How to Store Homemade Frosting So It Lasts for Months

published Mar 4, 2022
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Credit: Lauren Volo

I regularly tell anyone who will listen that the best part of a good cake is the frosting. But if you’ve ever made a layer or sheet cake from scratch, then you know it can sometimes be difficult to estimate exactly how much frosting you might need to generously cover it. And if you tend to be a better-safe-than-sorry kind of cook, you might end up with more homemade frosting than you need. 

In that case, don’t throw out your extra frosting! Not only is storing leftover frosting easy, but you can also easily use the excess frosting for future fun baking projects. These tips on storing extra buttercream frosting also work if you want to make a big batch of frosting in advance — say, if you have a birthday party coming up. Whatever the case may be, here’s how to make sure your frosting holds up.

How to Store Frosting at Room Temperature

Most types of frosting, including buttercream frosting, don’t technically have to be refrigerated right away, so storing extra frosting at room temperature is a great option if you plan on using it within the next day or so. To store frosting at room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, such as a plastic or glass food container. You can also store frosting right in the piping bag (just make sure the bag is sealed). Store the frosting in the coolest part of your kitchen. Buttercream frosting stored at room temperature should be used within two days. 

How to Store Frosting in the Refrigerator

To extend homemade frosting beyond just a few days, you can store it in the refrigerator. If you are a fan of getting a head-start when it comes to baking, this could be a good option for you — especially if you’re batch baking (say, for a bake sale). To store frosting in the fridge, transfer it to an airtight glass or plastic food container. Buttercream frosting stored in the refrigerator should last for at least seven days. Just be sure that the container is tightly sealed and that you keep the frosting far from pungent foods like seafood since the smells can transfer.

How to Store Leftover Frosting in the Freezer

If you want to make large batches of frosting in one sitting — or even if you just have a bit of frosting left over that you know you won’t use within a week — the freezer is your best bet for storing the frosting. To store frosting in the freezer, follow the same steps for storing in the refrigerator: Place the frosting in an airtight plastic food container and store it in the freezer away from anything pungent. If you prefer to use glass food containers, be sure to use a freezer-safe container that won’t crack or break. Buttercream frosting can be frozen for up to three months — after that it will still be safe, but the quality might start to degrade.

How to Use Your Leftover Frosting

Once you’re ready to get your frosting going again, follow these steps to make it easier to use.

For frosting stored at room temperature:

If your frosting is at room temperature in an airtight container, simply uncover it and mix it a bit with a rubber spatula. Because it’s been at room temperature, the frosting doesn’t need too much help before it’s ready to be spread on your cake or whatever else you want to frost. If you’ve stored the frosting in a piping bag, you can just use it as you normally would — while this frosting might not be quite as perfect-looking as freshly fluffed frosting, it is absolutely fine for all but the fanciest of occasions.

For frosting stored in the refrigerator:

If your frosting is in the refrigerator, take it out and leave the unopened container or piping bag on the counter for at least one hour to let it soften and come close to room temperature. Transfer the frosting to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix it for about a minute to “re-fluff” it — good as new! (Alternatively, you can use an electric hand mixer.) As for the piping bag, leave it out on the counter for the same amount of time and let it soften — if you are using a disposable bag, wait to snip the corner until just before you are ready to use the frosting.

For frosting stored in the freezer:

As for reusing frosting from the freezer, take it out and place the container in the fridge the night before you plan to use it. The next day, remove the frosting from the fridge and proceed with the instructions above for frosting stored in the refrigerator.

Use your leftover frosting any way you’d use a fresh batch — to frost cakes, cupcakes, brownies, or cookies, or just to eat by the spoonful. 

For more advice on storing leftovers, see our guide to freezing whipped cream.