How To Properly Store Buttercream Frosting To Keep It Fresh

Buttercream frosting is just one of those toppings that seem to be perfect for any dessert recipe that you might be planning, whether it is for decoration or filling of a cake, or perhaps to use in a fine cream cheese spread or mix.

However, perhaps you have found yourself with more leftover buttercream than you otherwise know what to do with, and you don’t want it going to waste. Alternatively, perhaps you are preparing a large batch of buttercream frosting ahead of time, but don’t know how to store it right.

For either of these cases, buttercream frosting is a very easy food item to store, provided that you know how to store it correctly.

This is why we have compiled this little guide to show you how best to keep your buttercream frosting fresh for when you need it again!

Can Buttercream Frosting Spoil?

Before we get any further into this guide, we should probably clear up first the idea that homemade buttercream frosting does not go off, a commonly held belief amongst many people who aren’t familiar with how to use this ingredient.

It’s not too surprising why many people might think this. Unlike many other foods or dairy products, which will either change texture, color, or even shape as they spoil, frosting from buttercream seems to hold its shape and color quite well.

However, rest assured that buttercream can indeed spoil like any other food. It is a dairy product, after all!

If simply left in a bowl out in the open air, buttercream tends to spoil out in the open after just a day, meaning that badly stored frosting has a very short shelf life, especially when not placed in a fridge or freezer.

Can You Refrigerate/Freeze Buttercream Frosting?

So, unfortunately, buttercream frosting can spoil, and very easily in some cases.

However, most people will think to try and preserve their frosting for longer. And this is something that buttercream, whether it is French buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, or any other variety does well.

When properly stored, the shelf life of buttercream frosting lasts significantly longer than it otherwise would, and makes it more viable to make buttercream ahead of time than you would otherwise need it for.

Why You Should Pre-Prepare Buttercream Frosting Ahead Of Time

There are several advantages to making buttercream in advance of when you may need it.

The main reason that you would want to make frosting made from buttercream is that it helps spread your workload out when preparing a recipe that requires buttercream, either as a decoration or as a core ingredient.

And when it comes to making a big and extravagant cake, something that should be as much fun to make as it is intricate, spreading that workload out can take a lot of the unnecessary stress out of a given bake

Things You’ll Need To Properly Store Buttercream Frosting

So, you want to try and store buttercream frosting? Then you’re going to need a few items to do just that. Storing buttercream requires two main items: an airtight container of some kind, and cold temperatures from a fridge or freezer.

How To Properly Store Buttercream Frosting To Keep It Fresh (1)

The Right Airtight Container/Plastic Wrap

To properly store buttercream frosting ahead of time, you’re going to need a good airtight container.

This helps shield your buttercream from airborne bacteria and other things that can cause your buttercream to become stale and spoiled.

In some types of buttercream frosting, such as American buttercream icing, we would suggest covering your freshly made and refrigerated immediately frosting in plastic wrap to keep your frosting from spoiling.

Cool/Cold Temperature

This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Not only do most food items when stored at lower temperatures last longer, but as a dairy product, anything below room temperature is vital to stop your frosting from spoiling.

How To Soften Frozen Buttercream

So, with their container in the fridge, the buttercream will undoubtedly last far longer than it otherwise would (more on that later). Now you can prepare that buttercream for that frosted cake that you’ve been planning for so long!

Except there’s a little more to using stored buttercream than just getting it out of the fridge and calling it a day

When taking out properly stored buttercream from the fridge or freezer, you may find that after storing buttercream in the fridge that the frosting has dried out somewhat, making it both tougher to pipe and work with, as well as feel lumpier to taste.

When this happens, you must reconstitute your frosting as it thaws.

First, wait for your frosting to reach room temperature to avoid temperature shock. This usually requires it to thaw overnight.

Once it has warmed up, you can mix and beat the buttercream with a paddle for several minutes, before taking a good portion of the buttercream (around a third), and melting that in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.

Then mix that melted cream with the rest, making the buttercream even and fresh again.

How Long Does Buttercream Last When Refrigerated?

So, with all that information explained, how long exactly does buttercream as a frosting last in the refrigerator when properly stored in an airtight container or plastic wrap?

Well, if you have used the correct container, you’ll find that homemade frosting stores easily for up to a week, with freshly made frosting lasting up to two weeks in some cases.

How Long Does Buttercream Frosting Last When Frozen?

So, if frosting lasts a week in the fridge, then it should last even longer in a freezer, right?

And that is most definitely the case! In an airtight container and freezer bag, the frosting will stay usable for up to three months after being placed in the freezer!

Can You Store Buttercream Frosting At Room Temperature?

If properly stored at room temperature, buttercream frosting will only last up to three days at most.

Final Thoughts

So, overall, while buttercream usually tastes best when it is freshly prepared for your recipe on the day, it is good to know that there are ways to store leftover buttercream for when you have made too much of it.

Picture of Kathryn Sewell

Kathryn Sewell

Hi! I'm Kate and I have been baking and cooking for as long as I can remember. I like to share the most interesting tips and recipes I try here on What Kate Baked for you to enjoy. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like to share send it over on social.

About the Author