Why Is My Buttercream So Grainy?

Is your buttercream too grainy or lumpy? Trust me, I know how disturbing it can be. Buttercream is excellent for cake, cupcake, and cookie decoration. But sometimes mistakes can happen and your buttercream may turn out to be lumpy or grainy and you begin to wonder why it is so.

Your buttercream frosting can become grainy if you make use of unsifted icing sugar, your butter wasn’t softened, or the powdered sugar used in making it wasn’t well grounded among other reasons. Little things like these shouldn’t be overlooked as they could cause small clumps to form which could result in a grainy buttercream. 

Buttercream frosting is considered to be very easy to make, but it doesn’t mean it is foolproof or that some errors won’t occur. Sometimes things could just go south and your buttercream wouldn’t turn out to be what you imagined it to be.

I have had a similar experience so I know how devastating it is. But finding out ways to avoid it from recurring and learning how it can be fixed enabled me to be better at it. Now let’s get you started on why your buttercream frosting is grainy and how you can fix it.

4 Reasons Why Your Buttercream Is Grainy?

There are several reasons why your buttercream may be grainy, let’s examine them;

1. Your Powdered Sugar was Unsifted

The most common cause of grainy buttercream is when you didn’t sift or properly sift your powdered sugar. It causes air bubbles to form in your buttercream and causes it to be clumpy.

Using a fine-mesh sifter is better as it will ensure that there are no clumps of sugar when making buttercream.

2. The icing used was too soft

Using super soft icing can cause air bubbles to form, these air bubbles would give room for a grainy texture in your buttercream. Mixing the buttercream will become way harder with the tiny lumps that have formed. To solve this issue, leave the buttercream to rest in the fridge for a total of 15 minutes.

Image: Envato Elements

3. You didn’t use a softened butter

This could be a major cause of a grainy buttercream. Make sure your butter is softened before you use it. Cold clumps of butter need to blend well with your sifted powdered sugar, although the electric mixer can resolve this issue as it will help ensure that all the ingredients are properly mixed.

4. The powdered sugar used wasn’t well-grounded

When you don’t use the best quality cane powdered sugar your buttercream frosting is at risk of getting grainy. Making use of finely grounded sugar will give it a smoother texture. But if you are unable to find a powdered sugar that is not well-grounded, you can put a spoonful of the sugar in a coffee grinder to smoothen it. 

How to Fix Grainy Buttercream

Grainy buttercream shouldn’t cause you to worry as they can be fixed. There are some ways this can be done especially now that you know what caused the issue. Let’s discuss these remedies

1. Add more milk to the mixture 

Coconut milk in glass
Image: Envato Elements

Adding powdered milk always does the trick. You can add more milk to the mixture tablespoon by tablespoon until you are satisfied with the consistency or texture. Usually, it’s best to add two tablespoons only but if it isn’t enough you can proceed to add more.

2. Mix the buttercream properly 

Sometimes grainy or lumpy buttercream occurs when your buttercream wasn’t properly mixed, you might have gotten tired of mixing and you stopped too early, this will cause the ingredients to not infuse well. For this reason, it’s best to use an electric hand mixer to ease the stress and also effectively mix the buttercream. Two minutes might be enough for mixing the buttercream.

3. Refrigerate your buttercream

Leaving your grainy buttercream in the refrigerator for a while may go a long way to fixing it. It cools down the mixture and gives enough chance to whip up the clumps. Allow it to sit in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fix grainy buttercream?

Yes, grainy buttercream can be fixed. There are several easy remedies for grainy buttercream. One of the remedies that people mostly try is to add more liquid or milk to the grainy buttercream, this will help melt the sugar that is causing the buttercream frosting to be of a grainy texture.

How do you keep buttercream from getting grainy?

It is always better to take preventive measures to ensure that your buttercream icing comes out smooth. When making a buttercream frosting make sure to use softened butter or unsalted cream butter that has been kept at room temperature. Also, use sifted powdered sugar as this goes a long way to ensure that there are no lumps in your buttercream.

How do you fix runny and grainy buttercream?

A runny buttercream is usually caused by excessive liquid in the mixture while a grainy buttercream occurs when the powdered icing sugar didn’t properly melt or the butter used was not softened. You can thicken a runny buttercream frosting by adding more sifted sugar to the mix. And properly mixing the buttercream can help dissolve the lumps in it.

How do you make buttercream smooth and not grainy?

Making a perfect buttercream frosting begins with using the proper ingredients. To make a smooth buttercream, use the right powdered sugar preferably use the best cane sugar powder. Then proceed to leave your butter, sugar, and liquid to rest at room temperature. Using cold butter could just complicate things. Ensure to mix it well to prevent air bubbles from forming in the mixture.

Wrapping Up

Buttercream frosting is an essential part for every baker, it can be used to design just about any dessert be it cake, cupcakes, or cookies as it adds an extra flavor to them. And mastering the act of making buttercream icing is necessary for creating a masterpiece. 

However, this article explains possible reasons why your buttercream is grainy and also reveals ways to fix it. But it is always better to prevent grainy buttercream.

That’s why we recommend that you use the right ingredients, leave them at room temperature and ensure that they are properly mixed, preferably with an electric hand mixer.