Please Help!!! Grainy Buttercream, No Matter What I Do!!

Baking By neda_la Updated 5 Nov 2012 , 11:23am by AnnieCahill

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neda_la Posted 3 Nov 2012 , 3:57pm
post #1 of 10

Hello everyone,

I have searched everywhere and found different solutions to grainy buttercream. But none of them have solved my problem, and I still have a very sweet and grainy buttercream!!

Please help, I keep hearing, your cake is lovely but what is this grainy feeling under the teeth??

Many thanks in advance!!

9 replies
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kakeladi Posted 3 Nov 2012 , 10:37pm
post #2 of 10

How long are you mixing the icing?  What recipe did you use?  What kind of powdered sugar are you using?

There are as many reasons as there are recipe for the problem.  You really need more information.


Make sure to use a *good brand* of sugar that is cane sugar NOT beet sugar.

Mix at least 5 minutes - even 10 is better once all the ingredients are added.


From the way your post is worded I get the feeling you are not in the U.S.  Are you using powdered sugar and not granular?  You mention icing is sweet - that is the nature of icing!  It is meant to be sweet.  You can try adding a pinch of salt - some people think that helps cut the sweetness.

What hints have you tried for solving the problem?   Your post really doesn't give us many clues to be more specific.

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neda_la Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 3:35am
post #3 of 10

Hi Kakeladi,

Thanks for the reply.

I mix the icing for at least 15 mins after the whole icing sugar is added. I use the wilton recipe( 100gr. butter, 100gr. crisco, 1 pound icing sugar and some milk or water. I have used two different icing sugars, one is called SIS, and the other one is whitworths. SIS is made from 100% pure sugar cane!(that's exactly what's written on it)

And no, I don't live in the US.

Both brands are icing sugars.

And I also used some popcorn salt to cut out the sweetness but it's still very sweet. Is there any other recipes as easy as the wilton BC that is not as sweet?


Many many thanks again!

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mayatlan Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 4:19am
post #4 of 10



I had that same problem before and In my country - Australia - we have : Pure Icing Sugar and Soft Icing Sugar... with the first one my bc was always grainy.... the second one was perfect but I still have to  mix it for a good 10/15 minutes and add warm milk.....


Just an idea.... hope it will help you....

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AnnieCahill Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 10:45am
post #5 of 10



Is this something new you're experiencing or has it always been gritty ever since you started making it?  To me, anything made with icing/powdered sugar has a "bite" to it.  I wouldn't describe it as sandy or gritty, but there is definitely a "bite" from the powdered sugar.


If it's something new you're experiencing, did you switch ingredients? 


To cut the sweetness, I always add a good 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice and a heaping teaspoon of popcorn (fine) salt.  You can't taste the lemon.  I also use hot whipping cream to thin. 



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neda_la Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 12:00pm
post #6 of 10

Hi Anna,

Thanks for the reply!

I haven't changed anything at all! And yes it is gritty! You can definitely feel a grainy texture...


I could not find pop corn salt here, so yesterday I dissolved table salt in water and added it to the buttercream. Personally I didn't feel any change in the sweetness! I just felt a bit of saltiness on my tongue!


And if you put cream/milk in BC should you store the cake in the fridge? I live in a very hot place, and can't afford to place my cakes outside if it has cream cheese filling or fresh whipped cream!

That's the reason I normally use buttercream.(wilton recipe, using water)

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Lovelyladylibra Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 2:48pm
post #7 of 10

The grain you are feeling is coming from the Crisco.


I know because for a while I was using a different brand of shortening (not high ratio, it was just another brand of shortening that I wish I could remember the name since my local grocery store no longer carries it!) After switching to smbc I no longer needed to buy the shortening until one day I had some very last minute cupcakes to do, all i had in my cabinet was crisco so I used it. I tasted the buttercream and low and behold it had an odd gritty feeling to it that could only be the crisco because I made that american buttercream exactly as I do every time i make american buttercream.


SOOOO long story short switch shortenings, it doesn't have to be high ratio, just full fat. hth

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neda_la Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 3:22pm
post #8 of 10

Can either of you ladies be kind enough to tell me on what speed you beat the buttercream? Every time after pouring the icing sugar I beat it on the fastest speed for maybe 5 mins, and then add some sugar on low speed and then change to the highest speed.

I was reading somewhere that over beating the BC can give the gritty texture!

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ycknits Posted 4 Nov 2012 , 3:34pm
post #9 of 10

I always use pure cane sugars in my baking. One time I tried the 10x powdered sugar that Costco sells. It was a large bag, the price was great, and I'm almost always delighted with Costco products. I made one batch of my standared PS icing and threw the rest of the bag of PS away. As someone mentioned, the starch content of PS varies from brand to brand. The icing that I'd made was horribly grainy (despite the 10X) and it had a "paste-like" taste... I assume from the starch in the PS. I was disappointed because I thought I was going to save alot of money :(


In trying different recipes, I've concluded that those incorporating a warm/hot liquid end up being much less grainy. But any PS icing will always have at least a slight grainy "feel." If you want a perfectly smooth feel, use one of the amazing SMBC or IMBC icing recipes.

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AnnieCahill Posted 5 Nov 2012 , 11:23am
post #10 of 10

I beat my fat for 15 minutes with the salt.  It seriously looks like sour cream.  Then I add in the vanilla and lemon juice.  If your BC tasted salty then the salt wasn't fully dissolved.  Beat it with the fat right from the start.  Then add in your sifted powdered sugar.  Sifted!  After that, you can add a small amount of hot liquid (cream, milk, water, whatever).  I truthfully don't beat it very long after everything is incorporated.  Maybe five minutes.  I know people let their mixers go for longer than that, but to me that just incorporates a crapload of air that you have to smooth out when you're icing the cake.


I usually refrigerate my cakes to make them easier to transport, but you are using such a small amount of dairy here that it's probably unnecessary to refrigerate it.  For what it's worth I usually use Crisco or some other brand of shortening (only one cup to two cups of butter) and I have never experienced grit in any shortening.  I don't even know how that's possible.  Maybe it's because I'm beating it longer right from the start.

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