How to Store Leftover Buttercream

Leftover Buttercream in a Piping Bag
There are several different styles of buttercream out there, including basic American buttercream and slightly more labor-intensive Italian and Swiss buttercreams. All are delicious ways to frost a cake or top a batch of cupcakes. I usually recommend that people make more buttercream than they need when they are planning to decorate a cake or cupcakes, since running out of frosting part-way through a project can be a real hassle, but making extra frosting means that you are going to have some leftover. What can you do with leftover buttercream, and can leftover buttercream be stored?

Leftover buttercream can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to use it. It can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week and frozen for several months. Leftover buttercream can be used just like a fresh batch of buttercream, once it is warmed up and ready to spread. All buttercreams should be brought to room temperature and rewhipped before you try to use them again, just to make sure that they are light and fluffy. If your buttercream is not completely thawed, you will find that it starts to look grainy and broken as you rewhip it. If this happens, just let it sit out a little bit longer and try again. Adding in an extra tablespoon or two of confectioners’ sugar can also help to thicken a defrosted buttercream slightly, if necessary.

Although it may be tempting to do so, I don’t recommend storing buttercream in your pastry bag. All types of buttercream will be best after they have been re-whipped to smooth out any lumps, so even though you are saving time by popping that pastry bag into the fridge, you’re going to have to cut it out end put it into a fresh bag for your next use anyway. If you only have a small amount of leftover buttercream – enough for just one or two cupcake – you probably won’t want to save it because it could take a while to find an application for such a small amount, and you will probably end up having to make a new batch the next time you bake something anyway.

6 comments

  1. Crazy talk at the end, there. If you don’t have enough leftover buttercream for a whole cake, then the leftover gets stirred into cups of coffee, a heaping spoonful at a time. Coffee with buttercream is one of the greatest perks of being a baker.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I always seem to have leftover buttercream… great to know I can freeze it for another day :)

  3. Jaime – I think you just changed my life. I never thought of putting my buttercream in my coffee.

    I always seem to have some leftover cupcakes in my freezer, so leftover icing goes on the leftover cupcakes when I feel like having one. OR, if you don’t have any leftover cupcakes and you need your sugar fix, make one of those microwave mug cakes and dollop that buttercream on there!

  4. I used to never make enough butter cream and it is a pain to have to stop and make more…and try to match the same color! Now, I try to make more than needed and freeze it for another day. I LOVE butter cream on cakes, cupcakes cookies, and I’m sure it’d be tasty in coffee (but I don’t drink it!) Actually, I used frozen butter cream the other day making these cupcakes:http://mrscrislip.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/white-almond-sour-cream-cupcakes/

  5. Ooops. I have been storing buttercream in piping bags – not a good move. :)

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