Traditional American Buttercream

Rainbow buttercream rosettes cake with sprinkles

American Buttercream is simply amazing. It’s decadently sweet, melt in your mouth buttery, creamy and oh so fluffy. Nothing short of perfect. This particular buttercream recipe is quick, easy and perfect for cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, or anything that needs that extra touch of yumminess! This is by far one of my favorite and go to recipes, and it doesn’t take but a few minutes to whip up. It’s basically just butter and sugar, and nothing in this world is better than whipped butter and sugar! 


To make this sweet concoction, cream high quality unsalted, room temperature butter. Make sure it’s unsalted or you will have an unwanted ingredient and it will, in fact, taste overwhelmingly salty. I made cupcakes for some customers awhile ago with salted butter, unknowingly. I guess I overlooked that part. Eek… the customer didn’t say anything, but by their reactions and uneaten cupcakes, I’m just saying, no one leaves an uneaten cupcake. It was then…I just knew something was amiss. How overly embarrassing. I thankfully have never made that mistake since that little mishap. 

Back to the method: whip your butter until light in color and fluffy with a stand or electric mixer.

Whipped butter

Add your powdered sugar and vanilla all at once.

Powdered sugar

Whip until all the sugar is incorporated and a little bit more until it’s creamy fluffy. You may add heavy cream or milk to adjust the consistency to what you prefer to work with if you’d like. I find I don’t need to add any most of the time.  

Buttercream in a mixing bowl

There are several variations of ingredients you may use. I prefer to use all butter, but some people like to use half butter, half shortening to create more stability. It still has the buttery flavor, but stable enough to get the job done! The baker might be making a cake that will be sitting outside in the warm weather, so this lends to less melting. Some even use all shortening. I’m personally not a fan, but that’s my sister’s favorite way it’s made. I’m not sure why…It’s a bit too greasy to me and lacks flavor. I just love the all butter version. It’s, by far, the way to go! It’s so delicious, full of buttery goodness and melts in your mouth. Don’t get me wrong though, I’ll eat them any way they’re made! 

American buttercream can be easily colored and flavored too. I love to make it with vanilla and a bit of almond extract together. I just love the flavor of the combination. I can’t describe it, it has a depth of vanilla with a bit of almond shining through, but still making sure the butter is the main star! Just mmmmmm….

Buttercream colors in rainbow

Just note that butter does give it a slight yellow hue. If you’re looking for bright white, all shortening is the way to go. 

I have another buttercream recipe, it’s made with meringue. This is made with egg whites and granulated sugar whipped into a fluffy meringue. Butter is then whipped into it. This buttercream is smoother and less sweet than the traditional American Buttercream which, on the other hand, is really sweet and denser. I like to use the meringue buttercream when using fondant, it adheres to it nicely or if I want a super smooth, silky, shiny facade. Whereas American Buttercream crusts very quickly. If you’re adding sprinkles, make sure to add them quickly or else they won’t stick, rather fall off onto the floor…everywhere! 

Rainbow buttercream rosettes cake with sprinkles

Buttercream makes everything better and especially sweeter! Come give this recipe a try and happy decorating! 

5 from 1 vote

American Buttercream

Sweet, delicious icing made with butter, powdered sugar and flavoring to enhance any baked good! Cakes, cupcakes, cookies brownies...

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 Pound Unsalted Butter Room temperature
  • 1 3/4 Pounds Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Almond extract Optional
  • 0-2 Tbsp Heavy cream Optional


  1. 1. Cream butter with an electric or stand mixer until light in color and fluffy. 

    2. Scrape bowl and add powdered sugar and flavorings. 

    3. Mix until incorporated and continue to mix for 1-2 more minutes on medium speed. 

    4. Assess consistency and add heavy cream if a lighter, less dense consistency is wanted. 

    5. Enjoy, color if desired and decorate on your favorite baked goods. 


I’m a whisk taker!


This buttercream is perfectly creamy, extra sweet and fluffy. Perfect for cake decorating or any dessert!

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