Indydebi’s Crisco-Based Buttercream Icing

I was given this recipe over 25 years ago by a friend and it’s the only icing recipe I’ve ever used. (I actually didn’t know there were other “wedding cake icing” recipes out there!). All measurements are approximate since I’m a “until it looks right cook”. Too thin? Add more sugar. Too thick? Add more milk. Luv the flavor of vanilla? Throw lots of it in there! This icing crusts VERY well and holds up great in extreme heat and humidity (passed the “sat outdoors in 90 degrees in August humidity in Indiana for over 5 hours” test!)

Indydebi’s Crisco-Based Buttercream Icing


  • 1-1/3 cups Cricso
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup milk, depending on consistency needed
  • 3 Tbsp powdered Dream Whip (*)
  • 2-3 Tbsp clear vanilla, depending on your personal taste
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar

  • (*) A powdered whipped topping mix made by Kraft Foods, usually found in the cake/sugar aisle in the grocery.


    There’s no wrong way to mix this. I usually mix all but the powdered sugar for a minute or two, then gradually add the sugar, but the only reason I did this was to avoid the “sugar-splash” factor. The longer the mixer runs, the smoother it gets. Sifting the powdered sugar before blending helps with smoothness but is not necessary.

180 Responses to “Indydebi’s Crisco-Based Buttercream Icing”

  1. Need advice, first time I made this it was PERFECT! Now I can’t seem to get it right. Today it cracked after it crusted. ALOT! I could not get it sommth. Does anyone know what I may have done wrong this time? Too much sugar? Not sure and need a little advice. Thanks!!

  2. I need some help. I made this recipe once and it was PERFECT!! Now I can not get it right. Today it cracked, ALOT. It cracked after it crusted. Does anyone have any idea about what I may be doing wrong. Please help. Any suggestions would be very helpful.

  3. i have been making something like this for last 2 years in my cakes, i use Trex icing sugar either white chocolate melted or white chocolate spread it tastes lovely great to pipe and some people who have had cakes off me have frozen them and say it tastes just as lovely when defrosted.

  4. NOTE TO EVERYONE WHO CANNOT FIND DREAM WHIP:. I used this recipe minus the dream whip and it is AWESOME! I cannot imagine that dream whip could make it any better. I wouldn’t drive all over town looking for that last ingredient. Just eliminate it if you must. If I ever run across it in a store, I will pick some up, but I am very happy with this recipe despite that I didn’t use the dream whip. I ( Like some previous posters) used a pinch of salt and I used 1 TBSP Clear Vanilla and 1 TBSP Clear Butter Flavoring. I HOPE THIS HELPS

  5. someone mentioned off brand shortening that contains trans fats. What is the brand? What’s in it since I never looked at Crisco’s ingredients way back before they changed their formulation? Why would they do this to us cake decorators?! No one eats Crisco for health reasons to begin with! I’ve looked at off brands and they contain animal fat (lard?). thanks

  6. This is probably the dumbest question I’ll ever ask but I am so confused. It says 1 and 1/3 cups of crisco, I have always gone by sticks. As far as my knowledge goes, 1 cup is 2 sticks, so does this mean 2 sticks of crisco and then however much 1/3 cups is (that is indicated on the side wrapper)

    Any help will be super awesome, I’m pretty sure I made the buttercream with less crisco than I should have this past weekend! Oops.

    Thanks in advance!!

  7. angelpyang… i use the crisco baking sticks… one stick equals one cup and the measurements are on the label so you can cut 1/3 off a second stick. I can’t wait to try this tonight.. I hope its just as good as everyone says it is.

  8. Made this today used 1/2 cup milk and 3 tbsp clear vanilla tasted ok. Didn’t taste like buyer though. Next time I will use butter flavored Crisco and the buttered vanilla mix I get at the cake shop. This recipe made exactly 6 cups of icing.

  9. Hi, I am new to this sight and am doing a wedding cake in 2 weeks. She wants her cake outside and clearly this recipe can stand the heat but my question is, she really wants a strong vanilla flavor, I was going to incorporate mascarpone and more vanilla to this recipe, do you think it will alter the recipe too much????
    Also How much does this recipe typically yield??

  10. Hi, first time user of this recipe and I’m really happy with it. I think its really good for crusting. Not so keen on the sweetness of the recipe myself but I only put some salt and not lemon in it. Will see what my captive audience (ie work colleagues) think of the flavour on Monday!

  11. Sky987 –
    I quit using vanilla extract altogether, and now use vanilla flavored coffee syrup (I prefer the Torani brand, available at most supermarkets in the coffee aisle). I find that I get a much stronger vanilla flavor, with the added bonus that it is clear so it doesn’t discolor my icing. I HATE the taste of the clear vanilla substitute, so this has saved me as far as icing goes. I substitute it for vanilla extract in all my batters and icings, and haven’t noticed any difference beyond better/stronger flavor and no discoloration.

    I also use other Torani flavors and they all turn out excellent. The only ones I don’t like are the sugar-free versions. No surprise there!

    Hopefully you’ll get this tip in time for your cake. Good luck!

  12. This is my fourth type of butter cream frosting. I’m trying a bunch to find my favorite. Unfortunately, this is not the one. It tastes a lot like the Wilton butter cream frosting recipe…too much like Crisco. It might be helped by using high ratio shortening, but I didn’t want to wasted mine on an experimental treat. A bit sweet for me…I even tried to add in some salt. Easy recipe to make, just doesn’t suit my tastes. I guess that’s why there are so many recipes out there for the same things.

  13. This is the best BC recipe I have ever tried! So happy I found “the one”. Very easy to make. Crusted perfectly and quickly (no refrigeration required to help it set up. I crumb coated it and took a break for less than 2 minutes to get a drink, and it was already crusted enough to use the Viva method to smooth). I was nervous to try it because I normally don’t like all crisco based butter creams, but this one was perfect. Great flavor (I used 1 tbsp vanilla and 1 tbsp butter flavor) and no greasy aftertaste. I also did not have clear vanilla on hand and no time to go to the store, but the icing still came out almost perfectly white with no need to add white food coloring.

  14. Wow!! I am very impressed with this recipe. I just got done making a “practice” cake with this recipe & I have to say it is definatley THE BEST buttercream I have ever used. It crusts better than any other recipe I’ve tried. Thanks Indydebi!!!

  15. It’s HOT in Minnesota so I just whipped up a batch of this yummy BC. I like to use SMBC, but it just doesn’t work in our summer heat & humidity. This recipe is my #1 summer BC. Thank you Indydebi!!

  16. This is the worst recipe I have ever used! I literally sat through a wedding ceremony and watched this frosting fall off the sides of the cake and land on the table. How humiliating and costly. I lost $400 on this recipe. I did learn something though, I learned not to trust or try a new recipe on something so important.

  17. I have been testing this recipe for a couple of weeks. The first trial round I made it exactly to the recipe’s specifications. I could only get a thin or medium consistency and not the stiff consistency needed for more complex decorations. So the next time round I decided to “tweak” it a bit and see if I couldn’t get what I wanted. I adusted the powdered sugar a bit and added some and was able to get a stiffer consistency but still wasn’t quite pleased with it so I decided to add 2 tbsp of meringue powder (which is powdered egg whites and cornstarch) and got what I wanted. Just as stiff as the Wilton BC recipe that is my old stand-by and the flowers held up. Of course husband said it was still too sweet so I added 1/4 tsp salt (dissolved in the milk) and got exactly what I needed. I only wish that I could teach my students this recipe but unfortunately as a Wilton instructor I am only allowed to teach them the Wilton recipe. My cake customers raved for this too, although they also raved about my stand-by too so it’s too early to tell. I am testing this on some star-fill cakes next week to see if it performs as well as the other recipe.

    As for flavorings, I decided to try this in chocolate and added 2/3 cup un-sweetened cocoa powder with good results. Generally I only use clear vanilla extract for flavoring on all of my BC unless a customer requests a different one which generally they don’t. I might try it with a citrus flavor as some of my students have had great sucess with them in the Wilton BC recipe.

  18. I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for so long, but I probably wouldn’t use it again. I’m just glad I tried this before doing it on a wedding cake. The flavor was overly sweet and artificial. Not sure how it will hold up but it’s for an inside birthday party. I also found it to be quite soft,I used just under the minimum liquid and it was still really soft.

  19. I have read most of the feedback. Good and bad. It always amazes me how negative people can be. Who would use a recipe they’ve never tried on a cake order??? Mind blowing. I am thankful for the people who share their go to recepies. I try lots of recipes…some work for me and some don’t.

    I was searching for a crusting buttercream that would hold up in moderate heat to use on cupcakes for a bake sale. I’m not a huge BC fan so my expectations on taste we’re not high. I must say that this recipe was PERFECT for what I was looking for!! It crusted beautifully and I even liked how it tastes! I will definitely use this recipe again! Thanks for sharing Indydebi :)

  20. I really liked working with this buttercream. it crusted well and was easy to smooth using the Melvira method. BUT I found it tooth-achingly sweet. Not the perfect icing for those that don’t like really sweet icing (I prefer buttercream dream).

  21. Would I be able to use Whip It instead of Dream Whip? I’m looking for something that is going to hold up in heat & humidity.
    Dream Whip looks like a whipped topping while whip it is a stabilizer.

  22. Not sure what Whip It is. If it is a powder that you add milk to and then beat it (with a mixer) until it becomes a whipped cream, then it should be a good substitute. In this recipe, though, you use the Dream WHip in its powder form. You do not convert it to a whipped cream.

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