Why Is My Buttercream Grainy? Tips To Avoid Grainy Buttercream

Buttercream is a type of icing traditionally made from butter and powdered sugar, often used for frosting and decorating cakes.

Grainy buttercream, however, refers to a consistency problem where the ingredients, primarily butter, and sugar, aren’t properly emulsified, leading to a less smooth and more granulated texture.

Buttercream Grainy

Reasons Why Buttercream is Grainy

Improper Temperature of Butter

Butter that’s too cold or too hot can lead to grainy buttercream. When butter is not at room temperature, it doesn’t mix well with the sugar, resulting in a grainy texture.

Solution: Always use butter at room temperature. If the butter is too cold, let it sit at room temperature until it softens. If it’s too hot, let it cool in the refrigerator until it reaches the correct consistency.

Un-sifted Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar can clump together, causing a grainy texture when mixed with butter.

Solution: Always sift your powdered sugar before adding it to the butter. This will help eliminate clumps and ensure a smoother texture in your buttercream.

Un-sifted Powdered Sugar

Poor Emulsification

When butter and sugar aren’t properly mixed together, they fail to form a smooth emulsion, leading to a grainy texture.

Solution: Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar together at a medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will help to ensure that the ingredients are fully emulsified.

Use of Low-quality Ingredients

Low-quality butter or sugar may contain impurities that can produce a grainy texture in the buttercream.

Solution: Always use high-quality ingredients when making buttercream. Although they might be more expensive, the resulting texture will be worth it.

Use of Low-quality Ingredients

Overbeating the Buttercream

Overbeating can cause the buttercream to separate, which results in a grainy texture.

Solution: Once the buttercream is light and fluffy, stop beating. Monitoring the texture closely and stopping at the right time is important.

Adding too much liquid

Introducing too much liquid at once can shock the mixture, leading to a broken or separated buttercream with a grainy texture.

Solution: When adding liquid, do it slowly and in increments, beating well after each addition. This gradual process allows the liquid to fully incorporate into the mixture and prevents the buttercream from becoming grainy.

Adding too much liquid

Using Granulated Sugar Instead of Powdered Sugar

Granulated sugar has larger crystals than powdered sugar, and these can create a grainy texture because they don’t dissolve as readily in the butter.

Solution: Always use powdered sugar when making buttercream. It has a much finer texture and will mix into the butter more evenly, creating a smoother buttercream.

Not Creaming Butter and Sugar Long Enough

If the butter and sugar are not mixed together long enough, the sugar crystals may not completely dissolve in the butter, causing the buttercream to be grainy.

Solution: Cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This usually takes several minutes, even with an electric mixer. Patience is key to getting the right texture.

Not Creaming Butter and Sugar Long Enough

Tips to Avoid Grainy Buttercream

  • Use room-temperature butter to ensure proper emulsification.
  • Sift the powdered sugar before adding it to the butter to prevent clumps.
  • Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy for a smooth texture.
  • Use high-quality ingredients to avoid impurities.
  • Add liquid slowly and in small increments to prevent shock and separation.
  • Always use powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar.
  • Cream the butter and sugar for an adequate time to allow the sugar to dissolve fully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best attachment to make buttercream?

The best attachment to make buttercream is a paddle attachment or a flat beater, as it helps to incorporate air into the mixture while keeping it smooth.

How long should you beat buttercream?

Buttercream should be beaten for about 5-7 minutes until it becomes light, fluffy, and smooth in texture.

What happens when you overbeat buttercream?

The buttercream can become too stiff and lose its smoothness when it is overbeaten. It may also start to separate or curdle, resulting in a grainy texture.

How to rescue split buttercream?

To rescue split buttercream, try heating a small portion of the mixture and slowly adding it back to the rest while whisking or beating it vigorously until it comes back together.

Why buttercream tastes like powdered sugar?

Buttercream can taste like powdered sugar if too much-powdered sugar is used in the recipe or if it is not properly incorporated and dissolved into the butter and other ingredients.

Why did my buttercream curdle?

Buttercream can curdle when the butter is too cold or if the ingredients are not properly emulsified. To prevent curdling, ensure the butter is softened and at room temperature before mixing.

How to make buttercream smooth?

To make buttercream smooth, start with softened butter, sift the powdered sugar to remove any lumps, and beat the mixture for a sufficient amount of time until it becomes light and creamy. Adding a small amount of liquid, such as milk or cream, can also help achieve a smoother consistency.

How to fix rainy buttercream?

If buttercream becomes too runny or “rainy,” try refrigerating it for a short period of time to allow it to firm up. Once it has chilled, beat it again to regain its texture. You can also gradually add more powdered sugar to thicken it if necessary.


I live in Los Angeles with my better half, Dave, and our child, Corey. Each second with them is the acknowledgment of my fantasies working out as expected — and for that? I am so extremely thankful. Hi! I am Diana Rodriguez, the founder, author, and photographer of ATD.

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