A 2-tablespoon serving of butter-based frosting contains 2.7 grams of saturated fat.

How to Replace Butter With Low-Fat Spread in Frosting

by Sara Ipatenco

If you have kids, you know how many celebrations they take part in, and most of them include cupcakes or cake with mounds of brightly colored frosting. Though the occasional serving of frosting is nothing to worry about, if your kids partake in too many celebrations that involve frosted treats, they're likely taking in too much saturated fat, not to mention all that sugar. The good news is that when it's your turn to host the get-together, you can replace all that butter in traditional frosting with low-fat spread to decrease the fat content.

Allow the reduced-fat spread to come to room temperature before making the frosting. Spread that's too cold will be harder to fully incorporate with the other ingredients.

Put the spread in a large bowl. Use a hand-held electric mixer to beat the butter for one to two minutes.

Add powdered sugar to the low-fat spread. Use a ratio of three to one. So, if you have 1 cup of low-fat spread, add 3 cups of powdered sugar to the bowl.

Add 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract to the bowl for every 1 cup of low-fat spread you're using.

Pour in a drizzle of milk.

Whip the ingredients together using a hand-held electric mixer set on low to medium speed. If your mixer is going too fast, it will blow powdered sugar all over your kitchen.

Add a tablespoon or so of milk at a time if the frosting is too stiff. Completely incorporate the milk between each addition, however, so the frosting doesn't get too runny.

Shake in a bit more powdered sugar if your frosting is too thin.

Items you will need

  • Low-fat spread
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Milk
  • Large bowl
  • Electric hand-held mixer


  • Use skim milk in your frosting recipe to further reduce the fat content.
  • Experiment with different flavors of frosting. Replace the vanilla extract with almond, peppermint, lemon or coconut extract for different tastes.
  • Eliminate the fatty spreads all together and use Greek yogurt. Whisk powdered sugar and flavoring into low-fat plain Greek yogurt and and use it as a healthier frosting on your cupcakes and cakes. You probably won't need milk since the yogurt is runnier than low-fat spread. The frosting will still contain sugar and calories, so don't go overboard just because it's low in fat.


  • Don't melt the low-fat spread in the microwave. If the spread is melted, the frosting will be runny and hard to work with.
  • Look for a low-fat spread that doesn't contain partially hydrogenated oils. These are trans fats, which are the worst type of fat and can raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.


About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images