Brown Butter Frosting

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Brown butter frosting is an easy frosting for either apple cake or carrot cake when you need something different and extra special.

A metal baking pan filled with a sheet cake topped with browned butter frosting and chopped pecans.

In my opinion, the very best part about our fresh apple cake is the browned butter frosting on top!

It may be the entire reason I was interested in making the cake in first place.

You can get the fresh apple cake recipe here but I felt the brown butter frosting deserved some major attention, too.

Are you familiar with browned butter? It takes the deliciousness of regular butter and amplifies it into something soooooo much better.

The best part? It is insanely easy to make.

Jump to:

What is Brown Butter?

Browned butter is the easiest ingredient that sounds like it takes more work than it is.

Simply put, brown butter is just melted butter that was allowed to toast and become a golden brown color.

It has a delicious, rich, nutty flavor. It's like regular butter but oh so much better.

Ingredients for Brown Butter Frosting

This homemade frosting couldn't be simpler. All you need to make it is:

  • Butter: You'll melt this to make the browned butter
  • Milk
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract

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How to Make Browned Butter

Place the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and melt it.

Once the butter is fully melted, continually stir it so it doesn't burn.

Butter tends to burn quickly, so do not leave it unattended even for a moment.

2 sticks of butter are melting in a saucepan.

Stir the butter while it cooks and foams and bubbles. Watch for it to begin to turn a nutty brown color.

Watch very carefully and pull the butter off the stove burner before it gets too dark and then burns which can happen quickly once it has started to brown.

Once it smells nutty and is brown, you've done it!

Making browned butter is easy peasy. If you can melt butter, you can do this.

Then once you have your browned butter, pour it into a small bowl and place it in the fridge to cool for 1 hour.

How to Make the Frosting

Once the brown butter has started to solidify in the fridge, scrape it into a mixing bowl.

Beat the brown butter with the powdered sugar adding a little at a time and drizzling in a bit of the milk.

Once everything has been added, scrape the sides of the mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute.

Scrape the sides and add the vanilla.

Beat again for one more minute or until everything is light and fluffy.

A 9x13-inch baking pan has an apple cake with brown butter frosting and pecans on top.

How Does it Taste?

This homemade browned butter frosting has a delicious nutty flavor to it. The only other ingredients after your browned butter are powdered sugar, milk, and a touch of vanilla. 

The texture of the frosting is extremely light and milky/creamy. It is smooth and easy to spread.

If you try to put it on a cake that hasn't completely cooled, it could very easily melt and turn into a puddle. So, be careful to cool your cake all the way first. 

I chilled our apple cake overnight and the frosting became thick just like buttercream does.

You'll definitely want to keep anything you frost with it refrigerated because of the milk it calls for.

Make Ahead Tips

You can make this brown butter recipe in advance and store it in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

You could also freeze the frosting for later use. Just be sure to thaw it in the fridge overnight before using.

Place the frosting on the counter to come to room temperature before trying to spread it on a cake.

How to Use Brown Butter Frosting

You could top any of these easy and delicious desserts with this brown butter frosting and they'd taste even better:

Fresh Apple Cake: If you haven't tried apple cake with brown butter frosting yet, you're missing out!

Carrot Cake: This would be such a delicious alternative to cream cheese frosting.

Gingerbread Cookies: Skip the royal icing and spread brown butter frosting on top of these holiday cookies instead.

Pumpkin Bread: Take your morning quick bread to the next level and spread some brown butter frosting on top.

More Easy Frosting Recipes

I believe that any cake, even a cake mix cake, tastes 1000x better with an easy homemade frosting:

📖 Recipe

A metal baking pan filled with a sheet cake topped with browned butter frosting and chopped pecans.

Brown Butter Frosting

4.67 from 3 votes
This browned butter frosting is so easy and SO delicious it is going to become your new fall favorite dessert topping. Slather it on our favorite apple cake or a carrot cake, pumpkin muffins, or gingerbread cookies. You’ll never look back.
TOTAL TIME 1 hour 10 minutes
PREP TIME 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
YIELD 1 Frosting for one 9 x 13 cake pan

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 (16 oz) package of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat for about 6 – 8 minutes. Be sure to stir it constantly so the butter doesn’t burn. It will bubble and foam, but just keep stirring. When the butter has a nutty aroma and has turned golden toasty brown, pour it into a small bowl and place it in the fridge to cool for 1 hour.
  • Once the butter has started to solidify, scrape it into a mixing bowl. Beat the butter with the powdered sugar adding a little at a time and drizzling in a bit of the milk.
  • Once everything has been added, scrape the sides of the mixing bowl and beat for 1 minute.
  • Scrape the sides and add the vanilla. Beat again for one more minute or until everything is light and fluffy.
  • Store any dessert you use this on in the refrigerator so the milk doesn’t spoil.
COURSEDessert
CUISINEAmerican

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The photo collage shows the cake with brown butter frosting and pecans on top next to a photo of butter melting in a saucepan.
Easy browned butter frosting is the perfect topping for apple cake or carrot cake.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Make-ahead apple cake with browned butter frosting
4.67 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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