How to Make Buttercream White

Updated: Jun. 09, 2024

Skip the slightly yellow frosting and learn how to make buttercream white—and we mean a vibrant, bright white!

Bakers, we all love buttercream for its rich flavor and versatility. This spoon-licking good frosting can be dyed, piped, swirled and sprinkled to create so many easy cupcake decorations and pretty cake designs.

While this frosting is lovely in shades from teal to tangerine, lavender to leaf green, there’s one color all bakers struggle to match when it comes to dying buttercream: white.

Why Buttercream Never Seems to Be Bright White

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White is a hard color to match when you’re making buttercream frosting. Even when you don’t use food coloring, the frosting always has a yellow cast.

That’s because of this icing’s namesake ingredient: butter. Butter is used in high proportions in this frosting, so its natural hue always seems to come through.

How to Make Buttercream White

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For most bakers, uncolored buttercream is just fine when frosting cakes that are supposed to be white. However, if you’re really looking to match a bright white hue for your cake design, there are some steps you can take to get a vibrant white. And, yes, you can use these techniques for all types of buttercream, including Swiss meringue buttercream and French buttercream.

Choose a Pale Butter

The first thing you can do to learn how to make buttercream white is to choose your butter wisely and explore different kinds of butter.

You’ll find that some butter options, like Irish butter and cultured butter, have a rich yellow color; these options aren’t suitable if you want a very vibrant white. However, many American-style butters (think Land O Lakes or Challenge) are a bit paler. Stick with these for bright white buttercream.

Use Clear Vanilla

Vanilla extract can also give buttercream frosting an off-white color. An easy fix to keep frosting brighter is to skip your go-to vanilla extract and try clear vanilla instead. Use this in the same proportion as the traditional extract.

Add Food Coloring (Really!)

If you’re wondering how to make buttercream white, like really vibrant white, the secret is actually to add color.

To counteract that bit of yellow from the butter, add the slightest smidge of purple food coloring. Purple will neutralize the yellow tone and produce a buttercream that’s a snowy white. Seriously!

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