This buttercream frosting will become one of your staple recipes when baking! Perfect for cupcakes, cookies, cakes and more.
I shared a similar version of this recipe when I posted my sugar cookies last year, but have tweaked it a little bit recently, so I thought I would share the updated version. It’s perfect for making those fancy cupcakes you see in bakeries. It is so so good!
This buttercream frosting is so delicious and is perfect on cakes and cupcakes, cookies…you name it. And it’s so easy too. It’s been a staple for me over the years and can be used on so many different dessert recipes.
There are really 4 key ingredients: powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and milk. It’s all about the amounts you put in that will change the consistency of the buttercream. I usually like to stick with 2 sticks of butter and 4 cups of powdered sugar as a starting point. If I’m making cookies, I like it a little thinner, but with cupcakes, I like it pretty thick so it holds up really well.
You just can’t go wrong with buttercream! Seriously… butter + powdered sugar….YUM! So light and fluffy.
How to make buttercream frosting
Remember that in order to change the consistency based on what you’re using it for, it’s all about the amounts used. Just add more or less milk depending on the consistency you’re aiming for.
- Whip butter. Whip the butter in a large mixing bowl.
- Add 2 cups powdered sugar. Slowly add in 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined.
- Add vanilla and more powdered sugar. Next add the vanilla and 1 more cup of powdered sugar and continue mixing. At this point you may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk to thin it down.
- Mix in last cup of powdered sugar. Then add in your last cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add more or less milk depending on the consistency. You want it to be thick, creamy and able to hold a point.
Favorite ways to use it
Cupcakes: My absolute favorite way to use buttercream icing is on cupcakes, especially chocolate cupcakes! The frosting holds up so well on them. I use a 1m tip to frost my cupcakes. If using a tip, the recipe will frost between 12-15 cupcakes. If spreading with a knife, it will frost about 24 cupcakes.
Cakes: I love to create variations like chocolate and strawberry buttercream and use them in my Neapolitan cake and German chocolate cake. No need to refrigerate your cake…it will be fine at room temperature for several hours. I usually refrigerate any leftover cake just to be safe.
Frequently asked questions about buttercream frosting
How long can buttercream frosting sit out? This is a personal preference, but I let mine sit out at room temperature for up to 48 hours. If it’s not going to be used before 48 hours, then I’ll store in the refrigerator. Before serving, I’ll take it out of the fridge and let sit out for at least an hour to soften.
Will it melt at room temperature? It will not melt if stored at room temperature. If the temperature gets warm and humid, that’s when it will most likely begin to melt.
Does it need to be refrigerated? I only refrigerate my homemade buttercream frosting after 48 hours. If I’m using it before then, I’ll let it sit out at room temp.
Can I make buttercream with salted butter? Yes! I prefer to use salted butter. However you can use unsalted butter too.
Can it be frozen? Yes. Store in an airtight container (I prefer freezer bags) in the freezer. To thaw, stick in the refrigerator over night.
More frosting and icing recipes:
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Strawberry Buttercream
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Sugar Cookie Icing
- Easy Royal Icing
Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- 2 sticks salted butter , softened
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk , more as needed
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter.
- Slowly add in 2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until combined.
- Add the vanilla and 1 more cup of powdered sugar and continue mixing. At this point you may need to add a teaspoon or two of milk to thin the frosting down.
- Add in your last cup of powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add more or less milk depending on the consistency. You want the frosting to be thick, creamy and to be able to hold a point.
- I let my buttercream sit out at room temperature for up to 48 hours. If it's not going to be used before 48 hours, then I'll store in the refrigerator. Before serving, I'll take it out of the fridge and let sit out for at least an hour to soften.
- To freeze, store in an airtight container (I prefer freezer bags) in the freezer. To thaw, stick in the refrigerator over night.