Best Brown Butter Frosting

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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Browned butter frosting is a flavor bomb with deep, nutty, and kinda caramelized vibes that can jazz up any cake profile. It’s a bit denser and chewier than regular buttercream due to all those browned butter solids, but still silky smooth for spreading!

Brown Butter Frosting

When I stumbled upon this recipe during my newbie days, I thought, why not give it a whirl? And the taste blew my mind! Sweetness, a hint of nuttiness, and the caramel undertones literally threw a flavor party in my mouth. I remember licking the spoon and thinking, “This is it. This is something special.” 

Why We Are All Obsessed With It

  • Brown butter icing is the fancy cousin of regular buttercream. Unlike the plain sweetness of the standard version, we are stepping into a whole flavor adventure here. 
  • Think rich, nutty, and a bit of that caramel note that brings a fancy touch to every bite. It’s like your treat has just put on a bowtie! You know, the kind that makes you go, “Yep, this is some next-level stuff!” 
  • This flavor champ can play nice with all sorts of desserts. It vibes with warm spices in carrot cakes, has a little dance with pumpkin bread, and brings this awesome contrast to rich chocolate cakes.
  • And oh, those toasted milk solids in browned butter also give it this warm, cozy vibe – perfect for fall and winter shindigs. Imagine drizzling it over pumpkin spice cupcakes for Thanksgiving or giving gingerbread cupcakes a nuttier twist for Christmas!
  • Even with its deep flavor, this frosting stays creamy and smooth, literally melting in your mouth. Powdered sugar is tossed in to make the frosting all silky while still letting the browned butter take all the spotlight!

How To Make Brown Butter Frosting

Brown Butter Frosting Ingredient
Brown Butter Frosting Ingredient

Step 1.

Toss 2 cups of butter in your skillet over medium heat. Let it melt and simmer, and you’ll see bubbles, some foamy action, and then those golden brown crystals start to show up! That’s the sweet spot, my friend.

Step 2.

Brown Butter Frosting Step 1 2 3 4

Stir the pot every 30 secs for 5-7 minutes. Take it off the heat when it hits that perfect “brown butter” look – a golden brown shade with those delicious bits of goodness floating!

Pour that liquid gold into a measuring cup or glass bowl and let it cool on the kitchen counter (and not the fridge!) You’ll have a rocking brown butter ready to roll in an hour or so. Easy peasy.

Step 3

Dump that glorious brown butter into the mixing bowl along with the regular butter. Now, grab your spatula, and don’t be shy; make sure you scoop up every last bit of those delicious browned butter solids! That’s the secret sauce for the extra yum factor. 

Oh, and just a heads up, your regular butter must be in that “slightly softened” state – you know, not too cold, not too warm, but just right.

Step 4

Hit the mix button! Let regular and brown butter mingle over medium speed for about 1.5 to 2 minutes. We want them to become flavor BFFs. 

And don’t forget to use that spatula and scrape down all sides of your bowl; we don’t want to leave anything behind! Easy as pie, or should I say, easy as brown butter frosting!

Step 5

Grab your food scale and measure 2 pounds of powdered sugar. No scale? No worries, just use 8 cups instead. Let’s skip the whole sifting thing since a trusty mixer will handle that job! Now, toss the sugar into the mixing bowl with your browned butter mixture.

My quick tip: throw a towel over your mixer during this step so those powdered sugar snowstorms won’t make a mess in your kitchen! 

Step 6

Brown Butter Frosting Step 6

Time to rock and roll! Start the mixer on its lowest mode for about 30 secs until the sugar and butter become besties. Stop your mixer, scrape the bowl’s sides, then crank it up to medium-high for another 30 to 45 seconds. You’d want the frosting to be fluffy and light! 

Does it still need a little help? Then add 2 tablespoons of milk and keep mixing until perfect consistency. Keep adding the milk 2 teaspoons at a time ‘til it’s just right. And there you have it – the frosting finale!

Step 7

Brown Butter Frosting complete

Now, here’s a golden rule: always, always, and always give your frosting a taste! You must check if its consistency is spot-on or still needs a little more milk. Think of this step as a frosting quality test, and you, my friend, are the chief taste tester.

Notes

Now, let’s talk frosting quantity. How much is enough?

Well, that’s like asking how much joy is too much; it all depends on your vibe! Still, if you want a rough idea, then my recipe for brown butter icing is designed to cover two 2-layer 8-inch cakes or two 9×13 sheet cakes

  • Cupcake time? With a paring knife, you can frost around 48 cupcakes.
  • Feeling fancy with a pastry bag swirl? You can frost about 30 to 36 cupcakes, depending on how big those swirls are. 

So, go ahead, frost away, and let your baking magic shine through!

FAQs

What should I do if my brown butter frosting turns thinner than expected?

No need to stress if your homemade frosting feels a bit runny; I’ve got 4 rescue plans here! Here’s the inside scoop on how to hit that perfect consistency:

Option 1: Let it chill, literally. Pop that frosting in an airtight container and give it a spa day in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. The cold vibe will work its magic, firming up the butter and giving your frosting that ideal thickness!

Option 2: Jump into an ice bath. Set your frosting bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice water, then stir or whisk away as it chills. Voila! Your frosting can thicken up in just 15-20 minutes.

Option 3: Amp up the ingredients, like powdered sugar. Sprinkle in sifted powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Mix it up well after each addition, but don’t go overboard; too much sugar can turn your precious frosting into a rock. We’re going for creamy dreamy!

Option 4: Bring in the cornstarch wizard. Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Whisk this dynamic duo into the frosting, one tablespoon at a time. 

Feeling a bit fancy? Then, gently heat it over low flames and keep stirring until it thickens. There you have it – a complete frosting revival toolkit! 

What are those white chunks in brown butter?

As your butter gets all melty and heated up, the butter fat and milk solids decide to part ways.

The milk solids (yep, those white chunks) decide to plunge to the bottom of the pan. Meanwhile, the water in the butter turns into vapor, making those bubbles grow bigger and splutter, and then pop! 

Can I still use burnt butter frosting?

Uh oh, burnt butter frosting is a no-go for both your taste buds and your health. 

When butter takes that burnt detour, it brings in some bitterness and possibly not-so-friendly compounds that could mess with your stomach and, believe it or not, might even have some ties to the big “C” word (carcinogenic stuff, yikes).

Health first, always! Don’t risk it with the burnt batch. Fresh start, fresh flavors; let’s keep it safe and delicious!

More Unique Frosting Recipes:

Brown Butter Frosting

Brown Butter Frosting

Brown buttercream frosting is the real deal for an autumn makeover. Creamy, delicious, and packing a punch of nutty, toasty notes that only brown butter can deliver!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Frosting
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 30
Calories: 203kcal
Author: Brenda Maher

Ingredients

  • 2 cups melted browned butter
  • 2 cups softened butter
  • 2 pounds (8 cups) of powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  • Melt 2 cups of butter in a skillet over medium heat until you see bubbles, foamy action, and golden brown crystals. Stir every 30 seconds for 5-7 minutes, then remove from heat and let it cool.
  • Combine the brown butter with slightly softened regular butter in a mixing bowl. Mix for 1.5 to 2 minutes at medium speed. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl’s sides.
  • Measure 2 pounds of powdered sugar (or 8 cups) and add it to the mixing bowl. Cover the mixer to prevent sugar mess and mix on low for 30 seconds, then on medium-high for 30-45 seconds until fluffy.
  • For the perfect consistency, add 2 tablespoons of milk and continue mixing. Adjust by adding milk in 2-teaspoon increments until it’s just right.
  • Always taste the frosting to check for consistency and whether it needs more milk.

Notes

The browned butter frosting recipe can cover two 2-layer, 8-inch cakes or two 9×13 sheet cakes. You can also frost about 48 cupcakes (using a knife) or 30-36 cupcakes (when opting for a pastry bag swirl).

Nutrition

Calories: 203kcal | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6.9g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 80mg | Potassium: 8mg | Calcium: 11mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @cakegirls or tag #cakegirls!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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