Freezing Buttercream: A Step-by-Step Guide

Can you freeze buttercream?

Running out of buttercream is a common problem for bakers. Whether you make too much buttercream for a cake or have leftover frosting from decorating cupcakes, the question arises: can you freeze buttercream? The answer is yes, you can freeze buttercream without affecting its texture and creaminess. In fact, buttercream frostings, icing, cakes, and cupcakes can all be successfully frozen. In this article, we will give you step-by-step instructions on how to effectively freeze and thaw buttercream frosting.

What’s in buttercream?

There are several types of buttercream frosting, the most popular and easiest to use is American buttercream. This type of buttercream is made with a fat source, such as butter, margarine, or shortening, combined with milk and powdered sugar. The simplicity of these ingredients allows for easy preparation and versatility in flavor. Other popular buttercream variations include Swiss and Italian buttercream, which are made with egg whites, and French buttercream, which is made with egg yolks. Experienced bakers may also try German buttercream, which contains vanilla pudding. Regardless of the variation, buttercream frosting is known for its creamy and rich consistency that adds a light layer to baked goods.

Freezing Buttercream Frosting

When it comes to freezing buttercream frosting, it’s best to use it while it’s fresh. However, if you have excess buttercream that won’t be used within a week, freezing is a viable option. Here are the steps to effectively freeze buttercream frosting:

  1. Portion the buttercream: If you have a large amount of buttercream, it is recommended that you divide it into smaller portions. This will make it easier to defrost and use later. Place the buttercream in sealable plastic bags, squeezing out as much air as possible to create an airtight seal.
  2. Seal and protect: Seal the bags and secure them with a layer of plastic wrap for extra protection against freezer burn. Flattening the bags optimizes freezer space and helps them thaw evenly. Label each bag with the date and place them in the coldest area of your freezer.
  3. Alternative Storage: Alternatively, you can freeze buttercream in an airtight container. Make sure there is minimal air space in the container, as contact with air is not recommended. Make sure the container lid is tightly sealed to prevent the absorption of odors that could affect the quality of the buttercream. Wrapping the container in food wrap provides an extra layer of protection.
  4. Small portions: For added convenience, you can freeze smaller portions of buttercream by wrapping scoops of buttercream in food wrap. These individual portions can be easily thawed and used whenever you want a fancier cupcake or two.

Defrosting Buttercream Frosting

To thaw buttercream frosting effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Transfer to the refrigerator: If you have frozen a large amount of buttercream frosting, it will take some time to thaw. Transfer the frozen buttercream from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw gradually. This process may take up to 48 hours, depending on the amount of buttercream.
  2. Allow to set at room temperature: Once the buttercream is thawed in the refrigerator, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Allowing the buttercream to come to room temperature makes it easier to work with, especially for decorating purposes.
  3. Avoid refreezing: It’s important not to refreeze thawed buttercream. Once thawed, it should be used within a reasonable time frame.
  4. Whipping to restore texture: If the thawed buttercream doesn’t have the desired consistency, you can whip it to restore its original texture. However, make sure the buttercream is at room temperature before whipping, as whipping cold buttercream will result in a grainy texture. If further thickening is needed, let the buttercream sit at room temperature or add a tablespoon of powdered sugar.
  5. Microwave thawing: If time is of the essence, you can use the microwave to thaw buttercream. Be careful not to melt it completely. Microwave the buttercream for no more than 10 to 15 seconds on the low power setting. Once slightly softened, use a whisk to continue to thaw. For large quantities of buttercream, you may need to microwave several times, spaced out.

Freezing buttercream cakes and cupcakes

If you have buttercream cakes or cupcakes that you want to freeze, follow these steps:

  1. Free up freezer space: Make room in your freezer drawer for the buttercream cake or cupcakes.
  2. Freeze unwrapped: Place the buttercream cake on a tray or cutting board and place in the freezer without wrapping. Leave in the freezer for about 6 hours to allow the frosting to set.
  3. Wrap for long-term storage: After the buttercream frosting is frozen, remove the cake or cupcakes from the freezer and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Be sure to cover them completely to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Place in a freezer bag: Once wrapped, place the cake or cupcakes in a freezer bag or airtight container. Label the bag or container with the date for easy reference.
  5. Return to freezer: Return the wrapped cake or cupcakes to the freezer in the coldest compartment.

Defrosting Buttercream Cakes and Cupcakes

When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen buttercream cake or cupcakes, follow these steps for proper thawing:

  1. Transfer to the refrigerator: Remove the wrapped cake or cupcakes from the freezer and place in the refrigerator. Allow to thaw slowly in the refrigerator overnight or for several hours.
  2. Bring to room temperature: Once the cake or cupcakes are thawed in the refrigerator, remove them and allow them to come to room temperature before serving. This will ensure that the buttercream frosting is soft and creamy.
  3. Serve and enjoy: Once the buttercream cake or cupcakes have reached room temperature, they are ready to serve and enjoy!


Freezing buttercream is a convenient way to preserve excess frosting, cakes and cupcakes. By following proper freezing and thawing methods, you can maintain the texture and quality of your buttercream frosting and use it for future baking projects. Whether you’re a home baker or a professional, knowing how to effectively freeze buttercream frosting ensures that no delicious frosting goes to waste. So the next time you find yourself with leftover buttercream, don’t hesitate to freeze it for later use.


Can I freeze buttercream frosting?

Yes, you can freeze buttercream frosting. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months without affecting its texture and creaminess.

What types of buttercream can I freeze?

All types of buttercream including American buttercream, Swiss and Italian buttercream, French buttercream and German buttercream can be successfully frozen.

How long can buttercream be frozen?

Buttercream can be frozen for up to 2-3 months while maintaining its quality. It is recommended that it be used within this time frame for best results.

How do I thaw frozen buttercream?

To thaw frozen buttercream, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw gradually. Once thawed, allow it to come to room temperature before using or decorating.

Can I re-freeze thawed buttercream?

Refreezing thawed buttercream is not recommended. Once thawed, it should be used within a reasonable amount of time and not refrozen.

Can I freeze buttercream cakes and cupcakes?

Yes, you can freeze buttercream cakes and cupcakes. Follow the steps outlined in the article to properly freeze and thaw them while maintaining the texture and flavor of the buttercream frosting.