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 Print Recipe
Total Time: 10 mins
Serves: 4 cups
easy buttercream frosting

Easy Buttercream Frosting That’s Not Too Sweet, Super Creamy and Easy To Make

Super easy buttercream frosting recipe! Technically a mock swiss meringue buttercream that requires no heating of the egg whites. Light, creamy, and not too sweet. It’s my go-to recipe for all my cakes and cupcakes. It pipes beautifully and works well under fondant. 

easy buttercream frosting that isn't too sweet made from pasteurized egg whites, powdered sugar, vanilla and butter. Whipped until light and fluffy!

The first buttercream I ever made was from an old Wilton recipe book. Powdered sugar, shortening, and vanilla. I struggled SO hard to get my edges smooth and crisp like the photos I saw in the fancy cake decorating books but I always ended up with mega cake fails.

It wasn’t until I went to pastry school in 2010 at Oregon Culinary Institute that I first heard of other kinds of buttercreams. I’ll never forget the day we made Swiss Meringue Buttercream and we had to frost our cake by holding it in one hand and icing the cake with a spatula in the other. NO turntable!

I was like, there is no way this is going to work. But I lifted that cake up and began frosting as my chef instructed and I could not BELIEVE how smooth it went onto my cake!

easy buttercream frosting made with pasteurized egg whites, butter and sugar. Not too sweet and very creamy.

Then I tasted it…

OMG pure heaven!

Not too sweet, super silky, melt on your tongue goodness!! For the next 6 years I only made SMBC for my cakes which involves a lot of heating of egg whites, whipping, cooling and repeat. I WISH I had this recipe back then! It’s so much easier!

How much easy buttercream frosting do I need?

*NOTE: this recipe has been updated to make less buttercream for the average home baker, if you want the bowl to be full, double the recipe)

This easy buttercream frosting recipe makes a LOT (12 cups) which basically fills the bowl of a standard KitchenAid mixer. The reason for this is because when your mixing bowl is filled to the top, it’s easier to get all the air bubbles out. You can freeze leftover buttercream or store it in the fridge for a week. Just bring to room temp and mix with the paddle a few minutes to make it creamy again before use. 

easy buttercream frosting

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 frosting using pasteurized egg whites

This is the easiest buttercream frosting you’ll ever make! The key ingredient is pasteurized egg whites. Pasteurized egg whites have been heat-treated to kill potentially hazardous bacteria without actually cooking the egg. The same process is used in milk to make it safe to drink. Because we are using pasteurized egg whites, there is no need to heat the egg whites like you do with traditional swiss meringue buttercream recipes (hence the time-saving aspect of this recipe!) 

Pasteurized egg whites usually come in a box or a bag and are in the egg section of the grocery store. They will say pasteurized right on the box. If you can’t find pasteurized egg whites then you can use regular egg whites but will have to use my swiss meringue buttercream recipe instead so that you can heat treat the egg whites first. 

How to make easy buttercream frosting

buttercream frosting

  1. Place your egg whites and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and whisk on low to combine. Increase speed to high and whip 5 minutes. 
  2. Reduce speed to medium and start adding in your softened unsalted butter in small pieces until all the butter has been added
  3. Add in salt and vanilla (or other flavorings if you wish)
  4. Increase speed to high again and whip until light in color and fluffy (it will look curdled at first, just let it keep mixing)
  5. Once your buttercream is smooth you can switch the paddle attachment and let mix on low for 15 minutes to reduce bubbles in the buttercream (optional)
  6. To increase the whiteness of your buttercream, add one drop of violet food color to counteract the yellow in the butter and use clear vanilla extract instead of brown. 

How long does easy buttercream frosting last?

Because of the large amounts of sugar in buttercream frosting, it can be left at room temperature for 2 days but I always recommend you refrigerate leftover buttercream when not in use to extend the life of the buttercream. If you are not going to use buttercream for more than a week you can freeze it for 6 months or more. 

To use frozen or refrigerated buttercream, let come to room temp then mix on low with the paddle attachment to make it creamy again. Do not whip or you can incorporate too much air. 

If your buttercream frosting has been sitting at room temperature for more than a day, mix with paddle attachment before use. Buttercream tends to get spongy after 24 hours and looses it’s creamy texture. 

Is this easy buttercream frosting good for using on wedding cakes?

Yes! I love using this buttercream frosting for my wedding cakes. It can even be covered with fondant. Always chill your cakes before covering in fondant. 

When I make my cakes, I keep them refrigerated for stability. Once the cakes are delivered, the buttercream comes to room temperature and is soft enough to enjoy. Hard buttercream is not great to eat. Learn to make this semi-naked wedding cake on the membership site.

semi-naked-cake-tutorial

What Kind Of Butter Is Best For Easy Buttercream Frosting

Any chef will tell you that a recipe is only as good it’s ingredients. Buttercream frosting is made of only a few ingredients. Egg whites (basically no flavor), sugar (sweetness but no flavor to speak of), butter and vanilla. Butter and vanilla is where you get your flavor from so the better your butter and vanilla, the better your buttercream frosting will taste.

butter

Now if you’re like me and you’re making tons of buttercream frosting for huge cakes, you don’t want to go full on plugra (the best butter ever) because it get’s expensive really quick but if you try to go super cheap and use really low-quality butter or shortening, you’re going to taste that greasy aftertaste in your mouth. Not good.

There is a debate about whether or not you should use salted or unsalted butter for your buttercream frosting and I have seen people do both. I personally prefer to use unsalted butter so that I can control the amount of salt in my buttercream frosting. The amount of salt in one lb of salted butter is in my opinion much too strong for a batch of easy buttercream.

buttercream cake

Learn how to make beautiful piped buttercream flowers and sharp edges using acrylic disks from guest instructor Danette Zamora Short.

What Kind Of Flavoring Do You Use For Easy Buttercream Frosting

Same thing with the vanilla. Vanilla is SUPER expensive right now thanks to a vanilla bean shortage so you have to be smart about. You might not want to go putting a vanilla bean into every batch but it don’t go leaving it out all together.

vanilla extract

I get my vanilla from Costco and get a pretty decent deal. You can also supplement your vanilla with almond extract or you can try making your own vanilla extract from vanilla beans.

You can use any type of flavoring for your easy buttercream frosting, Emulsions and extracts that are not “artificial” will always taste better.

Chocolate Easy Buttercream Frosting

You can make chocolate buttercream frosting into a delicious chocolate version by adding in about 1/4 cup of your favorite cocoa powder. I like dutched cocoa powder because it has a nice rich chocolate flavor.

chocolate buttercream frosting

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.

Pro-tip! Most buttercream frosting that uses real butter will look a little yellow at first. This is normal! To counteract that yellow tint you can add a TINY drop of purple food coloring. I know it sounds crazy but it really does work and makes your yellow buttercream look really white!

easy buttercream frosting

Tips & FAQ

Why is my easy buttercream splitting?

The buttercream splits because it’s too cold. Take out 1/4 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. 

You might also like these buttercream recipes and tutorials

How to make buttercream flowers

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

Swiss Meringue Buttercream (same taste but uses regular egg whites, not pasteurized)

Did You Make This Recipe?Leave a rating and tell me how it went!
easy buttercream frosting

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. 
4.87 from 117 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 mins
mixing time: 20 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Serves: 4 cups
Calories: 849kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 oz (454 g) unsalted butter room temperature. You can use salted butter but it will affect the taste and you need to leave out additional salt
  • 16 oz (454 g) powdered sugar sifted if not from a bag
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 oz (113 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 5 minutes 
  • 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. 
  • Add in your salt and vanilla extract
  • Let whip on high for 8-10 minutes until it's very white, light and shiny. 
  • 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%)

The easiest buttercream frosting ever! Made with pasteurized egg whites, sugar and vanilla! Whips up to the creamiest, not too sweet buttercream frosting you've ever had! You'll never need another buttercream recipe

556 comments on “Easy Buttercream Frosting

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe sounds great!!!! I only have a hand mixer currently. Do you think that will work?

  2. Hi… I’ve just made this and it’s tastes delicious!! However it’s rather yellow and I don’t have purple food coloring. Is there any other way too make it more white?

  3. 5 stars
    The only buttercream recipe I use now!! Soooo silky, just like smbc but easier! It doesn’t crust so for flowers/decoration I often use a mixture of this & abc or just abc.

  4. Thanks for the recipe. I’m excited to try it! Maybe I missed it, but when do you add the purple food colouring? And would any kind of purple shade work as I have several “purple” colours but none of them are actually named purple…

    1. You can add it at any time but I add mine at the end during the whipping stage. A tiny dot. I use violet usually

  5. 2 stars
    I tried to make this recipe but it turned out to be a disaster. I followed complete directions, but it was a soupy buttery mess. What could I’ve done wrong. I might try again.

    1. Sorry it didn’t work out for you. Sounds like your measurements were off somewhere and not whipped long enough.

  6. Hi, I just want to double check, you state that this makes 12 cups, but the recipe says 6 cups.
    I’m checking because I am looking to frost a 6″ cake so only need about 2 cups, so want to be sure I calculate correctly 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I love this recipe and have used it quite a bit- but I’ve had some trouble with it splitting(?) after being refrigerated and brought back to room temp. I usually hand mix with a spatula, but should I put it back in the mixer?

  8. 5 stars
    This is it, everybody. You will never need another buttercream recipe in your life.

    I’m only a hobby baker, but I’ve tried multiple versions of American, Swiss meringue, ermine, and Italian buttercream and THIS is the only one I will ever make again! It’s SO EASY and fast! I’ve used it 12+ times and it never fails, is flexible/fixable, and freaking delicious every time – better than the buttercreams I slaved over for an hour +, carefully monitoring temperatures and sugar crystals and washing a dozen dishes and on and on. Never again.

    I recommend this recipe to everyone who has ever liked cake, and some people who don’t, because this will change their mind. My home’s hot, humid climate does not ruin it. My teenage sister can make it. It gets compliments, smooths and pipes beautifully – literally everything you could ever want from a buttercream. Run, don’t walk, to your kitchen and make this recipe immediately!

  9. Hi,

    I tried this recipe the other night and it was fine initially (I only had salted butter so that’s what I used). That was fine too. I colored the frosting using what I had on hand (reg. store colors) and it still looked fine (waiting for my gel colors to arrive). I stored it in the fridge for the next morning. I remixed it slight the next day (still fine). I did the crumb coat and put it in the freezer. When I took the cake out and tried to do the first layer of frosting, it started to sweat. I stopped frosting, patched the cake up the best I could, and ended up with a semi-naked looking cake. At the end, the frosting looked all curdled up. I got a bit frustrated and threw the frosting out, instead of trying to save it and maybe practicing my piping technique of something.

    Should I have done the crumb coat as soon as I was finished with the frosting the night before? Thank you!

    1. Hi there. I’m sorry you got frustrated. The reason your frosting is curdled is because it’s cold. All you had to do was whip it until it was creamy again and it would have been fine. Shame to waste all that butter 🙁 You only need to freeze the cake for 15 minutes until the crumb coat is firm and then do the final coat of buttercream. I hope that helps.

  10. 5 stars
    I worked extra hard to stick to your measurements. It worked well, I will definitely try it again because I don’t know how to make traditional SMBC. Do you see any value in me learning the traditional way as well?

    1. There’s nothing wrong with SMBC. I used to use it all the time but prefer the ease of easy buttercream. They are very similar in taste and texture.

  11. Thank you thank you thank you! I love your site & how much info you provide, as well as the light-hearted way you present everything! Most of my questions are asked by other users, & your answers are always helpful!! I’m teaching my daughter to bake (I’m a better cook than a baker to be honest) & after looking at soooo many other websites, & just not getting enough info & always having to search some more, you’re now my favorite go-to and even gave my sister your website info!
    Soo, I’m having trouble with the buttercream splitting, same as another user asked about. Why is this happening? And will it happen after I frost the cake? Like if I gave a cake to someone and the frosting splits while sitting on their table! The horror! 😉

    1. Hey there! Thank you so much for those kind words. Means a lot! Anyway, the buttercream splits because it’s too cold. Take out 1/4 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 🙂

  12. Ah thank you! I was also getting worried that maybe the quantities had scaled incorrectly because someone suggested another similar recipe to me and it uses 2:1 butter:icing, whereas yours is 1:1. I’m a complete newbie so I have no idea 😁 but if you’re saying equal parts works than I’m going to try it as soon as I get my hands on cartoned eggs!!

  13. 5 stars
    Thank you Elizabeth! I’m so glad found your recipe. It was super easy to make and was so delicious, people who said they normally don’t like butter cream said this was the best they had. I can’t wait to make more of your recipes. I just started baking last week and have learned so much from you already.

  14. 5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe now. Thank you so much!! I’ve been using my same ABC recipe from high school cooking class (30 years) and I’ve wanted to switch things up but was too intimidated until now

  15. 5 stars
    I made this and loved it! Served it to my friends who said they had never tasted anything so good. But I have a couple of questions.
    I mixed for 20 minutes to get out the air bubbles, then stored it in the refridgerator overnight and mixed in on low to get it creamy again but the bubbles returned. Do I have to mix for 20 minutes again?
    Also I noticed you said it kept on a cake for 2 days at room temperature; I used it on a small 2 tier cake for my grandaughter’s birthday that did not fit in the fridge. She wanted to eat on it for a week. I noticed it got spongy, but is it still safe?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Denise, to make the buttercream smooth after 24 hours you will always have to mix it again with the paddle because the buttercream “sets” as you may have noticed. One week is definitely not safe to be eating the buttercream outside of the fridge. Maximum of two days unless it is refrigerated. The sponginess is normal and happens when the buttercream sets.

  16. Hi Liz!
    I was wondering if it’s possible to airbrush a cake that’s covered in Easy Buttercream or would I need to use American Buttercream?

  17. I’m making the unicorn cake using your easy buttercream recipe to frost the cake. I’ll be frosting and putting it all together on Friday for my granddaughters first birthday on Sunday… Do I leave the finished cake out at room temperature or do I refrigerate till it’s needed for the party? I read others saying things like cracking… What steps do I take to ensure the cake stays looking nice?

    1. I would refrigerate and then take it out either Saturday night or early Sunday morning because it needs a few hours to warm up before serving.

  18. 5 stars
    My FAVORITE by far, but what would you suggest to bring it to room temp after freezer storage? Just set on the counter for awhile then whip it crazy?

    1. Yep! I usually freeze mine in bags so I just take them out of the freezer the day before and leave them on the countertop.

  19. I made the recipe and it looked super bad. It was very chunky and watery. What could I have done wrong?

    1. That is normal. The buttercream is just cold. Keep mixing or take out 1/4 cup, melt it until its barely melted and whip it back in. Very common problem.

  20. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this recipe! Truly makes the silkiest buttercream ever. Question, can I add cocoa powder to make a chocolate version? If so, how much and when should that be added? Thank you!

Leave a Reply

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