Forgot your password?

Back to login

Guide to perfect drip consistencies
February 24, 2018, 1:01 pm

There is nothing more alluring than a beguiling drip: the sweet glaze running down the edges of a doughnut, the thick ganache falling down the sides of a perfectly frosted cake.

Achieving the perfect drip consistency is not something recipes are great at describing, so sometimes you hit it out of the park, and other times you are left with a gooey mess.

But you do not have to leave it up to chance. There is a way to tell before you apply that drippy glaze if you have achieved perfection. Here is how:

Types of glazes: Non-heated vs. heated

A lot of glazes are made with a simple combination of powdered sugar and a liquid. This can be milk, cream, or fruit juice. The formula here is pretty simple: Keep adding more liquid until the glaze reaches the right consistency. If it gets too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken. This kind of glaze is made at room temperature, and the consistency is simply adjusted with the ingredients.

Other glazes are heated and adjustments are a little different. Chocolate is a prime example. Glazes made with chocolate will thicken as they cool, which is important to remember when trying to achieve drips. If you let the glaze cool too much, it may not drip easily or naturally. If the glaze is too warm, you may not have control of the size or placement of the drips. What you can do with chocolate glazes is to prepare the glaze as the recipe directs, then let it sit at room temperature until it is just warmer than room temperature before using it to glaze a dessert. Depending on the ingredients and amount of glaze, this could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour.

It is also important to remember that with glazes made over heat, temperature is the primary way to control the consistency after you mix the glaze. It is difficult to add a little of this or a little of that to thicken or thin the prepared glaze, so it becomes more about following the recipe, than practicing to get the right texture by playing with the temperature: warmer to make a more fluid glaze, and cooler to make a firmer glaze.


There are three types of textures for glazing, and what to use depends on the look you are going for.

Thin glaze: This glaze is slightly thicker than the texture of heavy cream, liquid and flowing. When you dip a spoon in the glaze, then lift it out, the glaze will run off the spoon in a thin, even stream. This glaze is best when you are looking to achieve an even, almost all-over look. You can achieve drips, but they will be random and unpredictable, and likely fall all the way to the base of the dessert. You can use thin glaze on a doughnut, surface of a cupcake or over any rich dessert.

Medium glaze: This is close to the texture of softly whipped cream. When you dip a spoon in the glaze, then lift it out, the glaze will slowly fall off the spoon in a thick, ribbony stream. This glaze gives you the most natural looking drips, but is still a little tricky to control. You can use this glaze on drips down frosted layer cakes, or varied size drips cascading over the curves of a Bundt cake.

Thick glaze: This glaze is just a bit thinner than freshly made buttercream — when you dip a spoon into the glaze, then lift it out, the glaze will cling to the spoon, eventually falling off. Thick glaze is ideal when you want maximum control. The glaze is slow moving so you really have the power to place the drips exactly where you want them to be. You can use this for small glazed items like cookies/sandwich cookies.


Preparing the Dessert:

This sounds like a lot of work, but in most cases, it is not. When you are applying drips, it is important to think about the item they are being applied to before you add that final touch. The shape, consistency, and temperature of the finished product will impact your glaze.

For instance, think of a doughnut, which you likely want to serve fresh. If you are using a medium glaze, the heat of the pastry is likely to thin it out, making it run like a thin glaze. So take some time and plan ahead. You are more likely to achieve perfect drippage with a little preparation.

Applying drips

You do not require fancy tools or techniques to apply drips. There are several ways to go about, some are listed below:

Dip to Drip: Dipping an item directly into the glaze is a great way to make natural looking drips on smaller pastries. This works best with thin glaze, but can also work with a medium glaze if it is a little bit on the thinner side. Remember, it has to be relatively fluid in order for it to be dip-able. Dip the pastry presentation-side down/directly into the glaze. Lift the item up and let some of the excess glaze fall back into the bowl, then invert the item onto a cooling rack and let the glaze naturally run off it. This works well with doughnuts, cookies, and cream puffs.

Spoon: Small spoons can used to apply drips to individual pastries, while medium spoons work well with larger items like cakes. You can start by spooning a small amount of glaze just around the edge of the item, then use the bowl of the spoon to nudge it to the edge, allowing it to drip down the side. As you work your way around, you can encourage some drips to fall farther by using a little more glaze and heavier nudging to make the drips more random. Once the whole edge is covered, spoon more glaze over the remaining surface of the pastry. The two portions will flood together naturally — the weight of the additional glaze will drag all the drips down a little further. If you notice your glaze is setting up more quickly, you can try warming it up gently so it is more fluid while you work with it.

Piping Bag: This is the fanciest way to make a drip, and also one of the fastest. Fill ¾ of a disposable piping bag with the glaze. Snip a small opening from the end. Apply by piping a small amount of glaze just around the edge of the item, allowing it to flow out of the bag until it begins to drip down the side. Once the whole edge is covered, pipe more glaze in the center. If it is at the ideal temperature, the glaze from the top will cleanly meet up with the drips from the side. If it is setting up too fast, grab a small offset spatula or spoon and create swirls on the top.

A tip for your drips

If you are unable to get the perfect drip, use a toothpick or skewer. The pointed tip is perfect for guiding a drip to where you most want it to be — and doubles out to help smooth out any imperfections or glaze bubbles that form on the surface. If a drip goes rogue, a clean toothpick or skewer can help lift the drip away.


Share your views

"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed."

"Envy comes from wanting something that isn't yours. But grief comes from losing something you've already had."

Photo Gallery