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Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe

Brown sugar frosting is one of my most favorite frostings. If you use light brown sugar, as shown above, 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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4.54 from 15 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
Keyword brown sugar frosting, brown sugar frosting recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 205kcal
Author Stef


  • 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.


Nutrition Facts
Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 205 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 20mg7%
Sodium 8mg0%
Potassium 31mg1%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Sugar 18g20%
Vitamin A 245IU5%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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FYI: The top photo is of my sweet potato casserole cupcake. The bottom photo is from my gluten-free quinoa cupcake.

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36 comments on “Brown Sugar Frosting Recipe”

  1. Trishsays:

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

  2. 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.

  3. Ivysays:

    I just love brown sugar!
    Molasses too.;>

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

  7. Anonymoussays:

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

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

  9. 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!

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

  11. Anonymoussays:

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

  12. Lauriesays:

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

  13. Anonymoussays:

    very good on oatmeal cake.

  14. 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!

  15. Seanasays:

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


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

  17. 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!

  18. Ashleysays:

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

  19. Fionavarsays:

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

  20. elainesays:

    I just made this and icing is wonderful

  21. 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?

  22. Daniellesays:

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

  23. 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!

  24. Betty Pylessays:

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

  25. Maureen McElderrysays:

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

  26. 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.

  27. Marcesays:

    REcipe with no confectioners sugar please

  28. 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.

  29. Arianesays:

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

  30. 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?

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