Buttercream Icing Recipe – How to Make the Best Buttercream Icing

buttercream icing

I have found my buttercream icing recipe, it’s perfect and I won’t fiddle around with it any more. Promise. Ok, well maybe one day I will try adding a couple drops of lemon juice to it, to give it a little pizazz. You know me and lemon. It’s bound to happen one day that the two will meet. Lemon really gets around in my house.

This is amazing, melt in your mouth, whippy, ultimate swirly cupcake worthy. It was fantastic on the homemade chocolate cake I made to go with it. The cake was dense and moist, and paired with a light as air buttercream icing…heaven. Angels dancing on your taste buds.

Please go and have a read of my Buttercream Icing Recipe FAQ which answers a lot of the questions asked in the 300 comments below! 

Ingredients

1 cup of salted butter
3  teaspoons of vanilla
4 cups of icing sugar
4-5 tablespoons of  coffee cream (18% and up)

buttercream icing

Trust me on this one and use salted butter. I haven’t come across a single buttercream icing recipe that uses salted, and I think that is what made the difference. I don’t do unsalted butter. Ever. I don’t even know where it is in the store, to be honest. I suppose I could find it if I tried, but I always leave the salt out of my recipes if it’s a sweet one, or just go with the flow if it’s savory dish instead. Salt and sweet are a match made in heaven. You want salt in this icing.

Whip that butter, with a paddle beater if you have it, if not, don’t worry.

buttercream icing

Add in the icing sugar. **I came back to edit this to say that fresh icing sugar makes all the difference. Icing sugar goes stale, and you can sure taste it when it does! Crack open a fresh bag for icings, you won’t be sorry!**

buttercream icing

When you have a royal mess like I did by not using the cover I have, add in the cream. Not milk, cream. Perhaps this is another reason why it worked out so well, milk is also something else I rarely have in my house since none of us drink it or use it on cereal. So…to make my long story short…I used cream and it rocked. I used 4 tablespoons for my preference, you adjust to what you want. Stiffer icing = less cream. Whippier buttercream icing = more cream.

buttercream icing

Vanilla…. I used 3 teaspoons, again, you can try a little more if you like.

buttercream icing

Then whip it…whip it gooooood! Lordy, and try not to eat it all before it makes it to the cake. Good luck with that. I had to smack my own hands.

** Remember to join ZIPLIST to create your own online recipe box and then click SAVE on my recipe below to add it! I use my online recipe box ALL the time! **

4.9 from 28 reviews
How To: Make The Best Buttercream Icing
 
Prep time
Cook time
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The Best Buttercream Icing ever, all because of rich cream and salted butter. You won't find another to match the decadence of this icing.
Author:
Recipe type: icing,
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of coffee cream (18% and up)
Instructions
  1. Trust me on this one and use salted butter in this icing.
  2. Whip that butter, with a paddle beater if you have it, if not, don’t worry.
  3. Add in the icing sugar. **I came back to edit this to say that fresh icing sugar makes all the difference. Icing sugar goes stale, and you can sure taste it when it does! Crack open a fresh bag for icings, you won’t be sorry!**
  4. Add in the cream. Not milk, cream. I used 4 tablespoons for my preference, you adjust to what you want.
  5. Stiffer icing = less cream.
  6. Whippier icing = more cream. Vanilla…. I used 3 teaspoons, again, you can try a little more if you like.Then keep mixing it until fluffy and thoroughly combined

 

 

buttercream icing

574 comments
Jillian T
Jillian T

I can't wait to slap this on my upcoming birthday cupcakes for work....question, does it need to be refridgerated??  How long can the icing stay out so if I make them and take them on a car ride, should I not ice anything until I'm ready to serve?? Please advise. :) Thanks again!

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@Jillian T It can stay out for a few hours completely fine!

Carole W
Carole W

Is this recipe enough to fill and frost a 9-inch cake?  

melinda_m
melinda_m

I've made lots of icing recipes - this is by far and away the BEST one. I'll never use any others!

KristenJamieson
KristenJamieson

Best icing ever!! I even forgot to put in the vanilla (duh), and it still tasted amazing!

amy
amy

Hello,

Can you pipe roses and such with this recipe?

Rachel
Rachel

I also only ever use salted butter - I've had people horrified at me that I don't use unsalted when the recipe calls for it :D  I figure adjust as needed.....or not, it hasn't failed me yet!

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@Rachel IF it tastes great off the spoon plain (the butter) then you know it's amazing and NEVER too salty in the icing. So simple! I don't get it, a pinch of salt never turns out the same, its' truly the secret!

BrennaCollyard
BrennaCollyard

This frosting is ridiculously insane bonkers delicious! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I just made a trial batch of cupcakes for my daughters birthday and I can't believe how they turned out. I have a feeling I'm going to be singing your praise to a lot of parents come this weekend. One question though, do I need to refrigerate the frosting? Or, would it be fine to make the batch of cupcakes and frosting before the party and have them stay out?

And thanks again for this recipe, I'm going to use it for everything now, cake, cupcakes, lunch...

laurensguitar1999
laurensguitar1999

Is this buttercream stiff enough to pipe roses and such, my grandmother is a cake decorating master, but my cousin and sister want to surprise her with a homemade cake, for her surprise 65th birthday party.

EagerNewbie77
EagerNewbie77

Hi there,

Have been looking all around for an easy yet effective recipe. Just wondering if I can substitute Coffee cream with Sour cream?

Thank you

kindredcottage
kindredcottage

so very good! added 1 T vanilla ext. plus 1/2 t lemon emulsion. what a light fluffy texture and fresh taste! thank you so much for sharing!

ShatteredHelix
ShatteredHelix

I have made this recipe several times with a couple of sight modifications.  Instead of coffee cream, I used the highest percent heavy cream that I could find.  Also, I used un-salted butter for one batch because I did not have any salted (I use both depending on the application) and instead used 1/2 teaspoon fine ground sea salt. I have to say, this is by far my favorite icing and I look forward to experimenting with it in the future to get additional flavors.  Perhaps a chocolate, or mint, or chocolate mint version would be worth trying out.

Jan Marie
Jan Marie

Excellent recipe!  Just made a batch for a 1/2 sheet cake (18x22)  I modified it just a bit for this larger cake: 1 lb butter, 15 c 10x sugar, almost 1/3 c whole w/cream milk and vanilla.  Yummy!!!!

Chelsea
Chelsea

@Jan Marie Did you ice a single layer or was it a 2-layer 1/2 slab? I'm doing the same cake right now and I'm not sure what icing batch size to use. Thanks Jan!

3boysNic
3boysNic

How long does it last? I was planning to make the icing Thursday to ice the cake Friday night to eat on Saturday. Will this work? If so, what is the best way to store it in between? Thank you!

kindredcottage
kindredcottage

I ziploc bagged up 1/2 of mine and kept in the fridge.

threeboys061114
threeboys061114

Where do u buy icing sugar??? I'm from northwest Indiana and CAN NOT find icing sugar in any stores????? Any online site u can give me??? Your recipe sounds too good to miss!!! Thanks -meryl-

Laura
Laura

Am looking for a filling for a cake and will definitely try this recipe! How long can it stay out in the open for (ie. If it's used in a wedding cake, can the cake be displayed for a few hours)?

Thanks in advance!

Georgette76
Georgette76

Wonderful taste and texture, the kids loved the taste of it.

Katmbs
Katmbs

Outstanding recipe Karlynn! I'm making the Hello Kitty cake for my granddaughters birthday and came across your recipe. Used less cream for piping the icing. This frosting is scrumptious! Can't go back to any other recipe now. ☺️

Kelly
Kelly

This was great. I was able to make this with a hand mixer! Just do small portions and mix well, add a little more, mix well. 


I did exactly as the recipe instructed, except I substituted buttermilk for the cream. And I omitted the vanilla extract. It tasted amazing without it. Great recipe! Will definitely use this every time we need buttercream icing.

Sally
Sally

I was looking for a buttercream that tastes delicious and would work perfectly for crumb coating... I have to say THIS IS THE BEST AND EASIEST BUTTERCREAM EVER!!!


Thank you so so much! You are a life saver! :)

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@Sally Woot! Glad that it worked out for you so well! 

Edible Delights
Edible Delights

This is the by far the Best buttercream recipe! I made it last week & got lots of compliments.

Edible Delights
Edible Delights

I made this last night & OMG! This recipe is a winner! !!The French Vanilla coffee creamer added a perfect flavor & using salter butter added another element. This will be my go to recipe.


klh1907
klh1907

I think what makes this recipe is the heavy cream (whipping cream). If you don't want vanilla use a different extract. I've added lemon and cocoa. Don't replace the cream.

ErinYEG
ErinYEG

HI - I've never made buttercream before, but Im wondering if I can use your recipe but instead of heavy cream and vanilla flavor - if you've ever used flavoured coffee cream instead? A hazelnut buttercream on a chocolate cake would be SO GOOD!


honeychile
honeychile

@ErinYEG, I may not be understanding your question, but I'm not sure whether coffee creamer could be used in lieu of cream.  That's because most coffee creamers contain little, if any, actual dairy product.  They are mostly water, sugar, and hydrogenated oil.  You could try this on a very small scale to see if it works without breaking down the consistency of the icing.  But I think, instead, I'd still use cream (or half'n'half is what I used in this recipe) and some hazelnut extract.  Even if coffee creamer worked, such a small amount would be unlikely to give you a delicious, recognizable hazelnut taste.  Hazelnut extract would provide that; in fact, I might use half vanilla and half hazelnut extract.  If you try either version, I hope you'll post here with your results!

klh1907
klh1907

Best frosting ever.  I've added lemon and cocoa.  Wonderful.

Peady
Peady

This is delicious! :D 


Thanks bunches! 

Allison
Allison

Thank you for the recipe - I've just made two batches (separate colors) and they are both delicious! I also added Peppermint extract to my green buttercream to place on the chocolate Cupcakes - I have a feeling this will be yummy! Thanks again for sharing your wonderful recipe!

EmilyPelous
EmilyPelous

I was wondering, about how many cupcakes would this frost? It sounds really good and I would love to use it on a chocolate cupcake recipe I'm dying to try. Thanks!

honeychile
honeychile

Great recipe!  I haven't made buttercream frosting in a while and couldn't remember the proportions; a Google search led me to your welcome recipe.  I usually use salted butter for the same reason you mention.  It seems to cut the cloyingly sweet taste, but I only had unsalted butter on hand.  I added a generous pinch of fine salt, and it worked well.  I substituted half'n'half (that's what we use in coffee) and used about a third less than the thicker cream.  My favorite vanilla extract is Sonoma Syrup Company's Vanilla Bean Crush which is a blend of both Madagascar bourbon and Tahitian beans along with vanilla bean seeds. I used 4 tsps.  The end result is delicious and creamy.  It was soft enough to spread, but stiff enough to pipe.  In fact, it spread so cleanly that I didn't bother with a crumb coat.  I saved enough of the frosting to pipe a simple border around top and bottom and a few piped roses in the center.  Beautiful, simple, delicious!  Thanks again!

Olga
Olga

I just made an icing using your recipe - it worked. It's so good. Thank you for sharing. I have to work on my piping skills a bit more.

Shirley
Shirley

Im making a white cake with lemon curd between the layers.  Did you ever try lemon juice in the icing?  I'd love to do that but don't want to experiment on this one (it's for a fancy shower) unless I hear someone has actually tried it and it was good.  Anybody try using lemon juice instead of water?  Was it good, too sour, too strong, too odd?  Help.

david lollis
david lollis

is the coffee creamer just any liquid creamer ?


RedMtl
RedMtl

I frequently wonder at people who seem surprised at the use of salted butter. I don't use anything else, nor did my Mother or either of my Grandmothers. The salt acts as a catalyst against the sugar, and this chemical reaction is missing with the unsalted butter, resulting in the flatter taste.

This recipe has been my base for decades, but I rarely see it except in antique cookbooks. Glad someone discovered a preferrence for it and made it more widely known.

From this starting point I flavour as needed. The most frequent choices for me are coffee-cream, mint or strawberry.

As a note to the post below, when using almond extract, remember that some people are nut allergic. A such a person, I know from more than fifty years experience that most people never realise that the extract means that the resulting item has nut content. I have lost count of the number of times I have been told that something has no nuts, only to find out too late that extract was used for flavouring.

If anyone cares to try the coffee flavouring, I recommend using instant dissolved in extremely little liquid. The concentration is greater, and the end result does not have too much liquid.

thekitchenmagpie
thekitchenmagpie moderator

@RedMtl I know, it's really weird! Salted butter is where it's at UNLESS it's very finicky baking like pastries etc where the balance has to be exact. Thanks for stopping in!!

RedMtl
RedMtl

@thekitchenmagpie How true.  That said, I don't use unsalted for anything, really, including pastry.  Occasionally I make an exception for puff pastry, but even my Mother didn't bother with that.


Have looked around your site and found other things of interest.  Perhaps more comments to follow.