Whipped Icing vs. Buttercream – What’s The Difference?

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Buttercream vs. whipped icing, which one is healthier? Cakes, cookies or cupcakes: you take any baked item, you will find a rich, fulfilling icing or cream on the top which not only enhances the taste but looks appealing. A baked item without frosting is like fries without mayo sauce.

Think about your favorite carrot cake and try to evaluate how it would be so partial without cream frosting on top. Well, now you must have enough idea about the importance of frosting and icing. Let’s begin with the two most commonly used frostings, whipped icing and buttercream.

Whipped icing and buttercream are quite similar yet apart. Just like all other frostings, these two are unique, fresh, enriched and fluffy. Both can be used as topping on cakes, brownies and pastries. The frosting makes the food more appealing and prettier.

So, the major difference between whipped icing and buttercream is ingredients, flavor, texture, usage and preservation time. Below, we have mentioned the following points that will help you guide better about buttercream and whipped icing.

Whipped Icing

If we talk about icing, it is prepared by mixing dry and wet ingredients. Powdered sugar and lemon juice are two major ingredients added as main additions and other side ingredients such as water or maple syrup as taste enhancers and consistent quality.

Whipped icing is prepared from two basic ingredients: powdered sugar and whipped cream. To enhance the stability, meringue powder is added. The cream is whipped using a stand mixer or beater until the cream is soft and light. Later the powdered sugar is added to give a sweet taste.

Nutritional Facts

The serving size of 32 grams of whipped icing contains:

  • 50 Kcal Total Calories
  • 5 g Fats
  • 0 mg Cholesterol
  • 20 mg Sodium
  • 8 Gram Carbs
  • 2 grams Proteins


Buttercream is prepared from butter, sugar, flavorings and milk. Buttercream is a tasty combo of shortening and butter. The original color of buttercream is white with a tint of yellow, although food colors are added to enhance the color.

There exist some variations related to buttercream, but American buttercream and meringue buttercream are the most famous ones. American buttercream is known to be as simple buttercream with a combination of fat and powdered sugar. The addition of egg, milk and milk solids are carried out to enhance the taste and thicken the consistency.

Similarly, the meringue buttercream is known as Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream. The making of this buttercream is simple as hot sugar syrup is added in egg whites and butter. The batter is mixed until soft and consistent. This kind of buttercream is stable and airy.

Nutritional Facts

The serving size of 32 grams of buttercream frosting contains:

  • 143 kcal total calories
  • 7 grams Fats
  • 19 mg Cholesterol
  • 27 mg Sodium
  • 5 mg Potassium
  • 20-gram Carbs
  • 2 grams Proteins

So, What’s the Difference between Whipped Icing and Buttercream?

If you are interested in baking so might always wonder about getting the perfect frosting as the topping of your cakes, cupcakes, cookies, waffles etc., topping is the most important part of baking as it enhances the taste and appearance of the food item. Buttercream and whipped icings are the two major frostings used, and it’s very necessary to differentiate between them both.


The ingredients of both buttercream and whipped icing are various. American buttercream is prepared using powdered sugar, shortening, milk, butter, and other flavorings. While on the other hand, whipped icing is prepared using heavy cream, powdered sugar and meringue powder for stability.


The recipe for buttercream preparation is solely by the whipping of fats either with the combination of shortening and butter mixture or just butter. The whipping process is carried out until you get a fluffy and light appearance. The addition of milk, in the end, makes the fat moisten, and slowly powdered sugar is added for enhancement.

On the other hand, whipped icing is prepared by the addition of chilled or cold whipped cream, which is mixed until the cream is soft and fluffy. Later the addition of powder sugar enhances the taste. The color of the whipping cream remains pastel, which shows its freshness.

Texture & Flavor

The buttercream texture is smooth, creamy and spreadable, along with the sweet and buttery taste. Mostly buttercream is added to chocolates, fruits and extracts, where it blends in well and enhances the consistency. Buttercream is quite spreadable, which makes it better than whipping icing.

Talking about the whipping cream, which has a delicate texture, is smooth and airy. But it is not as spreadable as buttercream, and the only reason this includes is the air bubble presence during whipping. The taste of whipped icing is creamy and enriched.


Buttercream is used mainly for decorative purposes such as frosting on cupcakes, cakes and cookies. As it has a thick consistency, one can mold it into various shapes and use it to write on cakes such as Happy Birthday slogans, etc. a pro point of buttercream is that it stays well under high temperature and remains fresh for a longer time period.

Whipped icing is also used on cakes and cupcakes, and frosting to use solely depends on one’s liking. For your information, we would like to add another point, whipping icing is light and delicate with not so thick consistency. People who want to keep the topping light mostly prefer whipping icing. Whipping cream doesn’t remain fresh and stable under high temperatures; that’s why whipping icing is also done after the baking process.


Lastly, as mentioned above, buttercream remains fresh for a long duration, and one can place it in an airtight container and freeze it for later use. One can use refrigerated buttercream for about two weeks. One exposed to room temperature should be consumed within the two to three days limit.

On the other hand, whipped cream can’t be preserved for a longer duration as it is made from whipped cream. It should be consumed within twenty-four hours; otherwise, it will lose its freshness. If not in use, refrigerate the whipping icing and utilize it in two days.