Buttercream Frosting

This is the frosting recipe that my mom always uses when she makes cupcakes or cakes, and it tastes really good.

It’s very easy to make, and it’s from the basic Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

We used piping bags to pipe it onto our cupcakes, but you could just spread it with a knife if you want.

(Kristen’s note: Homemade frosting is SO easy to whip up and it tastes a zillions times better than the stuff that comes in a can.  Plus, it’s only got 4 ingredients, and canned frosting has something like 89,745 ingredients.  Or thereabouts.)

Buttercream Frosting

1/3 cup softened butter
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a bowl, beat the butter until it’s fluffy.  Slowly add 2 cups of the powdered sugar.  Gradually add the milk and vanilla, and then the remaining sugar.  Add additional milk if necessary to make the frosting spreadable.

To make chocolate frosting: Add 1/2 cup of sifted cocoa powder with the initial 2 cups of powdered sugar.


  1. I’ve never made frosting, but you made this look easy to prepare. Yummy!

  2. Momofthree says:

    This looks very simple. I don’t know why I have never made my own frosting before! I think I might just surprise my kids with cupcakes this weekend!

  3. Lisey!
    Thanks so much for posting this! We have just started using homemade frosting but I LOVE the way you make your cupcakes look! I’m going to try it!

  4. My husband’s looovvves buttercream frosting and yours is so easy so I am definitely going to copy this recipe down! Thank you very much and keep bringing the wonderful and easy recipes!

  5. Hey Lisey – over here in the UK we don’t buy a lot of frosting! So if anyone asks me how to make butter cream – I’d send them on over to you – Jo x

  6. EngineerMom says:

    Alton Brown said basically the same thing about frosting. It’s super easy to whip up, simple to flavor, and tastes so much better than the trans-fat-filled canned frosting.

    His recommendation was to buy cake mix (they use cake flour and some dough conditioners to make the cake reliably turn out very tender and moist that most consumers don’t have easy access to) to make the cake, but make the frosting from scratch.

    This is the same recipe I use! If you want to make it chocolate, simply beat 1/4 c. of cocoa powder into the flour before adding the sugar. I keep my butter in the freezer and forget to take it out soften in time frequently, so I figured out a way to make frosting with frozen butter. Microwave it until all of it is soft (some of it will melt), then beat with about 1 c. of the powdered sugar until it’s all cooled back to room temperature and fluffy. Proceed as directed with the rest of the recipe.

    Want a mocha flavor? Make it chocolate, then use cooled coffee or espresso for the water instead of milk.

    Orange flavor? Use orange juice for the liquid, and stir in some finely chopped orange zest. Same deal with lemon or lime flavor, or you can use concentrated drops.

    Raspberry flavor? Add 1/4 c. raspberry jam with the milk.

    Such a great recipe!

  7. Kate Deals says:

    Buttercream forsting is a recipe I know off the top of my head. I believe mine is from the Domino powdered sugar box:

    1 stick of butter softened (1/2 cup)
    1 pound of powdered sugar
    3 Tablespoons of milk
    1 teaspoon of vanilla

    The recipe is very similar to yours. Homemade frosting is so much better than canned. If you have leftover frosting you can spread it on cinnamon bread toast (which kind of makes the toast taste like a cinnamon roll) or on graham crackers.

  8. I have so enjoyed your blog! A couple of weeks ago I baked your Orange Rolls and they were a huge hit with my family. The rolls were so good that I decided to make them for a reception at our church after First Communion this month. I made them in muffin pans so that they could be put on a serving tray more easily. They looked beautiful! So keep up the good work! Your blog (and your mom’s) are in my Favorites!!

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