Ermine Frosting

Ermine frosting is light, creamy and made with cooked flour as a thickening agent. Often referred to as flour frosting or boiled milk frosting. 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 50 oz
ermine frosting

Ermine frosting is light, fluffy and not too sweet

Ermine frosting (also called roux frosting or boiled milk frosting) is made by cooking flour and sugar with milk to make a sweet paste. This paste is then whipped into softened butter until light and fluffy. Vanilla and salt is added for flavoring.

ermine frosting

This might sound like a bizarre process (it did to me at first) but it’s actually a delicious frosting! Ermine frosting reminds me a lot of that frosting that you find in a ding dong or twinkie. Very light and almost like whipped cream

This frosting does not have eggs in it so it’s a fantastic alternative to Swiss Meringue Buttercream if you want a light frosting but can’t have eggs. 

What does ermine frosting taste like?

Ermine frosting actually tastes really good! I admit making the roux did not seem very appetizing but after I gave it a taste, I could see why ermine frosting is the traditional frosting used with red velvet cake. It’s so good!

The frosting is super smooth and creamy. A nice light vanilla flavor and no hint of a flour taste. I promise. 

 ermine frosting piped into rosettes on a cake

How do you make ermine frosting?

Making ermine frosting is actually pretty simple. 

  1. Combine your flour and sugar in a medium sized saucepan and toast on medium high heat for a couple of minutes to cook the flour.
  2. Add in your milk and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce to medium heat. Cook until the mixture thickens. Make sure you stir constantly to prevent the milk from burning. 
  3. Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic touches the surface of the mixture) and let cool. I put mine in the fridge. 
  4. Place your butter in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attached. Whisk until light and fluffy. 
  5. Add your flour mixture into your butter a little at a time. I used a spoon but you can also use a piping bag or measuring cup. 
  6. Add in your vanilla and salt and you’re done!

Does ermine frosting need to be refrigerated?

This frosting can be left at room temperature for 6 hours as long as it’s not too hot. You shouldn’t have any buttercream in high heat anyway. Because it does contain milk then leftovers should be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to 6 months. Similar to cream cheese frosting. 

Ermine frosting should be eaten at room temperature. Bring your cake out of the fridge for an hour or two before consuming. 

ermine frosting piped on a while velvet cupcake

Can you use ermine frosting under fondant?

This frosting is definitely firm enough to be used under fondant but I prefer to use it as a filling and use a firmer frosting like my easy buttercream for the outside. 

You can also pipe ermine frosting easily. 


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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

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5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

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ermine frosting

Ermine Frosting

Ermine frosting is light, creamy and made with cooked flour as a thickening agent. Often referred to as flour frosting or boiled milk frosting. 
4.89 from 285 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves: 50 oz
Calories: 107kcal


Ermine Frosting Ingredients

  • 14 oz (397 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 oz (85 g) flour
  • 16 oz (454 g) whole milk
  • 16 oz (454 g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Ermine Frosting Instructions

  • Whisk together your flour and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes to toast the flour. Be careful not to burn it!
  • Slowly add in your milk, whisk to combine, and bring your heat to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisk continuously until it is thick and pudding-like. Once it's simmering, cook for one minute more.
  • (Optional) If your mixture has any lumps, place a colander on top of a heat-proof bowl and push your mixture through and into the bowl.
    Transfer the mixture into a heat-proof bowl. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap so that it is touching the surface without any air bubbles in between, this will prevent a skin from forming on the top of the mixture. Let cool in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight.
    You can also transfer the mixture to a sheet pan, spread it out, cover it with plastic, and put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes to cool faster.
    Make sure the mixture is completely cool or it will melt your butter.
  • Add your softened butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on high until very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Once the butter is fluffy, place the cooled flour mixture into a piping bag and slowly pipe it into your butter as your whip. Incorporating slowly ensures a smooth buttercream. 
  • Add in your vanilla and salt, then mix until everything is creamy. Use it to frost your cooled cake. This buttercream will set quickly, so it's best used immediately.


  1. After your ermine frosting is fluffy and white, you can whip in 1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder to make this chocolate.
  2. Make sure your flour mixture is completely cool before making your frosting
  3. Ermine frosting does not work well the next day. It's best to use it right after you make it as it tends to "set" and not stay creamy. 
  4. Ermine frosting is not ideal for using under fondant because it is very soft but it is great for using it as a filling between layers. 


Serving: 2oz | Calories: 107kcal (5%) | Carbohydrates: 9g (3%) | Fat: 7g (11%) | Saturated Fat: 4g (20%) | Cholesterol: 20mg (7%) | Sodium: 16mg (1%) | Potassium: 15mg | Sugar: 8g (9%) | Vitamin A: 240IU (5%) | Calcium: 13mg (1%) | Iron: 0.1mg (1%)
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Ermine frosting made from boiled milk, flour, sugar and vanilla is light, fluffy and very much like whipped cream in texture. Ermine frosting is a traditional frosting that is typically paired with red velvet cake and is not very sweet which makes it very popular

231 comments on “Ermine Frosting

  1. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! I don’t love Swiss Buttercream’s texture and American buttercream is too sweet, this was perfection! I made a vanilla cake with pineapple filling and frosted with the Ermine frosting, so good.

  2. I have been looking for a recipe such as this. I need to bake and frost gluten free for my wife who is a celiac. Can I substitute corn starch instead of AP flour to make the ermine frosting?

    1. 5 stars
      I too cannot have wheat. I’m not celiac, I’m just allergic to wheat, along with peanuts and many other things, anywho. Given the date of your question, you have likely already figured something out for your wife’s cake, but if you make it in the future, i used 85 grams of King Arthur’s cup4cup flour, Namaste cup4cup flour will also work; however, don’t be fooled by the cup4cup. It is crucial to weigh the gluten free flour versus using a measuring cup since gluten free flour weighs more. I know some people already know this, but many aren’t aware and just think since it says cup4cup, it measures up the same as regular flour. Mine took longer to toast the flour, could be due to it being gluten free, but I had no problem with it thickening up at all. Worked out great!

  3. Can sprinkles be incorporated into the ermine frosting? I can’t seem to find any info on this and knew you’d be the one to ask! Thanks!!

  4. Hello,
    Can i add pistachio butter or strawberry puree to the frosting ? or it will be too runny?

  5. Thanks do much for sharing. I’ve been looking for a frosting recipe for cupcakes that is not too dense and sweet. This sounds like what I’ve been looking for.
    How long can I make this frosting ahead of time? How do I store it? Should I pipe it on the cupcake and store in the fridge or pipe it on the day of?
    What type of flour is it? Cake flour or all purpose?
    Thank you

    1. It’s the best right after you whip it. So you can make your flour mixture ahead of time and let it cool then make your frosting right before you need to use it. Store in the fridge or at room temp, doesn’t matter 🙂 I used regular all purpose flour

  6. Hello, wondering what you do with the icing after it has been frozen to use it? Should it be whipped up again?

  7. Can I make ermine frosting ahead – maybe two days ahead?

  8. 5 stars
    Hi – I tried this recipe & it tastes amazing. Finally found an alternate to the extra sweet American buttercream. Thank you.

    My frosting was a bit runny though. You think it could be cause of the butter which was a bit soft initially even though at RT. How can I stiffen the buttercream?

    Thank you

  9. Hi Liz, can I use 2% milk instead of whole or will it affect the texture?

  10. I’m making my son’s cake using this frosting, will it work if i make the cake a day before the party and bring it out of the fridge 2 hours before serving it?
    Also, will and edible paper sheet stick to it?

  11. 5 stars
    This is the recipe for red velvet icing my mom always made! Absolutely lovely ! I am making a 3 tier wedding cake of white and red velvet and my friend wants this icing. Is it possible to make it in a larger batch? How long can iced layers be left in the fridge ?

    1. Yes you can definitely make a larger batch, I wouldn’t leave a cake for more than three days in the fridge because it dries out but the frosting won’t go bad

  12. Hi, are the ingredients for this recipe by weight or by volume? I’m hoping to make this for today. Thank you!

  13. Do you know if coconut milk can be subsituted for milk in this recipe?

  14. I made thie frosting and it was really good, after frosting the sheetcake and I refrigeratored it overnight and frosting had cracked. What do you think went wrong. Please help me…I need to use this frosting recipe for my granddaughters wedding cake in January 2020

  15. Can i add melted room temperature white chocolate into the frosting?? Please send help!! I need to make my mum her birthday cake in a weeks time!!

  16. Can I use white chocolate with this? I need to make a white chocolate buttercream?

    1. I have not tested using cream cheese in this recipe so I’m not sure if it would work 🙂 If you do try it, I would replace half the butter with cream cheese and make sure it’s room temp. Cream together then add in the flour mixture. But it might curdle

  17. How long can this be left out on the counter after made? I want to make the frosting today and then put it on the cake tomorrow. Can i leave the frosting sit at room temperature?

  18. Hi,

    Thank you for this recipe ?.
    Can we add cream cheese to this frosting to make it cream cheese ermine frosting?
    Thanks in advance!

  19. 5 stars
    This is the best, not very sweet, frosting. I substituted eggnog for the milk, added a little bit (1/2 tsp) of nutmeg to the flour mixture and topped eggnog cupcakes with it. I remember my momma making this icing, she used 1/2 butter and 1/2 shortening. Thank you Liz for sharing.

  20. 2 stars
    Today I tried this for the first time, I was very disappointed with the outcome. I could not get the consistency to be smooth and creamy it was more like curdled, something like ricotta cheese. I whipped and I whipped oh, then I went to the paddle. Maybe that would help and no, no change at all. However it tasted amazing it was very light, but completely useless for putting on layered cake. I ended up keeping the batch, some in the fridge, some in the freezer, so that my hubby could quickly throw some on a cupcake. But it certainly would not be able to pipe as it just laid someone flat and spreading and it’s little cottage cheese texture. It’ll just have to be spooned on and eating right away. I can’t imagine anything that I did wrong I followed the directions completely and fully.
    I started thinking afterwards I’ll stick with Swiss meringue buttercream for now for cake, and if I want to light tasting whipped frosting I can just use stabilized whipped cream.
    I am glad that I tried it, because I’ve always wondered if it could replace Swiss meringue buttercream in my kitchen.

    1. Hi Lynne, sorry you couldnt get the recipe to work for you. The reason the buttercream curdled is because you added the flour mixture into the butter mixture too quickly. I’ve had it happen to me too. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  21. Hi. Can you colour this frosting? Will the colour show or be as alive like a coloured American Butter cream?

  22. Hi! How long does it take to cool after mixing flour and sugar and milk? Thank you!

  23. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe super easy to make and even more easy to work with!!! Thanks a million!

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