The Best Buttercream Recipe for All of Your Desserts

Buttercream frosting cupcake
Photo by Son Tung Tran on Pexels

From cookies to cupcakes and everything in between, buttercream is a staple used to add richness and decoration to all kinds of baked goods. Its velvety texture and Goldilocks-just-right level of sweetness make it the perfect blank canvas for almost any flavor imaginable, and its creamy consistency makes it as easy to work with as it is to prepare. Read on for our go-to recipe.


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or other flavor extracts of your choice)
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk (adjust as needed for consistency)
  • Food coloring


  1. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter until creamy.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  3. Mix in the salt and your preferred flavoring. You can experiment with other extracts like almond, lemon, or even add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to make a chocolate buttercream.
  4. If the frosting is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk and continue beating until you reach your desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  5. Taste and adjust the flavor or sweetness by adding more flavor extract or confectioners’ sugar if needed.
  6. Beat the frosting on medium-high for 2-3 minutes until it becomes light, fluffy, and well combined.
  7. If you’d like to make colored frosting, add your food coloring one drop at a time and stir with a spatula until the color is fully incorporated. Keep going until you reach your desired shade, keeping in mind that most food dyes tend to darken slightly over time. 
  8. Use the buttercream immediately to frost cakes, cupcakes, or cookies. Alternatively, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a short period, but allow it to come to room temperature and re-whip before using.