Baking/ Desserts/ Recipe

Buttercream Frosting

May 25, 2016 (Last Updated: February 21, 2019)

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A perfect buttercream frosting for cakes or cupcakes.

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 cupcakes

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

An absolutely perfect buttercream frosting! This frosting is perfect for decorating cakes or cupcakes and it tastes delicious. #buttercream #frosting #icing

5 from 3 votes
An absolutely perfect Buttercream Frosting..
Buttercream Frosting
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Buttercream frosting rich in taste and perfect for piping. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttercream frosting, buttercream recipe, cake decorating frosting, icing recipe
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 584 kcal
Author: Kathy
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 Tablespoons milk
  1. In a stand mixer, cream butter and shortening together.
  2. Mix in powdered sugar. I add half at a time, mix and then add remaining sugar. Mixture will be thick.
  3. Add vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix
  4. Continue adding milk until desired consistency.
Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts
Buttercream Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 584 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 138mg6%
Potassium 9mg0%
Carbohydrates 75g25%
Sugar 74g82%
Vitamin A 480IU10%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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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
    May 31, 2016 at 10:51 am

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

    • Reply
      June 1, 2016 at 5:00 am


  • Reply
    Manali @ CookWithManali
    May 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

    yup it does look perfect! yum!

    • Reply
      May 28, 2016 at 5:41 am


  • Reply
    May 27, 2016 at 8:24 am

    That’s exactly how I make it! The cupcakes look delicious!

    • Reply
      May 28, 2016 at 5:41 am

      It was super delicious!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    May 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    That icing on those cupcakes looks just perfect Kathy! I’ll need to give this recipe a try. Thanks for sharing. Hope you have a great holiday weekend.

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks, Mary Ann! I am looking forward to the long weekend! Enjoy yours too!

  • Reply
    Fran @ G'day Souffle'
    May 26, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Oh, I’ll bookmark this recipe for the next time I need frosting (icing). I just saw someone make a carrot cake last night on the Master Chef series- this icing recipe would go well with that cake!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      I love carrot cake! This would work well with it!

  • Reply
    karrie @ Tasty Ever After
    May 26, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    5 stars
    Buttercream is the best frosting ever! I could eat that stuff just in a bowl with a big spoon for breakfast 🙂

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      For Breakfast??? You are a frosting lover!

  • Reply
    Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen
    May 26, 2016 at 2:35 am

    Oh my gosh! I am so much in LOVE with that first click of yours. This buttercream frosting looks so good and perfect. This sure would make every cake or cupcake more beautiful and delicious. YUMMY! Thanks for this lovely share!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks, Anu! 🙂 It’s what tops all my cakes and cupcakes!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    A nice buttercream topping makes every cake look pretty! Great to have a classic buttercream recipe – thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      It’s the dressing that every cake needs.

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    May 25, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    love a classic buttercream. thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      You bet! 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura ~ Raise Your Garden
    May 25, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Before I forget, I absolutely LOVE that first shot of the frosting coming out of the pipette and the blurred cupcakes in the back. Very photogenic and Pinworthy!!!! Frosting is not something I make often but when I need it, it gets googled a ton. I made my own frosting for my daughters Birthday cupcakes for school and it bombed! Guess I chose the wrong recipe to use off Pinterest. I’ll be back when I make frosting soon to try yours Kathy!!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Thanks, Laura! Frosting can be finicky. Find one you love and you’ll stick with it. Let me know if you give my recipe a try!

  • Reply
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks
    May 25, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Oh man. My diet just tanked. I do love me some buttercream!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2016 at 7:44 pm

      This definitely isn’t diet food!

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