Why Does My Buttercream Always Have Grainy Texture?

Baking By nikkigonzalez Updated 26 May 2015 , 1:55am by gscout73

nikkigonzalez Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 3:53am
post #1 of 39

I have tried multiple buttercream recipes which are almost all the same and they taste good but always have a grainy(if thats a word) texture when i taste it and I always assume it is all the powdered sugar. I have left it mixing for minutes at a time thinking the longer it mixes the smoother it will come out but it doesnt? What am I doing wrong? I even sift the powdered sugar.

38 replies
scp1127 Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 5:25am
post #2 of 39

I feel the same way. I do not like the powdered sugar icings. Check out the discussions on IMBC, SMBC, and french buttercreams. You will like these. They all use granulated sugar that has been melted.

TexasSugar Posted 30 Mar 2011 , 3:30pm
post #3 of 39

Are you using a brand name powder sugar or a generic/store brand. If it is a store brand it could be that the sugar is not made from pure cane sugar, but rather beet sugar. Beet sugar will give you a grainy/gritty texture.

Look at the ingredients, if it says cane or pure cane sugar, then you shouldn't have problem. If it just says sugar, then it is probably beet sugar.

scp1127 Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 2:51am
post #4 of 39

I use Domino's. I just don't like the texture, but I am a minority... it sounds like many people like it.

caymancake Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 3:25am
post #5 of 39

Do you sift your powdered sugar? Maybe sifting it twice may help!

SweetArt Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 4:16am
post #6 of 39

A poor quality shortening can also cause this problem. I tried multiple brands of shortening and powdered sugar before finding a good combination.

Also, if the brand you are using recently changed the look of their label, there's a good chance they changed their formula too. You may have to make adjustments to a recipe that used to work great. The last time my shortening brand did this, my icing started separating and looking (& tasting) grainy. I changed brands and the problem went away.

ConfectionsCC Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 4:32am
post #7 of 39

crisco, and now, most store brand shortenings are using 0 trans fats now. That for me was the cause of the grainy texture, not the sugar! (secretly half the time I would not sift at all and still get smooth icing! shh don't tell, the pros might chew me out for that!! LOL) I bought some hi ratio from a kitchen supply store and WOW did it make a difference!! Sounds like its not your sugar, its your shortening, and if you are using an American bc recipe, its going to be that way if you don't use the hi ratio! For me, its actually CHEAPER than the walmart brand when you do price per unit! I buy crisco for like $6 for 3lbs, spent $43 on 50 LBS!!!

K1976 Posted 31 Mar 2011 , 4:35am
post #8 of 39

Ditto. Hi ratio shortening.

Cakesue Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 4:09am
post #9 of 39

My secret is to reduce the sugar and add more at the end if needed but if you've gone too far then put some more shortening in and beat for about 3 more minutes. I live in a dry climate and that's what I have blamed it one. (another secret (Dont tell anyone) is I add Chocolate Nestle Quick into my chocolate buttercream. Smooths it right out!
Mmmm Mmmm Good!

Apti Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 5:32am
post #10 of 39

I'm with the others. First, use PURE CANE sugar. Second, use High Ratio Shortening. HUGE difference if you are going for American Buttercream.

scp1127 Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 6:12am
post #11 of 39

I still taste it with Domino's and high ratio. I think it's a personal preference. I think it's the powdered sugar. I don't like it on cakes in a glaze too. I can taste it there. I think powdered sugar, with its small granules, still packs a powerful punch of a sweetness blast. Coupled with the fact that the powder is dry may be the issue. Comparatively, I think cocoa powder in frostings makes the same texture. Kind of a stick-to-your tongue dryness even in a moist frosting. Dairy, such as milk, cream cheese, and butter seem to help the texture. Possibly adding a little milk, but not enough to affect the shelf stable status, may help the texture.

mo63 Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 10:55am
post #12 of 39

I find that if your butter or cream cheese is not at the correct temperature it can cause grainyness. I always make sure it is at room temperature now.

sweetcakesbyjen Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 12:28pm
post #13 of 39

I don't usually have this problem, but last weekend I made 3 double batches of icing, and it came out grainy, and I use Domino and Hi-Ratio shortening. I got on CC to check out some other buttercream icings and was reading the comments on some of them, and some were asking about that 'gritty' texture. Someone responded back to mix the sugar in slowly... It got me to thinking that I did mix my sugar in in amounts that were just about doubled what I usually do because I was in a hurry, so I am thinking that has something to do with it as well as what others have said.

All4Show Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 8:06pm
post #14 of 39

Try getting whatever liquid you are using in your recipe really hot. I either use S. Zambito's or Indydebi's recipe depending on if I have Hi-Ratio or not. I get my water or milk really hot and make sure my coffee creamer or Dream whip is totally dissolved in the liquid before adding it to the ps. Ditto on the double sifting if you still have trouble.

jgifford Posted 11 Apr 2012 , 8:25pm
post #15 of 39

Well, I guess I'm in the minority. I can't use anything perishable, so my bc is strictly shortening, ps and flavorings. But - - I use only really hot water for the liquid. Normally I use crisco, but I've used store brand shortening and ps, sifted and not sifted, and I've never had an issue with it tasting grainy. icon_confused.gif Does this mean I'm not doing it right?

annakat444 Posted 13 Apr 2012 , 3:53am
post #16 of 39

Experiment with different brands of powdered sugar and see if it makes a difference...the lady who taught my cake class said she doesn't like Domino powdered sugar because it is too grainy. She said right now, WalMart brand powdered sugar is working well.

sugarpixy Posted 13 Apr 2012 , 10:56am
post #17 of 39
Originally Posted by nikkigonzalez

I have tried multiple buttercream recipes which are almost all the same and they taste good but always have a grainy(if thats a word) texture when i taste it and I always assume it is all the powdered sugar. I have left it mixing for minutes at a time thinking the longer it mixes the smoother it will come out but it doesnt? What am I doing wrong? I even sift the powdered sugar.

The longer you mix it the grainier it will become. Buttercream should only be mixed for a few seconds ( no more than 20 seconds) Try adding 1 table spoon of cornstarch of each cup of fat and it will be super smooth icon_biggrin.gif

kakeladi Posted 13 Apr 2012 , 7:27pm
post #18 of 39

.........have left it mixing for minutes at a time thinking the longer it mixes the smoother it will come out but it doesnt? What am I doing wrong? I even sift the powdered sugar.....
.........The longer you mix it the grainier it will become. Buttercream should only be mixed for a few seconds ( no more than 20 seconds) ..........

I *TOTALLY!* dissagree that icing should only be mixed for a few seconds icon_sad.gif

I feel the OP's problem is a combination of brands of shortening & sugar.
Here's a recipe for you to try. It is smooth and creamy and pipes just wonderfully

2 of everything icing
2C butter, softened to room temp
2 C shortening (I always used Crisco)
2 pounds powder sugar
2 Tablespoons flavoring - see note at end

Mix together shortening and butter for 5 minutes; add about 1/3 of the sugar and mix for 5 minutes; repeat until all sugar is incorporated. Add flavoring along w/last batch of sugar.
NOTE: Flavoring is a very personal thing. It can be any that pleases your taste budsicon_smile.gif
I prefere to mix together 1 part vanilla; 1/2 part butter flavor and 1/4 part almont extract.
A "part" can be *any* measure you want - be it teaspoons, Tablespoons, cups or gallonsicon_smile.gif Just be sure to keep the ratio.

this icing does NOT crust. If you want one that does simply reduct the butter and shortening by 1/2 cup (each) OR reduce the shortening by 1 cup OR reduce the butter by 1 cup.

indydebi Posted 14 Apr 2012 , 6:00pm
post #19 of 39

I agree with kakelady .... TOTALLY disagree that it should be mixed only a few seconds. I used to turn on the mixer, then go outside my shop for a smoke break or go next door to the Dollar General store and visit with the ladies there for awhile.

Here's my unscientific but based on experience logic: If you only beat the icing for a few seconds, then you are not pulverizing the fat. you end up with larger than needed fat particles that can leave air holes in the icing, not to mention the chance of someone biting into a fat particle and tasting pure fat! Yuk! I wanted to run my mixer so long that the fat stood no chance of being anything but creamy soft and smooth.

running the mxier for just a few seconds barely gives anything time to mix at all.

Yeah ..... I'm with kakelady on this one, for sure.

KimmW Posted 21 Apr 2012 , 4:17pm
post #20 of 39

I had that problem with my BC and found out that it was because I was adding the pwd. sugar too quickly. Try adding it 1/2 c. at a time, making sure it's mixed in before adding the next 1/2 c. until it's all gone. It did the trick for me.


lunna74 Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 9:56pm
post #21 of 39

i added a little more butter am its not graney, its nice and smooth.

Lillerips Posted 27 Jan 2013 , 11:11pm
post #22 of 39

I have the same problem with my buttercream. The flavour is good but the texture is grainy... I will have to try some of the tips some of you have given!

mo63 Posted 16 Mar 2013 , 9:54am
post #23 of 39

I am in the Uk and I use Lurpak butter for my buttercream. I have had this "grainy" texture problem a few times and found that it was because I was whisking the butter for too long before I added the icing sugar. The butter was really really soft probably to the extent that it was almost melting. I found that if I left the buttercream overnight in the fridge and then beat it up again the next day then it was fine. Hope this helps someone because I searched the net when it happened to me and ended up throwing the whole batch in the bin because I thought it was ruined.


As regards the mixing for only 20 seconds I totally disagree. I mix mine for about 10-15 mins and it comes out super smooth.

Nur3 Posted 17 Apr 2013 , 4:46pm
post #24 of 39

AThank you for all these comments, I have just made a batch of buttercream and it has turned out more grainy than ever!, mo63 I am surely going to try your advice, ad I have to agree with kakeladi as well.. Min.. 10-15min for beating the buttercream!

chocaholikk Posted 26 Jun 2013 , 11:48pm
post #25 of 39

AMine is grainy too. I use lurpak butter n silver spoon icing :(

Annabakescakes Posted 27 Jun 2013 , 12:00am
post #26 of 39

I use 12x powdered sugar, and mine is super smooth.

chocaholikk Posted 27 Jun 2013 , 5:54pm
post #27 of 39


raven88 Posted 28 Jun 2013 , 2:29am
post #28 of 39

AWhere do you find 12x sugar?

Canng Posted 20 Jun 2014 , 11:14pm
post #29 of 39

AI am pretty seasoned at baking and making buttercream icing. The grainy feeling has happened only one time to me. That was when I went away from my own method of mixing the icing up -- and followed the Wilton method where you add the milk AFTER the mixture is all mixed up and has a dry appearance.

I read somewhere else that it was from adding the liquid last. Bingo! I went back to my own way of mixing it all up and have not had a problem since. My method? Simple...simple add half the milk after you mix up the butter/crisco or whatever you use. Then adjust later in your mixing.

Zillah Posted 24 May 2015 , 12:15pm
post #30 of 39

I just had this experience last night:( I feel so bad now because I used it like that... I am new in this area and sometimes I am afraid to ruin something and that's what I do... The bc taste is good but is really grainy :/ I am scare about the comments of the people after see the cake :( Completely Disappointed with myself!

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