How To Properly Store Buttercream Frosting To Keep It Fresh

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Buttercream frosting is a delicious alternative to regular frosting. If you’re like me, you’ve probably made too much frosting for your baking projects before. Fortunately, there are effective ways you can store all of your leftover frostings so you can keep them fresh for the next time you’re in the mood to bake!

As a general rule, storing buttercream frosting should be done in an airtight container and stored in a refrigerator. Storing in the fridge will extend its shelf life but it can also be stored in the freezer. You can store it for up to 2 months in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer.

Buttercream frosting can last for a while but only if you know how to properly store it! Following are some tips you can use to keep your frosting fresh for as long as possible.

How To Properly Store Buttercream Frosting?

As a whole, once a can of frosting has been opened it’s important to store it properly in an airtight container. This also applies to homemade frosting as it does not have preservatives. The airtight containers should be stored in either the refrigerator or the freezer in order to keep them fresh.

Buttercream frosting is a pretty durable product with a long shelf life. If it’s left unopened in the can it can last for around four months before you run into quality issues.

If you prefer to make your own frosting you may have accidentally run into the problem of making too much. Fortunately, buttercream frosting can easily be kept fresh for several weeks using proper precautions and storage measures.

Your best place to store a batch of buttercream frosting is either in the refrigerator or in the freezer.

Buttercream Frosting Should Looks Smooth
Buttercream Frosting Needs To Look Smooth After Storage!

If it’s going to be a while until your next baking project you’ll probably want to store it in the freezer. However, if you’re going to be using it within the next few days then the refrigerator will be your best bet.

Here is a table that summarizes how to properly store buttercream frosting:

Counter TopRoom Temperature (sealed container)RefrigeratorFreezer
Up to 2 days (at room temperature)Can last up to 1 weekCan last about 2-4 weeksCan last for up to 3 months

If you’re looking for a good set of airtight storage containers, I recommend getting the Rubbermaid Brilliance Leak-Proof Food Storage Containers with Airtight Lids.

I’ve used these containers for a couple of years now and I’ve successfully stored all of my food and baked goods in room temperature, fridge, and freezer. I’ve even used them in the microwave! These containers come in many different sets, so choose the right one for you. You can check out these containers on Amazon!

Regardless of where you store your buttercream frosting, it must be stored in an airtight container. This will ensure no moisture gets in which promotes spoilage.

If you absolutely cannot store in an airtight container, the frosting at room temperature will only be good for about 2 days. Frosting is primarily dairy so it tends to spoil without refrigeration fast.

How Long Does Frosting Last At Room Temperature?

Generally speaking, frosting can be left out at room temperature for about a week. Store-bought frosting can last for up to 2 weeks at room temperature as it has preservatives. For homemade frosting, this can last for up to one week at room temperature but it is recommended to store in a fridge.

If you’ve ever topped a cake with buttercream frosting, you’ve probably wondered how long the frosting will last if the cake is left sitting out. Surprisingly, the buttercream frosting on your cake will last even longer than the cake itself!

Buttercream can sit out at room temperature for about a week, however, in order to completely eliminate any potential for contamination, you’ll want to store it properly as soon as possible.

Storage for a week is solely dependent on your airtight container usage. If you leave the frosting out at room temperature without any container or plastic wrap, it’ll last only up to 2 days as it is dairy.

The convenience of store-bought frosting is the amount of time saved and the length of time it can last out at room temperature.

*Side Note: I recently wrote an article that talks about Why Your Buttercream Frosting is So Grainy. This article talks about how to fix grainy frosting by making it smooth again. You can check out this article here!

How Long Does Buttercream Last In Containers?

As a whole, buttercream frosting can last for up to 3-4 months if it is kept in an airtight container. At room temperature, it can last 1 week. In the fridge, which is the ideal storage area, the frosting in a container can last up to 2-4 weeks. In the freezer, it can last for up to 3-4 months.

Buttercream frosting will keep for a long time if you properly store it! Your best bet is to store buttercream frosting in smaller batches in order to portion it out for smaller baking projects as they come up.

In order to keep them fresh, be sure to store them in a food-safe plastic storage container that comes with a fitted air-tight lid. You’ll want to ensure the lid seals completely around the container before placing your frosting inside.

Once you’ve verified this, simply scoop your buttercream frosting out of the mixing bowl and place it in smaller batches in each container. Then seal them up, and store them in either the fridge or freezer.

Dry Buttercream Frosting In Container
Unsealed Container Will Dry Out Your Buttercream Frosting!

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about Fixing Lumpy Buttercream Frosting. This article breaks down why your frosting might have lumps in it as well as how to fix and prevent lumpy frosting. You can check out this article here!

If you don’t have a container with an air-tight lid handy, you can also store your batches of frosting inside freezer bags to keep them fresh. Make sure you use freezer bags since freezer bags are made using thicker plastic and durable sealing for an extra-secure closure.

Follow the same steps as you would with the container and scoop your frosting into equal-sized batches inside each freezer bag. Then store them flat in either the fridge or in the freezer.

Does Frosting Need To Be Refrigerated?

As a general rule, frosting does not need to be refrigerated immediately, however in order to improve its shelf life it should be placed in the refrigerator as soon as possible. The best way to store frosting is to store in an airtight container in the fridge. This will last for up to 2-4 weeks.

While some types of frosting have quite a short shelf life, when it comes to buttercream frosting it holds up quite well and fares much better than the others.

If you’re wondering how long does it last while out at room temperature, you’ll be happy to hear that it will stay fresh for a couple of weeks if it’s in an unopened can.

If you’re working with homemade buttercream frosting them you’ll want to go ahead and store it as soon. Storing frosting properly in the fridge in an airtight container will extend its shelf life for 2-4 weeks.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article that talks about Why Your Buttercream Frosting Became Curdled. This article breaks down how to fix and prevent your buttercream frosting from becoming curdled. You can check out this article here!

How To Store Frosting In The Freezer?

As a whole, the frosting should be stored in the freezer using either a freezer bag or a container with an airtight lid. Scoop the leftover frosting into the bag or container and ensure it is sealed. Then place it inside the freezer laying flat and stacked on top of one another.

If you’ve whipped up a batch of delicious homemade buttercream frosting it can be such a waste to throw out the leftovers!

Fortunately, buttercream frosting will freeze quite well and can be a breeze to store in the freezer.

Sometimes I’ll whip up a few different batches of frosting ahead of time and store them in the freezer for upcoming baking projects, and they always taste just as good as freshly created buttercream frosting.

Your best bet when storing frosting in the freezer is to either store it in small batches in plastic containers with well-fitted lids or stacked lying flat in freezer bags.

Either option will safeguard your frosting and keep it from getting freezer burned.

*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about How To Properly Store Leftover Buttercream Frosting. This article talks about the right ways to store and freeze buttercream frosting to make it last. You can check out this article here!

If you plan to store your frosting in freezer bags be sure you gently squeeze out any excess air that may be trapped inside before storing them. This excess air can cause your buttercream frosting to be more susceptible to taste or texture changes which would negate your whole purpose of saving it.

If you’re wondering how long it lasts when you store your buttercream frosting in the freezer, you’ll be happy to know it will keep for up to four months when stored properly. Which is all the more reason to take a few extra minutes and pay attention to detail when storing it!

Can Frosting Spoil? Can It Go Bad?

As a whole, frosting is very durable, however, it will eventually spoil and go bad. The majority of ingredients that make up frosting are dairy. Dairy spoils quickly and needs refrigeration. The best way to prolong shelflife is to store the frosting in an airtight container and kept in the fridge.

Although your frosting will eventually go bad, it should take a while to do so. Frosting is such a versatile cooking staple that you’ve probably had a situation where you had way too much frosting leftover. Fortunately, you can safely store your frosting for quite a while in your fridge or freezer.

Freezing Causes Frosting to Stiffen Up
Dairy Ingredients In Frosting Make It Spoil Quickly!

*By the way, for a long time, I was looking for a way to store my baked goods without them breaking and losing their shape. I recently came across a great Set of Flat Storage Containers that worked great for storing my baked goods flat in the fridge and freezer without breaking them! You can check out this Storage Set on Amazon!

If you’ve got a can of pre-made frosting and haven’t opened it up yet, it should still stay fresh for up to four months after the date on the “sell by” label. Once you’ve opened up and used your frosting you’ll eventually want to refrigerate the leftover, however, you don’t have to do it right away.

If you’re away from your refrigerator and need to leave it out at room temperature for a while, it should stay fresh for several hours until you make it home. Once you get home be sure to properly store it away!

How Can You Tell When Frosting Has Gone Bad?

Generally speaking, the frosting will eventually turn stale and taste “off” once it begins to go bad. Because frosting is mostly made out of dairy ingredients, it may eventually get clumpy and even grow mold on the surface of the frosting. It will also start to taste sour which is a sign to toss it.

Like all ingredients, even a delicious buttercream frosting will eventually go bad. If you open up your frosting and you notice a change in color, smell, or texture, it’s probably a good idea to throw it out.

Mold can also be an obvious sign that it’s gone bad.

Another pretty good indicator that your frosting has spoiled will be a darkening of color. This color change occurs as the sugar molecules start to break down as the frosting ages.

If your pretty, light-colored frosting has started to turn dark or the texture looks aged and slightly separated you should probably toss it in the trash.

Darker frosting may also start to lighten up over time, kind of like when milk chocolate starts to turn old, so keep an eye out for the lightening of chocolate buttercream frosting as well!

If you’re working with canned frosting instead of homemade, be on the lookout for bulging along the sides, even if the can of frosting has never been opened.

A container that’s bulging could be indicative of spoilage and should also be discarded immediately to be on the safe side.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about Fixing Separated Buttercream Frosting. This article talks about why your buttercream frosting gets separated as well as why the color added into the frosting sometimes gets separated. You can check out this article here!


How long does buttercream last on a cake?

A cake that is covered with buttercream frosting can last for up to 7 days once properly stored in the refrigerator. Since frosting is usually made with dairy ingredients, a frosted cake should be wrapped with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator to prevent the frosting from spoiling.

How long does buttercream last out of the fridge?

As a general rule, buttercream can last up to 2 days without refrigeration. Storing it in an air-tight container will help prolong the shelf life to up to a week. However, the texture will eventually start to change. It is best to store buttercream in the fridge for optimal freshness and quality.

Does buttercream frosting with milk need to be refrigerated?

Generally speaking, buttercream frosting with milk should be refrigerated because it is made out of dairy. Dairy products tend to spoil quickly without refrigeration. A rule of thumb is to store your frosting in an airtight container and refrigerate it.

Does buttercream with heavy cream need to be refrigerated?

As a general rule, buttercream made out of heavy cream should be refrigerated. Heavy cream is slightly more stable than milk at room temperature but because it is a dairy product, it has a short lifespan if kept at room temperature. Storage in a fridge will help prolong your buttercreams flavor and quality.

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My name is Fainna! I've been baking desserts ever since I was 10 years old with my grandma passing her baking wisdom down to me with every passing day. I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful here at my little Baking Nook!

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