Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe

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Brown sugar frosting is one of my favorite frostings. If you use light brown sugar, as shown above on my sweet potato cupcakes, the brown sugar frosting tastes like a thicker version of the glaze on a glazed doughnut. If you use dark brown sugar, as shown below, the flavor is a bit richer and the frosting is somewhat more creamy. This makes sense since dark brown sugar is really just light brown sugar plus additional molasses.

You can’t go wrong either way.


Replace the powdered sugar with peanut butter for a peanut butter brown sugar frosting!

Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe

I got the delectable brown sugar frosting recipe from Southern Food on About.Com.

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Sweet Potato Muffin topped with brown sugar
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4.53 from 21 votes

Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe

A brown sugar frosting using light or dark brown sugar to achieve two different frosting delights.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 205kcal
Author Stefani


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cup sifted confectioners' sugar


  • In a saucepan, melt butter.
  • Add the brown sugar.
  • Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium low, and continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add the milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.
  • Gradually add sifted confectioners' sugar. (I would highly recommend sifting this confectioners' sugar. It's such a pain to sift, but it ensures that the frosting will be extra smooth.)
  • Beat until thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little hot water.


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 31mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Arianesays:

    5 stars
    I’ve been using this recipe for YEARS! So easy and tasty!

  2. Suzysays:

    I have been using this recipe for about 30 years and now the last 10 times I’ve made it is NOT nice and smooth. It’s very grainy. Any suggestions?

  3. Arianesays:

    5 stars
    EXCELLENT! I’ve made this frosting so many times. It is very versatile. Great on cookies, scones, cakes and cupcakes.

  4. Sylvia Griffithsays:

    5 stars
    This stuff is heavenly. I iced a butter pecan cake with it and hid it when a neighbor stopped by so I wouldn’t have to share. Thank you so much for this recipe.

  5. Marcesays:

    REcipe with no confectioners sugar please

  6. Laurasays:

    Made this for brownies. Turned out great. Saw the comments about being too sweet, so I added 2 tsp of vinegar after it had cooled. This cuts the sweetness. Also added a tsp of vanilla.

  7. Maureen McElderrysays:

    I loved your brown sugar frosting. This is a beautiful recipe, thank you!

  8. Betty Pylessays:

    My mother made brown sugar cakes all the time.they were the best.

  9. Janesays:

    I made an apple cake that didn’t call for icing but I found your recipe and making it right now. Can’t wait to try it!

  10. Daniellesays:

    Does this frosting have to be refrigerated? Or can it sit out on the counter on top of a cake/cupcakes?

  11. Betty Belanussays:

    I had to add more powdered sugar to get this to a spreading consistency, and also added some vanilla and cinnamon because it was WAY sweet. Easy to make. I used soy milk because we did not have any regular milk in the house. Maybe this was part of the spreading problem, it is more watery?

  12. elainesays:

    I just made this and icing is wonderful

  13. Fionavarsays:

    Is the measurement for the powdered sugar before or after it’s been sifted?

  14. Ashleysays:

    I am going to try this frosting on crepes this morning. Hopefully they will turn out good!

  15. Julia Hayessays:

    This is very similar to my grandma’s brown sugar frosting, but we always thicken it with peanut butter instead of powdered sugar (which would, of course, change the taste). Now I have a nephew allergic to nuts, so I am anxious to try your recipe in place of grandma’s. Thanks for sharing!

  16. dollfacesays:

    goes good with these and some almond extract top with a cherry:)

  17. Seanasays:

    Used this frosting on your Ultimate Vanilla Cupcakes. Was a huge hit with the family AND a classroom of picky third graders.

  18. mollysays:

    I turned your frosting into a glaze and tested it on some faux chicken drumsticks for April Fool’s Day and it was delicious! Thanks for the Sugar Rush!

  19. Anonymoussays:

    very good on oatmeal cake.

  20. Lauriesays:

    Just made this to top Trader Joes Pumpkin Bread mix. Made it taste homemade! Thanks!

  21. Anonymoussays:

    Just finished making this frosting for my banana cupcakes (also your recipe!) Sooooo excited to try these!

  22. Robinbirdsays:

    Mmm…I may have to try this on some blueberry cupcakes!

  23. Anonymoussays:

    You just saved the day! I made apple “brownies” that turned out to be apple cake – in dire need of frosting. Perfect for dinner tonight!

  24. Persnickety Hallsays:

    This looks amazing! I’m totally going to whip up a batch of banana cupcakes and frost them with this. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Anonymoussays:

    oh my god, my batch turned out so sweet I had to drink 3 bottles of water afterwards. Anyway, thanks for the recipe!

  26. Missy Moodle Cupcakessays:

    This recipe looks fantastic! My step dad hates icing so this would be perfect for him so he stops complaining :)

  27. Anonymoussays:

    I haven’t had this for decades, when my grandmother use to make for special occasions. It triggered old memories, and I just mixed up a batch for the cake in the oven. Thanks for bringing this back into my life.

  28. Astridsays:

    I just used your recipe to make the frosting for my thanksgiving cupcakes (dark chocolate pumpkin cupcakes). Thank you so much for the idea. It came out so wonderful. And it smells amazing while its boiling.

  29. Ivysays:

    I just love brown sugar!
    Molasses too.;>

  30. D@niellesays:

    oh I’m so happy with this recipe, as of last month I’m not allowed a lot of white sugar only brown sugar and unrefined brown sugar. Definately trying this thanks !

    • charlottesays:

      brown sugar and unrefined brown sugar are just as bad for you as white sugar. But unless sugar is completely banned a little of this is okay.

  31. Trishsays:

    I’ve never made this type of frosting before…but it is beautiful and simple…great over a spice cupcake I bet!

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