Is there any way to dissolve coffee grinds once added to a butter cream frosting?

I used instant coffee crystals in the past and they have always dissolved when simply added to the butter cream during the mixing stage — without having to dissolve in any sort of hot liquid prior to adding.

I have made this mocha butter cream frosting several times in the past, but didn’t think it through when I decided to use regular coffee instead of instant, which I discovered — albeit too late — that I was out of.

  • hmm chewy frosting. Kind of like chocolate covered coffee beans. Just eat it and enjoy. Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 20:26

4 Answers 4


Instant coffee is "soluble solids of ground coffee" - ie, they made coffee, then they dried the result.

Actual ground coffee will never dissolve.

When you make 'real' coffee you run/pour/pass water through the ground coffee, then throw away the solids. There's no getting around the 'throwing away' part.

  • Would a very fine mesh filter catch the coffee grounds? It may be worth a shot if there is one, but otherwise it's chuck it and start over.
    – GdD
    Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 21:07
  • 3
    @GdD I can't see that working. The sugar in buttercream is solid and would also be caught in the filter, even if you melted it enough to flow.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 6:50

It's a bit late now, but if you've only got real coffee and want to make buttercream you can still do it. I made a latte buttercream by brewing very strong coffee in hot milk, then straining it and adding the liquid to the plain buttercream ingredients, tasting and adjusting the proportions for texture. It worked well.

I did this by:

  • Brewing 1 Tbsp of ground coffee in 3–4 Tbsp of hot milk for a few minutes and straining,
  • Beating together 250 g slightly softened butter and 500 g icing sugar, adding most of the latte.

It must have been about a year ago when I did this – they were pumpkin spice latte cupcakes because of a discussion caused by the drinks of the same name, but I've found my notes with the real proportions.

  • 1
    It's much easier to use Stack Exchange's "Markdown" formatting than HTML. I edited that as an example, since I was editing anyway (your last sentence was a bit mangled). Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 15:45
  • 1
    Thanks @DavidRicherby. I pasted from the source of my recipe notes, which are in html, and was so surprised it worked that I forgot to change it to markdown.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 17:15
  • Aha. I think all HTML that's equivalent to some markdown works, along with HTML character entities and things like that. Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 17:16
  • @DavidRicherby what's annoying is that character codes work in answers but not comments.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 18:53

The particle size of regular ground coffee is too large to use in icing, as you’ve found; you’ll be able to see and feel the individual particles. But coffee specifically ground for making espresso is much finer — it’s much closer to a fine powder than “grounds” — works nicely. It still won’t actually dissolve, per se, but the individual bits are undetectable. Tastes better than instant, too.

  • You're still going to end up with that funny 'squeaky teeth' feeling, though - like those new "barista-style" instant coffees with added grit… I mean 'real ground coffee' ;)
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 16:05
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    probably the same fine grind: outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/22416/12619 If I end up drinking some it's just a little grainy, I haven't noticed squeaky teeth. If it were dispersed in food I'm pretty confident it would be completely unnoticeable.
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 16:35

As discussed here, the human palate is remarkably sensitive to granularity. Even particles as fine as 2 microns have an effect on the subjective perception of food. This means it's going to be very hard to grind something fine enough by hand that it doesn't significantly affect the finished product.

You can get away with adding cocoa powder to frosting because it has grains on the order of 10 microns in diameter. For some perspective, this is about the size of what gets through a coffee filter. Some googling suggests that the grounds themselves are on the order of 100 microns in diameter.

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