Skip to Content

How to Make White Buttercream

Struggling to make bright white buttercream? This recipe shares everything you need to know to make white buttercream and the recipe only uses five ingredients. Doesn’t get much easier than that, right?!

image of white frosting in bowl that's been stirred with a spatula to make it super smooth

Why is My Buttercream Yellow?

Before we dive into how to make your frosting white, let’s talk about why it might be yellow or off-white.

The brand of butter you use has a huge impact on the taste and color of your frosting!

Some brands of butter are more yellow than others. This can be based on the diet of the cows producing the milk, or if a brand adds in coloring (be sure to check the label).

Cows that eat a lot of grass produce yellower butter due to the beta carotene in the grass.

image of unsalted butter at room temperature ready to be used to make white buttercream

My go to brand of butter is the unsalted Whole Foods brand. It is very light in color and makes white frosting!

How to Make White Buttercream Frosting

While I usually just use light-colored butter, I don’t always have it on hand and sometimes have to resort to other methods to make white buttercream.

I’ve tested 3 different ways to make white frosting, and I walk through each technique below.

Method #1: Whip Up Your Butter

The first method I recommend trying is super simple. All you have to do is whip your butter on a medium-high speed (6 or 8 speed on a Kitchen Aid) with a paddle attachment for a couple minutes.

I recommend doing this before adding in any other ingredients. This is my favorite white buttercream trick, and I use it all the time.

Whipping up the butter incorporates air into it which will naturally lighten its color. You should see a noticeable change in color once the butter has been whipped.

Mine looks quite white after about 2 minutes of mixing. Like I mentioned above, the whiter the butter you use, the easier time you’ll have making white frosting!

image of gluten free vanilla cupcake frosted with buttercream icing on mini cupcake stand

I like using a paddle attachment whenever I’m making American buttercream because it makes smoother frosting. You can also use a whisk attachment or hand mixer, but my frosting usually turns out best with a paddle attachment.

Method #2: Color Correct with Purple Gel Food Coloring

If you try whipping your butter and your frosting still has a yellowish tint, try adding a tiny bit of purple gel food coloring to frosting once it’s made.

It sounds crazy, but purple and yellow are opposites on the color wheel, so they cancel each other out.

The purple gel food coloring will color-correct the yellow tint, leaving you with white frosting.

Use a toothpick to add a tiny bit of gel food coloring to the frosting, then mix it in and see how it looks.

image a 6-inch layer cake that has perfectly smooth white buttercream frosting

You can always add more, but you can’t really take it back once it’s mixed in. Be careful and add it in small increments until you’re happy with how it looks.

I like this method because it is insanely easy. The only down side is that if the frosting was super yellow, sometimes it can give it a slightly grayish tint.

Method #3 The Last Resort: Whitening Additives

If you whip your butter and try the purple gel food coloring hack and your frosting is STILL not white, I have one more thing you can try.

Adding titanium dioxide or white gel food coloring can help brighten the color of your frosting.

While titanium dioxide might sound a bit scary, it’s a non-toxic whitening agent that’s included in things we use everyday! This includes everything from toothpaste to candy and food (it is listed as the food colorant E171).

This is my least favorite method because very few people have either of these ingredients on hand, and I like to keep my recipes as simple as possible. I usually think of it as a last resort, but I have to admit is effective.

image of frosting in a bowl

Tips for Making Best White Buttercream Frosting:

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before making your frosting.
  • Set a timer and beat your butter for a full 2 minutes before adding in any other ingredients. This lightens the color of the butter and creates the perfect white base for your frosting.
  • As long as your powdered sugar contains cornstarch (most brands in the US do) there’s no need to sift you powdered sugar.
  • Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream and not normal milk! The higher fat percentage gives the frosting a great consistency.
  • If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes to make it super smooth.
  • If your buttercream isn’t as white as you’d like once it’s fully made, you can mix in a tiny drop of purple gel food coloring or 1 tsp of titanium dioxide powder on a low speed to brighten it.

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try out these methods to make white buttercream frosting, I’d love to hear what you think of them! Please leave a comment below.

Also be sure to tag me @chelsweets and use the #chelsweets so I can see your creations 🙂

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 6 cups

White Buttercream Frosting

image of gluten free vanilla cupcake being frosted with vanilla bean buttercream

This buttercream frosting recipe makes bright white frosting and only uses five ingredients! It's so easy and delicious to make, you'll never buy frosting again!!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

White Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature (434g; 1 lb box)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (12g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (3g)
  • 7 cups powdered sugar (907g; 2 lb bag)
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream or whipping cream (45g)

Instructions

  1. Beat 2 cups of unsalted butter on a medium-high speed (6-8 on a KitchenAid) for 2 minutes with a paddle attachment / stand mixer or a hand mixer. It should become lighter in color and look white once it's been whipped up.
  2. Mix in 1 Tbsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp salt on a low speed until incorporated.
  3. Gradually add in 7 cups of powdered sugar while mixing slowly on the lowest setting. Half way through add in 3 Tbsp of heavy cream to make it easier to mix. I like to place a kitchen towel over my mixer to help contain any powdered sugar clouds.
  4. Mix on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the desired consistency is reached
  5. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 Tbsp at a time). If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
  6. If your buttercream isn't as white as you'd like at this point, you can mix in a tiny drop of purple gel food coloring or 1 tsp of titanium dioxide powder on a low speed to brighten it.

Notes

Yield

This recipe makes about 6 cups of frosting. If needed, this recipe can be doubled or tripled. A double batch will fit/can be made in a 5 qt Kitchen Aid Mixing bowl.

I usually make 1 batch of frosting to stack and frost a seven or eight inch layer cake.

Tips for Making Best White Buttercream Frosting:

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before making your frosting.
  • Set a timer and beat your butter for a full 2 minutes before adding in any other ingredients. This lightens the color of the butter and creates the perfect white base for your frosting.
  • As long as your powdered sugar contains cornstarch (most brands in the US do) there's no need to sift you powdered sugar.
  • Use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream and not normal milk! The higher fat percentage gives the frosting a great consistency.
  • If you are making frosting for a cake, mix the buttercream on the lowest speed at the end of the process for a couple minutes to make it super smooth.
  • If your buttercream isn't as white as you'd like once it's fully made, you can mix in a tiny drop of purple gel food coloring or 1 tsp of titanium dioxide powder on a low speed to brighten it.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 1074Total Fat 64gSaturated Fat 40gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 21gCholesterol 171mgSodium 207mgCarbohydrates 129gFiber 0gSugar 126gProtein 1g

Dorothea

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

Hello! How many cupcakes will this frosting receipe frost? I am trying to calculate how much frosting I'll need for 300 cupcakes.

Skip to Recipe