It was a tough job.
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Vanilla Frostings
Credit: Southern Living

Using store-bought frosting isn't always the plan. It can come about as a result of trying your hand at some ornate buttercream to top your towering layer cake or batch of cupcakes, until time or any number of kitchen catastrophes leave you reaching into the pantry for a tub of ready-made.

In that case, you're going to want to pick the best store-bought option at the grocery store. We did the hard work of taste-testing a group of six popular frostings to determine which hit the balance of sweet, vanilla-flavor, with just the right homemade-inspired texture. The rules: Only basic vanilla frostings (no cream cheese, confetti, or buttercream). The situation was high stakes, but we did manage to agree on a winner. Read on to find the best store-bought vanilla frostings. 

Miss Jones Baking Co. Vanilla Frosting and Simple Mills Organic Vanilla Frosting with Coconut Oil

Organic Vanilla Frostings
Credit: Southern Living

The two organic frostings in the bunch had an uphill battle going up against the fan favorites. Mama's frosting is most assuredly not organic, so it's no surprise that the texture was a bit different than the homemade variety. Thanks to healthier ingredients like monk fruit and tapioca starch, each had a distinct marshmallow flavor in lieu of classic vanilla, with Miss Jones Baking Co. having unexpected subtle salty notes.

Duncan Hines Creamy Vanilla Frosting and Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Vanilla Frosting  

Duncan Hines Frostings
Credit: Southern Living

Either one of these options can stand in as pantry staples. Pillsbury was a touch creamier than Duncan Hines and had a more subtle vanilla flavor. You get a saccharine vanilla sweetness from both, but in a way that sets them apart from Mom's homemade version. For bake sale treats or last-minute sheet cake needs, a good old tub of one of these classics will step in and deliver.

Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frosting and Betty Crocker Whipped Vanilla Frosting (the winner!)

Betty Crocker Frostings
Credit: Southern Living

Betty Crocker took the top two spots in the taste test, unanimously among testers. The standout winner? The newer Whipped formula that had a distinct airiness that made the sometimes overwhelming sweetness characteristic of store-bought vanilla frosting a tad more subdued and refined. It was hands-down the most homemade-tasting in the bunch. The standard Betty Crocker recipe landed second place, which was more classically creamy.

The general consensus: There's nothing wrong with store-bought frosting. It might not be the same as your mother's homemade vanilla frosting, but it's nothing to shake your head at. 

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