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. 


Cake Batter and Frosting Calculator

Select an option below to calculate how much batter or frosting you need. Adjust the servings slider on the recipe card to change the amounts the recipe makes.

Choose a pan type

Choose a cake pan size
(based on 2" tall cake pan)

Choose a cake pan size
(based on 2" tall cake pan)

Choose a cake pan size
(based on 2" tall cake pan)

Cupcake Tin Size

Choose number of pans

Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

Cups of Frosting Needed

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.

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
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 287 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%)
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @SugarGeekShow or tag #SugarGeek!

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
    I made this for my daughter’s birthday this week and it is the BEST frosting ever! My great aunt always made Ermine frosting and when she passed we got the recipe from her kitchen but it didn’t include directions just the ingredients. We couldn’t figure out why it never tasted like hers and didn’t know the name of the frosting to look up a different recipe. This is exactly her recipe but with the correct directions. I am thrilled with how creamy and delicious it is! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Do I put the flour, sugar, milk mixture in the fridge to cool off after cooking or leave out on the counter?

  3. Hi there, have you tried this with buttermilk? I only have 1% and i dont think there is enough fat to have the consistency. Can i mix the 1% milk with the buttermilk?

  4. This reply is for “Hollie” who was inquiring about using different flavours (I clicked on “reply” but nothing happened.) I have had success with coconut milk in place of regular milk, along with coconut extract instead of vanilla. My son loves all things lime so for his birthday I made lime cupcakes with coconut ermine frosting – it was very good. I then went one step further and did up some chocolate cupcakes and made a raspberry ermine by adding a small amount of raspberry juice (from frozen fruit) – they too were fantastic. Wish I had more occasions to make fancy cupcakes!
    The nice thing about this frosting is that you can put a nice pouf of it on a cupcake and it is not a mouthful of sugar like American buttercream.

  5. I just now realized that your recipe ingredients are in ounces and grams – why is that? Usually something only Europeans do – I don’t have time to weigh my ingredients today, or to look up conversions 🙁

    1. Hi Nancy, my recipes are in ounces and grams because I want the recipes to turn out for anyone who tries them. While cups are common in America, they cause a lot of problems with failed recipes and wasted ingredients. Especially in cake which requires exact measuring for flour. If you feel so inclined you can read up on why I really encourage the use of a scale. Much easier and more efficient than using cups for baking.

  6. Hi! I have 3 questions for this frosting…
    1) is it good to frost cupcakes
    2) can I add melted white chocolate to it?
    3) how well does it hold up to hot weather?

    1. Yes you can frost cupcakes. You can use any frosting for cupcakes. I have not tried adding melted chocolate and there isn’t any kind of buttercream that is good for hot weather. Butter melts 🙂 Always keep it out of the sun.

  7. Hi

    The recipe says that it’s not good to use the next day because it sets. Does that only apply to don’t make the frosting today if I’m going to frost a cake tomorrow? If I frost it immediately after making the cake, will it taste “non-creamy”on the cake the next day? I hope that makes sense.

    I made your Swiss meringue buttercream yesterday and I’ve never frosted with a smoother SMB before. It was great to work with. Can you tell me how this compares to SMB in terms of ease of frosting?

    Thank you for your recipes !

  8. Can I add like dice fruits as in strawberries? Mango? Kiwis? To it to make like strawberries Buttercream?

    1. If you add any fruit to buttercream it should be a reduction, not just chopped fruit or it will make the buttercream very soft/soupy

  9. I saw that you can make this chocolate frosting by adding cocoa powder. I have a ton of Cacao powder. Can I use that instead? The research I did said this…

    Cacao powder has a stronger flavor, so you’ll probably have to use less of it than you would cocoa powder.

    Cocoa powder does not absorb as much liquid as cacao powder, so you may have to use more or less liquid depending on what you’re substituting.

    Cocoa powder is less acidic, so it will not react with baking soda in the same way that cacao powder will. If you’re using cocoa (opt for natural cocoa over Dutch-processed) in a baking recipe that calls for cacao, you should probably also substitute baking powder for at least part of the baking soda.

    [ Found Here: ]

    1. Yes you can definitely add it to frosting 🙂 Add a little and see how it tastes. I typically add 1/4 cup of cocoa powder to my buttercream so maybe start with a few tablespoons

  10. Hey.

    I just wanted to know can I add caramel to thus frosting and also is it okay for me to add colouring or does it have to be white

  11. I made this and it tasted floury it was like the flour didnt have tine to cook out as it thickened too quickly

  12. Hi I used this recipe and I ended up with a soupy looking frosting

  13. 5 stars
    I made this last week, and it was SO DELICIOUS! Probably the best frosting I’ve ever had. The sweetness is cut way down, leaving room for the yummy vanilla flavor to come through.
    Do you use the whisk attachment the entire time? Or do you switch to the paddle at any point? My icing wasn’t stark white like I expected, so I’m wondering if it’s because I caramelized the sugar/flour a little, or maybe because I didn’t whip it long enough. At any rate, I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

  14. 5 stars
    This has been in my family for a half a century!! My grandmother’s famous frosting and it was always a secret. Three things we do differently: our roux is just flour and milk, we add the sugar when we beat it all together (which requires 10 whole minutes on high to beat down the sugar granules so I’ll be cooking my sugar from now on!). Also, we use margarine and shortening in place of butter- margarine for the butter flavor and shortening to stretch those flavors (margarine being very salty and yellow). The substitution for butter allows the cake to be at room temperature for days 🤣 Oh, the 1950s.
    I love butter, so I’ll be trying this next and keeping in the fridge. Can’t wait!

  15. Hi, is it possible to use this frosting for hand painting? Which buttercream would you recommend for hand painting? Thanks!

  16. Hey

    I tried this frosting. I added lemon zest to it. It taste divine. May be the best buttercream frosting I ever wanna eat now.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  17. We love this recipe and have been using it for years! one problem we have, is when we add food colouring, the icing tends to separate and be curdled. Any tips for when and how to add colouring?

    1. I have not tried adding color to this recipe, I would probably add color to the flour mixture ahead of time so that when you stir the cooled flour mixture in, the color is already in there

  18. Hi.
    Does this frosting crust? I’m a huge fan of your easy buttercream but I’m wanting to do a thin skim coat on a baked cake and I think a crusting buttercream would maybe provide a little more stability in the absence of fondant.

    Thank you

  19. I’m excited to try your recipe. I love ermine frosting and often use it as cake filling but lately every time I make it it curdles. It doesn’t really affect the taste but the texture changes slightly and it doesn’t look as nice. My recipe mixes the sugar with the butter instead of cooking it in the roux. Maybe doing it your way will help with the curdling? I’ve been trying to research the science as to why it curdles and I can’t figure it out. I’ll try your recipe tomorrow! If you have any ideas of why I’m getting curdling I would appreciate your thoughts. Thanks Liz!

  20. Hello Liz. I’m new in baking and I’m trying my hand in decorating cupcakes. Will this frosting be good in piping using different types of tips? I tried ABC, it did not hold its shape well plus it’s super sweet.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I would not suggest this for a beginner. Please check out my other recipes like easy buttercream and pay close attention to the instructions and the video

  21. This recipe is so good! Thank you so much for sharing! Do you know if you can FREEZE this frosting? Thanks so much!!!

  22. 5 stars
    Wonderful!! The best!! Haven’t made it in years. Forgot how easy it was to make.

  23. Hey there!! Just about to make this 🙂 Will it harden on the outside if frosted now and served in a couple days? I remember reading something about this before…..


    1. No, this is not a crusting frosting so it doesn’t harden. There’s no problem with serving a few days after you make it. Keep the cake refrigerated and then take it out of the fridge the morning you are going to serve it so that the cake has time to warm up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating