The best buttercream frosting recipe is all thanks to sweet and salty mixing together! This recipe is one of the oldest and most popular on my website, it even made it into my first cookbook! When I first wrote this recipe 9 years ago, no one was using salted butter in their frostings – or at least there weren’t any posted online that I could find. This is THE original salted buttercream frosting recipe that went viral and has been shared by hundreds of thousands of people – and this recipe has been read tens of millions of times! This was my very first viral recipe here on The Kitchen Magpie! **Updated February 2018**

Buttercream Frosting
Buttercream Frosting

Millions Have Read This Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe!

This buttercream frosting recipe made it in to my cookbook, that’s how amazing it is! This recipe was one of the first on my website and has been viewed by tens of millions of people over the years! Isn’t that crazy? So I knew when I was writing my cookbook that I had to share it with everyone that bought my cookbook. This buttercream frosting recipe is the best and I have literally not changed a thing since I first published it back in 2010!

This buttercream frosting is still 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 very first time I whipped it up. The cake was dense and moist, and paired with a light as air buttercream icing… heaven. Angels dancing on your taste buds. I’ve tried it on every cupcake that you can imagine and it’s even amazing on vanilla. Salty vanilla icing on a vanilla cupcake is heaven for vanilla lovers!

Please go and have a read of my Buttercream Icing FAQ which answers a lot of the questions about this recipe asked in the hundreds of comments on this post below!

How do you make buttercream frosting?

There are four basic ingredients for this buttercream frosting and I have kept it simple and straightforward for years now:

  1. One cup of salted butter
  2. Three teaspoons of vanilla
  3. Four cups of icing sugar
  4. Four to five tablespoons of  coffee cream (18% and up)

Commonly Asked Buttercream Frosting Questions and Answers

Do I have to refrigerate a cake with buttercream frosting?

This buttercream has butter and it has whipping cream in it. I personally leave it out all day and it’s fine ( butter is always fine at room temperature) but the whipping cream? That’s a personal call for you. I have left it out overnight, but I honestly have to tell you to refrigerate it instead of leaving it out. But it’s really a personal decision. Apparently because of all the sugar you can leave a cake with buttercream frosting out for 2-3 days.

How long can you leave a cake with buttercream frosting out?

I leave mine out for a day, not in the hot sun at all and it’s fine. According to the US food and inspection agency, you can leave a cake with buttercream frosting out for 2-3 days.

What is the best butter to use for buttercream frosting?

Salted and organic butter is literally the best butter that you an use in a buttercream frosting. It is the salt that really makes this the best buttercream frosting ever. It’s actually a myth that salted butter is an inferior quality – it’s not. It’s the same quality.

How do I make buttercream frosting stiffer?

You will want to use less cream in order to make the frosting stiffer. Start out with only a small amount of cream and add it until you get the consistency that you want.

How do you thicken up buttercream frosting?

This buttercream frosting is thick to start without adding in the cream! To start, beat in the icing sugar and see what the thickness of the frosting is. Then you can add a little bit of cream, a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. IF you go too far, you then can add more icing sugar/powdered sugar to thicken it back up.

How do you soften buttercream icing?

This one is easy, leave it out on the counter at room temperature for 45-60 minutes and it will be soft! If that doesn’t work and your frosting is too thick, then you might have to beat it again and add some more cream.

Can you store buttercream frosting in the refrigerator?

You bet! Buttercream frosting/icing can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or two, as long as the whipping cream that you use wasn’t going to expire soon.

Can you freeze buttercream frosting?

I freeze it all the time! Simply defrost, mix and use as normal.

 best buttercream frosting on a cupcake

Tips and Tricks for the Best Buttercream Frosting

  • Always use salted butter. When I first wrote this recipe in 2010 there weren’t many people that were food blogging compared to today, so I literally couldn’t find a SINGLE buttercream frosting recipe on the internet that used salted butter! Now I am sure that if I looked there would be tons of recipes similar to this one.  Oh, how times have changed! So I had discovered that salt and sweet are a match made in heaven for icing and I never looked back. You can also read about the difference between salted and unsalted butter.
  • Whip that butter, with a paddle beater if you have it, if not, don’t worry. You can also use the beaters on your handheld mixer just fine to beat the buttercream frosting! You want the butter to be smooth and creamy before you add the icing sugar.
  • Fresh icing sugar makes all the difference. Icing sugar/powdered sugar/confectioners sugar goes stale, and you can sure taste it when it does! Crack open a fresh bag for icings, you won’t be sorry! Over the years many people have agreed that this is another trick to making great buttercream frosting.
  • You can make this frosting as light or as heavy as you want by adjusting the amount of heavy cream that you use.
  • Read this if you are looking for piping techniques.

Some More Buttercream Frosting Recipes:

  1.  Lemon Buttercream Frosting
  2. Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
  3. Chocolate Buttercream Icing
  4. Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Icing
  5. Vegan Buttercream Icing
  6. Candy Bar Buttercream Icing

Happy baking everyone!



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Famous Buttercream Frosting! Sweet and salty mix together to make this the best buttercream frosting recipe! #frosting #recipe #dessert #cakes #icing

4.85 from 118 votes
The Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins

The absolute best buttercream frosting recipe you'll find! The secret is salted butter! This recipe was in my cookbook and has been featured everywhere! It's famous! This will frost one 8 inch cake, if you need to frost a large cake make sure to double it! 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: icing
Keyword: best buttercream frosting, best buttercream icing, buttercream frosting, buttercream icing
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 223 kcal
Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • 1 cup of salted butter
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of coffee cream 18% and up
  1. Get out the salted butter! Trust me and use salted butter, it's the secret ingredient!

  2. Beat the butter until it is light and creamy. This is important as you are adding the icing sugar next. If the butter isn't creamy you can get lumps in the icing.

  3. Add in the icing sugar. Again, if you are like me and can taste stale icing sugar, you will need a fresh bag.

  4. Add in the cream.. I used 4 tablespoons for my preference, you adjust to what you want.

  5. Stiffer icing = less cream. Lighter icing = more cream. Adjust the amount to your liking by adding one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

  6. Add the vanilla then keep mixing it until fluffy and thoroughly combined.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Using salted butter instead of adding a dash of salt ensures that you have salt added throughout the frosting.

If you want low sodium, take out the salted butter and use unsalted.

This frosting freezes very well! You can ice a cake and freeze it, or simply freeze your leftovers to use another day.

If you are making a 9x13 cake, double the recipe.

I find I can cover 16 cupcakes with one batch. How many you can ice depends on how thick you slather the icing on!

Nutrition Facts
The Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 223 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 101mg 4%
Potassium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 30g 10%
Sugars 29g
Vitamin A 7.1%
Calcium 0.3%
Iron 0.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



Hey guys, I'm Karlynn! Welcome to The Kitchen Magpie, my website full of family friendly recipes, cocktails & homesteading tales of chickens & cows from the family farm! Make sure to check out my bestselling cookbook, Flapper Pie & a Blue Prairie Sky ,stay tuned for info on my second cookbook!


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  4. Christy Gilchrist Reply

    I found the original recipe, as is, to taste too much like butter. Adding some almond extract in place of one of the tsp of vanilla seemed to solve this problem. Delicious! I also found whipping it longer made it whiter and fluffier.

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