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Whipped Buttercream Frosting without Powdered Sugar

Prep Time:

30 minutes

Cook Time:

10 Minutes







This Whipped Buttercream Frosting recipe pretty much blew my mind. I’m not a big frosting person; most buttercream frostings are just ok, and I can take them or leave them.

Well, this buttercream frosting is amazing, and it uses (are you ready for this?) granulated sugar!

Yep! Regular, old granulated sugar. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to make frosting without powdered sugar, this is it!

Don’t worry – it’s not gritty at all. In fact, this ermine frosting has the texture of a light whipped cream with the flavor of a sweet, vanilla buttercream.

It’s honestly the best frosting (buttercream or otherwise) that I’ve ever had. It’s sweet but not overwhelmingly, make-your-teeth-ache sweet.

I’ve put answers to a lot of the questions I’ve received in the recipe notes. Please take a second to read through those notes before making the frosting.

How to make frosting without powdered sugar

Step 1 Whisk the milk and flour together in a small heavy saucepan before beginning to heat.

Step 2 Once combined, heat the mixture over medium-low heat until it has thickened. At this point, it should be the consistency of a thick paste.

Step 3 Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla extract.

Step 4 Let the mixture cool to room temperature before continuing. This step is key. If the mixture is warm, it will cause the butter to warm up, and you’ll end up with a thin, runny frosting.

Step 5 In a separate large bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together on medium-high to high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape down the sides to avoid gritty frosting.

Step 6 Add the completely cooled milk/flour mixture to the beaten butter/sugar mixture, and beat on medium-high to high for 5 minutes. It may look separated at first, but keep whipping the frosting until it is light and fluffy.

What flavors of cake go well with this frosting?

This frosting has a light, sweet vanilla flavor that works well with a number of cake flavors. Here are a few ideas!

  • Red velvet 

  • Chocolate cake

  • Carrot cake

  • Zucchini cake

  • Spice cake

  • White cake

Can I make this frosting in other flavors?

You can! Here are some of the different flavors of this frosting that I’ve made.

Troubleshooting tips

  • First, not cooking the milk mixture long enough. The mixture should be a thick paste. If it’s too wet, the frosting will be too loose.

  • Second, the cooked milk mixture needs to cool completely. If it’s too warm, it will melt the butter, and you’ll end up with loose frosting that doesn’t come together.

  • Third, using butter that’s too warm. The butter should be at a cool room temperature. It should dent if pushed, but it shouldn’t be too warm and certainly not beginning to melt.

  • Fourth, using other types of sugars. This frosting needs to be made with granulated sugar, not powdered sugar.

  • Fifth, not whipped the frosting long enough. The frosting needs to be whipped to get the right light and airy texture. Cutting the time short could leave you with a grainy frosting or a frosting that separates.

  • If your frosting is still a little gritty after beating it for 5 minutes, go ahead and add the cooled milk/flour mixture. That will usually smooth out any remaining sugar.

  • A couple people have reported that a film has formed on their milk/flour mixture. I haven’t had this happen, but another person said that she’s had good luck with blending the milk/flour mixture with a blender before cooking it. She said that it removed any lumps and helped prevent skin from forming.


  • 1. In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk together over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. It will be the consistency of a thick paste2. Make sure that you whisk the flour and milk together well before you begin cooking it to avoid lumps. 

  • 2. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. This step is key. If your mixture is warm, it will melt your butter, and you’ll end up with runny frosting. 

  • 3. Stir in vanilla.

  • 4. While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until light and fluffy on medium high, about 5 minutes. Make sure that you scrape down the sides and really incorporate the butter and sugar to avoid gritty frosting.

  • 5. Then add the completely cooled milk mixture.

  • 6. Beat it for about 5 more minutes on medium-high to high until it looks like whipped cream. It may look separated at first, so keep beating it until it comes together and looks like a whipped cream.

Recipe Notes

  • 1. Make sure that your butter isn’t too warm! The butter should be at cool room temperature. You want it to dent if you press it, but you don’t want it to be so warm that it’s near melting.

  • 2. When cooking the milk/flour mixture, you don’t want it to look wet. It should be like a thick paste. If it’s wet and runny, your frosting will be too loose.

  • 3. If you’re using a hand mixer, beat it on high. This recipe work well with a stand mixer because it has the power to really whip the frosting.

  • 4. Please don’t cut the mixing time short! I know it’s tempting, but it’s important to beat the butter and sugar together for the time the recipe calls for to keep it from being gritty. If you cut the mixing times short, you won’t end up with the right texture of frosting.

  • 5. To get the best flavor, you’ll want to use real butter and pure vanilla extract.

  • 6. I recommend chilling any leftover frosted cake or cupcakes. 

  • 7. Nutrition values are estimates. 

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