Whipped Icing vs Buttercream: What Is What?

Whipped Icing vs Buttercream

Whipped icing vs buttercream – is there a difference between whipped icing and buttercream? They are both used as cake decorations, but there are many differences between them when it comes to their flavor, texture, and stability.

Knowing their differences will help you decide which one is a better option for certain recipes. The final decision will also depend on your personal preferences, but it is important to know all the facts first!

Whipped Icing Vs Buttercream?

To better understand their differences, let’s learn more about buttercream and whipped icing.


Whipped icing is made of whipped cream or whipping cream, water or lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Some whipped icings are also made of meringue powder. On the other hand, buttercream is made of butter or shortening, powdered sugar, milk, and flavorings.

There are also American buttercream and decorator’s buttercream. American buttercream is made of softened butter and powdered sugar. Sometimes, eggs, milk, and milk solids are added to the mixture. Decorator’s buttercream uses plant-based shortening instead of butter.

Also, there is Swiss meringue buttercream, also known as Italian meringue buttercream, a buttercream variety made of whipped eggs, whipped softened butter, and a hot syrup made of sugar and water.


Buttercream has a sweet and buttery flavor, and this type of frosting is also great for capturing the flavor of other ingredients such as chocolate, fruits, and various extracts. Whipped icing has a sweet flavor, most similar to milk.


Buttercream has a creamy, rich, buttery, and spreadable texture. On the other hand, whipped icing has a softer, more delicate texture full of tiny air pockets. Whipped icing isn’t as spreadable as buttercream because of these air pockets.

Culinary Use

Buttercream is widely used to decorate cakes and cupcakes. It can be easily piped, and it holds its shape well. It also holds well when it is used between cake layers.

Buttercream holds greatly on high temperatures, which is another reason why buttercream is such a great choice for cake decoration.

Whipped icing is much softer, and it is mostly used for piping borders around cakes and cupcakes. It is not suitable for making flowers and other elaborate decorations because it doesn’t hold its shape as well as buttercream does.

Whipped icing is also not so suitable for higher temperatures, and it is not a good choice for layered cakes.


Buttercream is much more stable than whipped icing because it holds its shape well and can stand high temperatures. It also has a longer shelf life, and it can sit in the fridge for two weeks or at room temperature for two days, compared to whipped icing, which can’t sit at room temperature and can stay refrigerated for two days.

Whipped Icing vs Buttercream pin

Are Buttercream And Whipped Cream Frosting The Same Thing

No, buttercream frosting and whipped cream frosting aren’t the same things. They are made from different ingredients, and the whipped cream frosting is much softer and has a more delicate texture than buttercream.

Can You Replace Whipped Icing With Buttercream Frosting?

The buttercream will have a richer flavor and will be denser than whipped frosting. If you are looking for a lighter frosting, you may want to try using a meringue-based frosting instead.

Also, keep in mind that buttercream will melt at a higher temperature than whipped icing, so it is important to take this into consideration when you are planning your event.

Can You Use Whipped Icing Instead Of Buttercream?

The answer to this question depends on your personal preferences. If you like the light and airy texture of whipped icing, then you can use it as a replacement for buttercream frosting.

However, if you prefer the richer flavor of buttercream, then you should stick with that type of frosting. Also, keep in mind that whipped icing won’t hold well in many recipes that call for buttercream.

Other Frosting Types

If neither buttercream or whipped icing seem like good options to you, you can also choose some other frostings:

  1. Stabilized whipped cream – This type of frosting is made when a stabilizing agent, usually gelatine is added to whipped cream. It is just as stable as the buttercream, but it is less sweet, which is great if you want your cakes to be less sweet too.
  2. Heavy whipping cream – Heavy whipping cream is a whipping cream that has at least 36% of milk fat. It has a rich, creamy texture, but it is still much lighter than buttercream, and it can be a great replacement for whipped icing.
  3. Cream cheese frosting – If you want your cake frosting to have a slightly tangy flavor, then cream cheese frosting is perfect for you. It is made of cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. Cream cheese frosting is perfectly spreadable and can be used instead of buttercream frosting for most recipes.
  4. Royal icing – Although quite different than whipped icing and buttercream, royal icing can be an interesting choice for decorating your cakes. It is made with confectioner’s sugar and it hardens to a candy-like texture.


So, now you know the difference between whipped icing vs buttercream! Whipped icing has a soft and airy texture, and it tastes like milk, while buttercream is creamy and more firm and it has a rich, buttery flavor.

These differences will also affect the way you can use these two frostings. Buttercream frosting holds better than whipped icing, and it can be used to decorate cakes or to be spread between cake layers.

Still, many people prefer a light and fluffy texture of whipped icing, so the final decision depends on your personal preferences. And which frosting do you prefer? Write in the comments!

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