Pudding-Style Buttercream

March  1, 2016
8 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes about 3 cups
Author Notes

This buttercream, in my opinion, is one of the most under-utilized. A bit “old-fashioned,” it was sort of discarded largely by home cooks in favor of the much simpler American buttercream. But pudding-style frosting provides so many options; it’s great for making exciting flavors, like dark chocolate, caramel, or butterscotch: Just start with the pudding and go from there. In general, you will want your pudding for buttercream a bit thicker than you might for just eating, so if you’re using a favorite recipe, up the starch by 5 to 10%.
Erin Jeanne McDowell

What You'll Need
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) whole milk
  • 8 ounces (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. In a small pot, bring the milk (or other liquid) and half the sugar to a simmer over medium heat. In a small heat-safe bowl, whisk the remaining sugar and flour to combine.
  2. When the milk is hot, pour a small amount into the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot of milk and whisk thoroughly. Continue to cook over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a boil—large bubbles should emerge from the center of the pot.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and transfer to a shallow bowl. Cover directly with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  4. Transfer the cooled pudding to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip for 1 to 2 minutes to aerate. With the mixer running, gradually add room-temperature butter in 1/2-tablespoon chunks. Continue adding and mixing until all of the butter is added and the buttercream is light and smooth.
  5. Beat in the vanilla and mix to combine. The buttercream can be used immediately or refrigerated in an airtight container.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Andrea Zook
    Andrea Zook
  • Lea
  • Opa
  • wheelien
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

6 Reviews

Opa December 23, 2018
Wow. This was great. It almost has a cream cheese frosting consistency...maybe. Anyways, I used this as a filling for whoopie pies, worked perfectly.

Andrea Z. November 4, 2018
Best frosting ever! I used half dark brown sugar and infused the milk with vanilla bean pods. It tastes like cookie dough but not grainy or heavy. Fabulous!
wheelien October 17, 2017
i tried a d for some reason as I started adding butter it started to separate. i finished with a really grainy greasy frosting that tasted like butter. can you help me trouble shoot?
inflytur November 18, 2018
Are you describing lumps of “pudding” in the butter? If so, the “pudding” had set too firmly because it cooled too much or it was cooked too much.
suzanne June 20, 2016
how would you make a chocolate version of this?
Lea March 7, 2016
I can't wait to try this on cream puff cake! Criss-crossed with lemon curd...then a few raspberries. ...ahhhh