Classic Buttercream Recipes

These are you basic, tried & true buttercream recipes. They are delightful on their own but you can also add salted caramel sauce or quick strawberry jam for a delicious flavor twist!

fluffing interior of lemon buttercream frosting on cupcake.
FREE! My Best Summer Dessert Recipes!
Subscribe for a pastry chef’s best Summer recipes straight to your inbox!

Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies

This is the best Cream Cheese Frosting for Cookies recipe! Great as a cream cheese frosting for sugar cookies, not too sweet, and it hardens!

The 6 Types of Buttercreams

  1. French Buttercream is a buttercream that uses pâte à bombe, butter and other flavorings as its base. Pâte à bombe is made by whipping hot sugar syrup into whipping whole eggs. Think of it like a whole egg version of Italian meringue. It isn’t exactly because it doesn’t come to stiff peaks, but the concept is the same.
  2. Italian Meringue Buttercream is a buttercream made using an Italian meringue and butter as its base. Italian meringue is made by pouring hot sugar syrup (238°F) into egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. Butter is then emulsified into the cooling meringue. This is the most stable and least sweet of the buttercreams.
  3. Swiss Meringue Buttercream uses a Swiss meringue and butter as its base. Swiss meringue is sugar and eggs whites whisked and heated together to 165°F. It is then beaten until it cools slightly when butter is added. Swiss meringue is like Italian meringues easier cousin and still far less sweet than American buttercreams.
  4. German Buttercream or crème mousseline is made with pastry cream, butter, sugar and flavorings. It is richer and firmer than other buttercreams. It is typically used as a cake filling. The pastry cream makes the shelf-life shorter than other buttercreams.
  5. American Buttercream is the easiest and simplest buttercream, but it is also the sweetest. It is made by creaming powdered sugar, butter and other flavorings. I add a little heavy cream at the end for lightness and to temper the sweetness.
  6. Ermine Buttercream is a cooked flour frosting. It isn’t gluten free but it is light, airy and less sweet than other frostings!

Marshmallow Fluff Recipe

This homemade Marshmallow Fluff Recipe is light and airy with a satiny finish. It only requires 5 ingredients and is made in under 17 minutes

Easy Flavorings for Buttercreams

Here are some unexpected and delicious flavoring ideas for Italian meringue buttercream, Swiss meringue buttercream, or vanilla American buttercream.

Cupcake Inspiration

Use the base flavors of these cupcakes as an inspiration for your buttercream! Mix and match cupcake flavors, fillings and buttercreams for infinite combinations.

See All Cupcakes
Chewy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies top detail
The Ultimate Pastry Chef's Guide to Perfect Cookies
Get all professional tips you need whether you want to bake thick, thin, chewy or crunchy cookies!

Cake Inspiration

Play with different buttercream types and flavors with these cakes. Add a lemon American buttercream to a classic white cake, or make it festive with a peppermint buttercream!

See all cakes

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best buttercream for a smooth cake?

Italian or Swiss meringue buttercream will give you the smoothest finish on your cake. The meringue is also more stable and will firm up in the refrigerator, giving your cake stability.

Which frosting is best for beginners?

American buttercream frosting is the best for beginners. It doesn’t require any advanced techniques and uses the creaming method. It is the most sweet of all the buttercreams, so if that bothers you, try your hand at Swiss meringue buttercream! It is almost as easy and not as sweet.

What buttercream is best for wedding Cakes?

Italian meringue buttercream is the best for wedding cakes because it is the most stable and the least sweet. If it is made with butter, then it will never be perfectly white. If that bothers you, then make the frosting with shortening and colorless vanilla extract.

What buttercream is the least sweet?

Italian meringue buttercream is the least sweet because the Italian meringue makes it stable with less sugar. Swiss meringue buttercream is a close second and is slightly easier to make.

All Easy Buttercream & Frosting Recipes