Boiled Frosting

Thick white frosting in a bowl with a wooden spoon

The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
76 Calories
0g Fat
19g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 76
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 7mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Although grabbing a tub of frosting from the baking aisle is quick and easy, making your own cake icing lets you control the ingredients and ensures that your frosting is fresh. Boiled frosting is a fluffy white cake frosting that is made by gradually pouring a hot sugar syrup over stiffly beaten egg whites. The eggs are beaten constantly until the mixture is smooth and satiny, similar to the way an Italian meringue is made. It's also sometimes referred to as 7-minute frosting.

This boiled frosting recipe makes enough to cover the tops and sides of two 9-inch layer cakes. The frosting is best when it is used freshly after it is made, but it can be refrigerated for a day ahead of time if you need to store your cake.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for boiled frosting recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  2. Put the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer.

    Stiffly beaten egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  3. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Bring the sugar mixture to a boil, stirring it only until the sugar is completely dissolved.

    Sugar syrup bubbling in a saucepan on a burner

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  4. Boil the syrup rapidly, without stirring, until it reaches the soft-ball stage: A small amount of the syrup should form a soft ball when dropped in cold water or spin a long thread when dropped from the tip of a spoon (You can also use a cooking thermometer; it should read about 240 F.)

    Pale amber-colored syrup dripping off a spoon into the saucepan

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  5. Slowly pour the syrup in a fine stream over the egg whites while beating them constantly.

    Syrup being poured in a fine stream over the egg whites into the mixer bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  6. Add the vanilla extract.

     Vanilla extract added to eggs in mixer bowl

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  7. Continue beating the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the frosting is cool and the right consistency to spread easily. If the frosting becomes too stiff for the beater, use a wooden spoon to mix.

    Thick frosting being beaten with the whisk of the stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

  8. Use to frost your cake and enjoy.

    Thick smooth white frosting on the whisk of the stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Chelsea Ross

What Exactly is the Soft-Ball Stage?

When making candy, there are seven stages in which the boiling sugar-water mixture goes through; the soft-ball stage is the second stage. As the water temperature increases, the sugar becomes more concentrated, going from a thread-like form to a hard solid that will break (called hard crack stage). Using a candy thermometer is your best bet when making candy or recipes such as boiled icing. If you don't have one, you can do the cold water method, which calls for dropping a spoonful of the syrup into cold water to check how it reacts.

How to Store Boiled Icing

You can store this frosting in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it, as long as it is sealed tightly. After spreading the boiled frosting on the cake or cupcakes, you can store the baked goods at room temperature, but refrigerating them will keep the frosting fluffy and soft for longer.

Do not freeze boiled frosting.