Last Updated on February 23, 2023
You may be wondering, is buttercream gluten free? The other day my son invited one of his friends over. They had started their friendship recently and I wanted him to feel welcome at my place. He seemed like a sweet kid. For snack time, I decided I would bake some incredible vanilla cupcakes, covered in gluten-free frosting buttercream. As it turns out, my son’s friend could not eat them at all.
He had forgotten to tell me he was celiac and he was not allowed to eat any gluten. Although that time he was not able to enjoy my baked treats, I was determined to make something he was going to love next time. I researched and found an incredible recipe for gluten-free cupcakes, but I was left with doubt about the frosting. Is buttercream gluten-free? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Gluten?
While researching for a perfect recipe, more doubts started creeping into my mind. I mean, what is exactly gluten?
Well, gluten is the name for the proteins found in flour made out of wheat and other types of cereal grains. These proteins help make bread and other baked goods. They provide elasticity by forming a network that allows the dough to rise.
This network of proteins catches the air bubbles produced by yeast and makes the bread bouncier and your cupcakes fluffier.
But they are not good for some people’s health.
Why is Gluten Bad for Some People?
Although the most commonly known condition associated with gluten is celiac disease, other types of allergies are connected with gluten. Some people are allergic to wheat or just have gluten sensitivity.
Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance. It affects less than 1% of the population.
What happens is that the immune system gets confused and attacks gluten as if it was a foreign invader. This can cause problems with the intestinal tract, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, and a whole array of other issues.
It is an autoimmune disorder and there is no cure for it.
Is Buttercream Gluten Free?
The short answer is yes. It generally is. But there are some precautions you need to have to make sure that your freshly whipped-up frosting does not hurt any of your guests.
First of all, you need to make sure that all the ingredients you are using do not have any type of wheat derivatives in them. Especially the powdered sugar, as some brands cut the product with other powders or the product is packaged in a facility that also handles wheat flour, for example.
So, generally speaking, if you are making your own buttercream you should be covered and nobody will get sick from it.
The Best Gluten-Free Buttercream Frosting Recipe
This classic buttercream will only take you about 10 minutes to make if you already have all the ingredients at hand. It yields about 8 servings and it tastes amazing!
8 servings mean that it will comfortably frost a 9-inch layer cake or 24 cupcakes. You can easily make half a batch if you do not need as much.
- 1 cup of softened butter
- 3 ½ cups of gluten-free powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp of gluten-free meringue powder
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp of salt
- 4 to 6 tbsp of light cream
In a large bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy and fluffy using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer.
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Do this gradually, you do not want the powder to go everywhere!
Add the meringue powder, the vanilla extract, and the salt. Continue to mix on medium until everything is well combined.
Now we need to incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar and the light cream alternatively. Pour some light cream followed by a bit of powdered sugar.
Check the consistency of the mix. If it is too stiff, you may want to add more cream. If it is too soft, you may want to add more powdered sugar. It all depends on the weather and what you are going to use the buttercream for.
Beat the mix on high for another 2 minutes. It should be light and fluffy, perfect to frost some cupcakes!
Tips for Making Gluten-Free Cupcakes
You may want to use this special gluten-free buttercream on some gluten-free baking. Well, we are going to help you with that but bear in mind that it is not as simple as the previous recipe.
First of all, you will want to get your hands on some gluten-free flour mixture. A mix like this already has everything you need to move forward, but there are other ways. You can buy different kinds of flour -rice and potato flour is great, but you will need some xanthan gum (it is a stabilizer).
That is an easy way to adapt your regular cupcake recipe. You will need to take the precautions we had with the powdered sugar, though. Make sure that your sugar and all other ingredients are gluten-free.
What if You Are Buying Canned Frosting?
Well, that is a whole other story. Not all brands are gluten-free, so you definitely need to be looking out for a label on the package that actually says they are.
If they do not have that label then you are better off looking for another brand.
In our experience, Betty Crocker frosting does guarantee they are gluten-free.
Is Duncan Hines Frosting Gluten-Free?
Duncan Hines has a huge selection of gluten-free frostings, but not all of them are gluten-free. When it comes to their most common flavors such as vanilla, cream cheese, and chocolate, they’re all gluten-free. However, some of their limited edition flavors, such as the EPIC Cookie Dough Duncan Hines Frosting, are not gluten-free. This contains wheat, which means it’s not suitable for a gluten-free diet. If you’re unsure whether a frosting is gluten-free, just take a look at the ingredients.
Gluten-Free Frosting Without Powdered Sugar
If you’re wondering how to make gluten-free frosting without powdered sugar, then we have the recipe for you. Let’s take a closer look. The ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are:
- 1 1/2 cups of white sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of softened butter
- 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
- 7 tablespoons of gluten-free all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
Now all you need to do is:
- Grab a saucepan and add the following ingredients: gluten-free flour and milk. Warm on medium heat until it begins to thicken. You should be mixing throughout.
- Once thick, remove from heat and leave to cool completely. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, add the butter, sugar, and salt to a bowl and beat together on high for around 5 minutes; scraping the sides of the bowl as you go.
- Pour in the milk mixture and beat for a further 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Use as needed.
Is Chocolate Frosting Gluten Free?
When it comes to chocolate frosting, it’s typically gluten-free. However, this isn’t always the case, particularly if it is a special flavor such as cookies and cream. If you’re unsure whether your chocolate frosting is gluten-free, take a look at the ingredients. If ingredients such as wheat, rye, barley, spelled, and oats are listed, you should not consume them when following a gluten-free diet.
Best Gluten-Free Frosting Brands
Many canned frosting brands are gluten-free. However, here are some of my favorite go-to brands.
Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle and Whipped Frosting
Duncan Hines is one of the most popular baking brands and most of their frostings are gluten-free. This includes, but is not limited to EPIC Fruity Pebbles Frosting, Creamy Chocolate Frosting, Creamy Vanilla Frosting, Creamy Lemon Supreme Frosting, Whipped Fluffy White Frosting, and Whipped Chocolate Frosting.
The only Duncan Hines frosting I could find that isn’t currently gluten-free is their Cookie Dough Frosting, so it’s best to avoid that one if following a gluten-free diet.
Pillsbury Creamy Supreme and Funfetti Frostings
Another popular baking brand is Pillsbury and once again, many of their frostings are gluten-free. This includes, but is not limited to Buttercream Frosting, Milk Chocolate Frosting, Coconut Pecan Frosting, Lemon Frosting, Funfetti Marshmallow Frosting, Funfetti Chocolate Fudge Frosting, and Funfetti Unicorn Vanilla Frosting.
I’ve yet to find any frosting from Pillsbury that isn’t suitable for those following a gluten-free lifestyle.
Miss Jones Organic Frosting
Miss Jones is a smaller baking brand but has a few options if you’re looking for gluten-free and organic options. As well as this, they’re also vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, dairy-free, and peanut free; meaning it’s suitable for many dietary lifestyles. Their flavors include Organic Vanilla Buttercream, Organic Chocolate Buttercream, Confetti Pop Buttercream, Organic Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting, and Limited Edition Peppermint Frosting.
Conclusion: Is Buttercream Gluten Free?
I hope this post has helped to answer the question: is buttercream gluten-free? Do you know anyone who has a gluten allergy, sensitivity, or celiac disease? If so, have you tried baking for them? Try out our gluten-free buttercream and tell us what you think. We are sure you will love it!
Remember you can make this recipe with other types of flavors, like fruits or chocolate. Being gluten-free does not mean being fun-free! Adapt the recipe to your family’s preferences and needs in any way you wish. Post a picture of the finished product below.
Best Gluten Free Buttercream Frosting: 10 Minute Recipe
- 1 cup softened butter
- 3 ½ cups gluten free powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp gluten free meringue powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 4 to 6 tbsp light cream
- Step 1
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy and fluffy using a handheld mixer or a stand mixer.
- Step 2
- Add 2 cups of the powdered sugar. Do this gradually, you do not want the powder to go everywhere!
- Step 3
- Add the meringue powder, the vanilla extract, and the salt. Continue to mix on medium until everything is well combined.
- Step 4
- Now we need to incorporate the rest of the powdered sugar and the light cream alternatively. Pour some light cream followed by a bit of the powdered sugar.
- Step 5
- Check the consistency of the mix. If it is too stiff, you may want to add more cream. If it is too soft, you may want to add more powdered sugar. It all depends on the weather and what you are going to use the buttercream for.
- Step 6
- Beat the mix on high for another 2 minutes. It should be light and fluffy; perfect to frost some cupcakes!
- You may want to use this special gluten free buttercream on some gluten free baking. Well, we are going to help you with that but bear in mind that it is not so simple as the previous recipe.
- First of all, you will want to get your hands on some gluten free flour mixture. A mix like this already has everything you need to move forward, but there are other ways. You can buy different kinds of flours - rice and potato flour are great, but you will need some xanthan gum (it is a stabilizer).
- That is easy to adapt your regular cupcake recipe. You will need to take the precautions we had with the powdered sugar, though. Make sure that your sugar and all other ingredients are gluten free.
Karen is a passionate pastry chef who loves to create delicious baked goods. She has been in the culinary arts for over 10 years, honing her skills and perfecting her craft. Karen is known for her creativity and attention to detail, creating unique desserts that bring a smile to everyone’s face. She is always looking for ways to challenge herself and come up with new recipes that are both tasty and visually appealing. Karen loves to experiment with different flavors and textures, and she is committed to providing the highest quality of products to her customers.