The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe: FAQ

5 from 12 votes
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  1. The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe Recipe
The Best Buttercream Icing on top of cupcake on dark background
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.

top down shot of cupcake with Buttercream Icing on top

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!

Best Buttercream Icing on top of cupcakes and muffins

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.

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The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe

Simply the best buttercream icing ever! Use high quality salted butter and high fat cream to make this extra decadent!
5 from 12 votes
cupcake with Buttercream Icing on top
Prep Time
5 minutes
Total Time
5 minutes
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


  • Using room temperature butter, place it in your mixer bowl.
  • Using a paddle attachment, whip the butter until it’s creamy and fluffy.
  • Add in the icing sugar, one cup at a time, beating in completely, until all 4 cups are combined.
  • Add in the vanilla and whip again to combine.
  • Add in your cream, less cream = stiffer icing. More cream – fluffier icing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 3568kcal, Carbohydrates: 484g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 184g, Saturated Fat: 116g, Cholesterol: 488mg, Sodium: 1631mg, Potassium: 54mg, Sugar: 475g, Vitamin A: 5675IU, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 0.3mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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The Icing Happy Magpie

Karlynn Johnston

Iā€™m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Elle says

    I only have heavy whipping cream in my house right now, will that be too heavy to use?

  2. Cake lover says

    can u plz tell 1 cup of butter is how many gms.? and also 1 cup means which cup??

    • Shellie says

      Cake lover 227 grams (you can always google this type of question and it pops right up – you might want to purchase American measuring cups to make it easier to follow recipes that use cups.  :)

  3. Elisa says

    Oh my goodness. I am never using premade frosting again. This is so good, my daughter demanded that I scrape the frosting from a batch of freshly decorated cupcakes and replace it with this immediately, hahaha! Thank you so much for posting this great recipe. It’s awesome.


    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Elisa You are so welcome, I am glad that you loved it!

  4. DebbieUmbaughIerano says

    best, best, BEST icing EVER!  thank you! :))

  5. guest says

    I can’t seem to find anywhere, is it vanilla extract or essence?

  6. halllagirl94 says

    What do i do if i dont have a thing to whip the butter?

  7. Sweepea2008 says

    Can I use flavored coffee creamer–like Coffeemate or International Delight?  I have no idea how to figure out the actual fat percentage.

    • ambat1991 says

      I used coffee creamer and it turned out well, it was just sweeter.

    • Heidi says

      I wouldn’t use fake creamer – Coffee Cream is not flavoured. It’s just what they call 18% cream that people use in their coffee. Use half and half, whipped cream or even whole milk.

  8. Debbie Haines says

    Hello… I  was anxious to try out your recipe, but I wondered if you have the ingredients in grammes or Ounces and let me know what cream it is? I live in England and not heard of ‘coffee cream’? I would appreciate any advice as I would love to try it out .. many thanks



  9. Katie says

    Is coffee cream just like normal whipping cream? Stupid question but I’ve never seen coffee cream in Australia!

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      @Katie It’s a very high fat cream, below whipping cream but above half and half. The more fat the better! 

      • Sweepea2008 says

        Can I use flavored coffee creamer–like Coffeemate or International Delight?  I have no idea how to figure out the actual fat percentage.

  10. Noreen W says

    OMGosh… I have used this Buttercream Icing three times in the past two months since I have found YOU….It’s the BEST we’ve ever had! The Hub, the Kids, the Company, the extended Family and the Friends and little ‘ol me LOVE this Buttercream Icing! It’s a BIIIIG YUM!

    • thekitchenmagpie says

      Noreen W Yay! So glad that it’s a hit with your family!

  11. Wendysmom says

    To anyone doubting…..this IS, without a doubt,  the best buttercream icing/frosting!  I’ve used it many times and it always comes out just great.  And is SO delish!

  12. cookingnana says

    Hi running late with cooking my cakes so while they are cooking I thought I would look up buttercream frosting, as I don’t really like buttercream icing the last time I mixed it with ganache turned out well but I have to say this sounds great I think I will try it. I was wondering can I make it up now and keep in the fridge and use later tonight or should it be applied to the cake straight away? I will be using it as a filling and also for dirty icing and then applying fondant over the top. Also I would like to add fresh raspberry juice has anyone tried this before?

  13. Noreen W says

    Okay so I used your Buttercream reciped again and again and once again recently for my twins 5 year old bday party! It turns out every time! We love it! Thanks for sharing this really awesome buttercream icing recipe! IT’s the BEST that I’ve ever made for sure! My twins said…. Mommy? and I looked over… they had their thumbs up!  :-)

    Cheers, Nor

  14. Noreen W says

    Yah! WOW! Greatful I found YOU on the web! Okay so I used your Buttercream recipe again and then again and then ….once again recently for my twins 5 year old bday party! It turns out every time! We love it! I too have used Whipping Cream from time to time when don’t have coffee cream… Divine and it does take color very well! Thanks for sharing this really awesome buttercream icing recipe! IT’s the BEST that I’ve ever made for sure! My twins said…. Mommy? and I looked over… they had their thumbs up!  :-)

    Cheers, Nor

  15. Lyndseycoco says

    Can you use flavored coffee cream instead of just regular coffee creamer?

  16. laurisa says

    Thanks so much!  I’m excited to try this.  I have been looking for a GREAT frosting recipe.  I would love to get your chocolate buttercream recipe, but the link takes me to the lemon frosting recipe.  Let me know how I can find the chocolate recipe.  Thanks!

  17. Cupcake Baker says

    I have used whipping cream in this frosting and it is amazing.  All of my customers LOVE it.  It also takes color very well.  Thank you so much for this recipe…I use it all of the time.

  18. BFab says

    I can’t wait to try this!  Just an FYI, both your chocolate and lemon icing links take me to the lemon icing recipe šŸ™‚

  19. Karlynn Johnston says

    It lasts as long as cream does, so you have quite a few days of keeping it in the fridge!

  20. Auntie A says

    I just made a batch of this icing and I have to say it really is the best I have ever tasted! I can’t stop eating a pinch of it here and there! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us. I had taken taken Wilton cake decorating classes years ago and had always used their “buttercream” recipe, but that one calls for shortening instead of real butter. I’m so glad that I don’t have to offer anyone a shortening-laden cupcake or cake ever again!

  21. marylouh says

    This was amazing icing!  and so great to work on my cake with so thank you for posting.  My other icings were always inconsistent, and I realize the biggest difference was to blend in all the icing sugar first and then add the liquids.  And all i had was 1% milk and it still turned out great.  When I plan ahead, I will definitely use the cream!  This is my new go-to buttercream icing, and I have been looking for a couple of years!!  thanks!


  22. sundaecone888 says

    Hello there! I wonder, can you advise me on how to add coffee to make it coffee-flavored? Thank you so much! 

    • ncatlett1 says

      I have made frosting coffee flavored by using instant coffee crystals, I have just mixed it in with the butter and sugar after it has been creamed. Has been delicious.

  23. ncatlett1 says

    I know you have read this a 1000x’s, but THANK YOU!!!! This is my go-to frosting recipe. I couldn’t find it and I almost cried šŸ˜€ sad, huh?! 

  24. Sheila Oshawa Ontario says

    Just tried and it turned out perfectly. So yummy!

  25. damn_delicious says

    Definitely need to try this! I’ve bookmarked it for my next cupcake recipe – thanks! šŸ™‚

  26. Kristina Craig says

    I just used it today for a lovely Dora birthday cake!

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