Learn how to make White Chocolate Buttercream from scratch. This simple frosting is silky smooth and perfect for decorating cakes or piping onto cupcakes. Say goodbye to grainy buttercream because I’m showing you all my tips for achieving smooth and creamy buttercream every time.
Dreamy, creamy white chocolate frosting ❤️
This White Chocolate Buttercream is extremely versatile. It’s smooth enough to ice and fill layer cakes and stiff enough to pipe onto cupcakes.
The addition of real white chocolate in the frosting makes it very smooth, luscious and surprisingly stable.
Today, I’ll be showing you how to make perfect white chocolate frosting – including all my tips for avoiding lumpy, split or grainy buttercream.
Why you will love this recipe
- Quick and easy: It only takes minutes to make a big batch of this frosting.
- Simple ingredients: You only need five basic ingredients to make a batch of my White Chocolate Buttercream.
- Creamy texture: You can expect a smooth, silky texture, but one that’s stiff enough to hold its shape – making it perfect for piping.
- Make-ahead: You can make this buttercream ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer for later use.
That’s because I’ve been using it for years and years – almost a decade now! It’s my go-to frosting for a myriad of cakes and cupcakes because of its smooth texture and complimentary flavour.
Despite having white chocolate IN the frosting, it’s not overly sweet – no more than a regular Vanilla Buttercream. But the chocolate adds a lovely depth of flavour.
And it pairs so well with other flavours like lemon, blackberry, orange, chocolate, peanut butter – you name it.
Just like my favourite Chocolate Frosting, this White Chocolate Buttercream requires only a handful of ingredients. But there are a few ‘must do’s’ that will ensure your buttercream is just right texturally.
I’ve had many split, grainy, watery, sloppy buttercreams in my kitchen over the years so I KNOW what to do and what not to do. And I’m happy to share it ALL with you.
Read on for my tips on how to make smooth White Chocolate Buttercream every time. These tips will change your buttercream game – I promise.
What does White Chocolate Buttercream taste like?
White Chocolate Buttercream is sweet and creamy with a full-bodied texture. Just like classic American buttercream, it is made using butter and icing sugar (or powdered sugar).
In addition to vanilla extract, melted chocolate is also added near the end of mixing for a richer, smoother frosting. And a pinch of salt helps balance the flavours.
You can spread it sparingly between cake layers for a touch of sweetness or pile it high on your cupcakes.
I have also published a Chocolate Buttercream version using this technique.
What can you use White Chocolate Buttercream for?
White Chocolate Buttercream is wonderful for decorating layer cakes and cupcakes, or even a wedding cake. It holds its shape well and can be used as a frosting, a creamy filling or piping onto cupcakes.
If you are using it for decoration, consider adding a touch less milk for a stiffer frosting.
It also works really well as a swirled frosting for a sheet cake.
You only need five everyday ingredients to make this dreamy white chocolate frosting. Here’s a snapshot of everything you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter: If you use salted butter, omit the salt suggested later in the recipe. It is very important that you start with softened butter – more on that below.
- Vanilla extract: For extra flavour, I recommend using a good quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Avoid vanilla essence or imitation vanilla.
- Icing sugar: Or powdered sugar or confectioners sugar. Do not use caster or granulated sugar, they won’t work.
- Milk: Full fat or whole milk is best. You can also use thickened or heavy cream if you prefer. It must be room temperature – more on that below too.
- White chocolate: I prefer to use a high quality block of chocolate over white chocolate chips or candy melts. Chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape so can seize slightly and make a thicker, denser frosting. I like to use a regular block of Nestle, Cadbury or Lindt white chocolate – it doesn’t have to be baking chocolate specifically.
- Salt: A pinch of salt will help balance the flavours.
How to make White Chocolate Buttercream
You will need either a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer to make this buttercream.
Here’s how to make it in five simple steps, with the full instructions included in the recipe card below.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add softened butter. Beat using an electric mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until butter is smooth and creamy (photo 1).
- Add vanilla, half of the sugar and all of the milk (photo 2). Start mixing on low speed, then turn up to medium speed until combined (photo 3).
- Add remaining sugar and melted white chocolate (photo 4). Mix on low and then turn up to medium speed until combined (photo 5).
- Add a pinch of salt. Mix buttercream on medium speed for a further minute until the mixture becomes noticeably fluffy and creamy (photo 6).
- Finish by stirring buttercream with a spatula to get rid of any air bubbles.
You can easily make buttercream ahead of time – which is great if you are making and decorating a layer cake in different stages. Here are my make-ahead instructions using the fridge or the freezer.
- FRIDGE: Transfer your buttercream to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to one week. When you’re ready to use it, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon of milk and beat it on low speed until it is smooth and creamy again. Add a little more milk as needed – but add it sparingly, otherwise, your buttercream may become sloppy.
- FREEZER: You can transfer your buttercream to an airtight container and keep it in the freezer for up to three months. To use, simply leave it at room temperature for 1-2 hours and then follow the instructions above – adding a tiny bit of milk and beating again until smooth.
Tips for perfect buttercream every time
- Use softened butter: The key to smooth buttercream is starting with softened butter. If your butter is too cold, it will be very hard to beat, and despite all the mixing, it’s likely there will be small lumps of butter throughout your frosting. If your butter is nice and soft, it’ll take only 1-2 minutes for it to be smooth and creamy – the perfect base for buttercream.
- Sift your sugar: Icing sugar (or powdered sugar or confectioners sugar) tends to clump in the packet. Take the time to sift it before adding it to your butter mixture. This will also help create a smooth and creamy texture. And at the end of your sifting, when you still have a few lumps of icing sugar left in your sieve, throw them away! Don’t add them back into your sugar.
- Use room temperature milk: Despite following the above two tips, I’ve often had my buttercream still split. Only recently, did I discover it’s because your milk (or cream) needs to be at room temperature. Once you mix your butter and sugar, the mixture will be warm. Adding cold milk straight from the fridge, even just a tablespoon, will cause the mixture to suddenly seize and split – becoming grainy or lumpy. Ensuring your milk is at room temperature will change everything.
- Use melted but cooled chocolate: Your chocolate should still be loose and smooth, but it shouldn’t be hot to the touch.
- Keep mixing: Once you have combined all the ingredients, it’s likely your buttercream will be smooth. But is it light and fluffy? For that super airy texture, keep mixing on medium speed for another minute or two and watch the buttercream change texture.
- Finish with a spatula: To get rid of any air bubbles in your buttercream put the mixer down and finish stirring using a spatula. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and give it a good stir to achieve the perfect consistency.
How do I melt white chocolate?
I like to use the microwave to melt my white chocolate. Simply break up your chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl.
Heat in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth. Leave to cool slightly if it’s hot to the touch.
Alternatively, you can use a double boiler to melt your chocolate – but you’ll need to ensure your chocolate has cooled before adding it to your frosting.
What is softened butter?
To determine if your butter is softened, use the thumb test. When you press your thumb into the block of butter, it should very easily make an indent.
Too hard and it won’t make much of a mark, or you have to press down really, really hard to make a dent.
Too soft and your thumb will go right through to the other side. Your butter may also have melty or wet pockets.
Why is my buttercream grainy?
If your buttercream is grainy or curdled, it is likely that it has ‘split’. This is when the fat and water content separate, resulting in lumpy or grainy-looking buttercream.
This happens when there is a clash of temperatures, often when warm butter (from mixing) is suddenly shocked by cold milk or cream.
The result is buttercream that suddenly looks curdled or grainy.
Using room temperature milk or cream will help prevent your buttercream from splitting or curdling.
SAY GOODBYE TO GRAINY BUTTERCREAM
Adding fridge-cold milk will cause your buttercream to seize and split. Avoid grainy or curdled buttercream by simply using room temperature milk or cream.
Other possible reasons for grainy buttercream include not sifting your icing sugar (or powdered sugar) or not using the right sugar, using butter that is too cold (or too warm) or over-mixing your buttercream.
There are lots of hacks on the internet for how to bring buttercream back together once it’s split, but in my experience, the best result only comes from starting again.
Frequently asked questions
Buttercream will always be yellowish because it uses butter and vanilla extract has a tint in it as well. Even with the addition of white chocolate, this buttercream will be a pale yellow. For a white buttercream, consider adding a few drops of white gel food colouring or even a tiny amount of blue gel food colouring. The blue will neutralise the yellow and make your buttercream appear more ‘white’.
Yes. You can use a small amount of food gel or oil-based food colouring to colour white chocolate buttercream. Don’t use regular food colouring that is watered down. You will have to add too much of it to achieve colour vibrancy and this will change the texture of the buttercream.
This recipe makes approximately three cups of white chocolate buttercream. It is enough to frost 12 cupcakes, an 8-inch two-layer cake or a 6-inch three-layer cake. You can easily double or halve this recipe. Or you can keep any leftover buttercream in the freezer for next time. See above for make-ahead instructions.
Yes you can.
Creamy white chocolate buttercream made from scratch.
- 230 grams (1 cup / 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 375 grams (3 cups) icing sugar or powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons whole or full fat milk, room temperature
- 150 grams (1 cup) good quality white chocolate, pieces
- Pinch of salt
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, add softened butter. Beat using an electric mixer on medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until butter is smooth and creamy.
- Add vanilla, half of the sugar and all the milk. Start mixing on low speed, then turn up to medium speed until combined – approximately 1 minute.
- Place chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Heat in the microwave, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth. Alternatively, you can use a double boiler to melt your chocolate – but you’ll need to ensure your chocolate has cooled before adding it to your frosting.
- Add remaining sugar and melted white chocolate – ensuring the chocolate is still smooth and melted but is not hot to the touch. Beat on low speed, then turn up to medium speed until combined.
- Add pinch of salt. Continue to beat buttercream on medium speed for a further minute until the mixture becomes noticeably fluffy and creamy.
- Finish by stirring buttercream with a spatula to get rid of any air bubbles.
Butter: The key to smooth buttercream is using softened butter. If your butter is too cold, you’ll find there are still small lumps of butter in your buttercream. If you use salted butter, omit the salt included in the recipe.
Icing sugar: Also known as powdered sugar or confectioners sugar. It’s important to sift your sugar, otherwise, your buttercream will be lumpy. Do not use any other sugar, like caster sugar or granulated sugar.
White chocolate: I prefer to use a good quality block of chocolate over white chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape so can seize slightly and make a thicker, denser frosting. I like to use Nestle, Cadbury or Lindt chocolate.
Milk: It’s very important that your milk is also at room temperature. If you use cold milk, your buttercream may seize, making it split with a grainy texture.
Make-ahead and storage instructions:
FRIDGE: Transfer your buttercream to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to one week. When you’re ready to use it, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add 1/2 tablespoon of milk and beat it on low speed until it is smooth and creamy again. Add a little more milk as needed – but add it sparingly, otherwise, your buttercream may become sloppy.
FREEZER: You can transfer your buttercream to an airtight container and keep it in the freezer for up to three months. To use, simply leave it at room temperature for 1-2 hours and then follow the instructions above – adding a tiny bit of milk and beating again until smooth.
Quantity: This recipe makes approximately 3 cups of frosting. This is enough to frost 12 cupcakes, an 8-inch two-layer cake or a 6-inch three-layer cake.