Can You Use a Food Processor to Cream Butter and Sugar?

Mixing butter and sugar into cream is a useful trick for all sorts of recipes. The process helps to promote better structure of the food you’re making thanks to the air gaps in the butter that the sugar holds in place. However, many at-home bakers are worried about using a food processor to get the job done.

You can use a food processor to cream butter and sugar as long as the butter is warm and slightly melted. Cold butter won’t mix properly, so you need to let it sit out to raise to room temperature. Once it’s prepared, you can use the food processor to cream butter and sugar without a problem.

Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following information about using a food processor with butter and sugar:

  • What you’ll need to get the job done
  • How you can cream sugar and butter in a food processor
  • Answers to all sorts of common questions about the topic

Will Butter and Sugar Mix in a Food Processor?

Butter and sugar can mix in a food processor as long as you have everything set up correctly. You can’t mix cold butter or large sugar granules because a food processor can’t handle the combination. Instead, you’ll have to let the butter get a bit warmer and choose small sugar granules.

Here are a few other problems you can avoid:

  • Make sure you choose the right food processor. Low-end processors aren’t very strong, which means they’ll have trouble mixing the butter and sugar into a creamy texture. You’ll end up with butter chunks and clumps of sugar that aren’t evenly folded into one another.
  • Try to use real butter, not the fake stuff. There are countless fake butter brands that use less fat, which isn’t always good. When you’re trying to make a cream, the fat content in butter is what allows it to change its texture. Otherwise, you’ll have to mix it for hours without any success.
  • The quality of the sugar matters quite a bit. Gross sugar or false sweetener will change the flavor of the cream drastically. If you’re trying to use a sugar substitute, make sure you taste test the cream before putting it into your food. You’d be surprised how bitter or flavorless it could turn out to be.

Note: Sugar alternatives often don’t have the structure necessary to make a worthwhile cream. The purpose of a sugar-butter cream is to hold an inflated bread, cake, or other baked goods due to the strength of the sugar. Without real sugar, the results of your buttercream may vary.

Cream Butter

What Do You Need?

Get these supplies ready before you get started:

  • Room temperature, real butter with a normal fat content
  • Real sugar granules (don’t use sweeteners, as mentioned above)
  • A food processor, such as the Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor. It has a 3-cup bowl, a handle, and it’s super lightweight. It also uses 250 watts to mix the butter and sugar without a problem.
  • (Optional) Mixing bowl and spoon
  • A glass bowl
  • Plastic wrap

How to Use a Food Processor to Cream Sugar and Butter

Using a food processor to cream butter and sugar can save you loads of time and effort. Whether you’re looking to cut down the preparation time or you don’t have any other method of creating the cream, you’re in luck.

Here’s how you can use a food processor to cream butter and sugar:

  1. Set the butter out and let it thaw to room temperature overnight. As mentioned by Food Network, the butter needs to be slightly melted in order to properly mix in a food processor or a wooden mixing bowl. The optional mixing bowl in the previous section can be used to pre-melt the butter ahead of time.
  2. Place the butter in the food processor and close the lid. Run it for a few seconds to separate the butter, then open it up and add the sugar. Separating them prior to mixing both ingredients together allows the butter to become more porous. This process enables the sugar to find its way inside, creating the desired structure.
  3. Turn on the food processor with the sugar and butter inside, ensuring that they’re folding over each other evenly. If you notice clumps of butter or sugar forming, you can open it up and stir it a bit with a spoon. Also, consider using the pulse option rather than a constant mixture if your food processor has the ability to do so.
  4. Open the lid and scrape the sides of the bowl. This step is critical, especially if the recipe that you’re following calls for an exact amount of sugar, butter, or cream. Leaving too much of it on the sidewalls of the bowl will result in ingredient shortages, which can create all sorts of problems later on.
  5. When you’re all finished, pour the cream into a glass bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. If you’re able to use it right away, then you’ll get the best results. You can store the cream in the fridge for up to 5 days, according to Still Tasty. Covering it with the aforementioned plastic wrap will prevent bacteria and loss of flavor or texture.

Note: Never melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave. Doing this will cause the fat to separate, which is how the cream is formed. When it melts too much, you won’t be able to make a cream, no matter how hard you work.

Read more: Microwaving Butter: How To Do It Correctly

Common Questions

Making a cream out of sugar and butter with a food processor isn’t too difficult, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for mistakes. If you’re trying to figure out how to avoid any potential issues or you’ve messed something up, then you’ll benefit from the following Q & A.

How long does it take to make the cream?

As stated by The Kitchn, you can make the cream in 5 minutes or less. Once you’ve got the butter to room temperature, there’s no reason that it should take too much longer (granted you’ve chosen the proper type of sugar and butter).

Can you use margarine for a sugar-butter cream?

You can use margarine to make buttercream as long as it’s not the kind that comes in a tub. As Fat Daddio suggests, margarine in a tub is too soft. Choose the kind that comes in a stick form for the best results. It should have a high-fat content that’s similar to traditional butter.

How much of each ingredient should you use? 

Add one stick of butter to the bowl and about one tablespoon of sugar. Mix it together in the food processor until it starts to get frothy, then taste test it. If it’s not sweet enough, you’ll need to add more sugar. Note that most recipes state how much of each ingredient you need beforehand.


You can use a food processor to cream butter and sugar without a problem. Using margarine is also an alternative solution. Whichever of the two choices you go with, make sure that it has a high enough fat content to turn into a cream; Otherwise, you’ll be left mixing it indefinitely!

Here’s a quick recap of the post:

  • You need to thaw the butter to room temperature before you add it to the food processor.
  • Make sure you use proper ratios as directed by the recipe.
  • You can store the cream in the fridge for up to five before it goes bad.


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