Rich Buttercream Frosting

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 10 min.


5 cups

Updated: Aug. 17, 2023
A few simple ingredients make a creamy frosting that finishes cakes, cupcakes and cookies. If you love making desserts, keep this buttercream frosting recipe handy. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Food coloring, optional


  1. In a large bowl, combine butter, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth (frosting will be thick). If desired, tint with food coloring.
Buttercream Frosting Tips

How do you thicken buttercream frosting?

If your buttercream frosting is looking too thin or loose, you have options. First, try chilling the frosting to give it time to firm up in the refrigerator. If it's still not thick enough, add a few more tablespoons of sifted powdered sugar. Conversely, if your buttercream frosting is too thick and you want to thin it out, add milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Short on time? Learn how to make store-bought frosting taste homemade.

How can you make buttercream frosting your own?

This buttercream frosting is a great base to turn into whatever flavor—or color!—frosting you're craving. Add different extracts, citrus zests or food coloring to make our buttercream frosting your own. Here are some ideas to get you started:
  • Orange-vanilla frosting: Substitute orange juice for the milk and increase the vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Add 4 teaspoons grated orange peel.
  • Lemon buttercream frosting: Increase the butter to 2 cups. Substitute lemon juice for the milk and omit the vanilla. Add 8 teaspoons grated lemon peel. The frosting will be softer than the original recipe.
  • Rich chocolate frosting: Increase the butter to 1-3/4 cups and decrease the vanilla to 1 teaspoon. Add 2-1/4 cups baking cocoa. Increase the milk to 1 to 1-1/3 cups to achieve the right spreading consistency.
  • Amaretto buttercream frosting: Melt 2/3 cup butter and combine it with the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and 5-8 tablespoons Amaretto. The frosting will be thinner than the original buttercream frosting recipe.

How should you store buttercream frosting?

Since this frosting contains butter, it does need refrigeration. You can make the frosting ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. You can also freeze buttercream frosting for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. When you're ready to use it, let the frosting thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bring to room temperature, and re-whip to get a nice spreadable frosting. Now you're ready to frost a cake!

Here are even more homemade frosting recipes to inspire your next bake.

—Ellie Crowley, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant

Nutrition Facts

2 tablespoons: 136 calories, 5g fat (3g saturated fat), 12mg cholesterol, 38mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (24g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.