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How to Soften Fondant – 6 Tried & Tested Ways That Work

One of the most annoying problems is when you get out all your flower making cutters and tools to discover that your fondant has gone hard.

This may have happened because the fondant has been exposed to the air because you have rolled it out, not covered it, and left it too long before using it, or perhaps it has been stored in a container that wasn’t airtight.

 Whatever happened to it, don’t despair; in most cases, there are several ways you can bring your fondant back to life.  

You can soften fondant that has become hard by heating it to reactivate the ingredients. Still, you need to be careful when you do this because you could either burn yourself or turn the fondant into toffee and render it useless if you overheat it.

In this article, you can find out how to heat it safely and several other ways you can soften your fondant to take it from being an unmanageable hard lump into a soft, useable product.

How about trying this…

Using a microwave to soften your fondant

 

An excellent way to soften hard fondant is to use a microwave.

Place the fondant in a microwave-proof dish and give it a 5-second burst of heat. Leave it to cool for a couple of minutes, then try to knead it. Repeat as necessary until it is soft enough to use.

It is not advisable to leave the fondant in the microwave for more than 5 seconds at a time because if you overheat it, the sugar will either turn to toffee or will burn, and the fondant will be unusable.

Warning: Don’t attempt to knead the fondant as soon as you remove it from the microwave because it will be extremely hot in the center and because it is sugar, it is likely to stick to your hands and burn you. With this in mind, never let a child touch it until it has had time to cool down.

If using a microwave is not an option, try one of these…

  1. Smear a little white fat on your hands and knead the fondant until it is soft enough to use. The heat from your hands should help to make them softer, so if your hands are cold, warm them under the hot tap and dry them thoroughly before handling the fondant – OR
  2. Add one teaspoon of glycerine to 500g of fondant and knead it in – OR
  3. Place the sealed bag of fondant on a towel on a warm radiator in the winter and wait until it has warmed through; that will help to soften it, making it easier to knead.

Hands aching from all that kneading, then try this…

Use a pasta roller to help soften your fondant.

 

After many years of rolling out fondant and gumpaste to make flowers, I decided to make life easier for myself and invest in a Pasta Rolling machine to work for me and speed things up.

I bought one that you work by hand, it wasn’t expensive, and it has been the best investment I ever made for flower making.

What has it got to do with softening fondant, you may ask? It has a lot to do with softening fondant.

Cut the fondant into pieces…

Set the pasta rollers to the widest setting, cut warmed fondant into pieces, and keep feeding it bit by bit through the machine until it’s all soft enough to work by hand. Once each piece is soft, remember to wrap it up until all of it has been through the rollers and then knead it all together.

Pasta Roller for Fondant Use
My trusted pasta rolling machine, working hard to rescue some hard fondant.

The machine always needs washing in hot water when I have finished, but it saves so much time and saves making my hands ache from kneading the fondant.

Cut down on the hand kneading…

Another way to cut down on the amount of kneading by hand is after you have run all your hard fondant through the pasta machine and made it reasonably soft, and it still needs more kneading, is to put approximately 250g into the bowl of a tabletop mixer and run it at a low speed until the fondant has been mixed and is smooth. 

Don’t use a hand mixer for kneading fondant because it won’t be strong enough, and you will burn out the motor. 

It is essential now to store your fondant correctly to keep it soft, or all your kneading will have been in vain ….

How to store fondant so it stays soft.

 

Once you have softened your fondant, you will need to store it correctly to make sure it doesn’t go hard again. This also applies to fondant you have just bought and don’t want it to go hard, and for fondant, you have made yourself.

If you buy fondant, it will have a use-by date on it, but that doesn’t tell you when it was packed. You have no way of knowing how long since it was made, and although it will have been sealed in the factory, you have no way of knowing in what conditions it has been kept in at your cake supply shop.

If you buy it from your local supplier, buy the pack with the most prolonged use by date and make sure the fondant edges are not hard.

Air is not your friend when working with fondant…

Air is not fondant’s best friend, so after you open the pack, take out what you need to use, and while you are working, wrap the rest up in a plastic bag, so it’s not exposed to the air.

Store-bought fondant will have quite a long shelf life providing it is kept sealed, but once it has been opened, as long as it is not exposed to the air, it will keep at room temp for a few days.

If you are not going to use your fondant in the immediate future, double wrap it in freezer-proof plastic, place it in an airtight, plastic freezer container, and it can be stored in your freezer for several months.

DON’T store fondant in the refrigerator because it will sweat, and by the time you want to use it again, it could be a sticky mess.

This also applies to fondant you have made yourself.  I always make more than I need, so I am prepared for the next cake, and it keeps very well in the freezer, and when thawed at room temperature, it will be the same as when it was put away.

Don’t put them in the fridge…

Do not keep any flowers you have made in the fridge, even if they have been dried, because they are likely to absorb moisture and become sticky and wilt.

If fondant is not stored correctly, can it go bad?

Does Fondant Go Bad?

 

Yes, the fondant will go bad if not stored properly.

As I have already said, if you know you will use it within a few days, it should be ok kept in a cool part of your kitchen. If you are not going to use it any time soon, then store it in the freezer.

The same applies to any you have made yourself; keep out the fondant you will use and store the remainder in your freezer.

Make sure your fondant doesn’t go moldy…

If fondant is kept at room temperature for more than a few days, it will begin to go moldy and is not safe to use.

I know it’s sugar and sugar will keep, but it has been mixed with other ingredients that do go off, so if your kitchen is warm, it is safest to keep the fondant in the freezer, take it out a couple of hours before you want to use it and it will thaw and be safe to use.

Can’t find a brand of fondant that works for you, then this may be the answer…

Is it best to buy fondant or make fondant?

 

When I was running my celebration cake company, I only used one brand of fondant made by Renshaw. I ordered it straight from the factory, and it came in 5k boxes, and it was a dream to work with.

Fresh is best…

It may have been because it was freshly made straight from the factory that it worked so well. A couple of times, I ran out of fondant, and the Renshaw delivery wasn’t due for another day or two, so I bought the same brand from a cake supply shop so I could finish cakes I was working on, but it wasn’t as good because it was drier than I was used to although it was sealed.

I asked the Renshaw rep about it the next time I saw him, and he said it was because fondant sold in shops may have been in storage for some time before packing it for sale and had a chance to dry out a little before being sealed in an airtight bag.

It has been difficult for me to get boxes of Renshaw’s fondant shipped to where I live now, so for the last 15 years, I have made my own, and from then on, I have never had any problems with fondant.

I know people have favorite brands that work well for them, but I also know that many people have problems with fondant.

Home-made fondant is cheaper…

Making your own is so easy and so much cheaper. If you want to have a go at making it, it may be a good idea to make a small batch and see how you get on with it.

You can find out how to make your own rolling fondant in the article “The Easiest Rolled Fondant Icing Recipe” on my web site.

I hope I have solved some of your fondant problems

I hope I have given you the information you needed to bring your fondant back to life with these six methods:

  1. Using a microwave
  2. Using white fat
  3. Using glycerin
  4. Warming on a radiator
  5. Using a pasta roller
  6. Using a tabletop mixer

I have given you information on storing your fondant to prevent it from going hard in the future.

If you can’t find a brand of fondant that you can work with and want to have a go at making some yourself,  I have given you a link to instructions and a recipe so you can make your own?

However, it is not always possible to reconstitute fondant in every case, especially if it has been left out in the air for a long time and is truly as hard as a rock.

If you have made fondant flowers and let them dry, you cannot reuse the fondant.

If there are any other problems you have with fondant, let me know in the comments section below, and I will do my best to find a solution for you.

Joyce Freeman

Joyce Freeman

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12 thoughts on “How to Soften Fondant – 6 Tried & Tested Ways That Work”

    1. Hi Debbie,
      Yes, you will see spots of mold on it, it may have a sticky, slimy surface and it may not smell very nice.
      If you suspect the fondant isn’t OK in any way, then don’t use it.
      If I know I won’t be using my fondant for some time then I store it, tightly double wrapped, in an airtight box, in the freezer where it will keep for several months.
      When you take it from the freezer, leave it wrapped and let it come to room temperature and it will be ready to use.
      Joyce

  1. I’m so glad the Internet exists and you’re on it!!! My fondant was rock hard and not properly stored, and you helped me save it (with the microwave method).

    1. Hi, I am delighted that you were able to save your fondant.
      You are not the only one to discover their fondant has gone hard and a cake is waiting to be covered.
      Over the years it has happened to me several times and I have been relieved to find that I could save it.
      Apart from the frustration of finding the fondant hard there is the cost factor as well because cake making materials are not cheap so everything needs to be used.
      Good luck with your cake decorating
      Best wishes
      Joyce

  2. Hi Joyce,

    I would like to use MMF on my royal icing cookies. I tried this once before and once the cookies were cello packaged, the fondant details sagged. Then I heard about Tylose. If I add Tylose to my MMF and my details harden before applying to my royal icing cookie, will they remain hard once they’ve been cello bagged? Thank you in advance for your kind reply!

    Darlene

    1. Any fondant whether it’s a normal fondant or a marshmallow fondant is made with ingredients that allow it to set but not to get hard. The reason is that fondant is used covered a cake so it needs to set firmly but not hard so the cake is easy to cut and eat.
      Adding a small amount of tylose to MMF may work for you but there is no guarantee because it will still contain the ingredients that are meant to keep it soft. If you add enough tylose so that it gets hard it may be too hard to bite.
      Make sure any tylose & MMF details and the royal icing are absolutely dry before wrapping the cookies because any moisture may destroy your work.
      I think a bit of experimenting will be required.
      Best wishes
      Joyce

  3. Hi. I made fondant at home with marshamllows.and icing sugar but it turned hard and crumbly. I knead it was sticky first even after and i also used cornflour to make it smooth but now its cracking amd i cant even roll it or shape itt smoothly. Is there any way. U can help.?

    1. Hi,
      I am sorry that your marshmallow fondant did not turn out well.
      When icing/powdered sugar is manufactured, some producers add an anti-caking agent such as a small amount of cornflour/cornstarch. Because of this, you should never add more cornflour /cornstarch yourself as it produces fondant that is too dry.
      To get rid of any stickiness, you should only add icing/powdered sugar a little at a time while you are kneading it.
      Another way you can soften the fondant either sprinkle a few drops of water onto it while it’s being kneaded (not much, or you will end up with a sticky mess again)
      Or, you could try heating it in a microwave for a few seconds at a time, then with hands greased with vegetable fat, knead it until it is easy to work with.
      Sprinkle your board and rolling pin with icing/powdered sugar to roll out your fondant.
      If these suggestions don’t work, it may mean the cornflour you added is preventing the fondant from softening, so I am afraid there is nothing you can do except start again.
      Try making fondant the traditional way without marshmallows. It’s easy to make, and I always have success with this method.
      https://www.sugarflowersworkshop.com/the-easiest-rolled-fondant-icing-recipe/
      Best wishes
      Joyce

  4. Hi, I am still new to the cake decorating. Recently I tried covering a styrafoam fake cake with fondant. Immediately after putting the fondant on top of the styrafoam it started to crack along the top edge all around untill it totally fell off. This is my second time it has happened and cakes I ve done earlier were totally fine. It was bit hotter in both times this happened. I thought the fondant has beacome dry and I started with a brand new fondant tub.. it worked but with tiny cracks and elephant skin. 🙁
    Just need to know does the temperaure plays a role in this? And if so what woud be the ideal temperature to do the fondant covering. Please help me. I am trying to make a cake for my sons 1st Birthday. Thanks in advance !!!!

    1. Hi Ami,
      I am sorry that you are having a hard time with your rolling fondant.
      Yes, the temperature does play a large part in how easy it is to work with fondant.
      If fondant is too warm, it will get too soft and tear easily.
      The ideal temperature to work at is what is called standard room temperature, which is around 72-75F/22-24C

      Read this article I wrote about working with fondant in extreme weather conditions and you may find some suggestions there you can use.
      https://www.sugarflowersworkshop.com/extreme-weather-cake-decorating-rolling-fondant/

      The elephant skin and cracks form as the fondant starts to dry. That can happen if, after you have rolled it out, you take too long to put it on the cake and smooth it out.

      Try smearing a little vegetable fat on your fingers and smoothing over the area where the cracks and elephant skin appear. The fat and the warmth of your fingers may be enough to bring your fondant back to life.

      I always make my fondant because I get fewer problems with it than with shop-bought fondant.

      https://www.sugarflowersworkshop.com/the-easiest-rolled-fondant-icing-recipe/

      I wish you good luck with your birthday cake.
      Best wishes
      Joyce

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