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 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%)
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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
    Hi Liz.
    I am from india and helping myself to learn baking. I m so greatful to u for white velvet cake recipe. I used a hand blender still it came out very beautiful n offcourse yummy.Thanks a alot again. Also, if u could just let me knw if preparing an ermine frosting in advance will give any problems in piping it ?
    Pl. Share vegan cake recioe if u have any.
    Lodz of luv

    1. The ermine frosting needs to be used right after it is made because it will set up and then will not be pipeable

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this for family & friends & they all love it! I am allergic to dairy (any animal milk) so I’ve tried a few different substitutions. Silk makes a dairy free half & half that was amazing in this recipe with vegan butter alternative. This will forever be my go to frosting, original recipe or dairy free!🙂

  3. I saw the notes but jus5 want t9 be sure I understand… are you saying if I have left over frosting and want to use it next day… it won’t fluff back up? If so why wha5 happens…does it split?

  4. Hi Liz! I just stumbled across this recipe I was looking for an alternative filling for a red velvet whoopie pie. Cream cheese is expensive and I live in a tropical country so the other types of buttercream is not suitable. So this is my dilemma after I have made my rv cookies I will pipe this filling to assemble the whoopie pie and then store it in the fridge? Would it be okay for both the cookies and filling. I will be selling this so Im making it like today then have it delivered tomorrow.

    1. You don’t have to store this in the fridge, you could wrap them in plastic wrap and store them until the next day 🙂

  5. Hi Liz , Can we make chocolate butter creme with this recipe as well ?

  6. Would it be okay to make up the roux a day or two before, and leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to whip it with the butter?

  7. Have you every made this with a sugar substitute or at least part sugar substitute and part regular sugar maybe? I have diabetics in my family and I’ve been looking for a way to make a frosting that’s more friendly for anyone who is watching their sugar intake but still want to eat what everyone else is eating.

    1. I haven’t but you should be able to replace sugar in baking recipes with something like swerve’s baking mix without problems

  8. 5 stars
    Hi Liz … I love this recipe and I’ve tried the chocolate one too …. I love the fact that’s its eggless and I would like to make a caramel flavoured frosting using and ermine frosting … how do you think I could go about doing it ?

    Thank you××

  9. 5 stars
    My grandma had a recipe for this frosting but it used shortening. I always had trouble with it. I’ve made this recipe 2 times and it is just beautiful! This time I added cocoa to make it chocolate, it was fabulous! Thank you. I’ve shared with my family so that others can pair it with grandma’s red velvet cake recipe like she would!

  10. 5 stars
    Seriously the best frosting ever! Made this to frost my sons birthday cake. I needed it to be blue so I added gel food coloring to the roux and did 4 oz shortening and 12 oz of butter. It frosted like a dream and I was able to get smooth edges! I also added some fondant decorations and it held up beautifully! Thank you Liz for another great recipe!

  11. This has been my go to frosting recipe eversince I tried it a year ago. It is less firm compared to swiss meringue, which makes it more challenging to frost my cakes, but the taste is so good it is worth it. I wonder why this frosting is not used by more cake business owners. Is it because this frosting has a shorter shelf life comapared to other buttercreams?

    1. Possibly! It’s a very old fashioned recipe so sometimes different frostings go in and out of style. It’s also not great underneath fondant either so maybe that’s why it’s not as popular.

  12. Thank you for the recipe.

    I was wondering if I could swap the granulated sugar for icing sugar?

    If yes, would i use the same amount in weight of icing sugar as you used for the granulated sugar?

    Sorry if this has already been asked and thank you very much for your reply.

  13. 5 stars
    Hi Liz! I am a huge fan of your work. God bless your hands and talent!

    How is it that you keep your cupcake wrappers and cupcakes themselves unbrowned while ensuring they are fully baked? I know this isn’t a frosting question, but your picture of cupcake up there is pristine… mine always come out brown, even if they cupcake itself is not overbaked.


  14. 5 stars
    Hi Liz, would this recipe be enough for the rainbow cake. I was thinking of only using it for the inside layers and then using american buttercream on the outside.

    1. Hi! Yes I think it would be plenty for the inside

  15. 5 stars
    I already try this recipe and my family loved it, even my grandparent does.

    Now, I want to make it coffee flavoured. Do you have any suggestions?
    Either I add my coffee mixture at end but I’m afraid it will get runny. Or add in the flour paste?

  16. 5 stars
    Hai Liz, this such a great recipe. I tried it and it was so good. My family loves it very much.

    Btw, Can I add flavours to this frosthing? Like coffee flavour. Do you have any suggestions?

  17. 5 stars
    I made this for a gift for a family member, it was absolutely Delicious! Thank you for the recipe 😍

  18. Love the frosting! What is the best frosting for piping? I have tried several kind but they were not stabilized enough

  19. I’m making this frosting and I did see that it DOSENT work well under fondant but DOES work well filling the layers so I was just wondering if I fill my cake the day before, will the frosting taste weird the next day after being refrigerated overnight?

    1. Nope, it will be just fine! Just make sure to bring your cake to room temperature by leaving it out for a few hours. The frosting and cake will have the best consistency at room temp.

  20. 5 stars
    I definitely prefer this to classic butter cream! I made the exact recipe for a classic vanilla birthday cake and it was very good just a touch too sweet still. So for the next cake (butter-less chocolate zucchini cake) I reduced the sugar called for taking off 1/3 of what was in the recipe and I doubled the vanilla and added a tiny bit more salt as well. It was out of this word.
    It is my new go to frosting recipe.

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