.

Yield

It makes about 4 cups of frosting which should cover a standard-sized, home-baked cake or 24 cupcakes.

Frosting in a bowl on a table next to a chocolate cake.

Tips

  • This frosting has a slight yellow color from the vanilla pudding. If you are looking for a bright white frosting, this is not it.
  • If you aren’t happy with the consistency of your frosting there are a few things you can add to make it thicker. Add some cream cheese, cream of tartar, more powdered sugar, powdered pectin or mix in a little corn starch. These may change the flavor a bit.
  • For an extra flavor boost, you can add a splash of vanilla extract. Or try peanut butter. YUM!
  • Use other flavored dry pudding mixes to change up the flavor from vanilla to strawberry and beyond.
  • For best results, don’t over mix this frosting as it can cause the ingredients to break down.
  • If the frosting seems to loose, put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up before frosting with Cool Whip frosting.
  • Add some food coloring to give your homemade frosting the perfect color to match your party decor.

Frequently asked questions

How do you store Cool Whip Frosting?

Store the frosting in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 10 hours. Re-mix is for 20 seconds before using.

How do you make Cool Whip Frosting thicker?

If you follow the directions, and let the pudding, milk and sugar sit after mixing, it should thicken up and be fine. If it still seems to runny, put it in the fridge to set up for 15 minutes. If still too runny, try adding a bit of cream cheese, powdered pectin, cornstarch or more powdered sugar.

This recipe is so delish. Give it a try next time you want to frost a dessert recipe. You won’t believe how good this frosting is on chocolate cupcakes.

And you can always top any of my Dump Cakes with Cool Whip!

A photo of an apple spice dump cake with text around it to get the free recipe.
Close up of frosting in a bowl.

Cool Whip Frosting

Light and fluffy, this easy Cool Whip Frosting recipe uses just 3 ingredients and takes just minutes to make! It's a great vanilla-flavored frosting for all your desserts.
4.56 from 115 votes
Print Pin Rate Save
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 cups
Calories: 227kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add the dry vanilla pudding mix, powdered sugar and milk to a medium mixing bowl.
  • Mix on low speed, with a hand mixer, until blended.
  • Let mixture stand 3 minutes so the pudding can begin to thicken.
  • Fold in thawed Cool Whip. 
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

Notes

  • The vanilla powder will give the frosting a slight yellow tint. If you’re hoping for a stark white color, this is not it! 
  • If you aren’t happy with the consistency of your frosting there are a few things you can add to make it thicker. Add some cream cheese, cream of tartar, more powdered sugar, powdered pectin or mix in a little corn starch. These may change the flavor a bit.
  • For an extra flavor boost, you can add a splash of vanilla extract.
  • Use other flavored dry pudding mixes to change up the flavor from vanilla to strawberry and beyond.
  • You don’t want to over mix this frosting as it can cause the ingredients to break down.
  • If the frosting seems to loose, put it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up before frosting with Cool Whip frosting.
    Once you frost the cake or cupcakes, keep them in the fridge until ready to serve.
    The Cool Whip Frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for about 10 hours. 
    Refrigerate any leftover frosted desserts.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1cup | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 173IU | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 1mg
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    36 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      I make this with orange Kool aid. Taste just like a cream cicle

      1. That sounds delicious. But, how much Kool aid do you use? I just made an orange ice box pie.. used orange juice in place of the lemon juice. I’m now trying to figure out if I can make cool whip taste more like home made meringue. I squeezed the oranges today but next time I’m trying orange Kool aid. Thank you ☺️

    2. 4 stars
      I just made this for the first
      time and my pudding got overly thick before adding the cool whip so it didn’t combine as well as it should. Be careful with that step-tastes great tho

    3. Was wondering if you could use cook and serve pudding cuz I don’t have any instant instead of that

    4. 5 stars
      This has become a family favorite, so delicious without being too sweet. For white frosting I found Hershey makes a white chocolate instant pudding during the holidays that keeps my frosting white. Chocolate pudding has worked well too. Thank you!

    5. I want to try this as a filling between 2 cake layers. Do you think this will hold up?

      1. I did between cake layers n it was fine

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