Home > American Buttercream Frosting

American Buttercream Frosting

by Nick Makrides
American Buttercream Frosting

Butter and sugar. Two magic ingredients in the baking world, which, when combined, form a perfectly smooth and pipeable magic substance called frosting that you can pile on top of your cupcakes and cakes, or pipe into your macarons. Don’t skimp on the vanilla guys – the more the better!

American Buttercream Frosting

American Buttercream Frosting

Serves 20

4.8 from 15 votes
Prep Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 35 mins
Course: Dessert, American
Cuisine: American



  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 4 cups icing sugar confectioners
  • 2-4 tsp vanilla extract vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tbsp whole milk (at room temperature) (optional, but recommended)



  • Before you begin, it’s really important to make sure the butter is soft enough. Some people keep their butter out of the fridge, others chill it. Even if you keep it out, it may not be soft enough. You want your butter to be soft enough so that when you stick your finger in it, it glides in, but not without a little bit of resistance. The best way to get it too that softness is to place your butter on a microwave safe plate, microwave for 10 seconds at a time, testing the softness each time. If it needs longer than 10 seconds, turn the butter over and repeat until it’s ready.
  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use an electric hand mixer for this recipe, but if you do use a hand mixer, just make sure your bowl is large. Mix the butter on low speed to begin with, then switch to the highest speed and mix for 5 minutes until the butter is fluffy and turns pale in colour.
  • Stop your mixer and scrape down the side of the bowl using a spatula. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and mix again on low speed. LOW SPEED PEOPLE! The last thing you need is to end up in a sugar dust storm! (I’m speaking from experience…)
  • Once all the sugar has been incorporated, it’s safe to turn your mixer up to high speed. Continue beating on high speed for about 5–6 minutes, or until the butter turns pale in colour and becomes fluffy again. If you want to soften your buttercream and make it a little smoother, add the milk and continue mixing for another couple of minutes on medium speed. At this stage, you can also add any food flavourings or food-gel colourings.


For chocolate-flavoured buttercream, just add 80 g (¾ cup) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder with the icing sugar.
My cake recipes sometimes call for more than one batch of frosting. Depending on the size of your mixing bowl, you may need to split the frosting into two batches when flavouring and colouring it.
Frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
To freshen up this frosting simple thaw at room temperature for 1 hour and re-whip using a stand mixer and paddle attachment


Serving: 20g
Calories : 258kcal
Carbonhydrates: 24g
Protein: 1g
Fat: 18g
Saturated Fat: 12g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 0.1g
Trans Fat : 0.1g
Cholesterol: 49mg
Sodium: 4mg
Potassium : 7mg
Fiber: 0.1g
Sugar : 24g
Vitamin A: 567IU
Vitamin C: 0.1mg
Calcium: 7mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure

You may also like


Imogen April 29, 2021 - 10:42 am

5 stars
My go to recipe for buttercream… it’s amazing!
Thank you!

Nick Makrides April 30, 2021 - 11:39 am

Yay! So glad to hear that! 💜

Judith Forrester May 11, 2021 - 1:59 pm

Hi Nick if I wanted a strawberry flavoured buttercream would I leave out the vanilla extract and add strawberry instead or both or half and half and also if I was doing a strawberry batter mix would I leave out the vanilla and add strawberry extract instead thank you judy

Nick Makrides May 12, 2021 - 7:40 am

Hi Judy! You can use both or just strawberry flavouring in both the batter and buttercream 🙂 Hope that helps!

N x

CK McLean June 10, 2021 - 4:27 pm

5 stars
Been looking high and low for years for a buttercream recipe with no avail, either too grainy, too sweet, too buttery, too bland, or too runny. Till I found this, I could go on about it forever, it’s smooth, tasty, holds its shape well and so damn easy. Thank you, Nick thank you thank you from the bottom of my daughter’s heart since I used it for her Bday cake :D. This is a gem and definitely a keeper. Sending you a big virtual hug all the way from Egypt.

P.S. I also tried your tzatziki recipe and it was so easy and really really tasty, so thank you for that as well 😀

Nick Makrides June 15, 2021 - 10:53 am

Awwww! This comment has made me so happy! First of all, I’m so glad you liked this recipe! And I’m so happy you commented to let me know! Isn’t that tzatziki recipe just so yum? I love it. N x

Kristen August 6, 2021 - 3:31 am

Are you able to make this in advanced and keep in the fridge?

Nick Makrides September 19, 2021 - 3:31 am

Yes! Just make sure you thaw for an hour or two before re-whipping to freshen up 🙂 Hope that helps! N x

Sue August 21, 2021 - 1:53 am

5 stars
Love LOVE the texture and creaminess of this frosting. Super easy to pipe (which I’m terrible at!) and not overly sweet like some frostings are. Thank you for all the tips with temperatures, timing and whipping that butter!! Amazing!

Nick Makrides August 22, 2021 - 4:16 am

Hi sue! Thanks so much! Glad you liked the recipe! N x

Nayeli Castaneda September 10, 2021 - 2:05 am

Hi Nick, question how many cupcakes can I frost with this recipe?

Nick Makrides September 12, 2021 - 3:07 am

Hi Nayeli. It depends on high the frosting swirl is. But for this recipe you can frost 24 cupcakes. N x

Emily May 14, 2022 - 7:57 pm

5 stars
I can’t begin to praise you enough for this recipe! I had a last minute cupcake order that wanted “tall bakery style” frosting…which I’ve never done before. I went through 4 ‘best ever buttercream’ tutorials which all failed and then I finally came across yours. Everything came together beautifully and it saved the day! From the bottom of my little beginner baker heart thank you!

Nick Makrides May 28, 2022 - 7:18 am

Oh Emily, you’ve made my day! It’s always to good to hear when someone loves your recipes. Thanks again for the lovely comment! N x


Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating