Easy Buttercream Frosting

Delicious, rich and easy buttercream frosting recipe that anyone can make. This is not a crusting buttercream. It is meringue based so it has a slight shine and chills nicely in the fridge. Takes 10 minutes to make and is fool-proof! Light, fluffy and not too sweet. 
↓ Recipe ↓ Video Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 10 mins
Serves: 6 cups
close up of easy buttercream rosettes

I love easy buttercream frosting (technically a mock Swiss meringue buttercream) because you don’t have to heat any egg whites (thanks to pasteurized eggs), it tastes super creamy and not too sweet and only takes 10 minutes to make! You can pipe with this, use it under fondant and it tastes SO much better than store-bought! I promise anyone can make this! 

close up of easy buttercream rosettes

This buttercream frosting is the recipe I WISH I had when I was making 5 wedding cakes a weekend. Now it’s the only buttercream frosting I use and my clients love it. Way better than the super sweet frosting I was used to seeing on cakes.

EASY BUTTERCREAM INGREDIENTS

You might be like, egg whites… in frosting? What? It wasn’t until I went to pastry school in 2010 that I first heard about different types of buttercream. Many types of buttercream, like Swiss, Italian, and French have eggs in them. The egg is often whipped into a light and fluffy meringue and then softened butter is whipped in. When you use meringue as your base for buttercream, you don’t have to use as much sugar resulting in a light, fluffy, and less sweet buttercream that tastes a lot like ice cream. YUM!

Easy buttercream is similar to Swiss Meringue Buttercream except that you do not have to heat egg whites and sugar, whip to a meringue, let cool, etc. Thanks to pasteurized egg whites, you can skip to the whipping stage and no need to mix to a meringue! The taste and texture of easy buttercream is nearly identical to traditional SMBC. Did I mention this was easy? 

easy buttercream ingredients

WHAT ARE PASTEURIZED EGG WHITES?

Depending on the country you are in, you may or may not have access to pasteurized egg whites. In most places, they are found in a box in the egg section. The word “pasteurized” will be on the box somewhere, usually very small. 

Pasteurizing is the process of gentle heating to kill food born illnesses and make a product safe to drink or eat. Many things are pasteurized, such as orange juice, milk, and wine. Pasteurized egg whites are safe for anyone to eat. 

If you can’t find pasteurized egg whites you can pasteurize them yourself and just use the egg whites or you can use my Swiss Meringue Buttercream recipe instead. 

closeup of pasteurized egg

EASY BUTTERCREAM STEP-BY-STEP

Step 1–  Place pasteurized egg whites and powdered sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Attach the whisk and combine ingredients on low, then whip on high for 1-2 minutes to dissolve the powdered sugar. You do NOT need to whip to a meringue. 

adding pasteurized egg whites to powdered sugar in a metal bowl

whipping egg whites and powdered sugar

Pro-tip – In traditional SMBC, fresh egg whites and granulated sugar are cooked together to dissolve the sugar and cook the eggs. We skip this step by using pasteurized egg whites and powdered sugar. 

Step 2 – Add in your salt and vanilla extract. You can also substitute any other extract flavoring that you like, I love lemon or orange extract. Using clear vanilla extract will result in a whiter finished buttercream.

holding clear glass bowl above the rim of a metal bowl mixer

Step 3 – Add in your softened butter in chunks and whip with the whisk attachment on high. If you are using pasteurized egg whites from the fridge then you might notice this rim of cold butter forming. This is normal and can easily be fixed. 

cold buttercream forming a ridge in the mixing bowl

Simple stop your mixer and remove about 1/3 cup of the buttercream. Melt this in the microwave for about 20 seconds or until it’s just barely melted. You don’t want it hot!

Pour the mixture back into your whipping buttercream and the warmth from the melted buttercream will cause it all to come together and get creamy. This is honestly easier than taking out the egg whites ahead of time and trying to bring them to room temperature (at least for me). 

pouring melted buttercream into cold buttercream  

easy buttercream frosting in a metal mixing bowl

Step 4 – Now let the buttercream whip until white and fluffy. This will take 8-10 minutes with a KitchenAid, but taste it to see when it’s done. When it no longer tastes like butter and is sweet like ice cream, it’s done!

Pro-tip – If you want your buttercream super smooth, double the recipe so that the buttercream level is above the whisk attachment. As the buttercream whips, it works out all the bubbles so you get a super smooth buttercream with no bubbles. 

airless buttercream

Step 5 – (Optional) To make your buttercream extra white, use the end of a toothpick to add in a TINY drop of purple food coloring and about 1 TBSP of white food coloring. The purple will counteract the yellow in the butter and make it super white. Mix together. 

TIPS & FAQ

BUTTER SUBSTITUTES

Using good quality, real butter is best, but you can substitute it with margarine, vegan butter, or vegetable shortening. I can’t guarantee the taste will be the same, but you can use whatever is your preference!  

WHY IS MY BUTTERCREAM SPLITTING?

The buttercream splits because it’s too cold. Take out 1/3 cup of the buttercream and melt it in the microwave until it’s just melted and then whip it back in. That little bit of warm butter helps it all come together again.

MY BUTTERCREAM IS TOO SOFT, WHAT CAN I DO?

Buttercream is soft or firm depending on how warm it is. If it’s too soft, it could be your butter was too soft when you added it in or the mixer warmed it up. Put the buttercream in the fridge for 20 minutes then whip it again and it should firm back up. 

WHY IS MY EASY BUTTERCREAM GRITTY?

Some people have said their buttercream has a grainy consistency, but I have never experienced this before. If you have this issue, try sifting your powdered sugar before adding in the pasteurized egg whites and mixing the egg whites with the powdered sugar on medium for 5 minutes to dissolve the powdered sugar.

IS THIS GOOD TO USE UNDER FONDANT?

YES! I do all the time, just make sure to chill your cakes until the buttercream is firm to the touch before applying fondant. It goes great with my homemade marshmallow fondant too! Check out my video on how to cover a cake in fondant

How to get sharp fondant edges on your cake

HOW STABLE IS THIS FROSTING?

This frosting will not crust, but is stable enough to pipe buttercream flowers and will last at room temperature for 2 days. It is ok at temperatures up to 85ºF  but will melt in direct sunlight in about 20 minutes so keep it in the shade! You can replace half the butter with shortening to make it more stable in high temperatures.

Easy buttercream is not as stable as American or Italian buttercream but is more stable than cream cheese frosting or whipped cream. 

You can also make a white chocolate buttercream frosting by adding melted white chocolate into the buttercream frosting. This makes a SUPER stable buttercream frosting that is a combination of buttercream and white chocolate ganache.

HOW LONG DOES THIS BUTTERCREAM LAST?

Easy buttercream will last for 2 days at room temperature, 2 weeks in the fridge or 6 months in the freezer. If your buttercream is cold, make sure to whip it up again before using it. Bring your buttercream to room temperature and begin whipping it. Then remove 1/3 cup of the buttercream and microwave it until it’s just barely melted, then pour it back in while whipping to make it smooth again. 

If you’re going to frost your cake tomorrow, just leave the buttercream on the countertop. You don’t have to refrigerate it within 2 days because the butter and sugar act as its own preservation.

If your buttercream frosting has been sitting at room temperature for more than a day, mix it with the paddle attachment before using it to make it smooth again. Buttercream tends to get spongy after 24 hours and loses its creamy texture. 

HOW TO COLOR EASY BUTTERCREAM

You can add a few drops of gel food coloring to this buttercream to color it. It holds color well and gets darker overnight. Just be sure to not add too much food coloring or you’ll be able to taste it. 

If you want to make darker colors, check out my neon buttercream blog post for more information. 

ARE PASTEURIZED EGG WHITES SAFE TO EAT?

Yes! Pasteurized egg whites are heat-treated (like milk) so they are safe to eat. They usually come in a box carton in the egg aisle. If you don’t have pasteurized egg whites then you can use my SMBC recipe instead. Note: undercooked egg whites are not recommended for pregnant women just to be on the safe side.

CAN I ADD MORE/LESS SUGAR?

This recipe is not very sweet, especially if you’re used to American buttercream. You can add more powdered sugar if you want it to be sweeter, but you cannot reduce the sugar or the buttercream will be too soft. 

HOW MUCH FROSTING DO I NEED?

This easy buttercream frosting recipe makes about 6 cups which is enough to frost and fill a three-layer, 8″ round cake. You can use the frosting and cake batter calculator below to adjust the amount of frosting you will need depending on the size cake you want to make. 

RELATED RECIPES: 

How to make buttercream flowers

Ermine frosting (similar taste to easy buttercream but no eggs)

Swiss Meringue Buttercream 

Easy Chocolate Buttercream

 

Cake Batter and Frosting Calculator

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Cups of Batter Needed

8 cups

Cups of Frosting Needed

5 cups

Note: measurements are estimated based off the vanilla cake recipe using standard US cake pans and sizes. Measurements used are for 2" tall cake pans only. Your results may vary. Do not overfill cake pans above manufacturer's recommended guidelines.

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
close up of easy buttercream rosettes

Easy Buttercream Frosting

Delicious, rich and easy buttercream frosting recipe that anyone can make. This is not a crusting buttercream. It is meringue based so it has a slight shine and chills nicely in the fridge. Takes 10 minutes to make and is fool-proof! Light, fluffy and not too sweet. 
5 from 149 votes
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 5 mins
mixing time: 20 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Serves: 6 cups
Calories: 849kcal

Ingredients

  • 24 oz (680 g) unsalted butter room temperature. You can use salted butter but it will affect the taste and you need to leave out additional salt
  • 24 oz (680 g) powdered sugar sifted if not from a bag
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 oz (170 g) pasteurized egg whites room temperature
  • 1 TINY drop (1 TINY drop) purple food coloring (optional) for whiter frosting

Instructions

  • Place egg whites and powdered sugar in a stand mixer bowl. Attach the whisk and combine ingredients on low and then whip on high for 1 minute to dissolve the powdered sugar 
  • Add in your salt and vanilla extract
  • Add in your butter in chunks and whip with the whisk attachment to combine. It will look curdled at first. This is normal. It will also look pretty yellow. Keep whipping. 
  • If your buttercream looks curdled, remove about 1/3 cup of buttercream and melt it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds until JUST barely melted. Pour it back into the whipping buttercream to bring it all together.
  • (Optional) Add your drop of purple food coloring. Whip on high with the whisk attachment for 8-10 minutes until it's very white, light and shiny. Taste the buttercream, if it tastes like sweet ice cream then it's ready!
  • Switch to a paddle attachment and mix on low for 15-20 minutes to make the buttercream very smooth and remove air bubbles. This isn't required but if you want really creamy frosting, you don't want to skip it. 

Nutrition

Serving: 2oz | Calories: 849kcal (42%) | Carbohydrates: 75g (25%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 61g (94%) | Saturated Fat: 38g (190%) | Cholesterol: 162mg (54%) | Sodium: 240mg (10%) | Potassium: 18mg (1%) | Sugar: 74g (82%) | Vitamin A: 2055IU (41%) | Calcium: 18mg (2%) | Iron: 0.4mg (2%)
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724 comments on “Easy Buttercream Frosting

  1. I’m going to try this recipe tonight! Wish me luck! I really hope it comes out good! I need a easy buttercream recipe I’m tired of guessing the right consistency on the American buttercream and heating the sugar and egg whites on the SMBC!

  2. 5 stars
    can you do half butter and half shortening to help it hold up in heat?

  3. 5 stars
    BEST RECIPE EVER THANK YOU.

    p.s. ive eaten it with a spoon each time i’ve made it. it seriously tastes like super creamy ice cream! i’ve already made it into a lemon version and salted caramel and it’s just the best! hoping to experiment with a coffee version!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m getting ready for prep. Just a question about doing it more white: The drop of purple food color can be gel? Thank you !!

  5. 5 stars
    This is my go-to buttercream recipe, everyone loves it. Im making a Neapolitan cake, so Ill be using the chocolate version. How would I incorporate strawberries into this recipe? Pureed?

    1. You can add room temperature strawberry puree to strawberry buttercream or you can used crushed freeze-dried strawberries or strawberry emulsion.

  6. Please help! I’ve made this recipe a few times now and it’s always been a little soft, so I used a bit firmer butter this time. Now it’s downright runny. I put it in the fridge for awhile before piping, but it still sunk right down when piping. It also looks kind of like it’s greasy or separated, although it taste fine–like ice cream. I did not use any shortening. Is there a save for this? Can I ship some more powdered sdugar in? The fridge doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

    1. It sounds like you are not measuring your ingredients correctly. Make sure you are using the correct amount of butter and powdered sugar (by weight)

  7. 5 stars
    Tried this for the first time this week and I was floored. Had a definite “Aha!” moment, this is how buttercream is supposed to taste! Love love love! My question is whether I can make this into a strawberry buttercream and how… would adding strawberry puree or strawberry jam work, without changing the consistency? I have a hard time sourcing freeze dried strawberries to make strawberry powder so I’m hoping there is another option!

  8. Have you changed the recipe recently? I’ve made this before and I was convinced it was 4oz before. I could be mistaken

    1. I increased the amount a little so that there is enough buttercream to frost a standard 8″ round cake 🙂

  9. 5 stars
    What great flavor and so silky smooth! My favorite buttercream by far. Love, love, love it! I have been trying to get up the nerve to make the heated version but with this recipe there is no need to go to all of that trouble. I’m happy to know that this is great under fondant. I don’t think I’ll ever use anything else. I can’t wait to try the chocolate. Thank you for sharing your recipes and all of your baking knowledge with us Liz! You are the absolute BEST!

  10. Oh my GOSH! This recipe tastes so GOOD! It’s currently still in the mixer mixing but I tried it and it is HEAVENLY! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have yet to ice the cake with it but I’ll rate the overall recipe once the cake has been iced.

    PS. LOVE all of your videos and sense of humour 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    You are so capital ‘W’…welcome Liz.

  12. Hi! I love this buttercream recipe! I have been doubling it but this is the first time I have logged in and the recipe ingredients are different! It used to use 4oz egg white and so on … is there a link to the old measurements or would you mind giving them to me … I really preferred making that quantity – thank you so much for your time!

    1. I have adjusted the recipe ingredients so that it makes enough frosting to cover an 8″ cake. If you want to adjust the measurements, simply slide the servings to more or less.

  13. I made this recipe and it was amazing the day of. My question is when i refrigerated the buttercream and tried to use it the next day to decorate my cake it turned runny And looked curdled after I mixed it. I’m not sure what I did wrong? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks

    1. Your buttercream is just cold. It needs to be brought to room temperature again before whipping or you can take out about 1/4 cup, melt it in the microwave until just melted and then pour it back into the whipping buttercream and it will make it smooth again

  14. Hi Liz,
    I just made your chocolate cake with the mayonnaise tonight and it turned out well, thanks 🙂
    I usually use SMBC or IMBC, but I wanted to try your Easy butter cream for something different. Will this recipe work with eggs I pasteurize myself? It looked like the store bought egg whites were thinner? Thanks!
    Arlette

  15. 4 stars
    I love this recipe its sooooo nice. It’s the best butter cream i have ever tested

  16. I want to use this frosting to do a rosette cake. Will the frosting stick to the crumb coat? Is it stiff enough to pipe
    Rosettes down there side of the cake?
    I am going to refrigerate it overnight but have visions of the rosettes sliding down the cake overnight.
    And how long should I take it out before serving? It’s supposed to be 87 degrees the day of the party. Not sure if it will be outdoors because it’s supposed to rain.
    PSi I’m so excited to try this frosting since I can’t ever get my SMBC to set firm enough

    1. If your SMBC is not stiff enough then you have an issue with holding the frosting for too long in your hand or your butter is too warm. SMBC is even more stable/stiff than easy buttercream. The buttercreams firmness is dependant on how cold the buttercream is. I would fully cover the cake in buttercream before applying rosettes. How long it will take for the cake to come to room temp really varies depending on the room. I usually just take it out in the morning. The frosting will be perfectly stable as long as it’s not sitting directly in the sun or in a hot car.

  17. 5 stars
    Hi Liz😁
    I absolutely love this recipe it is my go to every time!!!! I was wondering tho do you think this recipe would work if I subbed regular butter for dairy free butter?

  18. 5 stars
    I made the frosting and I think I added too much heated up buttercream when I was mixing so I had to put it in the fridge for a while. But omg! It’s delicious!!!
    It’s still sweet but it overpowering!!

  19. Can I put a ganache drip over this type of buttercream?

  20. Hi Liz!

    Your Easy Buttercream has been my go-to for some time now, and I was hoping for a little bit of your help!

    I really want to try making a raspberry buttercream using real raspberry puree/reduction instead of raspberry flavouring or emulsion. Would I be able to make a reduction, thicken it just a smidgen with cornstarch water, and then gently fold it into the completed buttercream?

    Will that cause it to split, curdle, or turn to soup?.. Would it be easier to not thicken it and sub it for another ingredient in the buttercream? Or will not thickening it cause even more issues?

    1. You can definitely do that! Use the same instructions as my strawberry buttercream 🙂 but with raspberries!

  21. 5 stars
    Hi Liz. Thanks for your amazing recipes, videos, and tips. This is my new go-to recipe instead of IMBC. Two quick questions…. Firstly, I have an older copy of this recipe that does not do the microwave portion. I’ve made it both with and without microwaving and both turned out very well. Do you feel adding the microwave portion makes it better? Secondly, I want to make a strawberry version by adding 1/4 or 1/2 cup of fresh strawberry purée (reduction). Do you think this will work or will it flatten it? Cheers

  22. I thought I posted this question a couple weeks ago but cannot find it- so I apologize if this is a repeat! I have been asked to make a pineapple frosting. I LOVE your Easy buttercream and am so thankful I found it. I use it for everything. How would you recommend making it pineapple? If I used freeze dried pineapple- how much would you add and would you subtract that from the powdered sugar? What about a pineapple extract instead? Thank you for your recipe and your thoughts!

    1. You could use freeze dried pineapple or fresh pineapple. I would use the method listed in the freeze dried strawberry cake recipe or the fresh strawberry buttercream recipe but replace it with pineapple :-d Sounds really tasty!

  23. 5 stars
    Followed the directions exactly, made in a warm Texas kitchen and for that reason didn’t need to utilize the microwave method. This made a delicious, creamy, easy to spread frosting that held its structure and had a gorgeous sheen/satiny finish. I was surprised at how easy it was! This will 100% be my go-to recipe from now on, thank you!!

  24. Does black cocoa work for easy buttercream recipe?

  25. 5 stars
    Hi – I’m interested in making this this weekend I just have a quick question.

    Did the recipe change from since it was first posted? Reading through the comments – people are saying they are using 8 sticks of butter (assuming 4oz each). But the recipe calls for 24 oz of butter which would be 6 sticks (6*4=24).

    Thanks!

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