This American Buttercream Recipe is fluffy, airy and light, sweet, and whipped to serious perfection! You can use this easy frosting on any cake, cookie, or cupcake recipe because of its amazing versatility! You will never need another frosting recipe unless you want to try my Seven Minute Frosting, Cream Cheese Frosting, Chocolate, or Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream which is also fantastic! Use it on my Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes or Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes, Gingerbread Cupcakes, Lemon Cupcakes, Vanilla Cupcakes ,or even Red Velvet Cupcakes!
Because I seriously have tons of cupcake recipes on this website, I knew it would be important to share some buttercream frosting recipes as well.
This frosting is the very best you will find. You can use it literally for any and everything whether you want to frost shortbread cookies, or whether you want to ice a simple birthday chocolate cake or yellow cake recipe.
What is American Buttercream Frosting?
It is the easiest to make out of all frosting recipes out there. If you are familiar with Swiss Meringue or Italian meringue frostings, you know that they require more steps and preparation.
Making American buttercream frosting recipes is much more simple. It requires fewer ingredients but tends to be a bit sweeter than other buttercreams. It’s definitely my go-to when I need a quick and easy butter icing!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- It’s a versatile icing recipe that’s easy to color or flavor for different occasions.
- Mixes up in minutes using only five ingredients.
- A sweet and creamy frosting that’s perfect for cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.
There are just a few ingredients in this recipe that turn it into something quite special. The ingredients for my buttercream are the following:
- Butter: The most crucial ingredient to make homemade buttercream. The taste and success of this buttercream recipe depend on the butter you choose so make sure you use a high-quality option. Higher fat butter has less water content such as those from Land O Lakes, KerryGold, made from plant-fed cows, and Plugra, a European butter staple, are some of my favorites. Make sure you are using unsalted butter for more control over the flavor.
- Salt: Salt is always necessary whenever you are making sweet recipes because it helps balance flavors and even heightens the sweetness of the dessert.
- Confectioner’s Sugar: A must in American-style frostings. It is much finer than granulated sugar so it melts into the butter quite easily and whips to perfection. You won’t taste the granules because of the fineness.
- Heavy Cream: Heavy whipping cream is my big secret when it comes to lightening the texture and flavor of the buttercream. Have you ever tasted whipped cream? Well, you know how amazingly delicious it is! Just the hint of whipped cream added to this buttercream gives it the texture and fluffiness that make it irresistible. It also allows the final taste not to be soo sweet.
- Flavoring: For a basic buttercream, I use pure vanilla extract. It goes with everything however, this recipe is very adaptable. Start with small amounts of extract and taste as you go!
You can replace the extract with anything you want from citrus extracts to zests and chocolate! You can make this frosting anything you want! Here are some suggestions:
- Citrus: Add zest and extract with your favorite citrus flavors. Lemon and orange work great.
- Coconut: Add coconut extract to flavor the frosting then sprinkle sweetened shredded coconut lightly over the top of your frosting after adding it to your desserts.
- Change the color: Use your favorite food coloring to change the color of the icing. If you are trying to create bright, vibrant colors use gel food coloring so you don’t add too much liquid to the frosting.
- Add some sprinkles: This is best after frosting your cupcakes or cake but it’s an easy way to make it a bit more festive.
How to Make American Buttercream
Are you ready to start making your frosting? Let’s go! Here are the highlights of the steps involved but be sure to check the recipe card for all the details.
- Add the softened butter and salt to your stand mixer and beat at medium-low speed.
- Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar in small portions. Once it’s all added turn the speed to medium-high and beat until fully combined.
- Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract (or other flavorings) and mix until the buttercream is nice and fluffy. If you are adding food coloring you can do it now.
- Pipe or spread the buttercream onto your cake, cupcakes, or cookies. Be sure they are fully cooled before adding the frosting.
How to Use American Buttercream
This buttercream recipe creates an all-purpose frosting you can use to decorate lots of desserts. Here are just a few ideas:
- Cookies: Use it to frost simple sugar cookies or tea cakes.
- Cakes: It works great on all types of cakes! Try it with white cake, devil’s food cake, and even lemon cake.
- Cupcakes: Try it out on strawberry cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, and chocolate cupcakes.
- The butter must be at room temperature! This will allow the butter to be whipped into a fluffy texture and will also allow the sugar to melt into it perfectly.
- Don’t skimp on the mixing! Allow the mixing process to continue on high for a few minutes! It gives more lift and helps the sugar to truly dissolve into the butter allowing it to become one. It also airs more air making everything much more fluffy!
- Have fun with flavors and colors. After whipping cream is mixed into the frosting you can in extracts, flavorings, or food coloring.
- Fully cool cakes, cookies, and cupcakes before adding the frosting.
- Store desserts with American frosting added in a cool place. This type of buttercream icing doesn’t hold up as well in warm temperatures as others.
This easy frosting is sweet and creamy, and it firms up when it sits. You will find it sweeter than other buttercreams because it contains more sugar.
It actually melts more quickly than other types of buttercream. It is best to keep it somewhere cool until you’re ready to serve. If you know the cake will be out and exposed to sun or heat such as on a warm day you are better off using a different type of buttercream with more stability.
More of the Best Frosting Recipes
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Perfect American Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup
- Pinch salt
- 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Optional: Food coloring
- In your stand mixer, add butter and salt at medium low speed.
- Next turn the mixer down to low and slowly add confectioner’s sugar in small portions until all is added then turn the speed to medium high to combine.
- Add heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix until nice and fluffy. Add in food coloring at this point if desired.
- Pipe buttercream on room temperature cupcakes and serve.
This recipe was originally published January 2018. It has been updated with new images and content.