Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frosting made without Powdered Sugar.
My *NEW* favorite vanilla frosting recipe! I used this recipe to frost an Easter bunny cake this spring, on cupcakes I made for my birthday last month & several times in between. The frosting is made with regular granulated sugar not powdered sugar. It comes in super handy if you don’t have powdered sugar on hand but still need to make vanilla frosting. It has to be cooked on the stovetop but it does not take long to make. It also works good for those that are allergic to corn because powdered sugar from the store has corn starch in it, this recipe contains no corn.
This recipe is pretty forgiving & easy to make. You cook the flour and milk together on the stove until it becomes a thick paste then you add it to the butter/sugar mixture to make a nice whipped vanilla buttercream frosting. If I am using the frosting to pipe on to cupcakes I sometimes add extra sugar to thicken it up more so you can add extra sugar if you need to when making it.
Note: This recipe will not taste 100% like powered sugar frosting recipes you may be used to, to me it is more whipped, creamy, & buttery. It is a little less sweet. I love it! Sometimes I find regular vanilla frosting to be too sweet. It is normal for this to be more grainy then powdered sugar recipes you may be used to because regular sugar is more coarse.
3/1/2021 Update: I’m adding some additional photos of the process to help give readers a better idea of how to make it.
The first photo below shows the sauce pot with the flour/milk paste. I stir it over medium heat until it thickens into a paste and I start to see bubbles popping up. Then I let it cool for about 10 minutes off the burner.
The second photo is what I do while I’m waiting for the flour/milk paste to cool, I cream the butter and sugar together. Then the third photo shows when I scoop in the flour/milk paste. The fourth photo is what it looks like when I whip it for several minutes, then I mix in vanilla. If I want a thicker frosting I add in around 1/2 cup of additional sugar and whip for several more minutes.
- ½ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons flour
- pinch of salt
- ¾ cup sugar (add up to ½ cup extra sugar if you want it on the thick side)
- ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Whisk milk, flour, and salt together in a saucepan over medium heat. Keep stirring until the mixture gets very thick and bubbly.
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- In a mixing bowl using an electric mixer beat sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the cooled flour mixture until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla.
- *Note* If you want it to be thicker you can add more sugar. This recipe is very forgiving and if you want it a really thick consistency keep adding sugar to it.
Shawnee Opunui says
Hard to get the lumps out of the flour milk mixture!!! I tried a few times then gave up
Hi Shawnee, I’m not sure what the problem could. There should be no lumps whatsoever in the mixture, it turns into a paste. Did you use a whisk or fork to mix it until it starts to turn thick and bubble?
how many cupcakes can this batch of icing cover?
Hi Lea, I frost about 18 cupcakes with this recipe. Thanks!
Katie thanks for the recipe i frost 12 cupcakes its was pretty good!!?
Hi Isabelle, I’m glad it worked for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Can this cover a doubble layer cake thats 9 I.n.
Hi Amy, I have frosted a 9×13″ take with this frosting recipe but I have read that 9″ double layer cake usually take 1 extra cup of frosting compared to a 9×13″. I guess it depends on how thick you want it frosted also. Thanks!
hi Katie i am allergic to butter and vanilla extract what can i use instead
Hi, I would look for another recipe that is dairy free if you can’t have butter. I have used earth balance dairy free buttery spread and coconut milk to make dairy free frosting before. As for vanilla, you could use almond extract if you like the flavor or some people like to add lemon to flavor frosting. Thanks.
Hey, how many cups of frosting does this make?
Hi Sophia, I have not measured out the cups but I use this recipe to frost a 9×13″ sheet cake and it also frosts 18-22 cupcakes. Thanks!
Hello Katie, Will this icing freeze well? I’m looking to use on sugar cookies and freeze for 2 months for upcoming bridal shower.
Hi Danielle, I have never tried freezing it before but frosting usually freezes well for up to 3 months.
Patti Odbert says
My mother taught me this recipe years ago. But, found a simpler one that you don’t have to cook but tastes the same. My favorite vanilla frosting.
1 c of sugar, 1/2 c of milk, 1/2 c of butter, 1/2 c of Crisco, 3 Tablespoons of flour, 1 Tablespoon of vanilla.
Place all ingredients in mixing bowl and beat until fluffy and sugar is dissolved. Beat on high, it will take awhile. Rub between fingers to see if the sugar is dissolved. I start clean up while it’s beating.
This frosting is amazing and pipes well.
Hi Patti, Thanks for sharing your families recipe. I would give it a try but I’m allergic to Crisco. I have heard that it works good for frosting though.
can you make this icing before you need it as I have a lot of cakes to make and it would be good if I can make this before hand
Hi Pauline, I have not tried making it ahead but I think it would work if you refrigerate it and then bring it to room temperature to frost cakes. Thanks.
You can substitute coconut oil for the crisco.
I followed your directions but it’s almost liquid, How do I thicken it ?
Hi Cynthia, It will be almost liquid in the beginning. I would continue to mix it with an electric mixer, add some more sugar, then continue to mix it, it should thicken up.
Karen Jones says
Can u just use all butter instead of crisco?
Melissa A McClure says
Can you make it ahead will it keep
Yes, you can make it ahead a day or two and keep it in the fridge.
For everyone who is having trouble getting the clumps from the flour, I would suggest sifting the flour. Hopefully that helps!
Hi Zein, Thanks for sharing the suggestion about sifting the flour. We appreciate it!
@Shawnee Opunui Re Flour lumps. Use cold (the colder the better) milk and whisk your flour in. No lumps. Same goes for gravies. Warm liquid forms a layer of gluten faster than cold, hence you get lumps.
Mary Ann says
I added mine to cold milk and mixed it before turning on. Continued to mix with the wisk and it turned out perfect
Joanne Rossmann says
This is absolutely delicious. So good , next time I double it for my cinnamon rolls. Thank you so much!!
Hi Joanne, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
This recipe did not work at all for me … would not completely combine .. just looked watery and curdled .. never got “fluffy” at all
Hi Danielle, I’m not sure what the problem could be, the flour was a thick paste when you added it to the butter/sugar mixture correct? That should have been what thickened the frosting. If the frosting is too thin you can keep adding more sugar until it thickens to the consistency you want.
The watery curdle happens when the moisture is beaten for too long. Hope this helps.
Heidi N Lindsey says
Same problem. I added extra sugar and it came out watery.
Hi Heidi, I’m not sure what the problem could be, I make this recipe all the time now. It does look different then powdered sugar frosting and although it sometimes looks thin to me when I frost a cake with it it turns out to be just fine. You can add an extra 1/2 cup or more of sugar to it if you want it to thicken.
Mine didn’t come out watery at all! It’s actually a very cool way to make up for having no Powdered sugar in the house, &needing a good vanilla frosting. Some people just don’t understand the concepts of actually doing “one step at a time”
Only could become watery if the elbow work in the whisking’ part was t applied.
Hi Julie, I’m glad you had good success with the frosting recipe. It is one I make frequently. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
A friend makes a similar recipe but uses 5 tablespoons of flour in the milk, perhaps that might help to thicken the icing a little more? I am going to try your recipe, though.
Hi Jean, I hope you like the recipe. Let us know how it turns out for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Lisa Robinson says
Hi, everything seems great except it’s grainy… what can I do? I really love the flavor
Hi Lisa, This recipe is a little grainy compared to frosting that uses powdered sugar because the sugar granules are not as fine.
This is a recipe I always use for red cake but always use the superfine sugar like my mom did. Never grainy ?
Due to quarantine I have no vanilla extract can I do without it
Hi Davonya, You can definitely make it without the vanilla extract, adding it just helps to give it less of a butter/sugar flavor.
Hi! The flavor is absolutely devine! I used your recipe to make dairy free frosting, I swapped out milk and butter with subs, everything worked out fine until it became too thin, I tried to add more sugar but that didn’t work. I don’t want to waste it so I have it in the freezer, hoping it will set until my cakes are cooled. Ik sometimes dairy free butter can get too warm when whipped but I am still new to gf df baking. Any tips? A veteran gf df baker will absolutely be able to use this recipe with subs btw, like I said, I’m just new to it, haha. Ty!
Hi Ashley, I hope that cooling the frosting helps to thicken it up. This frosting doesn’t hold well when it gets too warm even with regular butter. I keep whatever I frost in the refrigerator so it stays firm. Adding more sugar helps too, I’d say you could add an extra 1/2 cup of sugar to the recipe and see if that helps too.
I’m making it now, but have a question, when I combine everything, do I cook it or just bet it, I’m using an electric beater, and it’s still really grainy, is that how it’s supposed to be,
Hi Vanessa, The only thing you cook on the stove top is the flour, milk, and salt. Then once it has cooled down some you then mix it in with the other ingredients with an electric mixer. Having it be more grainy then powdered sugar frosting recipes is 100% normal because powdered sugar is much finer.
I made this frosting today and I’m now converted! It was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Deann, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. I make this recipe more often then the powdered sugar version now. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
DF Haban says
Thank you for the incredible recipe! It worked perfectly as expected. I run a small organic baking operation and was faced with paying $1.60/Kg for organic granulated sugar or $9.00/Kg for powdered sugar. Needless to say, your recipe fixes a big problem, saves a ton of money, but does not compromise flavor, texture and pure perfection when it comes to butter cream as it should be. The granule size of my sugar is also much bigger than typical granulated sugar, but no crunchy sugar can be detected when all said and done. I have made every type of butter cream in my life (Italian, French, American) and this stands up next to those easily in both quality and indulgence.
I ended up tweaking your recipe to make a chocolate version. I simply added 15g of organic cocoa powder in with the butter and sugar. I then added 25g of melted organic 54% chocolate in with the final whipping where the vanilla is added. Delicious!
Thank you again!
Hi DF Haban, I am so glad you like the recipe! It is one of my favorites. I can’t believe the price difference between the 2 sugars, I’m glad you found a solution. I used to make my own powdered sugar by putting regular sugar into a food processor or a coffee grinder to make it into a fine powder. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Robin England says
My granddaughters wanted to make cupcakes for Valentines Day. Guess what….no powdered sugar. I googled frosting with no powdered sugar….expecting to find nothing…your receipe came up. Due to time crunch, I didn’t go any further. We made a double batch and this will be my new favorite frosting receipe. Granddaughters loved it and they are picky. This was very easy to make. I have a hard time with frosting. Usually doesn’t turn out. This gets 5 stars out of 5 stars on easy, tasty & quick. Mine was thick without adding extra sugar! Thank you!
Hi Robin, I’m so glad the recipe worked out for you & your granddaughters! Thanks for taking the time to comment & let us know. We appreciate it!
What is the storage life of this frosting on fridge and freezer?
Frosting is usually good in the fridge for 2-3 weeks and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Oh my gosh. This is the best frosting ever. I love the fact that it is not as sweet as regular icing. And it is really not that hard to make.
I needed a recipe that didn’t use icing sugar as our Pastor has a corn allergy and I didn’t realize that icing sugar had cornstarch in it.
Thank you so much.
And to the person who got lumps in their flour mixture, try using your sifter as you add your flour and whisk your milk. Little bit at a time, worked great.
And to the person who said cinnamon buns….thanks….I am using this one now.
Thanks again. My new icing recipe.
Hi Gloria, I’m so glad you liked the recipe! It’s one of my favorite frosting recipes. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Alexzandra Vargas says
Can I shorten this recipe and only use half of each ingredient to make it smaller?
Hi Alexzandra, Yes you can make half a recipe I do that all the time. Thanks!
Hi, I had the same problem as a few others with the milk/flour mixture not thickening. I added a little bit more flour and turned up the heat and it thickened right up real quick. Tastes great!
Hi April, Thanks for sharing. I am glad adding extra flour worked. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
This is absolutely exquisite! I love it so much ???
Hi Liz, Glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
This recipe totally bailed me out when I found out we were out of powdered sugar while decorating a birthday cake. It tasted great!
Hi Rob, I’m so glad the recipe worked out for you. It comes in handy when you run out of powdered sugar. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Helen Wasuli says
This was amazing I loved it so did my kids thank u
Hi Helen, I’m so glad you and your kids liked the recipe! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Love this recipe!
If anyone can make gravy, then you can make this. I didn’t watch it at first and it was really lumpy.
As everyone else’s did, mine was extremely lumpy. But, I mixed the cooled flour, milk and salt with a heated up rest of the ingredients and it was so much better.
Hi Lynn, I’m glad you liked the recipe! Thanks for sharing your comments, we appreciate it.
Kena Samuel says
Hi. Can vegetable shortening be used in place of the butter?
Hi Kena, I prefer to use butter for frosting recipes so I’m not sure how it would turn out with this recipe. I know it can be used in regular buttercream frosting recipes though.
i made this frosting for my favorite cupcakes. i wasn’t sure if it would be that good… i was wrong! this frosting is delicious!!!
Hi Alice, So glad you liked the frosting recipe and that it worked out for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
I only have unsalted butter. Will that work?
Hi Rita, Yes you can use unsalted butter but you probably want to add salt to the recipe. The ratio for adding salt to unsalted butter is 1/4 teaspoon for every stick.
Tyler Evans says
Hello when I made mine it turned into a glaze not a frosting? What do I do
Hi Tyler, The frosting definitely shouldn’t have been a glaze, I’ve never had that problem before. Did you cook the flour and make the paste prior? Maybe it didn’t get thick enough. Also did you let it cool before adding it? Maybe it needed more sugar.
Jennifer Howard says
So like most of your comments, I needed some frosting & had no powdered sugar & uncle google popped up with your recipe. It was amazing! I needed peanut butter frosting however, so I took a chance when the frosting was done & added 1/2 cup of peanut butter & turned the mixer back on for a minute. It is just to die for! Thank you!
Hi Jennifer, I’m so glad you liked the recipe, the addition of peanut butter sounds delicious! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
I used this Recepie today as I had no icing sugar and not much sugar if any kind actually .. so I halved all of the other ingredients and left out the salt…
I was a bit dubious of the paste at first as I thought it was turning lumpy but just kept stirring .. mixed together with butter and sugar mix it made a lovely texture! I added a bit of cocoa powder for the cake my son wanted to make..
I will use this again. Thank you
Hi, I’m glad the recipe turned out for you and you were able to make your cake. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Tasha N Carrion says
Hi. I dont know if I did it right. It came out grainy and thin. The flour mixture came out as a paste and was thin. Not sure what I could have done wrong. Any ideas?
Hi Tasha, If the flour paste wasn’t think that may be part of the problem, it might have needed more time to thicken up. Also this recipe does have a slightly grainy texture to it because you are not using powdered sugar. Powdered sugar is ground into a very thin consistency which gives regular frosting a very smooth texture but regular sugar is much coarser which gives it a slightly different texture. I actually like the taste/texture better then powdered sugar. Hope that info helps. Thanks!
liz reilly says
HI, a skin formed when mine was cooling. This resulted in small lumps when I added to butter and sugar mixture ? I did it again, this time I covered the flour mixture with parchment paper but skin still formed, tried to scrape skin off but still lumpy (flour mixture was smooth). Help !
Hi Liz, I’m not sure what the problem is. It might help to only let it cool for 10-15 minutes, I’m not sure how long it sat but I’ve not had that issue before.
Hi um when i mixed everything together it became sorta liquidi what do i doo
Hi Natalia, It will look thin at first but if you made the flour paste and let it cool some it will thicken up, you just have to mix it for a couple minutes with an electric mixer, if it is still too thin then add more sugar and continue mixing. Thanks!
hi, i made this and it came out to taste like butter and sugar only. i added extra vanilla. what do i do?
Hi, I’m not sure what type of vanilla you used, I like to use pure vanilla extract vs. imitation vanilla for a better flavor. It should have had a vanilla smell/taste but it also does have a sugary/buttery taste to it. This recipe is not like traditional frosting made with powdered sugar since the sugar is coarse.
Can you add eggs to this recipe
Hi Briana, I don’t know anything about adding eggs to a frosting recipe. If you want an egg white recipe for frosting I’d look up whipped frosting recipes. Thanks.
This was such an easy and delicious recipe! It saved my day. I made a cake for my husband and didn’t bother to check if I had powdered sugar in the cupboard, I didn’t. A quick Google search and your recipe literally saved the cake. This is now my go to frosting recipe.
The trick with the flour/milk (rue) mixture is to wisk, wisk, wisk. Don’t stop until the mixture is the right consistency and you won’t have any lumps or burned milk. ;)
Hi Shanna, I’m so glad you liked the recipe and that it was able to help you finish your cake! Thanks for sharing your tips and taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
JJ Hall says
Excellent recipe! Loved the old-fashioned buttercream flavor. Reminded me of baking with my grandmother.
Hi, I’m glad you liked the frosting recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate the feedback!
I used two heaping tablespoons of floor, I wasn’t sure 2 level tablespoons would be enough. I think you might use 3-4 tablespoons next time, that might help alleviate any wateriness others are having. I like the fact that the flour is providing the thickening, not sugar, as my family doesn’t like the sweetness of traditional buttercream frosting. I think I should chill my frosting a little before applying it or frost on a slightly cooler day as it was very soft and hard to apply. I think also it would look better if I’d mixed it more after the sugar had finally melted into the water and milk, because it looks a little weird up close. But overall a great new addition and it’s very tasty.
Do you think that lemon or orange extract would curdle the milk if used in place of the vanilla? I’d like to use lemon extract next time. I might also experiment with bourbon as the flavoring, I think I’d like that as well.
Hi Jen, I think adding lemon or orange extract would be fine if you add it at the end. Refrigerating the frosting does help stiffen it or adding extra sugar in until the consistency you want is reached. It does have a different texture then powdered sugar frosting but I don’t mind it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Jamie Stilp says
I made this frosting and it turned out great! I doubled the recipe and it was the perfect amount for a 8 inch three layer cake. I don’t have a mixer as we just moved to a new house in a new state, so I’m still putting my kitchen together, so using a whisk for the process was actually much easier than I thought it was going to be. I will definitely be using this recipe again.
Hi Jamie, I’m so glad the recipe worked for you! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
This frosting is by far better than the powdered sugar kinds, I added unsweetened cocoa and it was even better !! Thank you very much you saved my day/cake!!
Hi Yvonne, I’m so glad you liked the frosting recipe. Adding cocoa sounds delicious, I will have to give that a try. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Just making this icing now, and I need to comment on how good it is! It’s like a light and fluffy dream. Best icing I’ve made at home. Perfectly sweet, light and not to buttery.
Hi Emma, I am so glad you liked the frosting recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Marie eve says
I made that frosting to go with cinnamon buns as I was out of cream cheese and it turned out wonderful!! It was too sweet and the texture was lovely. I substituted the milk for coconut milk (milk substitute like almond/soy milk texture) and it didn’t affect the consistency at all. Will be sure to use it again!
Hi Marie Eve, I’m so glad the recipe worked for your cinnamon buns. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
I used unsalted butter is that ok?
Hi Betty, Yes you can use unsalted butter it is just a matter of personal preference. If you want to add salt the ratio for every half cup (1 stick) is ¼ teaspoon of salt.
is this recipie just using caster sugar? x
No, this recipe uses granulated sugar. Thanks.
Hi my name is lily I am 11 years old and I baked a couple of Christmas cupcakes and I figured out that I didn’t have any powdered sugar and I found this recipe and it worked great thank you for saving my cupcakes the frosting was amazing!
Hi Lily, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Hii! I was wondering if I could use coconut or almond flour?
Hi Angela, I am unsure if coconut or almond flour would work for this recipe, you would have to test it at see. I know those flours can work in baking as a replacement so I’d assume they could work for this recipe.
Can you add cream cheese to this recipe?
Hi Lily, I’m not familiar with using cream cheese so I am unsure how it would work with this recipe. Thanks.
Hi, I use a very similar recipe & it’s my favorite. This is an Ermine Buttercream. Mine always gets watery & curdled looking if the butter or sugar mixture is too cold. To fix it just continue to beat until it comes together. If you’re in a time crunch, apply a hair dryer set to low heat to the outside of the mixing bowl while it is beating. This will heat everything up a little faster without melting it.
Hi Stacey, Thank you for sharing your tips we appreciate it!
Linda Baker says
Can you add cocoa powder to this to make chocolate frosting? I tried to look at the comments above to see if anyone else asked and didn’t see it.
Hi Linda, I have never tried making chocolate frosting out of this recipe so I am unsure. I know there are boiled chocolate frosting recipes out there that are slightly different that may work better then this one. Thanks!
i frosted a cake with this recipe and it tasted GREAT thank you!
Hi Erin, So glad you liked the frosting recipe. Thank you for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Kathy Roberts says
I have been making this frosting for more than 50 years! It is my favorite! I don’t even remember where I found it originally. At that time it was called Baker’s frosting and called for half butter and half shortening. I’ve since then changed it to using all butter most of the time. I think the trick is to cook the milk and flour stirring pretty constantly until it gets thickened. Then there won’t be any lumps.
Hi Kathy, Thanks for sharing your tips about the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
The flavor was good but the consistency would turn from thick to semi watery as soon as I stopped mixing it. The frosting looked very oily/buttery. I’m wondering how I could change it so that it’s not so buttery. Not the flavor, just the fact that the ingredients didn’t mix and hold together well. If I get powdered sugar and replace it for the regular sugar, would that work with the same measurements of everything? Thanks
Hi Alexis, Did you try refrigerating the frosting? That helps to harden it. Also the way it looks can be very deceiving, when I mix my frosting with my electric mixer it is hard to tell when it is done because it does look watery but once I start actually frosting my cake it works out just fine. Thanks.
Deborah White says
I wanted cake for my birthday and we are staying home, as much as possible, during this Corona Virus thing. I gave away my hand mixer and had no whisk but I did this by using a fork and mixing spoon. So… I thought I had vanilla extract but I didn’t so I kept reading for solutions. I had to use 1/2 butter and 1/2 margarine but it worked. I used maple syrup instead of vanilla extract and it was PERFECT! This recipe was a bit harder due ot having to do everything by hand but it came out fantastic! I will continue to use this. Thank you for sharing!!
Hi Deborah, I hope you had a Happy Birthday! I’m glad you were able to make the frosting work. I have used maple syrup as a substitute in the past for some recipes. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Can you make a gluten free version?
Hi M, I think that using gluten free all purpose flour would more then likely work just fine as a substitute for all purpose flour with this recipe. Thanks.
I tried this yesterday – what a great frosting recipe! To answer Katie, I used gluten free flour (the 1 for 1 type that can replace AP flour) and it turned out great. The milk and flour came together and thickened beautifully. It was almost a wallpaste paste type consistency.
Hi Cristina, I’m glad you liked the frosting recipe. Thanks for sharing that gluten free all purpose flour worked as a substitute. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
debbie smith art says
Thank you for this recipe! I couldn’t get to the store for powdered sugar and this worked great! I almost gave up but kept mixing! The frosting lost its grainy texture and became creamy and delicious!
Hi Debbie, I’m so glad the frosting recipe turned out for you. It comes in handy when you don’t have any powdered sugar on hand. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
My sugar didn’t Dissolve ??
Hi Katelin, The sugar and butter should have been creamed together when you mixed it with an electric mixer. Mixing it for longer may help, however this is not a powdered sugar frosting recipe so the texture will be more coarse then powdered sugared because powdered sugar has a much finer texture. Thanks!
This was super easy and it tastes AMAZING ! Thank you !!!!
Hi Carmen, I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
This was great. I added cacao powder and a little shortening. I also used water instead of milk. Due to the quarantine we’re only going to the store once a week and I didn’t have any milk at hand. It was delicious!!!!
Hi Victoria, I’m so glad the recipe worked for you with the alterations. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
This was so easy and tastes great! Definitely will be making it again!
Hi Katie, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
so i tried your recipe and omw it is soooo goood! ?
So glad you liked it, thanks for commenting!
I made this recipe because I didn’t have any powdered sugar due to the quarantine. I am making cute Easter bunny cupcakes! Came out perfect and SO delicious!
Hi Amanda, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Easter bunny cupcakes sound super cute. Happy Easter! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
1st time to make this recipe. I was out of powdered sugar so gave this a try!!! Excellent and easy. Not too sweet and I kept mixing until fluffy and it hardly had any granule texture! This is a keeper!!!
Hi Cindy, I’m so glad the recipe turned out for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Jana Mcqueen says
I added cream cheese to my finished icing and it is delicious!! Tastes just like home made cream cheese frosting!!
Hi Jana, I never thought about adding cream cheese, what a great idea! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
macey myers says
I love your vanilla frosting recipe it worked great with cupcakes i maade
Hi Macey, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
I made this yesterday and added chocolate powder to it for a tray bake style cake I was making! It tastes so good! I always struggle with icing/buttercream and this was so easy. Definitely saved for next time!
Hi Becky, I’m so glad the recipe turned out for you. That is a great idea to add chocolate powder to the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Amber Danielle says
This recipe worked great! The flour mixture was slightly lumpy, but once it was cooked and added into the butter, it worked out good. This was a perfect substitute for a powdered sugar-free american buttercream. It was also delicious and it was perfect for the occasion!
Hi Amber, I am so glad to hear the recipe worked great for you! Thank you for taking the time to comment, we really appreciate it.
can we add food coloring? how long does this take?
Hi Layla, I haven’t tried adding food coloring but it should work just fine. I have not timed how long it takes but it should be less then 20 minutes. Thanks!
Lil Gige says
I’s fabulous! Does the finished cake/cupcake need to be refrigerated until ready to be eaten?
Hi, I usually do put mine in the refrigerator because it helps to keep the frosting hard, my house is usually pretty warm. Thanks!
It is very creamy, but at first it tasted a little sweet, then I refrigerated it and left it out for a day, and it tasted delicious, I did find it hard to turn into a paste though. Mostly was a good experience. Thanks for the recipe.
Hi Milena, I’m glad the frosting recipe worked out for you. I usually put mine in the refrigerator also. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
And also no problem to the comment thing I am glad to help and tell you my experiences :)
You are welcome too.
The only problem was I don’t think the recipe made enough, me and my brother each made a small cake and when I went over to the frosting, it was all done thanks to my brother, I don’t know if my brother used too much or the recipe didn’t make enough. But, if there was a rating I would rate 5 stars overall. Do you have a good recipe for glaze, I used one and there was sugar particles and it was way too sweet, I think that if you did make glaze it would be a hit! Be sure to tell me if you have one or if you could take the time to make one. Thank you
I’m not sure what size the cakes were but the recipe should frost one 9×13″ cake. I don’t have any glaze recipes at this time but if I make one I will let you know. Thanks again.
Sorry, IN the beginning… one of the problems was……….. Then read the above
This recipe is fantastic. We’re in the middle of COVID-19 and I needed to make the hubs a birthday cake and the only thing I didn’t have was the powdered sugar to do the icing.
I was a little skeptical in the beginning because it just didn’t look right but after whipping it, it turned out terrific. I’ll never go back to my go to powdered sugar recipe again.
The hubs wanted chocolate so I did add cocoa to the butter sugar mixture and wasn’t able to get it to cream. But after adding about 2 TBS of milk, I got the right consistency.
I used the paddle attachment first to cream everything and then swapped to the big whisk attachment and the icing probably quadrupled in volume.
Hi Jen, I am so glad the recipe turned out for you. I will have to try adding cocoa sometime. Thank you for sharing your tips on adding cocoa, milk, and using the whisk attachment. We appreciate it!
Thank you so much for making a recipe that doesn’t need powered sugar i couldn’t find any. and can you add cocoa powder to the frosting to make it chocolate
Brooke, Yes others have commented that they added cocoa powder to make it chocolate frosting with success. Thanks for reaching out.
Mines very liquidy, how do I fix it?
Hi Kiki, It probably needs to mixed more with an electric mixer and you can add more sugar to it. Also refrigerating it will help.
Hi Katie, I am interested to try this recipe. I just want to know if this recipe will still work if I will be using a wisk? My mixer died on me and I can’t go out because of the ECQ.
If wisk is okay, how many minutes do you think will take me to have the right consistence of the frosting? TIA
Hi Maureen, I feel like an electric mixer is a helpful if not crucial part of making this frosting because it really needs to be whipped. It may be possible to make with whisk but it will definitely take some additional time. I have not tried it before with this recipe so I can’t say how long it would need, you would have to go by how much it is thickening up. Thanks.
Sid Sivanathan says
Thanks due to quarantine is have a great snack to look forward to it was super delicious ?
Hi Sid, I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.
Elle S says
Thanks for this recipe! I am curious why you use milk instead of heavy cream?
Hi! This recipe is made with common ingredients. Powdered sugar and heavy cream are not always staple items that everyone keeps in their kitchen. These ingredients are more common and easier for someone to make without having to run to the store. That is why it calls for milk instead of heavy cream. I think it would probably work with heavy cream but I really don’t buy it so I haven’t tried it. Thanks!
do we mix the flour mixture in before or after the vanilla?
Hi Mizanni, I add the vanilla last. Thanks.
HI, is it okay if I add a Chocolate with this recipe?
Hi Andrea, I think it is fine to add cocoa powder, I know others have made the recipe and added it. Thanks.
Hi just wanted to confirm is it plain flour or self raising. Thank you
Hi Sarah, Recipe uses regular all purpose flour not self rising. Thank you.
gretta gebhard says
Hi I was wondering if a gluten free flour blend would work for this recipe?
Hi Gretta, I believe it would work for this recipe. Someone messaged me that it worked for them when they tried it. Thanks.
Thank you for this recipe. I have tried for years to come up with a good icing recipe that does not use powdered sugar. This recipe nailed it. We use coconut sugar and Einkorn flour and it turned out absolutely perfect.
You are welcome. I am glad you liked the recipe and that it worked out for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Can you go into further detail about how to do the milk and flour part, and how long should it take?
Hi Jelly, I sent you an email with more info on the process. Hope this helps! Thanks.
This recipe worked great as a glaze for at home auntie annies pretzels when you don’t let the flour milk and salt mixture cool all the way!
Hi Jade, I’m glad the recipe worked as a glaze for your pretzels. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
I did not let it cool, just put it in the fridge a little bit and it still works
Where has this recipe been all our life? I have had many birthdays with many cakes and many attempts at the perfect frosting recipe with nothing being just quite right. This recipe is perfected and will be a birthday cake repeat for years to come. (For our family, all I did was substitute the sugar for coconut sugar and it was fantastic.) Thank you so much.
Hi, I’m so glad you liked the frosting recipe! I use this recipe frequently. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Hannah Alexandra says
Hello, I’ve just tried this for the first time due to lack of icing sugar. I’m in the UK and had never heard the word crisco before. Anyway, it tastes delicious. Also the first time I’ve made an eggs whites only sponge… Thank you for your really good recipe.
HI Hannah, I’m so glad the recipe turned out for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
I SO screwed this up, but damn it if still tastes amazing!!
Thanks, will make this again for sure.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Crystal. Glad you thought it tasted good. :)
did not work it was not thick at all.
Hi Rumi, Did you use an electric mixer? How long did you mix it for? I’ve found that it is very important to use an electric mixer with this recipe and to continue to mix it until it gets whipped and thick. It can take a few minutes. Also putting it in the fridge will help it set. Thanks!
Andrea Limingelli says
Hi Katie, I made banana bread but didn’t have a loaf pan so I use a 9×13 pan. I wanted to add to it because it looked so boring and flat. I didn’t have powdered sugar so your icing was perfect. I only had skim milk so I used vanilla ice cream instead. I added walnuts on top of the icing and it turned out delicious.
Hi Andrea, So glad you liked the frosting recipe and that the substitutions worked out for you. Frosted banana bread sounds delicious! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Madelyn Stern says
Can I add raspberry jam or peanut butter to make a fun flavor?
Madelyn, I have never tried adding anything to this frosting recipe but I think when the recipe is finished it would be fine to add an additional flavor like peanut butter, etc. Others have commented that they adding things like cocoa powder, etc. to the recipe with no issues.
What kind of flour do you use?
Just regular all purpose flour. I usually use King Arthur’s all purpose flour which is unbleached.
Carlo D says
Thanks to this recipe I was able to salvage my cake when I found out that we don’t have powdered sugar at home. Going to use this recipe moving forward as my family loved it.
So glad the recipe worked for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
One of my very favorite icing recipes!! I love how fluffy it is and not overly sweet. Thanks!
Whitney, So glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
do we have to use a electrical mixer
I think it turns out much better with an electric mixer because the frosting needs to be whipped and it’s a lot more work to do it by hand.
Ran out of powdered sugar, saw this recipe, and I was so happy with the result. I did replace the vanilla with lemon extract, and added just a tablespoon of flour to thicken. It was perfect and sweetness was just right. Thank you.
Hi Lucy, So glad the recipe came in handy for you and that it turned out. Adding lemon sounds delicious. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Jennifer Arntson says
This worked great for my wheat free corn free girl. We used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten free One to One flour mix. We also keep the flour in the freezer so I think that helped it mix well with the milk. She was happy we found something without the funky tapioca starch taste you get with corn free powered sugar.
Hi Jennifer, So glad the recipe worked out for you using gluten free flour. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Tracey in AZ says
This recipe saved my vegan cupcakes when I ran out of powdered sugar. I switched out the butter and milk with dairy free alternatives, and it was delicious. Thank you for this recipe
Hi Tracey, So glad you were able to make vegan frosting for your cupcakes. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Sarah Brooks says
Going to try this but using gluten free flour since I’m a celiac
Sarah, Let us know how it turns out. Others have mentioned that it worked with gluten free flour. Thanks for commenting.
Can it frost a cake
I have frosted a 9×13″ take with this frosting recipe but I have read that 9″ double layer cake usually take 1 extra cup of frosting compared to a 9×13″. I guess it depends on how thick you want it frosted also. Thanks!
Maddie Busch says
Can i use unsalted butter
Yes, unsalted butter is fine. You can add ¼ teaspoon of salt for every stick or ½ cup of butter used. Thanks!
This was amazing! I did add an extra 1/4 of sugar and 3 tsp. of chai spice blend. Saved me another run to the store, I thought I had another bag of powdered sugar only to discover it was flaked coconut!
So glad you liked the recipe and that it saved you a trip to the store. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Lisa Marie says
Great recipe!! I was all out of confection sugar and I was so glad to find this. It turned out delicious. I added a little cream cheese. I will make this again! Highly recommend.
Hi Lisa, So glad the recipe turned out for you. Adding cream cheese sounds like a great idea. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
What can I use if I don’t have a electric mixer
Hi Toni, I’m not sure what can be used in place of an electric mixer, this recipe takes a lot of whipping to make the frosting thicken. Sorry I can’t be of more help. Thanks.
Sandra Pancoe says
First, you must add the milk TO the flour and mix thoroughly each time – this eliminates the first type of lumps. Next you must stir the cooking mixture with a spatula – not a whisk.
Use the “scrape and smear” method of stirring:
1.) Push the upside down spatula away from you scraping and lifting the thickening paste from the bottom of the pan.
2.) Quickly flip the spatula right side up and press down on the paste you just lifted and pull it toward you, smearing it into the bottom of the pan. This motion smashes out any lumps being formed as the mixture cooks.
Stirring with a whisk just moves the lumps around.
Jim Casey says
Virgin baker, first time icing maker, and it turned out… Delicious! Not overly sweet so the cake shared the spotlight… great!
Hi Jim, I’m so glad the frosting recipe turned out for you! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Your milk should be cold when you add the flour.
Kailey Hamby says
Had to mix on high for a while but in the end it all came out great
thanks this is a great recipe it was for cupcakes
I’m glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Michelle Asafu-Adjaye says
Amazing! Thank you so much! Came out perfect added a lil bit of food coloring ❤️
Hi Michelle, So glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment.
JoAnn McGrath says
The vanilla frosting was easy and perfect for my angel food, pineapple cake
Hi JoAnn, So glad you liked the frosting recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Made this for the first time, substituting DF/GF ingredients. Used Bob’s Red Mill 1-1 baking flour and Earth Balance plant based “butter” baking sticks for the butter. I also used a combination granulated sugar (1/2cup) and powder sugar (3/4 cup), as I wanted it to be less grainy and a little extra sweetness to the frosting. Turned out great. I think this will become my go-to vanilla frosting recipe !!
add to my last comment. also used almond milk. anyway, comes out great with substituting dairy free and gluten free ingredients.
Thanks for sharing. So glad the substitutes worked! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
You have to mix them cold in the pan then add heat to thicken and you probably need to used a sifter to get the flour nice and powdery compacted.
Hey Katie! Hopefully you catch this : does the frosting need to be refrigerated or is there a limit to how long it lasts? Thanks!
Hi. The frosting will last a few days like other frostings. If your house is warm it doesn’t hurt to put it in the fridge so it doesn’t melt.
I know this is years late. But I mixed the flour and milk separately before adding to the saucepan- zero lumps. Hope it’s helpfull.
Joanne L says
I just made your delicious icing! Thank you so much for the recipe and the photos😍
Hi Joanne, So glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!
Is it okay to frost the cake before the day of celebration? How do you store it? Can you put it in the refrigerator or leave it on room temperature?
Yes, you could frost it the day before. I like to store it in the fridge.
I made 1/2 recipe of this to see if I would like it. This tastes wonderful! My finished product did have some grittiness, however, I used Simply Nature Organic Cane Sugar from Aldi (similar to Florida Cyrstals), and the sugar crystals are huge compared with ordinary white sugar. I also made the milk/flour paste in the microwave, and used a whisk to mix it all together once cooled. Even with the slight gritty crunch, I’lll make this again!
K F says
Excellent icing. Made it tonight for a friend. Thanks so much!
I’m glad it turned out for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Mike F says
Katie, you saved me! I was making a cake with mocha icing from a chocolate company’s cookbook. The wet ingredients in the icing were way off, I tried it twice. I used this recipe of yours adding in the expresso powder and it came out light, fluffy, and full of flavor. Thanks.
Hi Mike, So glad the recipe came in handy for you. I’m glad it turned out! Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Hi Katie ~ Just wanted to thank you for posting this recipe. I looked all over for an easy recipe and came across yours, with A LOT of great comments, so had to try. BUT …. haha, I can not use milk or flour so I used original flavor non dairy creamer and coconut flour. I followed your instructions to the T and it came out beautifully!!! So light and fluffy. Oh, I also had to use xylitol sweetener which is grainy and doesn’t break down as easily as regular sugar, so I get little crunchies in my frosting (I don’t mind that) and the taste is amazing !!! Wish I could post you a picture.
Hi Karen, I’m so glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for sharing what substitutes worked for you. Thank you for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Amy Respess Corbin says
I had very low expectations for this recipe at first, then it worked and was the creamiest frosting ever thank you so much!!!!!
Hi Amy, I’m so glad the recipe worked out for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Amy Respess Corbin says
hi Katie, I tried this recipe again today and it was really good[again] but I made it choclate by using 1 tbsp. of cocoa powder along with 1 tbsp. of flour. this recipe is such a life saver!!!
Nix L says
I know that this is super late but next time mix the milk flour and salt first before putting in in the pan.
Mary Caglione says
Love this made it it was great
Hi Mary, So glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
This recipe is a little suspicious! I almost messed up every single step and still had a decent icing to go with my cinnamon rolls. Very forgiving. Thank you!
Isabel P. says
I am so happy I found this recipe. I did not have any powdered sugar for my cut out cookies and googled and found this super yummy, VERY easy recipe. I was skeptical but everyone loved the flavor. My new go-to-icing!
Hi Isabel, So glad the recipe worked out for your cut out cookies. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Synthia Grainer says
This recipe is amazing!
Hi Synthia, So glad you liked the frosting recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
I was out of powder sugar which I normally use and used your recipe! The recipe worked out great! I added a pinch of nutmeg :) thanks for sharing
Hi Vickie, So glad the recipe worked for you. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Sierra M says
is it ok if i hand mix with a whisk I don’t have electric?
Sierra M says
is it ok if I hand mixed the batter?
Hi Sierra, It really needs to be whipped for a long time but if you have the patience and don’t mind hand mixing it until it thickens it could work (but it may take 10+ minutes of whisking). Thanks.
This tasted great.. only thing, because I used granulated sugar—it was a tiny bit grainy. Any advice?
Hi Christina, As I mentioned above in the post, grainy is normal since you are not using powdered sugar. Regular sugar is coarse so it adds a grainy texture. If you have a coffee grinder you can put sugar in that and make it super fine.
Michele Slowik says
So, this recipe isn’t half bad! It was a little chunky at first but me and my friend made it with lemon cupcakes which did make up for that chunkyness. I would use this recipe again but I think the reason it was so chunky was because I think we left the flour-milk mixture out to long to get to room-tempature.
I have successfully made this recipe with vegan butter and milk, and Gluten Free flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand Blue Bag). The recipe is great, the substitutions worked out totally fine.
Hubby said it was his new favorite frosting (and he is someone who normally eats wheat and dairy).
Hi Bentley, I’m so glad the substitutes worked for you. Thank you for taking the time to share how you made the recipe, I know it will help others.
I made this recipe in a pinch when I didn’t have any powdered sugar. I’m vegan so I modified it accordingly, & it was the best vegan frosting I’ve ever made! It was so fluffy & didn’t split like most vegan frostings I’ve tried before. Thanks!
Linnia, So glad you liked the frosting recipe and that it worked with vegan ingredients as well. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it!