Ermine frosting is an ultra creamy frosting that’s made with a mixture of boiled milk, flour, and sugar mixed with butter. It’s less sweet than traditional buttercream, but its whipped texture and rich flavor make it the ideal choice for red velvet cakes and cupcakes! 

A close up look at a red velvet cupcake topped with ermine frosting, with the cupcake liner pulled down.

What Is Ermine Frosting? 

Ermine frosting goes by several other names, including roux frosting, flour frosting, or boiled milk frosting. It’s made by cooking a mixture of flour, sugar, and milk into a thick paste on the stove. Once the mixture has cooled, it’s then mixed into butter.

The end result is a frosting that’s less sweet than American buttercream frosting and has a whipped texture. It’s much simpler to make than other cooked frostings, like Swiss meringue buttercream, although it does require a little elbow grease to prepare. 

Ermine frosting is the frosting of choice for red velvet cakes and cupcakes, but it pairs well with almost any type of cake.

An overhead look at the ingredients needed to make boiled ermine frosting.

Recipe Ingredients

This ermine frosting recipe is a six-ingredient wonder. You don’t need any special ingredients to prepare it! 

  • Granulated sugar: This sweetens the frosting. Since the mixture is boiled, the sugar dissolves so that you’re left with a smooth and creamy frosting!
  • Flour: You’ll need all-purpose flour to make this recipe. Make sure to spoon and level your flour as well, so you don’t end up with too much.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor of the frosting and balances out the sweetness from the sugar. 
  • Milk: As with all of my other baked goods, I prefer to use whole milk.
  • Unsalted butter: Using unsalted butter allows you to control the amount of salt. It’s best to let your butter soften to room temperature while the cooked flour mixture is cooling.
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract will deliver the best flavor.

How to Make Ermine Frosting 

Making a boiled frosting recipe like this one is simpler than you may think. Although there are a few extra steps to this recipe, they’re all straightforward and easy to follow. 

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and milk: You’ll need a medium sized saucepan for making the frosting. 
  • Heat the flour mixture over medium heat: You want to cook the mixture until it’s thick, like pudding. This process can take up to 15 minutes, so be patient! Be sure to scrape down the bottom and sides of the saucepan with a rubber spatula throughout the cooking process. 
  • Let the mixture cool: Transfer the mixture to a separate bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. This prevents a skin from forming as it cools to room temperature. 
  • Beat the butter until light and fluffy: You’ll want to do this in a separate bowl using an electric mixer. 
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter: Add the room temperature flour mixture to the butter one heaping tablespoon at a time. Wait until the mixture is fully combined before adding any more. 
  • Add the vanilla: After the flour mixture has been fully incorporated into the butter, add the vanilla. Beat the frosting for another 3 minutes until it’s smooth and creamy. It should look like whipped cream by the end! 

Boiled ermine frosting being piped onto a red velvet cupcake.

Using Ermine Frosting 

This is the traditional frosting choice for red velvet cake and red velvet cupcakes. However, it also pairs well with so many other desserts! A few other great options are:

A red velvet cupcake topped with ermine frosting on a white dessert plate. More cupcakes surround the plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can This Frosting Be Made in Advance? 

Yes! It will last for up to four days in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer. No matter if the frosting is refrigerated or frozen, it needs to be brought to room temperature before being piped. Give it a good mix once it’s at room temperature, then use it to frost your dessert.

How Much Frosting Will This Recipe Make?

This frosting recipe will make about 2 and 3/4 cups, which is enough to frost 12 to 14 cupcakes or a 6-inch layer cake.

For a two layer 8- or 9-inch cake, I recommend increasing the recipe by half. For a three layer cake, I suggest doubling the recipe.

Can I Use Another Kind of Milk?

Absolutely! I prefer to use whole milk when I’m baking, but a lower fat milk would probably work fine. You could even use almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk.

An overhead view of a frosted red velvet cupcake with a bite missing, turned on its side.

Baking Tips 

  • Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the saucepan as the roux mixture cooks. You don’t want the bottom to burn! 
  • Make sure your butter has been softened to room temperature before creaming it. This creates a smoother frosting. 
  • If you placed the cooked flour mixture into the fridge to cool down faster, you’ll need to bring it back to room temperature before adding it to the creamed butter. 

More Frosting Recipes to Try! 

A red velvet cupcake topped with ermine frosting on a white plate. More cupcakes are around the plate.

Ermine Frosting

5 from 2 ratings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Ermine frosting is an ultra creamy frosting that's made with a mixture of boiled milk, flour, and sugar mixed with butter. It's less sweet than traditional buttercream, but its whipped texture and rich flavor make it the ideal choice for red velvet cakes and cupcakes! 


Servings: 12 servings
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (200 grams)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour spooned & leveled (32 grams)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk (240 ml)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened (230 grams)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  • Add the granulated sugar, flour, and salt to a medium saucepan and whisk until well combined. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until you have a thick and smooth paste (almost like pudding). I suggest using a rubber spatula to scrape around the bottom and sides of the pan several times as it’s cooking. This step can take up to 15 minutes, so be patient.
  • Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a large heat-safe bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on the top and let it cool completely to room temperature. If needed, you can refrigerate the mixture to speed up the process. Just make sure it’s at about room temperature and not too cold when you add it to the butter.
  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer. Beat the butter for 4 to 5 minutes until it's light in color and fluffy.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the cooked flour mixture one heaping tablespoon at a time, waiting until fully combined to add the next spoonful.
  • Once all of the cooked flour mixture has been added, add the vanilla extract and mix for 2 to 3 more minutes on medium speed or until the frosting has thickened and is smooth and creamy. Once the mixture is ready, it should resemble whipped cream. If needed, use a rubber spatula to work out any air bubbles.


Storage Instructions: Frosting may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Bring to room temperature and mix well before using.
Freezing Instructions: Frosting may be frozen for 2 to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature, and mix well before using the frosting.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Author: Danielle Rye
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