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  • American Buttercream Frosting

    filed under: Cakes on July 10, 2018

    American buttercream is the easiest style of buttercream to make with very few ingredients and steps. American buttercream is a classic with home bakers because of how quick it is to make and how versatile it is for cupcakes and cakes!

    Buttercream Frosting

    What is American Buttercream Frosting?


    American buttercream is by far the easiest style of buttercream frosting to make and is the one most commonly used by home bakers. If you have ever made a frosting by creaming together butter and powdered sugar with vanilla or other flavorings then you have made American buttercream!


    American buttercream, also known as simple buttercream or decorator’s frosting, calls for very few ingredients and steps. Typically a ratio of two parts sugar to 1 part butter is creamed together with a small amount of milk and flavorings.

    Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

    Characteristics of American Buttercream


    American buttercream is slightly ivory in color, thick in texture, and pipes easily. The ratio of sugar to butter in American buttercream is much higher than in Swiss meringue buttercream or Italian meringue buttercream, making American buttercream the sweetest of the varieties.


    American buttercream is also sometimes referred to as “crusting buttercream” because it forms a thin crust after exposed to air for some time. This characteristic can be desirable at times such as when doing intricate piping work or when frosting cookies that will be stacked.

    How to Make Buttercream Frosting

     Tips for Making American Buttercream


    • To properly cream the butter and sugar to form the buttercream, the butter must start at room temperature. If the butter is too cold, the emulsion might break causing a separated buttercream.
    • A lighter variation on this buttercream can be made by whipping the butter for a longer period of time to make a whipped buttercream.
    • American buttercream stands up well to being flavored with extracts, spices, cocoa powder, and jams or curds.
    • If the buttercream will not be used right away it must be stored in the refrigerator. It will firm up quite a bit and should be allowed to come back to room temperature before piping or spreading. Depending on how long it was stored you may need to re-mix it quickly.
    5 from 12 votes
    Basic American Buttercream Frosting
    Prep Time
    10 mins

    No wonder it's a classic!

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: buttercream
    Servings: 24 cupcakes
    Calories: 222 kcal
    Author: Amanda
    • 4 sticks (1 lb, 454 g) unsalted butter room temperature
    • 8 cups (2 lb, 907 g) confectioners sugar sifted
    • large pinch of salt
    • extracts and flavorings as desired
    • 1-3 tablespoons whole milk as needed
    1. Combine the butter, sugar, and flavorings in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
    2. Start mixing on low speed until the sugar is incorporated with the butter. Increase the mixing speed to high and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
    3. Adjust the consistency with milk as needed.
    4. Store unused buttercream in the refrigerator in an airtight container and bring it back to room temperature before using to pipe or frost.

    Recipe Video

    Recipe Notes

    Note: This recipe makes enough buttercream to generously frost 24 cupcakes or a 2 layer 9” round cake.

     Buttercream Flavor Options

    • Vanilla American Buttercream: Add in 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • Chocolate American Buttercream: Add 1 cup of sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
    • “Wedding Cake” American Buttercream: Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract
    • Lemon American Buttercream: Add 3 TBSP lemon zest and ¼ cup lemon juice. Remove the milk and increase the confectioner’s sugar to 9 cups.
    • Strawberry, Raspberry, or Blackberry American Buttercream: Fold in 1 cup of seedless preserves


    Want more Buttercream Frosting Recipes? Check out these winning recipes:

    Perfect Crusting Buttercream

    Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

    Chocolate Buttercream

    Basic Vanilla Buttercream (Neopolitan Cake)

    Kristin “Baker Bettie” Hoffman is a trained chef and online baking instructor. Learn more about the “whys” of baking on BakerBettie.com!

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    What is that mixer called. I would love one.

    Hi, I absolutely looove your recipes, being from the uk some of these cakes and ideas are new to me. Anyway I have visited America several times, always Florida as we’re thrill seekers, and go round the parks. I’m one of the supermarkets, they have a celebratory cake section where you can order a cake specific to your wanting or pick up one that’s already made. What I wanted to know, is if you know what recipe they used for their cakes? As it’s one of the most delicious frostings I have tasted. And didn’t taste like the one part butter 2 parts sugar with vanilla extract added? Although very similar in texture. I have been searching for years with no joy. Many thanks

      I’m betting it was Publix. Can u describe the celebration cake that you enjoyed? They make several. My favorite is the Chantilly

    simple and tasty.

      Hi Maya, I live in Kansas City, MO. My name is Laura. We have several supermarkets here. Price Chopper, WalMart, Target, HyVee and the Sams Club and Costco…They all use a premade icing…Dawn, Riches and some other companies. I have asked and they have told and showed me. I’ve been doing cakes for 32 years…and when I first started out I used Dawn Icing…If you remember the name of where you were, look them up, write a letter or email…just ask, however…butter-them-up first by telling them just how wonderful their icing tasted… I wish you all the best…and I have been using the same icing recipe for 20+ years now…and I do not use butter, just butter flavoring, along with Watkins vanilla and a tad bit of almond…and my icing does not taste like veg shortening or greasy! Regards, Laura Radabaugh

      Phillipa, you may have had Swiss Buttercream. It is lighter and not as sweet. Recipes are online. I think it uses room temp pudding, room temp butter and then sugar. Hope this helps.

    I love this recipe. My kids are young ..Holly 7 and Joseph 5.. I’m definitely going to get them to make these !

    I love your receipes.

    What size tip do you use for piping these cupcakes?

    Can you tell me the brand of the specialty mixer you are using in the buttercream frosting demonstration with the cupcakes?? Is it an attachment or an appliance? I like the combination of two beater and the rotation of the entire head for fast and thorough mixing. Love your posts and recipes turn out each time.
    Thank you.

      Yeah, I would be interested in one of those.

    I really wish you would add a mail attachment to your recipes. I send them from others to my mail. Then I can’t lose them.

    I am a big fan of your baking and website. I had a quick question. I am planning to make a succulent cake for my friends 40th. I wanted to make the succulent decorations in advance but wasn’t sure what buttercream recipe to use? I wanted it to harden so that I can transfer it onto the cake on the day of. Thanks.

      If making it in advance I would use a traditional American buttercream like this one. If making and serving the same day I would recommend a Swiss Meringue.

        Do you need to refrigerator the cake with the buttercream frosting?

    I absolutely adore this recipe! The only change I make is vegan butter instead of regular. It comes out fantastic! Thanks for sharing!!

      Hi Jess. I was wondering what kind of vegan butter you used.. 🙂

    I love your recipes. I wish I was skinny! Don’t ever stop posting them. I made the coconut pineapple and it was the best cake I ever ate.

    Love the butter cream but would really like to know wot mixer you was useing not seen one like that

    I love your recipes; I would like to know after piping my cakes or muffins with this American butter cream do I have to put them in the fridge? or can I live them on room temperature? How long do they rest good?

    Turned out wonderfully!

    I followed the recipe and it turned out gelatinous. Ruined my daughters birthday cake.

      You made American buttercream and it came our gelatinous? You mixed butter and sugar and got gel? Not sure this is even physically possible.

    I couldn’t follow the quantyof American butter cream pl mention it in gms


    I really enjoy reading all your posts. .I want to try everything. ..except mint recipes! Not a fan of mint.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made this buttercream recipe and never messed up because it’s so easy. I usually add vanilla extract because it goes over big in my home. This recipe is great for beginners.

    I just made this recipe this morning for my husband’s cupcakes for work. And I’m glad I don’t have to eat them because it’s entirely too buttery I followed the recipe exactly as written use unsalted butter did everything way too buttery I’m actually afraid to have him eat them.

    I 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍😍❤️❤️❤️❤️ Your recipes, my favorite is the buttercream frosting!!!!!!!!!!

    I 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍 looooooove this buttercream frosting, also your other recipes.

    I found your cupcake decorating site by accident. Boy am I glad. Your video made it so easy to follow and understand. i was able to produce exactly what you were doing.I’m so so so HAPPY!

    I love your recipes, have made a few of them ..
    Not disappointed !!! Keep them coming!!!!

    Hi can you post the strawberry cake I makes last year and I Don’t found it any more please thanks I love your cooks

    Don't Pass on Dessert!