How to Store Buttercream Frosting Like a Baking Pro

How long does buttercream last in the fridge? Can you freeze buttercream? The answers are simple and easy, and we have all the details.

Published August 4, 2023
buttercream frosting

You've made all the preparations for the perfect cake, but now you need to know how to store buttercream frosting so all your hard work doesn't go to waste. Storing buttercream frosting is pretty straightforward and easy. Get a few of the basic steps right, and you can have delicious frosting on hand for months.

How to Store Buttercream for Fresh Frosting

There are two main ways to store your leftover or pre-made buttercream frosting - the refrigerator and the freezer. Though the sweet topping can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, a cold environment like your fridge or freezer is best for maintaining freshness.

Storing Buttercream in the Refrigerator

The most important step you need to take when storing buttercream in the refrigerator is to store the whipped delight in an airtight container. Plastic or glass containers with well-sealed tops are best.

Be sure to keep your container of buttercream away from any items in your fridge that have a strong scent. Buttercream can absorb flavors fairly easily, so try to avoid those super pungent odors like tuna, strong cheeses, bacon, and vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts. The last thing you want is a tuna-flavored buttercream on your yummy cake.

Once you've correctly stored the buttercream in an airtight container, it will stay fresh in your fridge for up to a week. After that, it's time to consider the freezing it or making use of the treat.

Storing Buttercream in the Freezer

If you've exhausted the freshness of your buttercream in the fridge, it's time to move on to the freezer. Freezing buttercream is easy, and all you have to do is maintain the freshness with a proper seal. An airtight container - even the same one used for fridge storage - is great. An airtight freezer bag, however, maintains freshness and saves space in your freezer.

  1. Transfer the buttercream to a freezer bag, careful not to overfill. You can use multiple bags if needed.
  2. Remove all the air from the bag by giving it a good squeeze or use a straw to suck the air out.
  3. Seal the bag.
  4. Use your hands to flatten the buttercream from the outside so it stores flatly in your freezer.

Buttercream in your freezer is good for up to three months. Be sure to date the day of storage, so you know when it's time to bake some cupcakes just to make use of your frosting.

Need to Know

After the three-month mark, your buttercream is still safe for consumption. At this point, however, the taste and texture might be compromised.

How to Thaw & Refresh Buttercream Frosting

icing in a mixer

When it's time to bust out your buttercream and start filling a cake or frosting cupcakes, there are a few important steps to take in order to refresh the frosting. From freezer, to fridge, to using the frosting, this is what you need to do:

  1. If your frosting is stored in the freezer, start the thawing process in the refrigerator the day before you plan to use it.
  2. On the day you want to use the frosting, pop it out of the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while remaining in the air-tight container.
  3. Right before it's time to frost your cake or start piping decorations, give your frosting a re-whip in a stand mixer for up to five minutes. Look for signs that air bubbles are releasing, the frosting is growing in size, and it's starting to look like its original fluffy self.
Quick Tip

While whipping your buttercream, you can adjust consistency with more cream, sugar, or butter.

How to Freeze a Cake Decorated With Buttercream Frosting

You've made an entire cake ahead of time - good on you! Now you need to properly freeze your confection so it looks fresh on the day you finally get to dig in. Here's how to freeze a cake already filled and decorated with buttercream frosting:

  1. Start by freezing your cake uncovered for at least 4 hours. This helps the frosting set in its intended place so you don't damage all your hard work.
  2. Remove your now-frozen cake from the freezer and tightly wrap it in plastic wrap with a layer of aluminum foil on top to prevent freezer burn.
  3. Place it somewhere in your freezer where it will not become a victim of falling pizzas or heavy bags of vegetables. You want to avoid any potential dents.
  4. Store for up to one month to maintain freshness of cake and frosting.
Fast Fact

You can also use this method to wrap individual cake slices or cupcakes for freezing. Just pop them into a freezer bag for tidy storage once they're wrapped securely.

How to Thaw a Frozen Cake so You Can Start Slicing

Thawing your cake is just as easy as freezing it. You just want to make sure you follow a few important steps. This is how you thaw a frozen cake while keeping your frosting intact.

  1. Before you begin thawing the cake, loosen all the plastic wrap you have tightly woven around it. This makes sure that the wrap comes off cleanly, so there's no damage to your decorations.
  2. Start the thawing process in the refrigerator the night before if you're able.
  3. From there, thaw the cake at room temperature, continuing to loosen the wrap where needed.
  4. Once it's mostly thawed, remove all the plastic wrap and get ready to dig in.
Helpful Hack

The cake-thawing process takes some time, and there aren't a lot of ways to speed it up. If you really need to make the thawing process speedy, start thawing it at room temperature as soon as you can. Keep in mind this may result in condensation forming on the cake or the wrap.

What About Canned Buttercream Frosting?

The good news is that canned buttercream frosting stores, freezes, and thaws much the same as a homemade version. The only thing you'll need to keep in mind is that store-bought frostings are often thicker than their homemade counterparts. This means the freezing and thawing processes may take longer.

You'll still want to use a mixer to revitalize canned frosting when it's time to use it on a cake. Just look for that fluffy texture we all love so much.

If you're storing the frosting in the fridge, the container it came in should be fine and will keep it fresh for up to a week. After that, you'll want to transfer it to a freezer-safe container and store it for up to three months.

Related: 10 Sweet Ideas to Use Up Leftover Frosting

Frost, Freeze, or Reuse

All the effort and ingredients that go into making your buttercream shouldn't go to waste. If you can't frost with it right away, now you know how to store it so you can use it when you're ready. The most important thing to remember? Taste test as often as possible, just because you can.

How to Store Buttercream Frosting Like a Baking Pro