How to make homemade buttercream frosting

Updated February 21, 2017

Buttercream frosting comes in many variations to provide different tastes and textures. Homemade buttercream frosting requires few ingredients and does not have the artificial taste that store-purchased frosting can have. You can use buttercream frosting with cupcakes, layer cakes, sheet cakes and other delicious desserts. Use a thinner buttercream frosting glaze to drizzle over doughnuts or muffins.

Put 1/2 cup of unsalted butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the bowl in the microwave on low for 20 seconds or until the butter softens.

Remove the bowl from the microwave and pour the softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Smooth the butter into a creamy consistency with a spatula.

Measure and add 3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar to the stand mixing bowl. Mix the butter and confectioners' sugar in the stand mixing bowl on low speed for 15 seconds.

Pour 1/4 cup milk into the stand mixing bowl. Combine the ingredients together with the stand mixer on low speed for 15 seconds.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons vanilla extract into the stand mixing bowl. Leave the stand mixer on low speed while adding the vanilla extract gradually.


Add more confectioners' sugar for a thicker buttercream frosting. More milk will make the frosting thinner for glazing desserts. Use the same recipe in a food processor if you do not have a stand mixer. Process each new ingredient in the food process for 15-second intervals. Though any type of milk will work with this recipe, whole milk is recommended for a rich creamy buttercream frosting. Dip a toothpick into the desired gel food colours and insert into the buttercream frosting to create coloured frosting. If the confectioners' sugar is lumpy, sift it through a sugar sifter to prevent the buttercream frosting from becoming lumpy. Use room-temperature butter if possible. Cream the butter until fluffy and light before adding new ingredients to the mixture. Store the buttercream frosting in the refrigerator in an airtight container with a lid; use it immediately or freeze it for up to two months.

Things You'll Need

  • Unsalted butter
  • Microwave-safe bowl
  • Stand mixer
  • Spatula
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Milk
  • Measuring cup
  • Vanilla extract
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About the Author

Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.