Baking/ Desserts/ Recipe

Buttercream Frosting

May 25, 2016 (Last Updated: October 28, 2020)

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A perfect buttercream frosting for cakes or cupcakes.

A frosting bag with a star tip with white frosting coming out of the top of the tip.


I do a lot of baking and bake a lot of cakes and cupcakes. Having a great buttercream frosting is a key element to any great cake or cupcake.  This is my go-to buttercream frosting recipe. This is for frosting a cake or piping swirls on cupcakes.

Smooth vanilla buttercream frosting on a vanilla cupcake.

This buttercream is buttery and creamy.  It is perfect for piping and holds up under most circumstances. If I am making a cake in really hot or humid weather or if my cake has to be showcased outside, like in my sister’s wedding, I adjust this recipe with less butter and more shortening.

Buttercream frosting swirled onto vanilla cupcake topped with colored sprinkles.

This recipe makes a fairly large amount of buttercream frosting. You can easily halve the recipe. I don’t like to run out midway through decorating so I usually make a full batch. Extra frosting can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to one week.  Bring to room temperature and stir before using.

Tips for Buttercream Frosting

  • If your powdered sugar has lumps, sift before using.
  • Do not over whip the frosting or you may get little air bubbles.
  • Food coloring may be added after the frosting is completely mixed. I use gel food coloring rather than liquid food coloring. The colors are more vibrant and it won’t thin your frosting.
  • This recipe may be doubled.
  • For warmer weather use, decrease the amount of butter and replace with shortening.

I really prefer making my own frostings. I also have a Lemon Buttercream, a Chocolate Buttercream,  and a  Pumpkin Spice Buttercream. Having a variety of recipes makes it easy to match to your favorite cake or cupcake.

Here is a site that provides easy piping techniques. It’s fun to create your own designs. 

Don’t Forget to Pin for later

Swirled frosting on a yellow cupcake.

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

If you loved this recipe you’ll LOVE all the others in this category. Check out all my desserts here!

Vanilla buttercream frosting in a piping bag with a star tip.

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream frosting rich in taste and perfect for piping. 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4 cups
Calories 438 kcal


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk


  • In a stand mixer, cream butter and shortening together.
  • Mix in powdered sugar. I add half at a time, mix and then add remaining sugar. Mixture will be thick.
  • Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix
  • Continue adding milk until desired consistency.


To make a frosting that will stand up to warmer weather, use 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 cups shortening.
If frosting is too thick, stir in a bit more milk. Just add a little at a time.
Coloring can be added after frosting is made. Just stir in amount of coloring you desire.
Keep left over frosting covered in fridge for up to a week. Bring to room temperature and stir before using.


Serving: 0.25cupCalories: 438kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 1gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 104mgPotassium: 7mgSugar: 56gVitamin A: 359IUCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword buttercream frosting, buttercream recipe, cake decorating frosting, icing recipe
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.





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  • Reply
    April 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    5 stars
    Sounds like a perfect recipe, but never used shortening before-what kind do you use? please and thanks

    • Reply
      April 7, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      I use Crisco shortening in this buttercream to offer stability.

  • Reply
    December 22, 2016 at 2:04 am

    I’m a bit late in this conversation, but can I use all butter? Is this a creamy frosting or a fluffy frosting? I like creamy over fluffy, that’s why I’m asking.

    • Reply
      December 22, 2016 at 4:16 am

      The shortening offers stability. Butter is often too soft by itself and is difficult to decorate with. If you are just wanting to spread the frosting all butter should work.

  • Reply
    Anne Lawton
    December 7, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    You cant beat buttercream frosting! Love your pictures

    • Reply
      December 8, 2016 at 5:10 am

      Thanks, Anne!

  • Reply
    Citra Kale @Citra's Home Diary
    December 7, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I Always trial and error with many buttercream recipe for my cake… I’m surely bookmarked yours..sound great to try. thx for sharing.

    • Reply
      December 7, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      I hope you do give this a try the next time you need to decorate a cake! We’ve used this recipe again and again.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2016 at 10:11 am

    5 stars
    I suck at buttercream. Thank you for sharing these tips with us at #FoodieFriDIY.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      I think you could be successful with this buttercream! Give it a go!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 31, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Nothing like classic buttercream! Thanks for sharing, my friend!!

    • Reply
      June 1, 2016 at 5:00 am


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