The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe: FAQ
The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe: FAQ

My Best Buttercream Icing Recipe Ever is the single most popular recipe on my site, without a doubt. With almost 300 comments and over 68,000 people who pinned it on Pinterest (Seriously? What do you people DO all day? Just kidding. Kind of.) there have been a lot of people who have weighed in on this amazing icing and almost 100 percent are in love with it.

With that love and adoration however comes a lot of questions. People use my recipe for birthdays, weddings and more, which means that in the past two or three years since I have first published my recipe, there have been a lot of questions. These are important events and everyone wants to get it right.

(if you don’t want to read the FAQ, skip all the way to the bottom for a printable recipe!)

I have been meaning to write up a FAQ or A Buttercream Icing Recipe 101 and here it goes. I have read through all those comments and have compiled the most commonly asked questions about this icing.

What the heck is coffee cream?

Coffee cream here in Canada is a high fat cream, usually around 15-18%. I wanted to use a cream with a high fat content and coffee cream is right between half & half cream and whipping cream. I personally didn’t want to use whipping cream but commenters have let us all know that this icing is just as incredible using whipping cream.

It is NOT a fake creamer. No powders or fake tastes here.

Why Do I Have To Use Salted Butter? Why Not Just Add Salt?

Here’s the deal on why I am so adamant on using salted butter and not adding salt to the recipe.  The quality salted butters have had salt added to the point of tasting perfect. This means that when you use it in your buttercream icing, it’s not too salty and not lacking in salt. Buy a good quality salted butter ( I love PC brand Organic churned butter) that tastes amazing by itself.

When you start with a salty, creamy butter that has a fantastic taste off the spoon, so to say, then you are guaranteed to have a fantastic buttercream icing. We are not using precise salt measurements for baking purposes ,we are using it for taste. There is such a huge difference between the two. It is very hard to salt a buttercream to the exact point you will achieve with a perfectly salted, good quality butter.

If you start with a great tasting butter, dilute it with cream, vanilla and 4 cups of icing sugar it’s simply not possible for it to end up too salty. This is what makes this the Best Buttercream Icing recipe, after all, that sweet salty umami!

Icing Sugar is Powdered Sugar And is Also Confectioners Sugar.

All the same thing and make sure it’s fresh! This type of sugar will wick tastes and aromas from the air.

You Can Add Almost Anything And It Still Is Amazing

My talented, inspired readers have added Tenessee Honey Whisky, lemon, lime and I’ve added almond flavoring for a great cherry taste.

Check out my other favorite buttercream icing recipes that I use all the time,  Chocolate Buttercream Icing and Lemon Buttercream Icing recipes. Just as incredible as this one!

How Many Cupcakes/Cakes/Layers Will This Cover?

I simply cannot tell you this. I am a heavy-duty icer so this doesn’t cover 2 dozen cupcakes for me.  I can tell you that it yields around 3 cups of icing (now this depends on how whippy you make it as well! Can be closer to 4 if you whip larger amounts of air and add more cream). It will do a crumb layer of a double layered 8/9 inch cake perfectly. I always make extra and freeze the leftovers. Which takes us to our next question.

Do I Have To Refrigerate It? Can I Freeze It?

This icing can stay out as long as butter can and remember, will act like butter as well. This is not a lard icing which is why it tastes so much better but butter melts and softens up easily. I leave out cupcakes/cakes for hours at my parties and they are completely fine at room temperature, creamy and lovely, just like butter. I have frozen it as well and there is no problem when it defrosts. Indeed, I freeze it on cakes all the time.

Can I Pipe Designs With It? Can I Color It?

Yes and yes! Check out my R2D2 birthday cake,  Rocket Birthday Cake, Canada Day Cake and Fourth of July Cake, all done with this exact recipe. The Wilton icing gels color this up beautifully. Have fun creating!

The Best Buttercream Icing Recipes from @kitchenmagpie. Her classic buttercream icing is the most popular buttercream icing on the web!

Here is a list of all the best Buttercream icing recipes on my website!

Classic Buttercream Icing

Lemon Buttercream Icing

Pistachio Pudding Buttercream Icing

Cream Cheese Buttercream Icing

Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Candy Bar Buttercream Icing

Vegan Buttercream Icing

And here is the recipe for classic buttercream icing.

5 from 2 votes
The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
Simply the best buttercream icing ever! Use high quality salted butter and high fat cream to make this extra decadent!
Course: icing
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttercream icing
Calories: 3568 kcal
Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • 1 cup of good quality salted butter
  • 3 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 4 cups of icing sugar
  • 4-5 tablespoons of coffee cream 18% and up
  1. Using room temperature butter, place it in your mixer bowl.
  2. Using a paddle attachment, whip the butter until it's creamy and fluffy.
  3. Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating in completely, until all 4 cups are combined.
  4. Add in the vanilla and whip again to combine.
  5. Add in your cream, less cream = stiffer icing. More cream - fluffier icing.
Nutrition Facts
The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 3568 Calories from Fat 1656
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 184g 283%
Saturated Fat 116g 580%
Cholesterol 488mg 163%
Sodium 1631mg 68%
Potassium 54mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 484g 161%
Sugars 475g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin A 113.5%
Calcium 5.5%
Iron 1.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy everyone!


The Icing Happy Magpie


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!


  1. Sounds like a winning recipe! You mentioned that you often make more than you need. Do you just double recipe? Does this work ok? Thanks. I’m looking forward to making it.

  2. Hi- when freezing and then defrosting.. donyou leave in fridge overnight or counter overnight? How soon after u take it out of freezer can you use it? How do u freeze it? Ziploc tubberware?

    • Either, if you want it the next day then in the fridge, or sooner put it on the counter. I put it in a ziploc or even a plastic freezer bag!

  3. Linda Gibson Reply

    Just found your site and I am excited! Just reading the recipe lets me know this buttercream will be delicious. Most of the recipes (15 in all) are too sweet and the ratio of butter to XXXX sugar is wrong. Your ratio is correct and to my liking. Thank you so much and I will be back to comment again, once I try this one.

    Thank you again…I am a novice cake decorator and my fist assignment is a full, layered, sheet cake. It was driving me nuts, since the date is quickly approaching and I could not find one I liked.
    Thank you!

    • An able baker knows the importance of sifting, it’s a good habit to get into early on in your baking adventures. Sift everything even standard sugar. LoL obviously not chunky stuff that won’t go through it.

  4. Absolutely love this recipe and it is my only go to for buttercream!! Do you have a recipe for royal icing?

  5. 4 cups icing sugar,have you ever read Sugar Blues?can a healthier alternative be used ?

  6. I just have a question:

    Wouldn’t you want to use unsalted butter?  Or are you using salted butter to counter how sweet so it’s not “too” sweet?


  7. What is coffee cream in Australia? Is it light thickened cream? And what brand of salted butter is good that is available in australia? Thanks xx

    • @Amber  I use regular thickened cream for this frosting, and it is perfect.

    • @Amber Coffee cream is 18%, people usually use whipping/heavy cream though…(35%)

  8. NadiadeJong Reply

    THE -best. I have tested at least 6 different recipes and all were either too sweet, too powdery.. This one- perfect. Thank you!!

  9. never heard of coffee cream before but love to try this famous recipe (based on the comments here), may i know the brand of the coffee cream that you used? perhaps it can helps alot of people here in Asia who are not familiar with this coffee cream. If there is a specific brand, i can do a google to find and buy it online.

    Hoping the author can spend a little time to reply my so boring question! thanks \U0001f60a

    • The type of cream isn’t a huge deal, I have tried it with whole milk and it was still delicious!

    • JenniferxLam Reply

      @marina Actually, Coffee Cream is Whip cream. We use half & half cream 🙂 I hope that helps! xx.

  10. Lala and Lily Reply

    Wow! My 5 year old daughter and I just made this recipe and we are without words, mainly because our mouths are full of the yummy icing! We made a cake, then cupcakes and now cinnamon rolls! It is 8pm and we can’t get enough, thank you, thank you, thank you! This is my very 1st post EVER but it deserves the credit!

    We love sweets,

    Lily and LaLa

  11. Mery042309 Reply

    What other brand of salted butter is considered good quality? I live in US and I have never seen the PC brand in any supermarket. Thanks.

    • JenniferxLam Reply

      Mery042309 It’s a Canadian Brand 🙂 You can also try Nelson’s Butter. Any butter is fine actually :) 

  12. Roza aljarml Reply

    how much is a cup of butter and a cup of sugar in this recipe?

  13. Can I use this buttercream icing recipe to make buttercream roses? (Like Wilton roses)

Write A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.