Easy French Buttercream
This post may contain affiliate links. Read full disclosure.
This easy French buttercream is ultra-light, creamy and not overly sweet! It’s truly a dream!! I’m sharing my time-tested method without a complicated sugar syrup or a double boiler!
Table of Contents
- What is French buttercream?
- What’s the difference between Italian, Swiss and French buttercream?
- How to make this recipe:
- French Buttercream Troubleshooting:
- French buttercream recipe variations
- Storing Directions:
- Video Demo:
- Easy French Buttercream Recipe
If you know anything about me, you know, I have a little obsession with macarons. So naturally, I have a thing about fillings. And this French buttercream is a perfect filling for macarons.
Today, I’m going to teach you super simple method to make French buttercream. No candy thermometer required!
What is French buttercream?
French buttercream is a light and creamy buttercream with cooked egg yolks.
Typically, French buttercream is made by cooking sugar syrup until softball stage and stirred into the egg yolks. Then you whip in butter until buttercream becomes ultra-light and creamy.
However, we’re not messing with hot sugar syrup today. I’m going to show my simplified French buttercream method that yields amazing result nonetheless!
What’s the difference between Italian, Swiss and French buttercream?
- Italian buttercream is a meringue-based buttercream, where hot sugar syrup is poured into whipped egg whites.
- Swiss buttercream is also a meringue-based buttercream, but unlike Italian buttercream, egg whites are cooked with sugar over a double-boiler and then it’s whipped into a meringue.
- French buttercream, on other hand, is egg-yolk based buttercream. It has richer, more custard-like taste. And due to yolks, it tends to have pale yellow shade. In my case though, it’s bright yellow color, because I’m using farm eggs from my mother-in-law.
How to make this recipe:
This buttercream recipe makes a very small batch, but it’s enough to fill one batch of macarons. If you’re planning on filling cakes, or cupcakes, you can easily double, triple, or even quadruple this recipe!
And since it’s a small batch, I use my immersion blender with a whisk attachment.
1. Prepare egg yolk mixture
Using an electric hand mixer, lightly whisk the egg yolks and then add sugar. Whisk the mixture until it’s thick and pale and sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in the milk.
When whisking the yolks and sugar, use a bowl with high sides, so it doesn’t spray out everywhere.
2. Cook egg yolk mixture
Transfer the egg yolk mixture into a small saucepan and heat it over low heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook until it’s thick like a pudding, about 5 minutes.
Then pour the mixture into a clean bowl and cool to room temperature.
3. Add butter
Fold in butter in three batches, mixing well after each addition. I use a silicone spatula for this step.
Add vanilla extract and continue to mix until smooth.
4. Whip or Not Whip:
It’s entirely up to you whether to whip or not whip French buttercream. It also depends on how you’re planning to use it.
- For filling macarons, I prefer the consistency of the buttercream before whipping.
- For cakes and cupcakes, you may want more light and airy texture by whipping the buttercream.
French Buttercream Troubleshooting:
Why my buttercream is soupy?
Most likely, your buttercream is too warm. You either didn’t cool the egg yolk mixture well before adding butter. Or you butter was too soft.
To fix this issue, simply place the buttercream into a fridge for 15-30 minutes and stir it again. It should thicken up as butter hardens in cool temperature.
Why my buttercream is lumpy and hard to stir?
Butter is not soft enough.
To fix this issue, let the mixture sit at room temperature and soften. And then stir it again. If you’re in a hurry, you may carefully warm it up over a double boiler. But be very careful as to not melt the butter too much. In that case, see the issue above.
French buttercream recipe variations
You can customize this basic recipe and add any kind of flavoring and coloring you want.
- Just like regular American buttercream, you can add melted chocolate, caramel sauce, peanut butter.
- Or you can add different extracts, liquors and emulsions.
- Feel free to use food coloring to make different colored buttercream too!
Refrigerate French buttercream in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
French buttercream freezes well too. Place it in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, then bring it to room temperature. Whip it, if needed.
Easy French Buttercream
- 2 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 3 ½ tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Using an electric hand mixer or immersion blender, whisk yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale and sugar is mostly dissolved. Stir in the milk. (TIP: It's best to use a bowl with high sides, so it doesn't spray out everywhere.)
- Transfer the egg yolk mixture into a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring frequently. Continue to cook until it’s thick like a pudding, about 5 minutes. Pour the mixture into a clean bowl and bring it to room temperature.
- Stir in butter in three batches, mixing well after each addition. I use a silicone spatula for this step.
- Add vanilla extract and continue to mix until smooth. For filling macarons, I prefer this consistency of the buttercream.
- However, if you'd like, you can also whip it until fluffy with an electric mixer. Whipped buttercream is ideal for filling cakes and cupcakes.