Today I’m going to get back to the basics and share a classic American Buttercream Frosting recipe with you. This traditional buttercream frosting is deliciously creamy, super sweet, incredibly fluffy, and one of the easiest buttercreams to master. Once you find out how easy is to make, you won’t stop preparing and decorating with it!

Classic American Buttercream Frosting on Cupcakes

Every cake decorator or even home baker needs a classic, reliable go-to classic frosting recipe and this one fits the bill. The ingredients are staples in almost any baker’s kitchen and the recipe is surprisingly easy to make and easy to change up and adjust based on your needs and tastes. Just adjust your mixes.

Traditional Buttercream Frosting: Basics

Classic American Buttercream Frosting on Cupcakes

When it comes to the ingredients list, it’s all very simple! You’ll only need butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk or cream. To change it up, you can swap the vanilla for lemon extract, orange extract, or rum extract … whatever you love.

Also, if you need it to be stiffer for piping, just add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached. If you need it to pipe on cupcakes like these ones, you will want it stiffened up a bit. Therefore, it’ll hold its shape when piling it up like fluffy clouds or in ribbons for ruffles!

Classic American Buttercream Frosting: Matches & Variations

Buttercream frostings rely on the main ingredient of butter and are the most common type of frosting you will find in a bakery. Plain buttercream is also referred to as American buttercream or simple buttercream frosting.

Now, let me warn you: this frosting is super sweet (as frosting should be, in my humble opinion). However, its basic flavor pairs well with almost any flavor cake or cupcake. So, this will taste wonderful on vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cake, lemon-vanilla cupcakes, and even red velvet cake.

In addition, if you’re looking for a less sweet frosting, you might want to try Italian Meringue buttercream or white meringue buttercream. This one uses half of the sugar quantity that Classic American buttercream requires. So, the result won’t be that sweet!

However, if you’re looking for a really creamy, very American {super sweet} frosting – get busy making this one!

Classic American Buttercream Frosting: Recipe

So, without any further introductions, here is the recipe that will transform all of your future desserts!

Classic American Buttercream


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (I use salted but unsalted will work too!), softened to room temp;
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar;
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other extract or flavoring);
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half or milk;
  • Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter).


With your butter at room temperature (soft, but not melted), beat it for a few minutes with a hand mixer or with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer on medium speed.

Then, gradually add the powdered sugar while mixing at the lowest speed until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter and you reach the desired consistency (at least 3 cups of sugar).

Increase mixer speed to medium and the vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk/cream. Beat just until smooth or you will mix in too much air.

Also, if your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add more sugar, about a 1/4 of a cup at a time. On the other hand, if your frosting needs to be thinned out, add more milk or cream, 1 tablespoons at a time.

If coloring your frosting, mix it in at the end until evenly colored.

Suggested Read: Lemon Frosting

Final Thoughts

All in all, my baking experience revealed that looks really matter when it comes to desserts. No matter how delicious your cake is, people will tend to pick the prettier one from the shelf. Also, this happens even at my dinner tables with friends. I’m sure you’ve tried it too.

Finally, you can understand why I concentrate so much on the decorating process here, on my blog. Therefore, you can also visit my tutorial section if you want to learn more about how to make icings and frostings for your good-looking desserts.

Enjoy your favorite type of cupcakes and let the Classic American Buttercream Frosting impress your loved ones! 🙂

Happy Caking!


Classic American Buttercream Frosting