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Homemade Buttercream Frosting is one of the best basic recipes to have on hand. This classic recipe makes enough pillowy frosting for 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting is one of the best basic recipes to have on hand. This classic recipe makes enough pillowy frosting for 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake.

Of all the recipes on My Baking Addiction, this Homemade Buttercream Frosting is definitely the recipe that I make the most in my kitchen. In fact, it’s probably the most requested recipe amongst family and friends – well, maybe the second most requested next to My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Whether I’m whipping up cupcakes, cake, or cookies, this Homemade Buttercream Frosting is the perfect way to top just about anything. As much as I love cream cheese frosting, this is the frosting recipe I keep coming back to time and time again.

I can’t tell you how many times people have said, “I could eat this with a spoon!” And I’ve actually made this for my aunt’s co-worker to do just that. She would put a serving in a little bowl and snack on it while watching her favorite TV shows.

Guys, it’s THAT good!

Whether topping cupcakes, cakes, or cookies, Homemade Buttercream Frosting is perfection
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The best homemade buttercream frosting

One of the most common questions that I get from my readers is about buttercream frosting.

Although I have made several types of buttercream frosting recipes, this Homemade Buttercream Frosting is by far my favorite due to its flavor, simplicity, and smooth texture.

This buttercream recipe can be infused with many different flavors to accompany your baked goods.

There are many variations of recipes for buttercream. And not just American vs Italian vs. Swiss meringue, etc. But even within American-style buttercream like this, there are all kinds of recipes!

For example, a lot of folks debate about using shortening versus using butter. I prefer using unsalted butter for the fat component because I find it to be less greasy than buttercream made with shortening.

You can make Homemade Buttercream Frosting in just a few minutes - it is so easy!

However, to each their own; if you’re a shortening fan, see the notes in the printable recipe card for this adaptation.

This Homemade Buttercream Frosting is extremely easy to pipe on 24+ cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake and holds its shape very well.

It will flow easily through a variety of piping tips. My favorite tips are the 1M from Wilton, large round and large French tips.

With this basic homemade buttercream recipe under your belt, you’ll be well on your way to creating cake and cupcake masterpieces.

Nothing is as fluffy and perfect as Homemade Buttercream Frosting. You'll make this recipe again and again!

Different types of buttercream frosting

I mentioned there being multiple types of buttercream in the baking world, so let’s talk about them real quick:

American Buttercream Frosting – This buttercream is fast, simple and what you see on most grocery store cakes. It’s essentially fat (butter, margarine, shortening), confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract whipped together.

This recipe is for an American-style buttercream.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream – Swiss meringue buttercream is made by cooking egg whites and sugar together in a bowl placed on a pot of boiling water.

The mixture is continuously whisked while it reaches 140° F. The egg white and sugar mixture is then removed from the heat and whipped at high speed until it forms stiff peaks and has cooled.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting is soft and pillowy and perfectly sweet.

Italian Buttercream – Italian buttercream is made by whipping eggs whites with sugar syrup and butter. Before adding the syrup to the egg whites, it is cooked to the soft-ball stage (240 degrees F).

Fluffy frosting is so easy to make at home with this Homemade Buttercream Frosting recipe

How to make buttercream frosting

Our Homemade Buttercream Frosting is so easy to make, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered buying frosting.

Ingredients you’ll need

The ingredients for your homemade buttercream are pretty simple. For a full batch of this frosting (enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake), you will need:

  • 1 ½ cups softened unsalted butter
  • Tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ pounds powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract 
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Sift your powdered sugar for the smoothest frosting. I also recommend weighing it instead of measuring it by volume.

Powdered sugar compacts easily, and when you’re using such a large amount in a recipe, it can be easy to throw off the balance of your frosting when you scoop it instead of weighing it.

I like to use clear vanilla in my frosting to keep it a bright white, although I will occasionally use pure vanilla extract, especially if I am going to be adding food coloring anyway.

You can use cream or milk in this recipe. I don’t really have a preference; I will use whichever I happen to have on hand! Both work great.

Making this recipe

All you need to make buttercream frosting is a big bowl, an electric mixer, and a rubber spatula. If you are using a stand mixer instead of a hand mixer, I recommend using the paddle attachment.

First, make sure your butter is softened. (Don’t worry if you didn’t set it out ahead of time – check out my guide for how to soften butter to figure out how to soften it in a jiffy!)

Homemade Buttercream Frosting is a key recipe to have on hand!

Cream the butter until it is fluffy. This is really the most important step in this entire recipe. I often set a kitchen timer for 6-7 minutes and just let my KitchenAid stand mixer do all of the work.

Then add in the salt and slowly add in the powdered sugar, continuing to beat the mixture until it is well blended.

Add in the vanilla and cream or milk and beat on low speed until combined.

Once the vanilla and cream or milk are incorporated, I’ll turn up the speed to medium-high and set another timer for an additional 6-7 minutes. This will ensure your Homemade Buttercream Frosting is ultra-fluffy and creamy.

You can add additional cream or milk if you want a softer consistency, but I recommend adding it just a couple of teaspoons at a time until it’s just right.

It’s ready to use or store for later!

Homemade Buttercream Frosting will become your new favorite easy recipe

Flavoring options

One of the best things about knowing how to make buttercream frosting is being able to make your own flavored buttercream frosting!

There are lots of different ways to flavor Homemade Buttercream Frosting. Of course there is always the classic vanilla extract, vanilla paste or vanilla beans. You guys know I am obsessed with vanilla everything and always use pure vanilla extract; however, this buttercream is the exception.

More often than not, I turn to Wilton’s Clear Vanilla Extract for this recipe. It keeps my homemade buttercream frosting super white and has the perfect, yummy, creamy vanilla flavor that is simply my favorite in buttercream.

You can also use any other flavor extract you like, such as peppermint extract.

Fluffy Homemade Buttercream Frosting is so easy to make, you'll wonder why you ever purchased it from the store.

For any citrus flavors, I like to reach for fresh citrus zest or juice. Even though lemon is the most common, you could try lime, orange, or grapefruit instead. I used both lemon and lime for Lemon Lime Cupcakes.

We can’t forget chocolate – you can add cocoa powder or melted chocolate to turn Homemade Buttercream Frosting into chocolate buttercream like I used on Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.

You could even try fresh fruit puree (like I did with my strawberry frosting and Lemon Blueberry Buttercream), jam, curd, or even salted caramel sauce.

And don’t forget about brown butter! My brown butter frosting is a perfect example of the magic that happens when you brown the butter for this recipe.

Don't buy frosting ever again - make your own Homemade Buttercream Frosting!

Uses for this frosting

There are a million different ways to use homemade buttercream. The most obvious is for frosting cakes or cupcakes. This recipe will make enough frosting to generously cover 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake.

You can also put your homemade buttercream inside your cupcakes! Try using one flavor as a cupcake filling and a second flavor on top.

If you’ve never filled cupcakes before, I have a whole post that walks you through the easiest ways to fill cupcakes.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting uses just a few ingredients and is easy to customize

It also makes a fantastic filling for sandwich cookies. Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies are perfection thanks to a buttercream filling.

Really, Homemade Buttercream Frosting can be used for anything that has frosting on top! Think Halloween rice krispie treats, for example.

Customize Homemade Buttercream Frosting with just about any flavor you can think of!

How to store buttercream frosting

Homemade Buttercream Frosting can be made a few days ahead of time, so it’s easy to prepare before a party and pipe onto a cake or cupcakes the day of.

Cover and refrigerate Homemade Buttercream Frosting for up to three days. When you’re ready to use it, simply bring it to room temperature and beat it for about 5 minutes or until smooth.

You may need to add a splash of cream or milk to revive the consistency before piping.

Can you freeze this frosting?

Extra buttercream frosting can also be frozen for longer-term storage.

Place the buttercream in a freezer-safe airtight container. Sometimes I will also place a layer of plastic wrap on the top of the buttercream for extra protection. Freeze for up to a month.

Let the frosting thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Before using, let it come to room temperature and beat it with your mixer for about 5 minutes or until nice and smooth. Add a splash of milk or cream if needed.

Homemade Buttercream Frosting is perfect for topping 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake
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Homemade Buttercream Frosting

By: Jamie
4.48 from 1653 ratings
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 24
Homemade Buttercream Frosting is one of the best basic recipes to have on hand.


  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter softened
  • Tiny pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 ½ pounds powdered sugar 24 ounces; sifted
  • 1 tablespoon clear vanilla extract (this helps maintain the bright white color)
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream or milk


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed for 6-7 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the salt and powdered sugar, and continue beating until the sugar is fully incorporated.
  • Add in vanilla and cream or milk and mix on low speed until incorporated.
  • Turn the mixer back up to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for an additional 6-7 minutes.
  • If the buttercream is too thick, add in a bit of milk, one teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency.



  • This recipe will make enough frosting to generously frost 24 cupcakes or one 9 inch layer cake.
  • You can easily adjust the consistency of this recipe by simply adding in more heavy cream or milk.
  • If you are a fan of shortening in your buttercream, simply omit one stick (1/2 cup) of butter and replace with 1/2 cup shortening.
  • Clear vanilla extract is used in this recipe to keep the frosting nice and white. If you don’t mind a slight color change, feel free to use pure vanilla extract, but decrease the amount to 2 teaspoons.
  • Covered and refrigerated frosting can be stored for up to three days. Simply bring it to room temperature and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. You may need to add a couple of teaspoons of heavy cream or milk to revive the consistency. Frosting can also be frozen for up to a month.
  • If you choose to dye your frosting, go easy with the dye. Remember, you can always add more color, but you can’t remove it.
  • If you garnish with sprinkles, make sure you do this immediately after you frost your baked goods. Once the top layer of the buttercream crusts, nothing will stick.
  • Learn how to make powdered sugar for those times when you have run out but still want frosting!


Calories: 218kcal, Carbohydrates: 28g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 32mg, Sodium: 3mg, Potassium: 6mg, Sugar: 28g, Vitamin A: 373IU, Vitamin C: 0.01mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 0.02mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Joyce says:

    5 stars
    What a delicious frosting. So silky smooth So easy. A++

    1. Jamie says:

      So glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback.

  2. Lana says:

    I’ve never made buttercream before but just made two batches of this to ice 60 cupcakes. Easy and delicious! Thank you!

    1. Jamie says:

      I love hearing that, Lana! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing. Happy baking!

  3. Portia says:

    Can you color this buttercream or is it best not to?

    1. Jamie says:

      You sure can! I prefer gel food coloring. It works great with this recipe. Happy baking!

  4. Jill Torres says:

    Hi i just made your frosting and its so light not overly sweet. ❤️I would like to make it slightly thicker can you please direct me on the best way to do that?

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Jill – I’m glad you enjoy it! Just add less milk or cream at the end and you’ll have a thicker frosting. Add only as much as you need to get the consistency you desire! Happy baking –

  5. Julie Levine says:

    Can Smart Balance margarine be substituted for the butter? I found that using lactose free butter adds more liquid to a frosting and it was too much liquid.

    1. Jamie says:

      Hi Julie – I have not made this recipe with that substitution, so I can’t attest to the results. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Happy baking!