Fondant is one of the most versatile types of icing in the world. You can use it to decorate cakes, fill pastries, or even make incredibly intricate edible sculptures.
It’s soft, malleable, and tastes amazing to boot.
Yet, there’s one notable drawback to working with fondant. The icing can take quite a long time to dry out and harden. Sadly, this will make storing and transporting it a little more challenging.
At this point, you may be wondering how to dry fondant fast. If that’s the case, I can help.
In this article, I’ll walk you through eight methods that can harden your icing in a flash. I’ll also cover a few tips for working with fondant.
Drying Fondant Overview
Most bakers around the globe are familiar with fondant. It’s an icing that consists of sugar, water, corn syrup, and glycerol.
We make fondant by supersaturating water with sugar. You boil the ingredients together until they form a soft ball. Then, you roll it out and use it to decorate your cakes.
This creates a malleable paste that has a similar consistency to dough or clay. That means it’s possible to shape it using molds or with your hands.
Plus, you can also pour fondant if you heat it a bit and use it as a filling in desserts.
Yet, with soft, malleable decorations, it’ll be tough to move your cakes around. That’s why it’s crucial that you allow the fondant to dry completely before you place it on your confections.
You need the decorations to harden so that they hold their form.
Typically, when you expose the icing to air, it’ll harden. That’s because the water content will evaporate, leaving behind a dense layer of sugar.
How quickly this process takes place will depend on a few factors. For example, the humidity and air temperature will play a significant role in determining the timeline.
At this point, you may think that placing the fondant in your fridge or freezer is an easy fix—that’s not the case.
When you place fondant in a cold environment, water droplets will condense on the surface. This will cause the icing to melt and become goopy.
Unfortunately, that can ruin all the hard work you put into shaping the fondant decorations. So, you’ll need to find another way to help it dry and then store it at room temperature until you’re ready to serve your confection.
How to Dry Fondant Fast
The traditional method for drying fondant is leaving it out on your kitchen counter at room temperature. While this works great, it can take 24 to 30 hours for the topper to fully dry.
Most people don’t have an extra day to wait around for the icing to harden. Luckily, there are a few other methods you can use to speed up the process.
In this section, I’ll go over a few nifty tricks that can help you set your fondant in no time!
1 – Roll It Thin
Right off the bat, you have to pay attention to the thickness of the fondant. As a general rule, the thinner the layer of icing, the less time it’ll take to harden.
Thicker pieces will remain soft on the inside, which means they can’t hold their shape for long. For that reason, you need to be very careful when handling them.
So, if you’re short on time, be sure to roll out your fondant as thin as possible. Ideally, you should aim for about ¼-inch to about ⅛-inch.
Rolling the icing any thinner will make it much more difficult to handle. That’s because it’ll tear and lose some of its elasticity.
2 – Dry Fondant With Your Oven Light
You can also use your oven light to dry fondant faster. Start by spreading out your icing on a cookie sheet with a liner.
Then, place the baking tray in your oven and turn on the light. If you have thinly rolled fondant, it could dry in as little as an hour.
Just make sure that nobody turns the oven on while your fondant is drying. Otherwise, your fancy decorations will turn into a sticky mess!
3 – Use a Table Lamp
Another way to dry your fondant quickly is to use a table lamp. For this method, it’s best to avoid using high-watt bulbs.
These can generate a lot of heat, which can melt your icing. Thankfully, a simple table lamp should do the trick.
Put your fondant decorations on a drying rack and place them directly under the light. During this step, be sure to place the bulb about five to six inches away from the icing.
As long as the humidity in your kitchen isn’t too high, you should be able to dry thin smaller pieces in around an hour, and larger pieces will harden in around two or three hours.
4 – Dry Pieces of the Decorations Separately
If you plan on making an intricate shape with your fondant, like an animal or a figurine, you should build the decorations in small sections.
Then, let each component dry completely first, and use edible glue to put your sculpture together.
Assembling your decorations before all the sections are dry can spell trouble. That’s because the center of your sculpture will have a tough time hardening.
Sadly, this can lead to cracking and misshapen decorations.
5 – Try Using a Fan
As I mentioned, with dry fondant, you have to reduce its water content. When left in a room with little to no airflow, this can take a long while.
So, a simple way of speeding up the process is to create a gentle draft of wind around the icing.
When you move the air around the fondant, you can push the drying process along. Place the fondant on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper and set it on a counter next to a fan.
It’ll need a few hours to dry, but this should still be faster than it would be without the fan.
6 – Use a Hair Dryer
This method will work for decorations that you have already placed on the cake. Set your hair dryer on the cold or low heat setting and hold it about six inches away from the decorations.
Plus, you can move the blow dryer around to help circulate the air. This is like the advanced version of the fan method!
7 – Use a Food Dehydrator
If you have a food dehydrator, then you’re in luck. Using the device, you can dry fondant decorations in about 10% of the time that any of the other methods require.
That makes it the most efficient option on this list. So, when making large quantities of fondant decorations, this may be the best way to go.
Moving on, if you’re in the market for a food dehydrator, there are several amazing models to choose from. Starting from a simple digital dehydrator and going up to the Ninja Foodi Smart XL (which can do plenty of other functions as well, including baking), there’s an option for everyone.
8 – Add a Drying Agent to Your Fondant
There are several drying agents that you can add to your fondant to help it dry faster. For instance, tylose and gum paste are two of the most popular options.
Plus, you should make sure that you use cornstarch on your kitchen surfaces and hands when you are working with fondant to keep it dry.
Tips for Using Fondant
Yet, since it’s exceptionally customizable, it can be a little finicky to handle. Fortunately, there are several tips you can rely on to resolve this issue.
For starters, you need to ensure your cakes are cool before you cover them in rolled fondant. This will help to tighten up the crumbs and make your confections more solid.
Other than that, the icing won’t adhere directly to your cake. So, you’ll need to add a sticky layer like buttercream or piping gel on the confection first.
Not only will that help you lock your decorations into position, but it’ll add an extra layer of flavor and dimension to your dessert.
Moving on, fondant is sugar-based, so you have to apply it to your cakes within a few days of serving it. If you do it too far in advance, it may break down from the moisture in the cake.
Plus, if you don’t plan on using your fondant straight away, you should store it properly. Place the icing in an air-tight container and leave it in your pantry.
This will ensure that your fondant doesn’t dry out before you’re ready to use it.
Usually, the icing will keep for about a month or two in an air-tight container. Yet, this will depend on the ambient temperature.
Finally, if your fondant hardens while it’s in storage, you can simply soften it in the microwave for a few seconds.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.