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Published on 26 April 2023

How to make buttercream frosting for cakes less sweet?

Use Less Sugar

The first and most obvious way to make buttercream frosting less sweet is to use less sugar. Sugar makes frosting sweet, so reducing the sugar in your recipe is a good place to start. However, you don't want to just reduce the sugar without adjusting the other ingredients, or your frosting may end up too thin or runny.

Use Less Sugar

To reduce the sugar in your buttercream frosting recipe, start by using a little less than the recipe calls for. If the frosting is still too sweet for your taste, try adjusting the other ingredients to compensate. For example, you could add more butter or cream cheese to thicken the frosting without adding sweetness or add a little more milk or heavy cream to thin it out.

Add a Tangy Ingredient

Another way to balance out the sweetness in buttercream frosting is to add a tangy ingredient. Tangy ingredients can help cut through the sweetness and add depth to the flavour of the frosting. Some good options for tangy ingredients include lemon juice, vinegar, or cream cheese.

Add a Tangy Ingredient

To add a tangy ingredient to your buttercream frosting, start by adding a small amount and tasting as you go. You don't want to add too much and overpower the other flavors in the frosting. You may also need to adjust the other ingredients to compensate for the added tanginess. For example, if you add lemon juice, you may need to add a little more sugar to balance it out.

Increase Salt

Salt can help counteract sweetness in buttercream frosting, so adding a little more salt than the recipe calls for can help make the frosting less sweet. However, you don't want to add too much salt, or your frosting will taste salty and unpleasant.

Increase Salt

To add salt to your buttercream frosting, add a little more than the recipe calls for and taste as you go. If the frosting still tastes too sweet, you can add a little more salt until you find the right balance. Just be careful not to add too much and ruin the flavour of the frosting.

Use Unsalted Butter

Salted butter can add unnecessary sweetness to buttercream frosting, so using unsalted butter instead can help make the frosting less sweet. This is especially true if you're also adding a tangy ingredient or increasing the salt in the recipe.

Use Unsalted Butter

To use unsalted butter in your buttercream frosting recipe, simply substitute it for the salted butter called for in the recipe. You may need to adjust the amount of salt in the recipe to compensate for the lack of salt in the butter.

Experiment and Find the Right Balance

Making buttercream frosting less sweet is all about finding the right balance of flavours. Every recipe is different, so it may take some experimentation to find the right balance for your tastes. Don't be afraid to try different combinations of ingredients or adjust the amounts of sugar, salt, and other ingredients until you find the perfect balance.

Other Frosting Flavours to Try

If you're looking for something a little different than traditional buttercream frosting, there are plenty of other frosting flavours to try. Here are a few:

  • Cream Cheese Frosting

    Cream cheese frosting is a tangy and slightly sweet frosting that pairs well with carrot cake, red velvet cake, and other similar flavours.

  • Whipped Cream Frosting

    The whipped cream frosting is light and fluffy, and not as sweet as buttercream frosting. It's a great option for those who don't like overly sweet desserts.

  • Chocolate Ganache Frosting

    Chocolate ganache frosting is rich and decadent and pairs well with chocolate cake or other rich flavours.

  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream

    Swiss meringue buttercream is a smooth and silky frosting that's not as sweet as traditional buttercream frosting. It's a little more difficult to make than regular buttercream frosting, but the results are worth it.


If you've ever found buttercream frosting to be too sweet for your taste, there are several tricks you can try to make it less sweet without sacrificing flavour or texture. Whether you use less sugar, add a tangy ingredient, increase salt, use unsalted butter, or a combination of these methods, you can find the perfect balance of flavours for your taste buds. And if you're feeling adventurous, try experimenting with other frosting flavours to find your new favourite. With these tips and tricks, you'll be making delicious and perfectly balanced frosting in no time!