Feb 4

Quite Possibly The Best Buttercream Frosting Ever

Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Call me crazy, but I've never been much of a fan of frosting. More often than not, I scrape as much of it off my slice of cake as possible -- kids LOVE to sit next to me at parties!

But this buttercream frosting? Oh, this buttercream frosting... I personally think it is the best buttercream frosting recipe. EVER.

Now I realize that there are really only so many ways to make buttercream frosting, but a truly delicious buttercream frosting is as much about the technique as it is about the ingredients. Obviously you do want to start with fresh, quality ingredients: softened salted butter, heavy whipping cream, pure vanilla extract, and confectioner's sugar.

Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

And yes, I did specify salted butter -- I prefer to use salted butter in my buttercream. However, the salt content can vary by brand of butter. I like the Horizon Organic brand, but feel free to experiment to find your favorite. As an alternative, you can also use unsalted butter and add about 1/8 teaspoon of table salt to the recipe.

Also, I stay away from adding shortening. Sure, it's useful for helping the buttercream frosting hold its shape better in warm weather, but I find it creates an oily textures and dilutes the flavor -- NOT what we want in a dreamy, fluffy buttercream!

How To Make the Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe

They key to what I consider the best buttercream frosting recipe ever starts with softened butter, not necessarily room temperature, but you should be able to leave an impression in it fairly easily. Allow plenty of time for it to reach this consistency, especially in cooler weather. And whatever you do, please do not use the microwave to soften it -- 99.9% of the time it will get too soft, and it's impossible to recover it at that point.

How To Make Buttercream Frosting

Follow these four simple steps to produce a delicious buttercream:

{1} Add your softened butter to a stand mixer and beat it with a flat paddle for about three minutes on medium.

{2} Turn the mixer off and add the confectioner's sugar. Mix on low until thoroughly incorporated.

{3} When the butter and confectioner's sugar start to create a dough-like ball, you can add the vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Whip on medium-high for about three minutes.

{4} Continue to add more heavy cream by the tablespoon until the frosting reaches your desired consistency -- less cream equals thicker frosting and more cream creates a thinner frosting.

Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe

For a batch of frosting that's the consistency of what's shown in these photos, I used a total of 4 tablespoons of cream. It was super creamy and fluffy, the perfect consistency for piping with a large tip onto my cupcakes.

Best Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 3 cups

Best Buttercream Frosting


  • 1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-5 tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Using a paddle beater, beat softened butter on medium speed for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add sifted confectioner's sugar and stir on low until incorporated.
  3. Add vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. Beat on medium-high for 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the sides once or twice.
  4. If a thinner frosting is desired, add additional heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.


Update: I've had a number of requests for variations on this recipe, so I thought I'd start listing them here for easy access as I publish them. If you have a request, please contact me or leave a comment below!

Buttercream Frosting Cupcakes

How To Frost Cupcakes

I have to say that frosting cupcakes has never been my forte, but I'm slowly learning how to make use of a large open star tip to pipe a prettier cupcake. Specifically, I used a Wilton 1M extra large open star tip for this batch of cupcakes.

You can pick up a 3-pack of Wilton extra large tips in the cake decorating aisle at Walmart, along with a package of reusable decorating bags, for just a few bucks. Place the tip inside one of the bags, fill with frosting and you're ready to start piping.

Two Easy Cupcake Piping Techniques

There are two cupcake piping techniques that I recommend for beginners, and they're especially easy to achieve with the consistency of this yummy buttercream recipe.

Piping Cupcakes

Easy Cupcake Piping Techniques:

Creating spirals -- Piping a spiral on top of a cupcake is simple. Just hold your piping bag vertically, tip down, and start at the outside of your cupcake, squeezing with firm pressure as you go around and around, working your way into the center. Once you reach the middle, ease up on the pressure and lift the tip straight up off the cupcake.

Creating rosettes -- I was intimidated by the roses myself until I discovered that they're really just a reverse spiral. Using the same technique as above, simply start in the center of the cupcake and spiral your way to the outside. It's almost like magic!

Above all, have fun with this recipe! Try adding different flavor extracts, tinting your frosting fun colors or even adding fresh fruit or homemade caramel sauce. Note that I used regular pure vanilla extract in this batch, but if you prefer a truer white color, you'll want to look for clear extracts.

Walmart Moms Disclosure

by Tara | 131 comments

  • Nic

    I was wondering if you have ever frozen the icing? I often freeze cupcakes iced with buttercream, but it doesn't have cream in it. I'm worried that it might go watery/split. Your recipe looks lovely and I would love to try it.

  • http://parmesanandchocolate.wordpress.com Sophie

    I love the piping tips, I've always wondered how to do the rosette technique and will definitely be giving it a go. I've never seen buttercream made this way either, in England we just use margarine and icing sugar. I'd love it if you'd check out my blog to see what I've been making!

  • http://lovefashiontravelfood.blogspot.com/ Kerrie

    MMM looks delish!

  • crystal

    hii your butter cream frosting looks amazing. if i were to make this frosting on the day of the event could i replace the heavy cream with whipping cream??

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Hi Crystal! Whipping cream and heavy cream are the same thing -- at least I believe we're talking about the same thing... Whipping cream in a carton, not Cool-Whip or something similar, right?

  • Phyllis

    Can I add a food colouring to the frosting?

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Yes, you can use food coloring in small amounts. For more vibrant colors, I'd recommend using the gel kind.

  • lisa g.

    Hi, great recipe! I need to know if this recipe would be good for rolled, cut-out sugar cookies. Will the frosting set up & harden on the cookies? Thanks!

    • sandy smith

      No! You would need to make a frosting called Royal Icing for the hardened effect. Buttercream is not suitable for what you're asking.

  • Owen Gibson

    How should I store it?

  • http://hotmail sherry pieton

    Can I use a hand mixer for this recipe? Thank you

  • Sandra

    THANK YOU! So glad for your comments about the shortening. After being quoted anywhere from $200 - $400 for a cake for my in-laws 50th anniversary, I have decided to make the cake myself. (Note: I have never done anything like this). Made a test cake this weekend and used shortening in the frosting. Like you said, it left an oily texture. Will use only the salted butter for the real cake. Any tips for icing my "real" cake? I plan to do a crumb coating 1st, let the cake set, then the final icing later in the day.

  • Patricia McDonough

    Love icing like this. I have made it this way and added flavorings everyone loved it.

  • http://ilovecookiesjp.blogspot.com/ Jola

    Hi :) I am wondering can I use for the cake under fondant ?

    • Aunt Jewel

      Yes you can use the butter cream under the fondant. This is the same recipe I use

  • http:www.stitchandbake.com Dina

    This has been my go to recipe for along time now!! It works great and tastes great too :)

  • SF

    Finally someone else who uses salted butter and a lot of vanilla!! Your recipe is very similar to mine, with the exception of heavy whipping. I'll be trying it next!!

  • Renee

    Do cakes need to be kept in the fridge when using this icing?

  • Addy

    Recipe looks amazing. Have a question regarding the powdered sugar...did you use the whole 2 lbs (32 oz) bag for this recipe? Many thanks!!!

  • janet marin

    please add me to you web site. Thanks.

  • linda grimsley

    Will this buttercream recipe work for piping roses on a icing nail???

  • Kathy

    Loved it. I have been in the restaurant and catering business for a long time - I used this for the topper on the cupcake tower for my granddaughter's first birthday. It was delicious.

  • Bee

    Great Taste, sweet & yummy. However, it's a very thin frosting when you add 3Tbs of heavy cream. Start with 1 & add as you need it.

  • Arjay

    Can you use this buttercream frosting and smooth it out to look like fondant on a cake? I want a buttercream frosting that's yummy but can look like fondant.


  • Alma

    Will this buttercream recipe give me a smooth finish?
    I'm planning to use it on my son's wedding cake.

  • Ashlyn

    Hey there! I've been burning the internet trying to find a good frosting recipe, aaaand I think this might be it!
    But... I have one question. Is it okay if you add food colouring? I'm shore it will be fine, but it HAS to be perfect!! =)

  • Annette Naranjo

    This this buttercream require to be refrigerated?

    • Erin

      Does this require refrigeration? Wondering if I make these the night before do I need to keep them in the fridge until the party the next day.

      • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

        Nope, no refrigeration required -- the sugar acts as a natural preservative!

  • Mariam

    looks yumm how long can this frosting kept outside(room temperature)

  • fara valdes

    Thank you so very much for sharing this recipe. I tried it and everyone that tasted the cake I made loved it. I will continue to use this recipe.

  • Joanfdickie

    Thank you for the recipes, they really look good.Waiting for the chocolate version of the butter cream frosting.

  • Jennifer Hernández

    If I want my Buttercreme to be super white what do I need to do?

    • http://unsophisticook.com Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Jennifer, you'll need to use clear vanilla extract to keep the white color. I haven't been able to find one that's made with real vanilla, though, so you may be sacrificing the taste slightly.

  • gaylyn s

    does your recipe work with the "Viva Towel Smooting Technique"???

    And, if it does.... what is the best way to use that techique... or, any better ideas to make your icing absolutely smooth?? thanks for the recipe

  • arlene

    absolutely delicious buttercream frosting. you nailed it! this will be my go-to
    from now on. thanks for the recipe!

  • jakki

    Hi, I seem to always mess up making frostings! I want that bakery style flavor and end up with a mess that isn't even spreadable, I'm going to try this recipe, but do you have a good marshmallow one, using fluff?

  • Nancy

    Do you know how much frosting this makes? I'm going to use it on a wedding cake.

  • Daniela

    It looks very easy,but I would want to know the quantity of the ingredients in gr or ml.
    Thank you!

  • http://www.savormania.com Sharon @ savormania

    I'm always looking to update my buttercream frosting! I'll definitely try this out next time I bake cupcakes :)

  • http://www.ixomsoft.net Kimi

    so cute. thanks for sharing this.

  • http://Hellohomemaking.com Mandie @ Hellohomemaking.com

    I love this recipe! I don't really like buttercream frosting, but I absolutely love this version. Thank you for posting!

    • http://unsophisticook.com/ Tara @ Unsophisticook

      I'm not usually a frosting fan, either, Mandie -- but I do love this frosting! I'm planning to share the cream cheese version very soon, so check back for that.

  • kahti

    hello how long can i store this frosting for in the fridge?

    • http://unsophisticook.com/ Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Hi Kahti! I'd think it should last at least a week in the refrigerator. As I mentioned previously, I recommend pressing a piece of Saran Wrap down directly on top of the frosting to prevent it from crusting over until you're ready to use it.

  • Toni

    Can I just say, I hate buttercream. But this? When I tasted it, the clouds parted and the angels sang. So delicious!!!

  • Andrea

    This is the BEST BUTTERCREAM! I use this all the time & get rave reviews!
    Would love to know how long do you think it keeps in fridge?

    • http://unsophisticook.com/ Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Hi Andrea! It should keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator. I've also read that you can place it in an airtight container and freeze it for up to 3 months, but I haven't tried that personally.

  • AManCalledDa-da

    THANK YOU. Finally, a reliably awesome buttercream frosting recipe!

  • AManCalledDa-da

    Seriously. Da-da was eating it before he could get it on the cake. Butter + cream + sugar + vanilla = buttercream. Not egg yolks. Not Crisco. Not weird additives. Thanks, again.

    • http://unsophisticook.com/ Tara @ Unsophisticook

      Glad you love it -- thanks for the feedback!

  • jessie b.

    as a professional baker i have searched ages for a buttercream that was not too sweet, and not swiss or italian because most americans don't like it (I have have a brutally honest family fortunately). This buttercream saved my life for my sisters birthday, it is perfectly balanced. However, I did use unsalted butter with the tiniest dash of salt. when i say tiny, i mean barely noticeable in your hand lol. I find land of lakes brand of butter makes good icing.

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