Cake Decorating Blog

You Won’t Believe This Creamy Buttercream Has NO Sugar

Whether they’re watching their waistlines or under doctor’s orders, your clients and customers will be pleasantly surprise to learn this smooth, creamy buttercream is sugar-free!

Keep in mind I didn’t say calorie free. This buttercream may be made without sugar, but it doesn’t skimp on the buttery goodness. If dairy is an issue, by all means replace the cream and butter with dairy-free alternatives. Just keep in mind the pudding may not set up as thick and the resulting buttercream may not set up as firm.

Sugar-Free Buttercream | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

All images via Erin Bakes

How to make sugar-free buttercream

I based this recipe on my ermine buttercream and used sugar-free store-bought pudding mix instead of making pudding from scratch.

I kept the flavor classic with vanilla, but you can get creative with your sugar-free frosting and use whatever flavor pudding you like.

If dietary restrictions have kept you on the sidelines from taking classes like Craftsy instructor Erica O’Brien’s Better Buttercream, then this is the recipe for you! This sugar-free buttercream goes on smooth and pipes like a dream, just like a classic meringue-based buttercream.

Sugar-free buttercream recipe

Heavy Cream and Pudding Mix | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Ingredients:

  • 1 small packet of sugar-free cook-top vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened

Step 1:

Making the Pudding | Erin Gardner | CraftsyThickened Pudding | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Add the pudding mix and heavy cream to a small sauce pan and whisk to combine. Cook the pudding mixture over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes,  stirring constantly. The pudding is ready when it’s reached the consistency of mayonnaise. 

Chilled Pudding | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Pour the thickened pudding into a bowl or container. Push plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes up to overnight. 

Step 2: 

Creaming the Butter | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl with a hand mixer) cream the butter until it’s smooth and lighter in color, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula about halfway through. 

Step 3: 

Adding the Pudding | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

Add the chilled pudding to the creamed butter and continue beating on medium-high speed until the frosting is smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula about halfway through to ensure all of the butter and pudding are incorporated.

Sugar-Free Buttercream | Erin Gardner | Craftsy

How to store your buttercream

Use the frosting right away or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the buttercream before putting the lid on the container to prevent the buttercream from absorbing fridge odors.

spreading buttercream on cake

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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2017 and was updated in March 2018.

63 Comments

Irene Jack

I am in England, Great Britain and was wondering what is pudding mix. Is it like angel delight mixture, a powder you add milk to and it sets in the fridge??? Or perhaps a sponge type cake mixture?? Have seen this pudding mix on a few recipes, can you enlighten me please.
Kind regards
Irene Jack

Reply
Anne

It would probably be akin to the angel delight. Pudding mix is a soft dessert type food which incorporates milk to powder and sets up, eaten with a spoon, usually.

Reply
MimiB

This recipe calls for the type of pudding mix that needs cooking to set up.

It is not an instant pudding to which one just adds milk and voila.

Reply
Pamela

American instant pudding mixes typically contain a sweetener (like sugar, but you can get sugar free) and a thickener like cornstarch. You add milk to it and put it in the fridge to chill so it sounds a lot like angel delight. It comes in a lot of flavors like vanilla, chocolate, butterscotch, etc.

Reply
Landa

American pudding is thicker than Angel Delight …. as well as needing to be cooked…. I would not cook angel delight .. I am American living in the U.K. so I know what both are like … I would not say it would work with angel delight

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Karlene Duval

Pudding mix is like the consistency of lemon curd. It usually takes a couple cups of milk and you have pudding. Hope this helps. Comes in sugar free boxes and also regular. Variety of flavors: coconut, chocolate, vanilla, banana, etc. I would check Amazon.uk for purchases. Hope this is helpful.PS There is one type you cook on stove top and the instant one has to use a mixer – medium speed.

Reply
Faena

It’s a milk pudding mix – may be similar to a custard mix.

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Erin Gardner

Hi! Wowie, thanks to everyone for chiming in! The custard that I use in this recipe is like a thickened pastry cream. Unfortunately, I’m not sure what would be the boxed alternative in the UK. I’m hoping one of these other kind readers provided some helpful information. Thanks!

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Francine

So sorry! I have sugar on the brain 🙂 I was thinking of Erica O’Brian’s buttercream classes. The first three letters of your names are the same ……. Do you happen to know if Ermine buttercream can be used in her buttercream classes????

Reply
Nancy Davis

I have a question. I have a client that needs a sugar free frosting and I found your recipe. She is picking the cake up tomorrow. My question is, after I frost the cake does it need to be stored in the fridge? How would i do that to keep a film from forming on it?
Thank you in advance.

Reply
Barbara Wright

Since it has dairy in it, I’d refrigerate the cake. 😊 ❤ 😊

Reply
Bonnie Willey

The powder you add milk to, then let it set & thicken.

Reply
Kristie

It’s like angel delight!

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Candace

Pudding mix is quite similar to custard powder. I would assume that would be the correct substitution.

Reply
extine

Yes its similar. I’m English/American.

Reply
Liza

I get my vanilla pudding mix from any hungarian shop here in the UK.

Reply
A. Goddard

Hi, it’s mor like a Blancmange or a very thick custard!!!

Reply
Liz

You can buy j-ello pudding mix here in the ‘world’ aisle of some supermarkets, on Ocado or from Amazon. It’s like a custard consistency, nothing like Angel Delight 🙂

Reply
Renata

Hi, you can buy pudding mix in Polish/Hungarian/Romanian shops in many flavor 🙂 they have sugar-free version also. It is similar to custard, but still a bit different 🙂

Reply
Ginette Courchesne

Thank you for this recipe.

Reply
victrix

Personally, I would just go with sugary buttercream in most cases; in my opinion, scary artificial chemicals just don’t taste as good — and if I’m already having a big unhealthy thing, I might as well have real sugar. In all fairness, though, I have not tried this recipe, and it’s probably excellent. It’s just not my cup of tea. 😀

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I totally appreciate where you’re coming from. My thought with this recipe was to provide a quick and delicious option for those who are unable to eat sugar for medical or other reasons. My ermine buttercream recipe linked above might interest you if you’re able to do sugar!

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Sophia M.

For people who are following a ketogenic life style for health reasons, this recipe is a delicious alternative. Even my son-in-law who does not follow a keto diet is a big fan.

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James Owens Jr

How would one do this if they don’t desire or can’t consume the ingredients processed products like the pudding or can’t have artificial sweerner????

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Erin Gardner

Hi! I think if that’s the case, then you would probably want to seek out a buttercream made with honey. You could also use an organic pudding mix.

Reply
Crystal

Make a basic custard recipe and substitute a few drops of stevia or some other all natural sweetener? This has inspired me to make the custard from scratch using coconut cream or almond milk as well.

Reply
Chris K.

Note that the recipe calls for the type of pudding mix that has to be cooked. The kind where you just add milk is instant pudding, which would be the same as angel delight.

Reply
Viv

I think the equivalent is instant custard/ blancmange as it needs to be heated

Reply
Michelle

This is fantastic!! Love all of your simple, yet spectacular ideas, Erin! Thanks so much!!

Reply
Seasons

I have a friend that is diabetic and this is the first recipe I have come across for a sugar free frosting. I will try this soon and I hope it turns out well! ?

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Erin Gardner

I was honestly shocked at how good it was. I hope it works out for you!

Reply
Francine

I use a different ermine buttercream recipe that has become the staple of most of my cakes. Could an ermine buttercream be used instead of the one that you use in the techniques that you teach in your Craftsy classes? I was told that an American buttercream couldn’t be used with the techniques that you teach.

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hmmm, I really can’t think of any techniques that I teach in my classes that you couldn’t swap in American or Ermine buttercream. Maybe you’re thinking of a different instructor?

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liz n.

Thank you for this one! My father’s been diagnosed with diabetes, so sugar is out…and his birthday is coming up, so I was clueless as to how to make a decent icing for his sugar-free cake. A timely solution!

Reply
Erin Gardner

So sorry to hear about your father’s diagnosis, but I’m happy that this recipe helps! 🙂

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Janis S. TheCookieMomster

Thank you for posting a recipe that will be a game changer for me, Erin! Thank you….thank you! 🙂

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi! I’m so sorry, but I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Can you provide a little more information?

Reply
Phosie

It might be sugar free but it has artificial sweetners that contains aspartam. I would strongly suggest everyone to look it up: its actually causing cancers, obesity and other major illnesses. If you want sugar free, go completely sugar free, don’t substitute for worse. If you need sweets, go for natural sugars i.e unprocessed corse cane sugar or better yet, honey or maple syrup. Food for thought.

Reply
Gail

For UK If it’s a cooked pudding mix that’s needed then Pearce Duff do a range of blancmange powders in various flavours which needs cooking through. Or custard powder for custard flavoured buttercream.

Reply
Andrea

Is the pudding mix like a blancmange pudding? In the picture it looks very similar to the custard on a trifle before it mixes with the butter?

Reply
Sarah

Pudding mix is more like instant custard not angel delight.

Reply
Robin Lamprecht

Could you add any extracts to this after cooking such as a vanilla or coconut or almond?

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Erin Gardner

Absolutely! I didn’t, because the pudding I used was flavored, but you absolutely could. Just be mindful of any flavoring that’s in the pudding you’re using and how they’ll work together. Thanks!

Reply
Monalisa Matache

Pudding blend is more similar to moment custard not holy messenger amuse.

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Kim

Can you use half and half instead of heavy cream?

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Erin Gardner

Sure! I’ve never done it, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work.

Reply
julie pearson

hi i was wondering if you could make a white sauce like the uk have on xmas puddings? then mix this into it instead of pudding mix?

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Erin Gardner

Hi! I’m not sure what that is, so I can’t say for sure. I think anything that’s custard-y would work. If it’s too thin the buttercream might not set up as firm.

Reply
Geri Johnson

I tried this with regular cooked pudding mix, I picked up the wrong one, and the fat separated, I’m assume I cooked it too long, can I still use it or just throw it out ?

Reply
Erin Gardner

Hi Geri! The cooked custard separated? Or did you add the butter and then the frosting separated? If it’s the custard, I would toss it and start over. If it’s the buttercream, pop it in the fridge and let it firm up. Re-whip it in the mixture until the buttercream is smooth and fluffy. Hope this helps!

Reply
Sabrina

Is the resulting color white, or is it yellow? It’s hard to tell from the photos, and I’m potentially using this for a sugar free cake for a wedding this weekend. Thanks!

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Erin Gardner

It’s definitely an off-white, not a bright white at all. You can tone down the yellow-ness of an ivory frosting with a tiny dab of violet food coloring. Hope this helps!

Reply
Maria

Can you substitute the pudding with instant pudding mix (sugar free) made accordingly to the box and just add the butter? I happen to already have the box on my pantry

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Erin Gardner

Oh yeah, absolutely!

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Diana

I love Ermine and am excited to try this ,thanks!!

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Kathy

Those of us with diabetes thank you so much!!

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Sandra L Garth

This is a great alternative to the traditional American buttercream and I love it. I’ve made instant pudding and used a couple of TBS in American buttercream to soften it. I look forward to trying this recipe and thanks for sharing.

Reply
Stacy H.

I found this to be very butter forward. The mix suggests 2 cups of milk per small packet of pudding, which is what I ended up with to kill the butter taste. I also added a little Swerve Comfectioners.

Reply
Emma Sneddon

This Craftsy “buttercream” without sugar is easy to whip up and tastes just like the original one even though it contains no refined sugar. Learn some great tips and tricks! Thanks for sharing.

Reply

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