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Buttercream Frosting For Cookies That Hardens

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This is my favorite cookie frosting. If you are looking for cookie frosting that hardens, then you have found it!

I have been searching for the perfect frosting for years. I have found many icing recipes, but I wanted a good frosting that hardens, so I can stack my cookies without sticking to each other.

After some experiments I have created the perfect buttercream frosting that hardens. It is easy to make and simply delicious!

The frosting is made with simple ingredients, probably those you already have in your pantry, and does not call for anything “weird”. Since you probably have all you need, let’s get going and make the perfect hardening buttercream frosting for your next batch of cookies!

Why Buttercream Frosting?

You may wonder what is with the buttercream frosting.

Why not royal icing? Well, when you just want to make things a bit different and a bit tastier, then you know you have to go with a buttercream frosting.

I have many friends who actually do not like royal icing at all, and the buttercream frosting is the be-all, end-all to them.

This is part of the reason why I am sharing this recipe. If you are not crazy about royal icing, then this is the frosting for you!

Do I Need Special Equipment?

Now, this is the beauty of the buttercream frosting. While a classic royal icing requires special equipment, or at least some kind of piping bag, buttercream frosting does not need anything!

Just slab the frosting over a cooking, thin or thick layer and that is it. You can use a spoon, a simple butter knife, or even a fork to make a pattern!

Which Butter Do I Use?

Salted or unsalted?

I used unsalted butter, but you can go with salted if you like. Salted butter will give a nice balance to the sweet sugar and soothe it all down.

You really can’t go wrong. Either way, the buttercream frosting will not be too sweet. It’s down to personal preference – and maybe down to what compliments the cookie recipe you use with the frosting.

How Long Does it Take the Frosting to Harden?

After spreading the buttercream frosting over the cookies, it will start to harden after 30 minutes and continue to harden even more during the next few hours.

Do not be afraid! The frosting will not be rock solid, but it is hard enough so that if you stack your cookies, the frosting will not transfer from one to the other. 

Special Tips

Yes, this is a very simple recipe.

But there are a few tips that will ensure you have a perfect buttercream frosting:

1. Use butter at the right temperature. The secret tip is to use cold butter. Although this may sound untraditional, cold butter is key to getting the right consistency.

If you have a stand mixer or a hand-held mixer, you can do this. The cold butter is the key of getting the perfect consistency. In the past I used the butter at room temperature, but my frosting was always hit or miss.

I’d end up with the wrong texture, consistency, and sometimes even a runny frosting. I think the butter temperature and the fact it acts a bit weird when combined with milk and powdered sugar had a lot to do with the poor results.

After some experimenting, I learned that cold butter is the best way to go. 

2. Use cream instead of milk. Use heavy cream instead of milk. Using heavy cream helps get the right consistency, but also helps the frosting harden. So another of my secret tips is to always choose heavy cream over milk.

3. Use the right food coloring. Powdered, liquid, or gel food coloring?

Somehow, people use liquid most of the time, but the secret to a more perfect color is to use powder or gel food coloring. The difference is obvious if you are trying to color your frosting red – the liquid colors will give a pink hue instead of intensive red color. 

4. Get a perfect blend. As mentioned above, I use cold butter for this frosting. The ideal way to blend cold butter with the rest of your ingredients is by using a stand mixer with paddle attachment.

This will save you a ton of work (in case you are trying to blend it all by hand). It also helps to activate the ingredients and turns them into a creamy delicacy. 

5. Use only fresh powdered sugar. Always use a fresh powdered sugar.

Powdered sugar likes to draw humidity from the air, especially when it is left in the kitchen cupboard. To avoid any lumps in your frosting, try to open a fresh new bag of powdered sugar when you make this frosting.

The results will be impeccable. 

How To Make a Buttercream Frosting For Cookies That Hardens

Step 1

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the butter for 4 minutes or until creamy.

Add the cream, 1 tbsp at the time, and beat until creamy. Beat in vanilla.

Step 2

Add powdered sugar, gradually, and beat for 2-3 minutes.

Step 3

Finally, add powdered or gel food coloring and whisk using a plain whisk.

Spread over cookies and enjoy. 

Buttercream Frosting For Cookies That Hardens

Buttercream Frosting For Cookies That Hardens

Yield: Frosting for 24 small cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Creamy buttercream frosting that will harden to mess-free perfection on your favorite cookies.


  • 8 tbsp cold butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Powder or gel food coloring, desired, optional


  1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the butter for 4 minutes or until creamy.
  2. Add the cream, 1 tbsp at a time. Beat until creamy.
  3. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Add powdered sugar, gradually, and beat for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Finally, add powdered/gel food coloring and whisk using a plain whisk.
  6. Spread over cookies and enjoy. 


Although unconventional, it's crucial that you beat the butter cold, not room temperature, to get the best results.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 cookie's worth
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 94Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 14gProtein: 0g

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