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You have made an amazing birthday cake, or the most delicious cupcakes, or those fantastic holiday cookies for the party, now you need a great buttercream frosting to push your dessert to perfection.

Frosting in a can may be convenient, but this quick and easy recipe will show you step by step how to make a smooth and fluffy American buttercream frosting with a few ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen.

2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers.
2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers.

Plus, with a few simple tweaks, you can change the flavor and color. Add a few drops of red food coloring to make pink frosting. Change the basic vanilla frosting by using amaretto or another flavoring instead. So, ditch the store-bought, and use this buttercream icing recipe.

Step #1. Prepare Ingredients

Buttercream ingredients on wooden counter.

Gather the following items and ingredients:

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • Electric mixer

Step #2. Place All Ingredients in a Bowl

Adding vanilla to sugar and butter.

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl.

Step #3. Mix

Using a hand mixer to combine vanilla, butter and sugar.

Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. You can adjust the thickness by adding more milk if it is too stiff, or adding more icing sugar if it is too runny.

Step #4. Serve & Enjoy!

2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers.

You can use the buttercream frosting to spread onto cupcakes, cake, as a filling etc.

2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers.
2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers, sprinkles on the side.

If you plan to use the buttercream frosting for piping, you will want to make it a little thicker. A simple trick on how to make buttercream frosting stiffer is to add less milk to the recipe or more sifted, powdered sugar. Sifting the powdered sugar before you add it, ensures the frosting will be smooth. 

To make the frosting a little less sweet, try adding a little salt, substituting heavy cream for the milk, or adding in a little lemon juice.

Buttercream frosting can be made in advance and stored for up to a week in the fridge or two months in the freezer. Place the frosting in an airtight container and store it away from foods with strong odors. When you are ready to use it, let the buttercream come up to room temperature.

2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers.

How to Make Buttercream

Joss D
Frosting in a can may be convenient, but this quick and easy recipe will show you step by step how to make a smooth and fluffy American buttercream frosting with a few ingredients you most likely already have in your kitchen.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Servings 6 1/4 cup servings
Calories 378 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup butter - softened
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp. milk

Instructions
 

  • Place all ingredients in a bowl.
    Adding vanilla to sugar and butter.
  • Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. You can add adjust the thickness by adding more milk if it is too stiff, or adding more icing sugar if it is too runny.
    Using a hand mixer to combine vanilla, butter and sugar.
  • Your buttercream is ready to use for cakes, cupcakes, etc.
    2 cupcakes with buttercream frosting in purple wrappers.

Equipment

Electric mixer

Notes

  • Buttercream frosting can be made in advance and stored for up to a week in the fridge or two months in the freezer. When you are ready to use it, let the buttercream come up to room temperature.
  • This recipe makes enough buttercream for about 12 cupcakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 1gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 138mgPotassium: 13mgSugar: 59gVitamin A: 477IUCalcium: 8mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.

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Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out…How to Make Vanilla Powder

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