The Perfect Crusting Buttercream is the perfect frosting that goes on your cakes easily and sets which makes it perfect for a solid base as well as decorating into shapes that will keep their form. Try my American Buttercream Frosting for another versatile frosting recipe.

The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

This buttercream is sweet, and I do mean sweet! (You could probably guess that by looking at the amount of confectioners’ sugar in the recipe.) However, you can always use less sugar if you don’t want the crusting buttercream to be quite as sweet. You will also notice the recipe uses a cup of shortening. I have also provided instructions on making the buttercream using half shortening and half butter.


The Perfect Crusting Buttercream Ingredients

Sugar: Yes, you are reading that amount correctly…a 2-pound bag of confectioners’ sugar is used in this recipe (approximately 7 1/2 cups). You can always use less for less sweetness.

Shortening: Shortening (hydrogenated vegetable oil) is any fat or oil that is solid at room temperature. If you have heard of or seen a big can of Crisco, that is shortening. If you don’t want to use a full cup of shortening, I did provide instructions to make crusting buttercream with half shortening and half butter.

Vanilla: If you want white frosting, use clear vanilla extract.

Milk: Start by adding the minimum amount of whole milk to the frosting mixture. You can always add more until the buttercream reaches your desired consistency.


How to Make the Perfect Crusting Buttercream

This recipe is the recipe I use when making my rose cake, my hydrangea cake, or any cake that I want the frosting to be able to hold its shape! To get it made, first, cream together the shortening and vanilla. Next, add the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Finally, mix in the milk, adding more until you have reached your desired consistency, and add the pinch of salt. This makes quite a bit, but can be refrigerated quite easily.

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. It will last about a week in the refrigerator.

How to Make Crusting Buttercream with Shortening and Butter

If you are using half shortening and have butter, the method to make the buttercream is a little different. First, add the butter (make sure it is room temperature) and the shortening to the bowl of a stand mixer. Next, pour all of the confectioners’ sugar on top. Then, add the vanilla, milk, and salt. Start mixing on low; then, turn the mixer to medium-high and mix for 2-4 minutes.


Looking for More Frosting Recipes?

The Perfect Brownie Frosting

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Cookie Dough Frosting

Easy Coconut Frosting

Lemon Frosting Hydrangea

The Perfect Crusting Buttercream

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
The Perfect Crusting Buttercream is the perfect frosting that goes on your cakes easily and sets which makes it perfect for a solid base as well as decorating into shapes that will keep their form.


  • cups (2 pounds or 937g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup shortening, or ½ cup room temperature butter and ½ cup shortening (See alternate method of making buttercream if using butter and shortening.)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, use clear if want white frosting
  • ½-¾ cup whole milk, as needed for desired consistency
  • 1 pinch kosher salt


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream shortening and vanilla (2-4 minutes).
  • Add in the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time. If you find your mixer struggling, slowly add in milk. Use more milk for a creamy consistency; use less milk for a stiff consistency. Finally, add salt.

Alternate Method (Using ½ cup butter and ½ cup shortening)

  • Place room temperature butter and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer. Put the entire 2-pound bag (7½ cups) of confectioners' sugar on top. Then, add vanilla, ½ cup milk, and salt.
  • Turn the mixer on low and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and mix for 2-4 minutes. Add more milk, if needed, to reach desired consistency.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. Just made this buttercream and it’s amazing paired with sugar cookies. Question: do u keep this buttercream on the counter or in the fridge? How long is it fresh for?

    1. Hi Lisa! I keep it at room temperature for a couple of days or refrigerate for about 2-3 weeks. Just make sure it is being stored air-tight.

  2. Is there any concern with using milk in recipe and safely leaving frosting out for length of time at room temperature? Your recipe looks great!

  3. I was given this recipe in a cake decorating class 40 years ago and they called it a buttercream. Over the years I have modified it to make it less sweet by substituting 4 oz cream cheese for 1/2 of the butter.I I don’t know what to call this…it is not a “real” butter cream for the purest and diffidently not cream cheese frosting. Everyone loves it. They don’t care what it’s called.

  4. I use a similar recipe. I also add 1 teaspoon of butter flavoring, 1/8 teaspoon of almond flavoring, and a heaping tablespoon of meringue powder.

  5. I love this site…Thank You so much for all the wonderful information…keep up the great work…❤️❤️❤️❤️You are awesome ❤️👍

  6. This recipe is AMAZING ❤
    Wish I had found it years ago.
    I only have a mid priced hand beater which unfortunately gathered the shortening in the centre of the beaters and held it there. I scraped it out and by-passed the creaming stage. I added a few spoonfuls of sugar at a time mashing it into the shortening with the back of a spoon.
    After adding all of the sugar and a dash of milk I used the dough hooks and mixed for quite a few minutes adding a little more milk as needed then finished it off using a spoon.
    I was making a smash cake that nobody would be eating anyway.
    I loved the way I could take a small amount, colour it and then add more milk to change the consistency I needed for any particular purpose.
    I didn’t use any vanilla or salt and even though I never creamed it, it was lump free and delicious.
    This spreads and pipes so easily and crusts quickly and allowed me to smooth the work with baking paper and a light rub.
    I was worried it would harden but the crust is so thin and the biggest bonus was that I didn’t have to refrigerate the cake at any time and had no separation of the icing.
    Made the cake the night before the party and left it at room temperature before serving at 2pm following day .. just perfect.
    Many, many thanks to you Amanda

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