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November 08, 2022 5 min read


Nothing compares to buttercream frosting for its simplicity of usage and mouthwatering flavor. It is the most widely used topping for cakes and cupcakes and is perfect for any occasion. Whether you make it at home or buy some from out, knowing how to store buttercream frosting can extend its lifespan.


What Exactly Is Buttercream Frosting?

 A chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream on top

Credit: Envato Elements/ photobalance


Buttercream frosting is one of the most popular types of frostings for baked goods. In its most basic form, buttercream is just butter and sugar that have been creamed to create a light frosting. It comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate, and in a variety of colors, including white, pink, and blue.


Types of Buttercream Frosting

 Three vanilla cupcakes with blue, pink and yellow buttercream icing on top

Credit: Envato Elements/ karandaev


There are multiple types of buttercream frosting. Below are the most frequently used ones:


1)  American Buttercream


American buttercream is the most popular type of buttercream. It is unbelievably creamy, delicious, and has a fluffy and silky texture. The main ingredients include butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.

Due to its high sugar content, American buttercream can be kept in a cool, dry environment. This type of buttercream is also occasionally referred to as "crusting buttercream" because, after being left outside for a while, it develops a thin crust.


2)  Swiss Buttercream


This type of buttercream is most frequently used by skilled pastry chefs. Preparing Swiss buttercream is slightly more difficult than preparing American buttercream since a double boiler is required to melt the egg whites and sugar. Following the whipping of this combination, flavorings and butter are introduced.

Swiss buttercream is silkier and less sugary than American buttercream. It also does not produce a crust and is a fairly solid sort of buttercream due to the cooked sugar. Its extremely light white hue also makes it perfect for adding color.


3)  Italian Buttercream


Italian buttercream is the most stable and challenging to produce of all buttercreams. This type of buttercream requires beating egg whites while a hot sugar syrup is being poured into it. It is challenging to make since the sugar syrup needs to be cooked to a very specific temperature.


4)  French and German Buttercream


Compared to the buttercreams mentioned above, French and German buttercreams are far less popular. They are produced from egg yolks (and custard for the German version). Because the recipe calls for egg yolks, German and French buttercreams must be stored in the refrigerator right away.


How To Properly Store Buttercream Frosting

 A white bowl of vanilla butter cream frosting with a white wooden spoon

Credit: Envato Elements/ bhofack2


At times, you might prepare extra buttercream frosting ahead of time for future baking projects. In such circumstances, how should buttercream icing be stored to prevent spoilage? Follow the steps below to find out how:


1)  At Room Temperature


If you choose to store leftover buttercream at room temperature, be sure to first place it in an airtight container. In addition, icing can also be left in a sealed piping bag. Just make sure that it is kept in the coldest area of the kitchen.


2)  In the Refrigerator


Homemade buttercream frosting or a frosted cake can also be stored in the refrigerator. To do this, transfer the frosting to an airtight glass or plastic food container before refrigerating it.

When placing the frosting in the refrigerator, make sure to keep it away from fish and other strong-smelling foods. The fats in the buttercream could absorb the odors and fragrances from such foods, making them inedible.


3)  In the Freezer


Buttercream frosting can also be stored in the freezer. To do this, place it in a freezer bag or airtight container. Freezing frosting is a good idea if you have leftover buttercream or are making buttercream months in advance.


How Long Does Buttercream Frosting Last at Room Temperature?

 Vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter cream frosting on top

Credit: Envato Elements/ Grigory_bruev


Buttercream frosting can last up to 5 days if stored at room temperature and in an airtight container. Without an air-tight container or plastic wrap, the frosting will only survive up to 2 days since it contains dairy.


What Is the Shelf Life of Buttercream in the Refrigerator?

 A lady opening the fridge to put her cupcakes in that have butter cream frosting on

Credit: Envato Elements/ StiahailoAnastasiia


If you do not plan to use your buttercream frosting within 5 days, you must store it in the refrigerator. Again, the key to success is to keep it in an airtight container. When properly refrigerated, buttercream can be stored for up to two weeks.


What Is the Shelf Life of Buttercream in the Freezer?

 An empty fridge that is open and waiting to be filled

Credit: Envato Elements/ rfaizal707


You can freeze leftover frosting if you need to keep it for longer than two weeks. The frosting will last for up to three months when covered in plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container.


What Steps Can You Take to Extend the Shelf Life of Buttercream Frosting?

 A cake with some vanilla butter cream frosting and some flowers in the background

Credit: Envato Elements/ milabond


You can extend the shelf life of buttercream by altering its ingredients. If you want something that lasts for a long time, choose a recipe where the only thing you need to add is water. Avoid using ingredients like butter and milk that have short shelf lives.


How to Soften Refrigerated Buttercream

 Some buttercream in a mixer getting softened

Credit: Envato Elements/ MargJohnsonVA


Before using refrigerated buttercream, take it out of the refrigerator and place it on the counter to defrost. The quantity of frosting and how it is stored might affect how long it takes to defrost. If the buttercream is kept in a large bowl or container, it could take several hours for it to soften.

Once the buttercream has warmed to room temperature, use a stand mixer to re-whip it. This will also help to get rid of any tiny air bubbles that may have formed in your frosting during refrigeration.


How Do You Know if the Buttercream Is Spoilt?

 A lady putting some buttercream onto her vanilla cup cakes

Credit: Envato Elements/ Rawpixel


If the buttercream has become thicker or lumpy, discard it. The buttercream should be smooth. If your buttercream was purchased from a store, check the expiration date. If it has not been opened for four weeks or more and has passed its expiration date, it is best to toss it away.

When it comes to buttercream-frosted cakes or a layered decorated cake with colored buttercream, spoilt cakes tend to develop a green bottom and the icing may become runny. It may also start to smell and taste sour. 




Buttercream is a delicious topping for cakes and cupcakes that tastes best when stored properly. When storing it at room temperature, make sure that you only do so for a few days. For longer storage possibilities, think about freezing it for three months or keeping it in the refrigerator.


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