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The Best American Buttercream Frosting

Brace yourselves for the ultimate American buttercream frosting recipe. American buttercream has conquered kitchens around the globe and this one will undoubtedly become your go-to!

I know the internet is crawling with countless American buttercream recipes, but trust me, nothing can top the one that’s been handed down to you by your dear ol’ mom. It’s like a treasured family heirloom, but way tastier!


I’ve been smitten with this recipe ever since I was a kiddo. Once you whip up a batch of this ambrosial delight, I guarantee you’ll be hooked faster than a fish on a line. It’s a frosting so divine that even the most skeptical souls will be won over.   Just be warned, once you take a bite, there’s no turning back. This recipe is the real deal, and I hope you fall head over spatula for it, just like I did!

Table of Contents

Why you’ll love these American Buttercream Frosting

Mom-approved magic: There’s something truly special about a recipe passed down from your mom. It’s like a culinary baton of love, carrying on the tradition of mouthwatering delights. This buttercream frosting recipe is a nostalgic trip back to your childhood, and it’s guaranteed to warm your heart as much as it satisfies your sweet tooth.

Foolproof simplicity: Don’t you just love it when a recipe is a breeze to make? Well, this buttercream frosting is as easy as pie (pun intended). With simple ingredients and straightforward instructions, even the most novice bakers can whip up a batch that would make Martha Stewart proud. No fancy techniques or culinary acrobatics are required.

Versatile as a chameleon: This American buttercream frosting is as versatile as a chameleon in a color palette. Whether you’re frosting a cake, cupcakes, or cookies, this recipe is your go-to companion. It spreads like a dream, pipes like a pro, and transforms your baked creations into edible masterpieces. Plus, you can easily customize the flavor with extracts, zests, or even a hint of cocoa for a chocolatey twist.

You’ll find yourself rallying behind this frosting revolution recipe, spreading the buttercream gospel like a culinary cult leader.

Ingredients for The Best American Buttercream Frosting

Solid vegetable shortening– it serves as a stable base that helps the frosting hold its shape and maintain a creamy texture. Shortening also adds moisture and helps prevent the frosting from becoming too greasy.

Butter– a key ingredient in buttercream frosting, and it adds rich flavor and a creamy consistency. It provides a delicious, buttery taste that enhances the overall flavor profile of the frosting. The combination of shortening and butter creates a balance between stability and taste.

Powdered sugar– with a small amount of cornstarch innately in powdered sugar to prevent clumping, it’s used to sweeten the frosting and provide a smooth texture. The high sugar content helps the frosting hold its shape and makes it easy to spread or pipe onto cakes and other baked goods.

Pet milk– “Pet milk” refers to evaporated milk, which is canned milk with about 60% of the water removed. It’s a rich and creamy milk product that adds moisture to the frosting without thinning it out too much. Evaporated milk also contributes to the overall smoothness and richness of the frosting.

Vanilla extract– adds a delightful aroma and enhances the overall taste of the frosting. Vanilla extract is made by steeping vanilla beans in alcohol, which extracts the natural flavors and compounds from the beans. It brings a warm and inviting flavor to the frosting, complementing the sweetness of the sugar.

How to make The Best American Buttercream Frosting

  1. Get your butter in the groove by bringing it to room temperature. Nobody likes lumpy butter surprises in their frosting, trust me.
  2. Toss that room-temperature butter into the mixer. Let the whisk attachment work its magic while you jam out to some tunes. And don’t forget to scrape the bowl like a butter-loving superhero.
  3. Shower your butter with powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Mix on low speed so you don’t turn your kitchen into a sugar snowstorm. Smoothness is the name of the game here.
  4. Time to add some flavor and pizzazz! Add vanilla extract and Pet milk.
  5. Crank up the speed to high and let the mixer work its magic for a couple of minutes. Watch that buttercream transform into a fluffy cloud of deliciousness. Cue the heavenly choir!
  6. Optional: Uh-oh, did your buttercream get a little curdled and separated? No worries, I’ve got a secret trick up my sleeve. Take out a cup of the buttercream, give it a quick microwave ride for 10-15 seconds, and pour it back into the mixing bowl. Bam! Everything will come together like a frosting reconciliation.
  7. Optional: Let’s pop those pesky bubbles like a bubble wrap addict. Switch to the paddle attachment and let it mix on low for 10 to 15 minutes. Smoothness achieved!
  8. Time to give your buttercream a cozy blanket. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap until showtime. It can hang out at room temperature for a few hours, but if you’re not using it for a while, pop it into an airtight container and store it in the fridge or freezer. Just remember to bring it back to room temperature and give it a little mix before its grand entrance.
  9. Voilà! You’ve got enough buttercream to frost and fill three 8″x2″ layers, or you know, 24 cupcakes. Get ready to slather your baked creations with buttercream goodness that’ll make everyone go weak in the knees. Bon appétit!

Recipe FAQs

Yes, buttercream frosting can be frozen for future use. Place it in an airtight container or seal it tightly in a freezer bag. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then bring it to room temperature before re-whipping to regain its fluffy consistency.

  • Zesty Citrus: Add a refreshing burst of citrus by incorporating zest from lemons, limes, or oranges into your buttercream. It’ll bring a bright and tangy note to your desserts.
  • Nutty Delights: Elevate your buttercream by incorporating finely ground nuts like almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts. It adds a delightful crunch and enhances the overall flavor profile.
  • Cookie Butter Bliss: Indulge in the goodness of cookie butter by mixing a spoonful or two into your buttercream. It’s a dreamy combination that adds a cozy and nostalgic touch.
  • Boozy Buttercream: For adult-only treats, infuse your buttercream with a splash of your favorite liqueur like Baileys, Kahlua, or Grand Marnier. It’s a surefire way to add a touch of sophistication and decadence.
  • Fruity Fusion: Incorporate fruit purees or jams into your buttercream for fruity goodness. Whether it’s strawberry, raspberry, mango, or even passion fruit, the natural sweetness and vibrant flavors will make your taste buds dance.
  • Spiced Sensations: Enhance your buttercream with warm and aromatic spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, or ginger. It’s like a cozy hug for your taste buds, perfect for fall-inspired treats.
  • Chocolate Decadence: Take your buttercream to new levels of chocolatey bliss by adding melted chocolate or cocoa powder. It’ll turn your frosting into a velvety, irresistible delight for all chocolate lovers.
  • Floral Elegance: Infuse floral notes into your buttercream by incorporating rosewater, lavender essence, or orange blossom water. It adds a delicate and sophisticated touch to your creations.
  • Savory Surprises: Explore unconventional combinations by adding savory elements like a pinch of sea salt, a touch of black pepper, or even a hint of balsamic reduction. It adds complexity and takes your buttercream to unexpected heights.
If your buttercream is too runny, you can try adding more powdered sugar gradually until it thickens. If it’s too stiff, incorporate a small amount of milk or cream, a teaspoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Adjusting the sugar and liquid ratios can help you achieve the perfect texture.
Buttercream frosting contains butter and is perishable. It’s generally safe to keep a cake frosted with buttercream at room temperature for a couple of days. However, if the weather is hot or humid, it’s best to refrigerate the cake to prevent the frosting from melting or spoiling.

Kitchen Pearls

Soften the butter: Allow the butter to soften at room temperature before making the frosting. It should be soft but still slightly cool to the touch. Avoid melting the butter, as it can affect the consistency of the frosting.

If you need to warm some cold butter up just slice it into some smaller pieces and microwave them on a plate at 50% power for 10-second bursts. Flip them after each burst and they’ll be nice and room temperature in no time!


Chill or use immediately: American buttercream is typically used right away. However, if you want a firmer consistency for piping or decoration purposes, refrigerate the frosting for 20-30 minutes before using it.

The Best American Buttercream Frosting

prep time: 20 minutes
total time: 20 minutes
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup pet milk, evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Bring the butter to room temperature to ensure a smooth texture.
  • Place the room temperature butter in a mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until creamy, scraping the bowl occasionally.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, on low speed to prevent a sugar snowstorm. Mix until smooth.
  • Add vanilla extract and Pet milk to the mixture for flavor and creaminess.
  • Increase the mixer speed to high and mix for a couple of minutes until the buttercream becomes fluffy and heavenly.
  • [Optional] If the buttercream appears curdled, microwave a cup of it for 10-15 seconds, then pour it back into the mixing bowl for reconciliation.
  • [Optional] Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low for 10-15 minutes to eliminate bubbles and achieve ultimate smoothness.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for a few hours, or in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for longer storage. Bring back to room temperature and give it a mix before using.
  • Enjoy your buttercream goodness! This recipe yields enough to frost and fill three 8"x2" cake layers or approximately 24 cupcakes. Bon appétit!
  • Note: Make sure to adjust the frosting quantity depending on your specific baking needs.
Did you make this Recipe?If you love this recipe as much as we do, be sure to leave a review or share it on Instagram and tag @the.flavor.vault - we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

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About the Author

Casey Kolp

Cheers! I’m Casey! Get ready for a blog full of wanderlust, culinary adventures, and unfiltered opinions – where I spill the tea (and the wine) on all things food, lifestyle, and travel!

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