Reviving Grainy Buttercream: 3 Foolproof Techniques

How to Fix Grainy Buttercream – 3 Foolproof Ways

Buttercream frosting is a classic and delicious topping for cakes, but sometimes it can turn out grainy, leaving you disappointed with the result. However, there are three foolproof ways to fix grainy buttercream and achieve a smooth and creamy texture. In this article, we will explore these methods and provide you with practical solutions to save your buttercream frosting.

Understanding the Causes of Grainy Buttercream

Before delving into the solutions, it’s important to understand why buttercream frosting can become grainy. By identifying the causes, you can prevent this problem from occurring in the future. Here are the most common causes of grainy buttercream:

1. Using margarine instead of butter

Traditionally, buttercream should be made with butter. While margarine can be a suitable alternative for some recipes, it has a different composition than butter. When margarine is used to make buttercream, the resulting frosting may lack the desired creaminess, and the sugar may not mix properly with the fat, resulting in a grainy texture. To avoid this, it is recommended to use butter for an authentic and smooth buttercream.

2. Cold butter

Using room temperature butter is critical when making buttercream. If the butter is too cold, it will be too hard and won’t mix well with the sugar, resulting in a grainy texture. To make sure the butter is the right consistency, it’s best to let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before starting the frosting process. If you forget to do this, you can gently heat the butter in the microwave in short increments until it reaches the desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat the butter or it may become too soft.

3. Brown sugar

Sifting the sugar is an essential step in achieving a smooth buttercream texture. By sifting the sugar, you remove any lumps and allow it to blend seamlessly with the butter. Without sifting, the sugar may be too lumpy, resulting in a grainy buttercream. Take the time to sift the sugar properly before incorporating it into the frosting.

Three Foolproof Ways to Fix Grainy Buttercream

Now that we understand the causes of grainy buttercream, let’s explore three effective ways to fix it and restore its smoothness and creaminess.

1. Add more milk

Most buttercream frosting recipes call for milk. Milk helps soften the sugar and butter, making it easier to blend smoothly. If your buttercream is grainy and appears slightly dry, adding more milk can be an effective remedy. However, it’s important to add the milk gradually to avoid making the buttercream too wet. Start by adding a tablespoon of milk to the mixture and whisking well. If the graininess persists, add another tablespoon and continue beating. This method requires some vigorous beating, but will result in a smooth and creamy buttercream frosting.

2. Incorporate melted chocolate

Incorporating melted chocolate is a great solution if you want to transform your buttercream into a chocolate-flavored treat. Whether you prefer milk, dark or white chocolate, melting it and incorporating it into the buttercream can help warm the butter and sugar, allowing them to blend better and eliminate graininess. To use this method, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler and let it cool slightly. Add one tablespoon of the melted chocolate to the buttercream and stir thoroughly. Repeat this process, adding a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired smoothness. Be careful not to overheat the butter or change the texture of the frosting too much.

3. Allow the buttercream to rest and mix again.

In some cases, the best way to set grainy buttercream is to let it rest. During this resting period, the sugar has a chance to dissolve into the butter, even if you refrigerate it. As the sugar dissolves, the grainy texture diminishes and the buttercream becomes softer. After the buttercream has rested, mix it again thoroughly. This process should result in a creamy and smooth buttercream frosting that is ready to use.

Use a stand mixer for better results

While it is possible to make buttercream frosting by hand, using a stand mixer can make the process much easier. A stand mixer not only eliminates the effort of beating by hand, but it also ensures that the ingredients are incorporated evenly and smoothly, reducing the likelihood of granulation. When using a stand mixer, attach the paddle attachment and set the mixer to medium-high speed for optimal results. This will result in a silky smooth buttercream. If a stand mixer is not available, a hand mixer can be used as an alternative, although it requires a bit more effort.


Grainy buttercream can be a frustrating setback when it comes to cake decorating. However, with the right techniques, you can save your buttercream and achieve a smooth and creamy texture. By understanding the causes of graining, such as the use of margarine, cold butter and unfloated sugar, you can take the necessary precautions to prevent this problem in the future.
The three foolproof methods outlined in this article-adding more milk, incorporating melted chocolate, and allowing the buttercream to rest and remix-are effective solutions to fixing grainy buttercream. Each method offers its own unique benefits and can be chosen based on personal preference and desired flavor profile.
Remember, using a stand mixer or hand blender can greatly simplify the process and ensure even blending of the ingredients. With patience and perseverance, you can transform your granular buttercream into a smooth and luscious frosting that enhances the taste and appearance of your cakes.
So the next time you encounter grainy buttercream, don’t despair. Armed with these three foolproof methods, you can confidently troubleshoot and fix the problem and create a delicious buttercream frosting that will impress your friends and family. Enjoy the process and happy baking!


Why does buttercream frosting turn grainy?

Buttercream frosting can become grainy due to factors such as using margarine instead of butter, using cold butter, or not sifting the sugar properly.

Can I use margarine instead of butter in buttercream frosting?

While margarine can be used as an alternative, it can result in a less creamy texture and may not blend well with the sugar, resulting in a grainy buttercream. The use of butter is recommended for best results.

How do I soften cold butter for buttercream frosting?

To soften cold butter for buttercream frosting, let it sit at room temperature for a few hours before using. If you forget, you can microwave the butter in small increments until it reaches room temperature.

Why is it important to sift the sugar for buttercream frosting?

Sieving the sugar helps remove any lumps and ensures that it blends seamlessly with the butter. Without sifting, the sugar may be too lumpy, resulting in a grainy buttercream.

Can I fix grainy buttercream by adding more milk?

Yes, adding more milk can help soften the buttercream and improve its texture. Start by adding a tablespoon of milk at a time, beating well after each addition until the desired smoothness is achieved.

Can I turn grainy buttercream into a chocolate-flavored frosting?

Yes, you can incorporate melted chocolate into the grainy buttercream to turn it into a chocolate-flavored treat. Melt the chocolate and add it gradually, one tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition until the desired smoothness is achieved.