The perfect creamy, not-too-sweet White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, perfect for covering a cake or piping on cupcakes! Recipe includes a how-to video, and some of my favorite cakes and cupcakes to pair it with!
I’ll be honest, the first time I made white chocolate frosting I expected it to be much, much too sweet. White chocolate is already so sweet on its own and I rarely care for it when there’s real chocolate in the picture (unless it’s tempered with browned butter, sea salt, and nuts like in my white chocolate macadamia nut cookies).
When I set out to make a white chocolate buttercream, I was determined that it would have a distinct white chocolate flavor, without being tooth-achingly sweet. I’ve reduced the sugar, whipped in some cream (for a light and fluffy texture) and voila, here’s a white chocolate frosting that you can actually eat by the spoonful. It may even be less sweet than my classic buttercream frosting!
To give you an idea of how not-overly-sweet it is, this is often my filling of choice when I’m testing my macaron recipe.. It’s creamy, smooth, with a silky mouthfeel. It’s softer than my buttercream or cream cheese frosting, closer in consistency to ermine frosting, but as you can see in the photo you can still pipe it onto cupcakes.
- White Chocolate. You can use white chocolate bars (shown in the photo above) or white chocolate chips so long as they are quality/premium chips (I have had bad luck with generic chips and recommend Ghirardelli).
- Butter. I like to use unsalted butter and then add a pinch of salt at the end so that you have complete control over the flavor of the icing.
- Powdered Sugar. I use considerably less powdered sugar in this recipe than I do in some of my others. The chocolate helps to give it a firm texture once it’s cooled completely and whipping a bit of cream in at the end helps give it a fluffy consistency as well.
- Vanilla Extract
- Salt. As mentioned above.
- Whipping Cream. I highly recommend whipping a splash of cream into your frosting at the end. It makes it fluffier, silkier, and light.
As always, this is just an overview of the ingredients that I used. Please scroll down to the printable recipe below for amounts.
Can I Color White Chocolate Buttercream?
Yes! You can add food coloring to this recipe. Stir gel (preferred) or liquid or even powder food coloring after you have finished the recipe. Add as much as is needed to get the desired color. I love using gel food coloring anytime I’m coloring buttercream as a little goes a long way and the colors are so vibrant.
- Always melt chocolate slowly! If heated too quickly, it’s prone to seizing and will take on a grainy appearance. Heat in short bursts and stir very well in between.
- It’s important that you let your chocolate cool after melting. Set it aside and let it cool (stirring occasionally) until no longer warm to the touch (but not so cool that it’s re-solidified!). If it’s warm, it will melt your butter and leave you with a greasy mess instead of luscious creamy frostiing.
- Use butter that’s close to room temperature, but neither melty/greasy or too chilled. If the butter is cold, it will actually cause some of the chocolate to harden, leaving you with small chocolate clumps.
- I recommend whipping some cream into the frosting, but if you whip it very much you can end up with a frosting that’s almost too airy and full of air bubbles, making it difficult to spread smoothly over your cake. If that happens, just use a spatula to gently fold through the frosting, pressing it against the sides of the bowl and essentially deflating the excess air for a smooth buttercream.
This frosting is great on just about any cake recipe, but I especially love it on my marble cake, white cake, and a super fun cake recipe that I have coming for you later this week. It’s also good (though less traditional) on red velvet cupcakes!
I generally recommend using this frosting pretty quickly after making it. As it sits, the frosting tends to solidify a bit, giving the frosting an almost fudge-like consistency. However, it can be made in advance and stored. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of the frosting. It will keep at room temperature for a day or in the refrigerator for up to a week. You will likely need to briefly re-whip the frosting before using.
White Chocolate Buttercream Goes Great With:
Let’s bake together! Be sure to check out my video in the recipe where I’ll show you exactly how I make these in my own kitchen!
White Chocolate Buttercream
- 6 oz (170 g) white chocolate¹ chopped into small pieces
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter² softened to room temperature (but not so soft that it’s melty/greasy)
- 2 cups (250 g) powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Place white chocolate in a small, heat-proof bowl and heat for 30 seconds. Stir very well, then return to microwave and heat in 15-second increments, stirring very well in between, until chocolate is completely smooth and melted.6 oz (170 g) white chocolate¹
- Set chocolate aside to cool for at least 15 minutes and no longer warm to the touch (otherwise it will melt the butter and you’ll have a greasy mess).
- While chocolate is cooling, place softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (or you may use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer) and beat until creamy and well-whipped.1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter²
- With mixer on low-speed, gradually add melted, cooled chocolate and stir well.
- Gradually add powdered sugar , scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl periodically to ensure that all ingredients are well combined.2 cups (250 g) powdered sugar
- Sprinkle in salt and vanilla extract and stir well.½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- With mixer on low-speed, gradually add heavy cream to frosting. Gradually increase speed to high and beat for 30-60 seconds or until desired consistency is reached (should be light, creamy, fluffy, and slightly increased in volume). If you beat too much air into the icing and would like a smoother frosting, use a spatula to cut through the batter and work out any air bubbles.2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- Pipe or spread frosting onto prepared, cooled baked goods.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered an estimate only. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods, cooking method, portion sizes, and more.
Hello, is this recipe heat stable?
Hi Erica! It holds up to heat almost as well as a classic buttercream. 🙂
This frosting is spectacular! My new favorite. Glad I can freeze the leftovers.
Can you freeze this icing?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Crissy! We haven’t tried it, but we think it should work just fine 🙂
Hi.. I guess if i frosted this on the cake and leave it in the fridge so the frosting will be a little bit hard enough to work on as a surface for handpainting decor for the cake. what you think? if this works then it will be better instead of using a fondant
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Liz! The icing should get pretty firm in the fridge, so we think this could work. We’d love to see the final result–please tag us on Instagram @sugarspun_sam! 😊
I have made this several times and we all love that this icing is so much less sweet than traditional buttercreams! However, every time, the chocolate winds up solidifying when I mix it with the other ingredients, so the icing ends up having small chunks of crunchy chocolate in it. Still tasty, but not smooth. Any suggestions on fixing this problem? I’m sure it’s a temperature and timing thing.
Hi Michelle! There isn’t really a way to fix it once it has been made, but two things to look out for are the chocolate not being fully melted, or, more likely, the butter is too cold when the chocolate is being added causing it to solidify. I hope that helps. 🙂
Hey there, I want to use this frosting on a coconut cake, how much of coconut extract do I add? Or can I use both vanilla and coconut extracts?
Hi Tia! Coconut extract is pretty potent so you can use it just start with a little bit and add more if needed. I can’t say for sure how much to use because I haven’t personally tried it. 🙂
Can this be refrigerated and used the following day?
Hi Kelly! It can be refrigerated. It will become pretty firm. I would place plastic wrap against the surface. After refrigeration, it will need to soften at room temperature. The time this takes can vary depending on the temperature in your kitchen. I typically stir it again before using. 🙂
This recipe is very good! The frosting turned out smooth and creamy and tastes amazing!
This is so good! Perfect amount of sweetness and great for a macaron filling
If I am going to cover a cake with this frosting and pipe on top, do I need to double the recipe?
Emily @ Sugar Spun Run
Hi Jessica! It really depends on how big your cake is. If it’s an 8-9″ round cake, you might want to increase by 50% for the decoration 😊
This was amazing! So good. We loved it. I followed the directions exactly, except I probably added a smidge more vanilla and salt. Thanks for the great recipe!
Can I half this recipe? I want to make 1/2 white chocolate and 1/2 semi sweet chocolate for on top of your Marble Cake recipe.
Hi! Thank you for sharing this, it sounds delicious!! I’m wondering if the recipe will still work if I just shave the chocolate into fine pieces, but don’t melt it? I’m not allowed to melt chocolate per my cottage food laws, but really want to make this🙂
Hi Kate! I’m not sure it would work, unless it somehow ended up melting while being mixed in with the butter. 🙁
Just made this amazing frosting! It’s for tomorrow so wondering if I can leave it at room temperature? Thanks 😊
Hi Suzanne! Room temperature will be just fine. 🙂