Can You Make Frosting Ahead of Time? (8 Steps to Make and Store It)


Baking may seem tedious and never-ending when you start from scratch on the same day.

You can reduce your overall effort and time if you can prepare and store at least some of the ingredients ahead of time.

But can you make the frosting ahead of time?

How Well Does Frosting Hold up When Made in Advance?

Frosting contains sugar, butter, egg, and a few ingredients like chocolate or vanilla. Although the ingredients are mixed well to make the frosting, they separate when left out for too long. Hence, it’s always best to prepare the frosting fresh.

Most types of frosting, like buttercream frosting and cream cheese frosting, hold up in the refrigerator for two to three days, so you can make them in advance.

Steps to Make Frosting Ahead of Time and Store It Properly

There are two main problems with making frosting in advance.

Firstly, the ingredients hold together for only some time, after which they tend to separate.

Once they start separating, the texture of the frosting changes, and it doesn’t spread well.

Secondly, frostings use perishable ingredients that spoil quickly at room temperature.

You must refrigerate it soon after preparation if you intend to use it later.

Despite these issues, you can make buttercream or cream cheese-based frosting ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for later use.

Royal icing can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator when you take a few precautions.

Let’s find out what they are.

1. Refrigerate the Frosting Immediately After Preparing It

Buttercream contains butter, milk, sugar, flavoring agents, and egg. These ingredients bind together in the frosting.

However, they will melt and separate as time passes.

The longer you leave it outside, the more likely the frosting will separate and become unusable.

You can prevent it from separating by promptly refrigerating buttercream frosting.

Since it will already be at room temperature when fresh, transfer it to a container and put it in the fridge.

It will hold up for two to three days at least.

2. Choose an Airtight Container or Bag for Storage

There are two main advantages to storing buttercream or cream cheese frosting in an airtight container.

It helps the frosting retain its texture.

Additionally, it prevents contamination, and the cold environment preserves the frosting for longer.

When storing frosting in the refrigerator, choose any airtight box with a lid that seals properly.

It should also be big enough so that you don’t have to stuff the contents inside.

Frosting contains fatty ingredients that attract odors.

If you store it loosely beside smelly ingredients like fish or onions, the frosting can take on their scent.

This will ruin its smell and taste. Always store it in an airtight container to avoid such issues.

3. Use the Frosting Within a Week

Frosting holds up better in the refrigerator than on the countertop.

However, it’s perishable, and the texture will change.

Hence, use the frosting within a week. We suggest using it within two or three days.

The frosting would not have started separating by then, so it will spread easily. The taste will also remain the same.

However, the longer you keep it, the more likely it’s to change the texture.

Nevertheless, you can store the frosting in the refrigerator for one to two weeks, but it will not be as good as fresh frosting.

Use it within a week to enjoy it better.

4. Let the Frosting Reach Room Temperature Before Using It

Frosting at room temperature

Frosting stored in the refrigerator undergoes changes in texture regardless of how efficiently you store it.

The constituents end up separating, and you will find that the original consistency has changed.

Keeping this factor in mind, don’t attempt to use frosting directly from the refrigerator.

Take it out some time before you intend to use it, and wait for it to reach room temperature.

If you store it well and it has not remained in the fridge for too long, it will easily regain its original consistency.

However, if it’s too dry or wet, try stirring it.

This should allow the different ingredients to blend and reach the right consistency.

5. Whip the Frosting if It Doesn’t Reach the Right Consistency

In most cases, frosting regains its original consistency when you leave it on the countertop for some time.

However, it may have melted if you kept it in the refrigerator for too long.

In this case, the frosting would be runny. You won’t be able to spread it on a cake.

You can make your frosting again by beating it with a hand whisk or a hand mixer to fluff it up.

For a large batch, you can even use a stand mixer to blend the ingredients and make them fluffy again.

Related Reading: What’s A Paddle Attachment Of A Hand Mixer?

6. Put Frosting in The Freezer for Long-Term Storage

Frosting will hold up in the refrigerator for one or two weeks.

However, if you can’t use it within this time, you can freeze it.

Frozen frosting remains usable for up to three months.

To store the frosting in the freezer, transfer it into an airtight container or freezer bag when it’s still fresh.

If you are using a container, you can seal the frosting with plastic wrap on the top before placing the lid.

When using a freezer bag, squeeze out the excess air before sealing the top.

Place the frosting in the freezer, where it will hold up for several weeks.

Frosting will become very hard when left in the freezer, and you will have to thaw it for several hours to use it again.

7. Warm It Well Before Use

Frosting that was kept in the freezer takes much longer to achieve the right consistency than that which was stored in the refrigerator.

It needs several hours to thaw.

If you have a large batch of frosting to thaw, you may have to wait for up to a day for it to thaw completely.

The best way to thaw frozen frosting is in the refrigerator.

This will allow it to defrost gradually without undergoing temperature shock.

Hence, it will thaw evenly without any frozen bits.

Leave the frosting overnight in the refrigerator for thawing. Then, take it out and whisk it once.

Alternatively, you can also let the frosting thaw on the countertop and whisk it to make it fluffy.

In this method, you will sometimes end up with frozen bits.

Whisk the entire mixture with a hand mixer or stand mixer to restore the original consistency and make it easy to spread and decorate.

8. Decorate the Cake and Refrigerate or Freeze It Ahead of Time

An alternative way to use defrosting and using frosting is to decorate the cake after making the frosting and store it in the fridge or freezer.

This will make your work a lot easier since you will be working with fresh frosting.

You can usually store a decorated cake safely on the counter for a day or two without worrying about it getting spoiled.

However, leaving it out for much longer will increase the risk of spoilage.

A better option is to place the cake in the refrigerator after decorating it and use it within a week.

However, take care to isolate it from smelly or fragrant foods since these odors can seep into the frosting.

If you wish to store the entire cake for much longer, place it unwrapped in the freezer.

Just place the frosted cake on a tray and put it in the freezer, where it will hold up for several days.

Transfer it to the refrigerator or thaw it on the countertop for a few hours before you serve it, and it will be good as new.

With this method, the frosting will thaw evenly and adhere to the cake without affecting its texture.

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