This is a standard shortening-based American buttercream which I tweaked about 10 years ago and have been giving to my Wilton students ever since, as well as use on all cakes that I do which requires pure white buttercream icing. The change in Crisco’s formulation to become trans fat free never made any difference in this icing recipe. This recipe produces a medium consistency buttercream, perfect for icing your cake. It crusts beautifully and is very easy to smooth using the Viva paper towel method. This recipe may be doubled, tripled, and quadrupled by simply scaling the ingredient amounts upwards.

Cakepro’s Buttercream with Trans Fat Free Crisco


  • 1 cup white all-vegetable shortening (not butter, margarine, or butter-flavored Crisco) (190 g)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar – measured by weight, not by volume (454 g)
  • 3 Tbsp. water or milk – use milk if you want to color your icing violet (water will make violet icing stay blue)
  • 1 tsp Wilton clear vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Wilton butter extract/flavor
  • ½ tsp Wilton almond extract
  • ¼ tsp salt (do not omit! It’s important for flavor development and must be dissolved in liquid)


    Mix liquids together and add salt. Stir to dissolve salt.

  1. Add shortening to mixer bowl and beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Add half of the sugar and half of the liquid ingredients and mix on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining sugar liquids; mix until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bowl thoroughly, and mix again briefly. Don’t overbeat your icing, as you do not want air bubbles in the icing. Store covered at room temperature. Total mixing time should be under 5 minutes, and never at higher than speed 3 or 4 on your stand mixer.
  2. For thin consistency icing, add 1 tsp. piping gel per cup of icing (this is for writing, outlining, stems, leaves, and techniques using tiny tips).
  3. For stiff consistency icing, add 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 tsp piping gel to 2 cups of icing (for roses and other flowers requiring upright petals). The addition of piping gel will smooth ragged petal edges.
  4. For chocolate buttercream icing (or to make brown icing without needing to use icing color), add 1/2 cup of sifted baking cocoa and an additional 2 Tbsp milk per single batch. You can add more or less baking cocoa to achieve desired color and flavor. To make black icing, start with a dark chocolate buttercream. You will use far less icing color and the chocolate will mask the bitter black icing color.
  5. It is highly recommended that you weigh your powdered sugar on a kitchen scale while you are learning to achieve the proper consistency of this icing. Bags of powdered sugar rarely exactly weigh 16 or 32 ounces, and a few ounces more or less of sugar in this recipe will alter its consistency.
  6. This icing keeps at room temperature. Refrigeration is not recommended. You can freeze it for long-term storage.
  7. Crisco Sticks are perfect to use in this recipe! They are pre-measured at 1 cup per stick, so there is no messy scooping of Crisco from a tub.
  8. Y0u may use regular vanilla extract in this recipe, but the icing will be slightly off-white. If you are going to color your icing, using regular vanilla extract will not alter your colors.
  9. Be sure to dissolve the salt in the liquid ingredients. Undissolved salt will result in little bleached spots in your colored icing, due to the salt dissolving very slowly in the shortening. It’s a really neat trick to use if you’re looking for polka-dotted icing, though! :)
  10. If you find that the recipe separates or if you live in a climate with high humidity, you may add 1/8 to 1/4 cup of cornstarch to this recipe.
  11. Questions or comments?


My_Riyah Says... 11 Oct 2009 , 11:44am

This is the same recipe found in the wilton books without the meringue powder

mayne Says... 11 Jan 2010 , 8:56pm

can i use this to make roses if not what recipe can i use.

LesaVaughn Says... 9 Jun 2010 , 6:08am

Does the corn starch take the place of the meringue powder? How does it hold up in humidity? How stable is this with the new Crisco 0 transfat and dark colors? Thanks.

DebbyJG Says... 23 Jun 2010 , 3:24pm

ALL Crisco is trans-fat, even though the label now deceivingly says "trans fat free". Check the ingredients -- it's "Fully Hydrogenated Oil". Hydrogenated oil is just another way of saying "trans fats".

frizzyhead Says... 23 Jun 2010 , 11:38pm

Does anyone know if the vanilla extract has to be pure or can you use imitation?

shirley1956 Says... 14 Mar 2011 , 9:21pm

i would use pure

jenny518 Says... 24 Aug 2012 , 7:57pm

I just made this exactly as written, and my icing is VERY grainy. I think the trans fat-free does affect it. Can you think of anything I did wrong? I think I'm going to throw it out...

Katesacakin Says... 8 Sep 2012 , 6:20am

Jenny518--the brand of powdered sugar you use makes a huge difference in texture. I used off brand sugar once and never will again. It was very grainy. I use only Crisco for my BC and never have trouble with it causing a grainy texture.

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