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Perfect Buttercream Frosting

This is hands down the BEST buttercream frosting recipe ever! Buttercream should be rich and creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness, while spreading and piping onto cakes beautifully. Today, I’m sharing the only frosting recipe you’ll ever need!

The BEST Buttercream Frosting Recipe

I am so excited to share this buttercream frosting recipe with you guys! Buttercream is such a simple recipe, and there is no reason that you should ever purchase canned frosting again. A good buttercream recipe will have a creamy texture, a rich, vanilla, buttery flavor, and will spread or pipe onto cakes and cupcakes easily. I also have a fantastic chocolate frosting recipe that you should definitely try too!

Do You Use Butter or Shortening In Buttercream?

I have made buttercream frosting with shortening, butter, and a combination of the two, there are reasons for all variations! Let me explain:

  • Vegetable Shortening (Crisco) is great because it hold up well in warmer temperatures, and has virtually no flavor. Shortening holds its shape much better than butter does in any heat, so if you’re in a warm climate or want to pipe stiff roses or decorations.
  • Like I said, shortening has basically no flavor, so it’s great for adding flavor too if you don’t love the flavor of butter (is that a thing?)
  • Also vegetable shortening is a little cheaper than butter, so that’s something to note if cost is a factor.
  • If you are dealing with a dairy allergy, shortening is a great frosting option.
  • Butter adds a richness and flavor. It is called BUTTERcream, after all.
  • Butter is a “real” food. Shortening goes through a hydrogenation process to make it a solid.
  • Shortening is 100% fat vs butter, which is 80% fat.

My buttercream frosting recipe is ALL BUTTER. I far prefer butter over shortening if weather and temperatures are not an issue. The flavor is just superior in my opinion.

How Do You Color Buttercream Frosting?

You can easily color this frosting with gel food coloring, or leave it white and beautiful. I prefer gel to liquid food coloring simply because I feel like you can achieve a more deep color using less coloring. You can certainly use the liquid drops that you buy at the supermarket too, just note that some colors (red) require a lot more coloring and can thin out the texture slightly.

What Kinds of Extract Can I Use In Buttercream?

Vanilla extract is an obvious addition to buttercream, but it’s so easy to flavor with all sorts of extracts and add-ins!

  • Try 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract for a “wedding cake” type frosting!
  • Coconut extract is a great way to turn this into a coconut frosting!
  • Lemon Extract and a little lemon zest will turn this into a bright citrus frosting.
  • Add in 1/2 cup Cookie Butter to create a “graham cracker” tasting frosting!
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter makes a light, fluffy peanut butter frosting!

There are so many flavor options!

How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting

The answer to this question is OH so simple! You only need 4 ingredients:

  • Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Heavy Cream (or milk)
  • Vanilla Extract

Making sure your butter is at room temperature (but not TOO warm) is key. I will use the analogy of room temperature, being your house when the air conditioning is on…say 72-ish degrees. Soft to the touch, but not melty at all!

Also, I noted you can use heavy cream OR milk. I like to use heavy cream, because, well, it’s creamier. But it IS thicker, so if you use milk in its place, you won’t need a much. The trick when making frosting is to add liquid slowly. You can always add more, but you can never take it out. Also, it depends on how stiff you want your frosting to be! It’s not difficult at all, just trust yourself!

When this frosting sits out, it develops a light crust, which I love. If you don’t like that, just make sure you cover it airtight.

What Can I use this Buttercream Frosting on?

This recipe makes enough frosting to cover and fill one, 9-inch cake, or pipe swirls on 24 cupcakes. Enjoy!

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Vanilla buttercream frosting on a cupcake

Perfect Buttercream Frosting

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups 1x
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Mixer
  • Cuisine: Dessert


This is hands down the BEST buttercream frosting recipe ever!


  • 1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature
  • 7 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/41/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth.
  2. Turn the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until it’s mixed in.
  3. Slowly stream in 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and vanilla. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and mix for 1 minute until creamy. Add additional heavy cream, if a creamier frosting is desired.
  4. Use to decorate cake, cupcakes and more!


if you opt to use milk instead of cream start with 2 tablespoons and add from there. Milk is thinner than cream and doesn’t take as much to loosen your frosting.

*Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 1 moth. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before using.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 336
  • Sugar: 42.9 g
  • Sodium: 4.2 mg
  • Fat: 18.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 43.8 g
  • Protein: 0.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 50 mg

Keywords: vanilla buttercream frosting recipe, how to make buttercream, easy, frosting for cake, homemade, fluffy, best

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38 comments on “Perfect Buttercream Frosting”

  1. How much is the amount of 1 1/2 cups butter – is it 200 gram or more.
    and which cup do you use to messure the powdered sugar
    Thank you.

  2. This is the best buttercream frosting! I made a wedding cake and it piped the roses so perfect. It spread on so easily and didn’t crust at all. I love it! Thank you so much Shelly. =)

  3. Hello, I found your roasted strawberry buttercream recipe, and I was wondering if this recipe would work with that? And if so, should I make any alterations to this recipe so it will hold its shape when I add the roasted strawberry purée? Thank you!

    1. Yes you can do that. No real alterations, except like stated in the Roasted Strawberry if the frosting appears curdled at all you can add a little more powdered sugar to smooth it out.

    1. Depends on how hot. The base of this frosting is butter, which will soften in the heat, but it’s a pretty sturdy frosting so as long as it’s not too warm, you should be fine!

  4. The mixture is not thick at all, what happened? And trying the mix I find it to be too sweet and has an after taste.

    1. If it’s not thick enough I would recommend adding more sugar. it’s really the only way to thicken up frosting. Sorry if you think it’s too sweet..And as for the aftertaste, I’m not quite sure what could be causing that…the ingredients are simple, so I might blame the vanilla extract you’re using. Without being there with you it’s tough to know for sure!


  6. In the past when I have made buttercream for some reason the buttercream ends up being gritty, can you tell when why that was happening? I will try your buttercream recipe and hope that it doesn’t happen with your recipe. Can you offer any reason for that happening?

    1. Sounds like the powdered sugar. Try sifting it and also mix it a minute or two longer to help dissolve the sugar if you’re having issues!

  7. Looking forward to seeing and trying your recipes… as I love to bake too… was the school baker many years… ????

  8. So excited about this series!!! Been wanting to do this with my grandkids and my girls that I teach at our church!!!

  9. Yum! Buttercream is my favorite, especially when it’s made with butter. I love that you and make it into any flavor. I may need to do some baking soon.

  10. If I want to make a lemon butter cream frosting, how much lemon juice would I add? What should I use less of in the recipe to make up for adding the lemon juice?

    1. I would add a tablespoon of lemon juice AND the zest! I would start by adding 1 tablespoon less of cream or milk!

    1. Ummm Melissa? It’s Fridays not Friday’s if you said Friday’s it would mean “Friday is” or that it (whatever “it” is) belongs to Friday I don’t think that is what you mean sorry I’m kind of obsessed with grammar….

  11. I love buttercream frosting, but I’m not crazy about the shortening either. I’ve been swapping it out with butter and everyone likes it so much better that way. This is great!

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