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Buttercream Frosting is a classic option for cakes and cupcakes. This is the only recipe you will ever need for both chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting. It is perfection every single time. 

Close up view of a cupcake with buttercream frosting.

Looking for the perfect buttercream frosting? Look no further! This frosting is easy to make, holds up to piping designs, and is practically perfect every single time. Buttercream is our go-to frosting for most cakes, and it’s pretty easy to see why once you’ve tried it. It is perfectly sweet and creamy, and tastes fantastic. We can eat this stuff by the spoonful, however we promise it is even better on top of a cake or cupcakes. 

Butter Options for Perfect Buttercream Frosting:

Butter provides the structure for buttercream. You can use either salted or unsalted butter, but It is important to use real, high quality butter in this recipe, with a higher fat content and lower water content. Substituting the butter with margarine or shortening is not recommended and will produce lower quality results. Be sure that the butter is at room temperature for the smoothest frosting. Cold butter does not whip well.

Italian vs. American Buttercream:

Italian buttercream is a meringue based frosting while American buttercream is a butter based frosting. Italian buttercream is made by pouring a hot simple syrup over whipped egg whites. It is then whipped into creamy, velvety frosting. It has a more white appearance than American buttercream which tends to have a yellow tint.

What is French Buttercream?

French buttercream is similar to Italian buttercream, but has a more shiny appearance. A simple syrup is heated to the softball stage and then mixed with whipped egg whites and butter to form a smooth frosting that has a shimmery shine.

Troubleshooting: Grainy Buttercream

There are a few different reasons why buttercream might end up with a grainy texture. Here are some of the solutions you can try:

Be sure the butter is completely softened. One of the most common reasons that buttercream can end up with a grainy texture is because the butter was too cold and not able to fully combine with the sugar. Let your frosting sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, allowing it to warm up and come to room temperature, and then mix again. If you are in a hurry, wrap the bowl in a warm towel or create a double boiler on the stove, then mix again. Your goal is to warm up the butter in the frosting so that you can combine it completely with the sugar. 

Add more liquid. Adding in liquid like milk or water may help your frosting emulsify, removing the grainy texture. Add your liquid 1/2 to 1 tablespoon at a time. If you add too much liquid, your frosting will not be able to hold its shape.

Mix longer. Sometimes the issue with your frosting is that you simply did not mix it long enough for the sugar to combine completely with the butter. Try mixing it for 1 minute longer and see if that improves the frosting. 

Overhead view of buttercream frosting in bowls.

Storage Instructions:

Store your frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it should last for up to 1 week.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious cake recipes to pair with your buttercream frosting:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTubeFacebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Perfect Buttercream Frosting
Servings

2.5 cups frosting

Close up view of a cupcake with buttercream frosting.
Buttercream Frosting is a classic option for cakes and cupcakes. This is the only recipe you will ever need for both chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting. It is perfection every single time. 
Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (for chocolate buttercream only)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Instructions
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat softened butter until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined and smooth.
  • Add in cocoa powder (if making chocolate buttercream), and powdered sugar 1 cup a time, mixing in between additions until smooth. After you add in the first 2 cups, add in milk and whip until smooth before adding in the final cup of powdered sugar.
  • Frost immediately or store covered in an airtight container.
Notes
Be sure butter is softened completely by allowing it to sit on the counter at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before using to make frosting. For best results, use a high quality, high fat content butter. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 570IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Perfect Buttercream Frosting
Perfect Buttercream Frosting
Servings

2.5 cups frosting

Close up view of a cupcake with buttercream frosting.
Buttercream Frosting is a classic option for cakes and cupcakes. This is the only recipe you will ever need for both chocolate and vanilla buttercream frosting. It is perfection every single time. 
Prep Time 8 minutes
Total Time 8 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup salted butter softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (for chocolate buttercream only)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
Instructions
  • In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat softened butter until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined and smooth.
  • Add in cocoa powder (if making chocolate buttercream), and powdered sugar 1 cup a time, mixing in between additions until smooth. After you add in the first 2 cups, add in milk and whip until smooth before adding in the final cup of powdered sugar.
  • Frost immediately or store covered in an airtight container.
Notes
Be sure butter is softened completely by allowing it to sit on the counter at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours before using to make frosting. For best results, use a high quality, high fat content butter. 

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 315kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 164mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 570IU | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
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