Buttercream frosting is a sweet, creamy icing made by beating together butter, powdered sugar, and flavorings. It’s commonly used to frost cakes, cupcakes, and cookies.
With its smooth, spreadable texture, buttercream makes it easy to decorate baked goods. However, you may sometimes have leftover buttercream that you want to save for later use. This leads to the question – can you freeze buttercream frosting?
What Happens When You Freeze Buttercream Frosting
Freezing buttercream frosting is possible, but there are some changes in texture and quality you’ll notice after thawing.
Here’s what happens:
Changes in Texture
Fresh buttercream has a light, fluffy texture. When frozen, the tiny air bubbles whipped into the frosting will collapse. This results in a dense, heavy consistency after thawing. The buttercream may also “weep” or separate, with liquid pooling on the surface.
Loss of Volume
In addition to the change in texture, frozen buttercream will be lower in volume after thawing. Expect it to have reduced in size by up to 25%. This is caused by the loss of those air bubbles that gave it a lighter, fluffier quality pre-freezing.
The flavors in buttercream can become muted or dulled after freezing. Extracts, chocolate, and other flavorings may deteriorate over time in the freezer. The sweetness can also be blunted.
Change in Appearance
The smooth, creamy appearance of buttercream will be lost post-freezing. The thawed frosting is more likely to look grainy, watery, or curdled. Its spreadability is also reduced, making it harder to use for decorating.
So in summary, freezing alters buttercream’s light, delicious taste and spreadable texture. But that doesn’t mean leftover frosting has to go to waste!
How to Freeze Buttercream Frosting
If you do wish to freeze extra buttercream, follow these tips:
Allow it to Cool
Buttercream needs to be completely cooled to room temperature before freezing. If any warmth remains, it can cause condensation in the freezer resulting in a soggy texture when thawed.
Freeze in an Airtight Container
Place cooled buttercream in an airtight freezer bag or container. This prevents freezer burn which can cause dry spots.
Freeze in Portions
Divide buttercream into usable portions before freezing. Ideal sizes are 1⁄2 cup or 1 cup amounts. This allows you to thaw only what you need.
Label with Date
Mark package with the date before placing in the freezer. Buttercream is best within 2-3 months for ideal taste and texture.
Quickly freeze buttercream by placing it on the back of the freezer, rather than the door. Fast freezing maintains quality.
Following these steps will help retain as much flavor and texture as possible when freezing buttercream frosting.
How to Thaw and Restore Frozen Buttercream
While frozen buttercream may change in appearance and texture, there are some tricks to improve its quality after thawing:
Thaw Overnight in Fridge
Slow thawing in the refrigerator prevents buttercream from melting into a soupy mess. Leave it overnight or for at least 8 hours.
Use an Electric Mixer
Whip the thawed buttercream on medium speed using an electric mixer. This will add air back and make it lighter and fluffier.
Add More Butter and Powdered Sugar
For buttercream that is still too soft or liquidy after whipping, slowly mix in a tablespoon or two more of soft butter followed by powdered sugar until it reaches the right consistency.
Stir in Extracts or Flavorings
To bring back muted flavors, stir in additional extracts, vanilla, cocoa powder, citrus zest, or other flavorings as needed.
Allow it to Re-Chill
After restoring texture and flavor, let the buttercream chill in the fridge for 1 hour before using. This helps it re-firm up.
With a little work, thawed buttercream can regain a soft, spreadable texture and full flavor.
Tips for Using Thawed Buttercream
While thawed and rewhipped buttercream works well for frosting cakes and cupcakes, there are some tips for getting the best results:
- Use thawed buttercream for the inner layers and borders of cakes rather than exposed decorations since the appearance may be less smooth.
- Opt for simple piping techniques and decorations rather than intricate piping which requires very stiff, stable frosting.
- Add decorations like sprinkles, nuts, fruit, or chocolate pieces which can disguise any imperfections in the surface.
- Serve cake immediately after frosting to prevent thawed buttercream from melting in warmer temperatures.
- Consider using thawed buttercream for baking purposes like filling sandwich cookies rather than directly on baked goods.
With reasonable expectations, thawed buttercream can still be a delicious icing for your treats.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does buttercream last in the freezer?
Properly stored, buttercream will maintain best quality for 2-3 months in the freezer but will remain safe to consume for up to 6 months.
Can you freeze American buttercream?
Yes, American buttercream made with butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla can be frozen. It may need extra rewhipping and flavoring added once thawed.
Is frozen buttercream safe to eat?
Frozen buttercream that has been continuously frozen is safe to eat. However, quality and texture will decline after about 3 months.
Can you freeze whipped cream frosting?
Whipped cream frostings don’t freeze well due to their high moisture content. They tend to separate and crystallize in the freezer.
Can you freeze ganache?
Chocolate ganache can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and rewhip until smooth before using.
Should you freeze frosting with cream cheese?
It’s best not to freeze frostings containing cream cheese as they can develop a grainy, curdled texture when thawed. Use within 3-4 days.
Can you freeze Swiss or Italian meringue buttercream?
Yes, these buttercreams made by whipping egg whites can be successfully frozen. Thaw slowly in the fridge overnight before rewhipping.
How do you store thawed buttercream?
Keep thawed buttercream refrigerated and use within 3-4 days for best quality. Do not refreeze after thawing.
What happens if you refreeze buttercream?
Refreezing thawed buttercream is not recommended. It can result in a dry, crumbly texture and loss of flavor.
Can you freeze frosting in piping bags?
It’s best to freeze buttercream unfrosted in an airtight container, not piped into bags. The frosting can absorb off-flavors from plastic.
By following proper freezing and thawing techniques, buttercream frosting can be frozen and enjoyed later with a little extra restoration. Be mindful of the changes to expect in appearance, texture and flavor when freezing this delicate icing.
Hi, I’m Julie, the passionate foodie and founder of Juliesfamilykitchen.com. I created this blog out of a drive to prove someone wrong, and then I realized how much I truly enjoy cooking and trying new recipes. In my free time, when I’m not running around after my kids or spending quality time with my partner, you can usually find me in the kitchen experimenting with new dishes.