How to Get White Buttercream (5 ways)

Buttercream is naturally yellow, but there are various simple techniques to make white buttercream that need not use food coloring.

You can quickly make a gorgeous, white buttercream that will be the ideal finishing touch to your cakes with the appropriate tips and tactics.

You’ve probably wanted to create a white buttercream to go with a pure white cake, maybe for a wedding or a birthday, but you couldn’t get it white enough or get rid of the yellow tinge.

I’ve included instructions for turning yellow buttercream white and producing white frosting with only one ingredient modification.

Some of these suggestions will also work with Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but that frosting is not the same as American Buttercream and will need a bit more experimenting.

Because American buttercream is created using butter, it will have a faint yellow color depending on the kind of butter used. I’ve discovered that whether I use salted or unsalted butter, it has a yellow tint to it.

or how to avoid it.This page will explain how to solve it.

By the way, my buttercream recipe is available here: Buttercream with Vanilla Beans

Whip the buttercream:

This is the simplest approach of all the alternatives available, and it requires no extra ingredients or materials.

When all of the buttercream components are fully combined, crank the mixer to medium-high to high and beat for about five minutes.

After a few minutes, you’ll notice that the frosting lightens in color. It may retain a faint yellow hue, but it will be less obvious.

Every time I prepare buttercream frosting, I do this. It also helps to make the buttercream frothy.

There are affiliate links in this post. I earn money as an Amazon Associate by making qualifying purchases.

Use white gel food coloring:

Yes, there is such a thing as white food coloring, but you must use the intense gel food coloring for it to be effective.

Here are a couple of options:

  • Wiltons White White
  • Americolor White

There is no predetermined quantity of white food coloring required; just squeeze in a generous amount after all of the ingredients have been well combined.

Reassess after adding some food coloring. It does appear to take a long time, so beat the buttercream first to see if you can lighten it up a little before adding the gel food coloring.

Add a speck of violet or purple gel food coloring:

This may seem strange, but violet or purple is on the other side of the color wheel from yellow and serves to balance out that yellow hue.

But here’s the catch: you only need a little quantity at a time, and it has to be gel food coloring, not the liquid sort found in most grocery shops.

By a little bit, I mean a drop on a paper towel, then a toothpick to pick up a small amount of it and add it to the buttercream. Mix everything well and see what you get.

If it’s still too yellow, add a little more gel coloring and mix it again. Use just a tiny quantity at a time since using too much might cause it to become green.

Use clear vanilla extract:

Depending on how much you use, vanilla bean paste, dark vanilla extract, or ordinary vanilla extract may darken the buttercream.

There is clear vanilla extract, which may be used instead of conventional vanilla extract to ensure that no additional coloring is added to the buttercream.

This one adjustment will not be enough to make the buttercream dazzling white, but it will undoubtedly assist when combined with whipping the buttercream.

One thing to keep in mind is that transparent vanilla extract does not taste precisely like conventional vanilla extract. It has a sweeter, more candy-like flavor to me than a heavier vanilla extract, but I enjoy it and believe it tastes excellent.

Use vegetable shortening to replace all or just half of the butter:

If you wish to keep the buttercream from becoming yellow in the first place, use vegetable shortening for all or half of the butter called for in the recipe.

Yes, if you substitute all of the butter with vegetable shortening, the result is a dazzling white buttercream that is technically not buttercream (since there is no butter in it).

All shortening frosting seems sweeter, I believe because the shortening covers your tongue. If you don’t want to go all-in on the shortening, you may use half shortening and half butter.

But keep in mind that vegetable shortening is NOT the same as lard. It is a solid vegetable fat, not an animal fat such as lard. It’s also the foundation of all grocery shop cake icings, so if you’ve ever eaten a grocery store cake (or many bakery cakes), you’ve had this sort of frosting.

If you want to learn how to create this sort of frosting (which is also more heat stable), check out this article and recipe: Heat Stable Bright White Buttercream

Another comparable alternative is to use cream cheese in lieu of half of the butter, but this will result in a much softer buttercream that is not appropriate for piping in warm weather and must be refrigerated.

Bonus option, use a combination of all of these options:

It is better to use a mix of many of these alternatives. This is my job.

I usually whisk the buttercream for a few minutes to brighten the color before adding a few grains of violet or purple gel food coloring and mixing until the yellow tint is gone.

If I require a heat-resistant buttercream, I substitute half of the butter with shortening, add clear vanilla extract, and whisk it for several minutes. If it’s still a bit yellow, I’ll add a little violet or purple to make it dazzling white.

Recipes to try:

Here are a few recipes to test and tweak to your preference.

  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  • Bright White Heat Stable Buttercream

Tips & FAQs:

Why is my buttercream yellow?

Buttercream has a yellow colour to it since it is produced from yellow butter. Depending on how yellow the butter is, buttercream might have a faint yellow tinge or a greater yellow hue.

How can I get my yellow buttercream, white?

You may experiment by beating the buttercream, using white or violet gel food coloring, using clear vanilla extract, or substituting vegetable shortening for part or all of the butter.Make sure to read the whole text to learn how to put these recommendations into action.

There are affiliate links in this post. I earn money as an Amazon Associate by making qualifying purchases.

Supply Options:

  • Wilton White White Gel Food Coloring
  • Americolor White Food Coloring
  • Clear Vanilla Extract
  • Violet Gel Food Coloring
  • Purple Gel Food Coloring
  • How to get red and black buttercream
  • Vanilla Bean Buttercream
  • Bright White Buttercream Frosting
  • Double Chocolate Buttercream
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream


What color cancels out yellow in buttercream?

That is, a little dot of a strong violet or purple gel or paste food color, beaten in, will balance out the yellow and turn your buttercream white. It simply takes a very little quantity. I’d suggest using a toothpick to apply a dot of color and completely beat in before adding more if necessary.

What are the five basic types of buttercream?

While all of these homemade frostings begin with butter and sugar, the procedure and texture differ across the five major varieties of buttercream: American, French, Swiss, Italian, and German. All are excellent, but some types will suit your sweets better than others.

How is American buttercream so white?

Shortening is the finest technique to get a beautiful white buttercream. It’s what most novelty grocery store cakes look like. Shortening and powdered sugar are used to make a basic American buttercream. However, most bakers (like myself) prefer to use butter instead of shortening in their buttercreams.

What does vinegar do to buttercream?

A teaspoon of white vinegar added to buttercream frosting or any other frosting recipe that includes boiling will enhance the texture and keep the final covering on your cake from becoming hard or breaking.

Does purple food Colouring make buttercream whiter?

The purple gel food coloring will remove the yellow tint, resulting in white frosting. Add a small dab of gel food coloring to the frosting with a toothpick, then mix it in and observe how it appears.

Why does my white buttercream turn yellow?

Let us now discuss butter bleeds. This is when the frosting on your biscuit has dried and turned yellow.

What happens if I put too much purple in my buttercream?

Too much purple will overcorrect the yellow, resulting in gray icing instead of white.

What buttercream do professionals use?

Swiss meringue buttercream is arguably the most common buttercream among pastry chefs. It is exceedingly smooth, making it a favorite option for frosting cakes. It has a much richer butter taste than American buttercream but is much less sweet.

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