How to Make the Best Buttercream

Aug 13

In today’s Tip Tuesday, I’m sharing with you all my tips and tricks for making the very best buttercream frosting!

The goal for your buttercream should be a smooth, silky, easily spreadable consistency. It’s this amazing consistency that makes smoothing out your buttercream while decorating so much easier.

For this post, I’m using my Classic Vanilla Buttercream. However, these tips apply to all of my buttercream recipes.

Step 1: Sift Your Powdered Sugar

First thing’s first – sift your powdered sugar! I know it adds a little time to the process, but it’s worth every extra second. It really is so crucial to making sure your buttercream is silky smooth.

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You’ll first measure your powdered sugar and then whisk it through a mesh strainer to get a super fine granule. I think this is the fastest, easiest way to sift powdered sugar.

Promise me you won’t skip this step!

Step 2: Use Semi-Cold Butter

I wish I could shout this one out to the world! Using semi-cold butter is key to ensuring your buttercream actually holds well and doesn’t fall from your spatula or off your cake. I recommend taking the butter out of your fridge about 30 minutes prior to making your buttercream. The butter should still be cold to the touch, but you’ll be able to make a slight imprint with your finger.

If the butter still feels too cold, just cut it into cubes and add to your mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.

We’re going to let the mixer soften the butter for us, without the butter getting too warm. It’s when the butter is too warm that it creates major problems for our buttercream.

Run the mixer at medium speed for about two minutes to beat the butter. You’ll notice it gets lighter in color and looks fluffy and smooth. This is perfect. Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl and mix again for another 30 to 60 seconds.

Step 3: Add the Powdered Sugar

You’ll now want to turn your mixer to low speed. We’re going to gradually add our powdered sugar, about a half cup at a time. This tip just helps you make less of a mess 😉

Step 4: Add Heavy Whipping

Now that your powdered sugar is added, you’ll want to add your vanilla, a pinch of salt and your heavy whipping cream. The heavy whipping cream is the star of the show here! I use it in all of my buttercream recipes and it’s such a game changer. A few tablespoons will do, unless otherwise stated in my recipes.

Step 5: Beat the Buttercream for Five Minutes

With your heavy whipping cream added, it’s time for another critical step to making the best buttercream. Turn your mixer to medium-high speed and beat the buttercream for five minutes.

After five minutes is up, scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for another minute or so.

Watch closely! You’ll notice the color and the texture of your buttercream will totally lighten up. It’s like magic!

Step 6: Mix the Buttercream by Hand

Isn’t it so neat to see how the color and texture lighten up so much? Your buttercream should look like a fluffy cloud at this point. But it’s not quite ready to add to your cake yet.

The final step to making the best buttercream is actually mixing your frosting by hand. Grab a spatula or big wooden spoon and stir the frosting for a few minutes. You’re trying to push out the air that the electric mixer created. Doing this will help so that you don’t have all the air pockets (holes) in your frosting while you smooth the sides with your scraper.

And there you have it! The best buttercream frosting!

Can’t wait for you to try out these tips and see how your buttercream game totally changes.



22 thoughts on “How to Make the Best Buttercream

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  1. Excelentes consejos! Gracias por todos tus secretos de reposteria, un gran abrazo y admiracion un beso bien grande desde Venezuela

    1. Excelentes consejos! Gracias por todos tus secretos de repostería, un gran abrazo y admiración un beso bien grande desde Venezuela

  2. Hi Courtney, I absolutely love your cakes and making them!
    On your buttercream on this step by step you have whipping cream, but on your lemon poppy seed cake recipe you have some cream cheese and no whipping cream. Would you suggest I add it to make it even better texture? Mine turns out pretty good but I was just curious since you said whipping cream is key on all your buttercream recipes. Thanks!

  3. Hi Courtney,
    My daughter is having a descendants party. I saw some cute cupcakes with different colored frostings. What food coloring do you recommend for purple, teal and magenta?

  4. I watched your segment on Instagram on the butter cream frosting. You did 6 butters but how much powder sugar. I also saw 5 tbsp heavy whipping cream and 1 tsp vanilla

  5. I am so excited to try the last step of mixing by hand. I have been in a losing battle against air bubbles!

  6. Thanks for all the tips!! Do you ever make your frosting a day or two ahead of time? If so, do you leave it out or refrigerate it? I’m wondering how much more I should mix/play with the frosting if I pull it out of the fridge a day or two later.

  7. Fantastic recipe! Easy to make- consistent results every time! It’s my go-to recipe. Works wonderfully for piping and flowers, and tastes good too! And not super sugary sweet tasting as some other recipes. Love it! Thank you Courtney!

  8. I feel like I do all these steps but I feel like my buttercream never stays smooth. It stiffens up. Any suggestions?

  9. Hi Courtney! Any other tips to getting the bubbles out of the buttercream? We always hand mi with a spoon after the kitchen aid mixer but doesn’t get them all. Thanks!