How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting

March 22, 2022

In today’s Tip Tuesday, I’m sharing with you all my tips and tricks on how to make the 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.

#howtomakethebestbuttercream #bestbuttercream #buttercreamfrosting #baking #cakedecorating #cakedecoratingforbeginners #cakebycourtney

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. Follow me on Instagram @cakebycourtney for more tips and recipes on all things cake.



Other Tips You’ll Love

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Courtney, thanks for sharing your tips. I’m wondering if I make the frosting today to then decorate my cakes tomorrow, can I leave it on the bench overnight? Or am I better of making the frosting tomorrow? Thanks 🙂

    1. Best to make day of.

      1. Hi Courtney!

        I was wondering, Could I add less powdered sugar if I want it less sweet? or would this mess up the smoothness of the buttercream?

        1. If you want a less sweet frosting you could try Swiss Meringue. Mine needs to be followed to the recipe.

  2. What are the exact quantities to make the buttercream frosting?

  3. Hi Courtney,

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the cakes you do on your IG!!!
    Was wondering if you could share the brands of your powdered sugar, vanilla, butter, and whip cream that you use. For some reason, when I use the name brands (C&H, McCormick,etc) the frosting doesn’t taste that good to me.
    Thanks so much!
    <3 Maia

    1. Powdered sugar is C&H. Butter is unsalted from Costco. Vanilla is from Costco. And so is my heavy whipping cream! We love Costco haha

      1. Ruth Ann says:

        We don’t have a Costco for over 100 miles. C and H is available anywhere. Our heavy cream is from Mayfield Dairies. The best in the world. I make my own vanilla using Drambuie. Oh, my!!!!!!!

  4. I’m wanting to get a new KitchenAid but I am debating between the 5qt and 6qt? There’s a significant price difference so I’m just wondering if the 5qt is big enough to handle a double batch of frosting?

    1. It’s not really

  5. Audra Theseira says:

    Thanks for the tips and I am gonna try it soon. I just love to bake and decorate for my own pleasure. I am so gonna try it


  6. Hello, I noticed you use all purpose or cake flour for certain recipes. I’ve heard cake flour makes a more dense cake and i would prefer a not so dense cake. What is the difference between the two?

    1. Cake flour makes it a lighter texture.

    2. I think you’re thinking of bread flour. That makes baked goods more dense. Cake flour is the opposite.

  7. Jae Petillo says:

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful article. Thanks for supplying this information.

  8. How many cups does one batch of your buttercream frosting make?

  9. Love your blog! Would I be able to decorate cookies with the buttercream frosting?
    Thank you.

    1. Yes, we love it on our sugar cookies!

  10. Maureen Howe says:

    I took the boot camp last time but did not finish. I can not find where to sign again for a minimum charge

    1. Just email [email protected] and we’ll help you out there.

  11. What can I do if my buttercream comes out to thin?

    1. Add more powdered sugar

  12. Hi Courtney, Is there a substitute for vanilla? I have no way to buy some and was wondering if I could use something else for the vanilla.

    1. You can just leave it out.

  13. Christy Carson says:

    Super EXCITED TO MAKE YOUR Lemon cake for my boyfriend birthday.

  14. Rhonda R Eckenroth says:

    can you save left over icing for next time ?

  15. Hi, I’m in Australia and wondering what we would call Powdered sugar pls.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *