Quick Buttercream Frosting

by Shawnda on March 24, 2011

in Cakes, Cupcakes & Brownies

My favorite frosting is Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It’s velvety smooth and beautifully balanced – if you ever find yourself craving a frosting that’s not “too sweet,” that’s the one you want to make. Swiss Meringue Buttercream can be a tad fickle – I’ve had frosting that comes together in perfect time and then I’ve had frosting that I’ve had to beat for 25+ minutes before it “came back.” So when I don’t want to fuss with the egg whites, I reach for this recipe.

It’s your standard American-style buttercream: butter and powdered sugar, whipped together with flavorings. Simple, pretty standard, yet I get a ton of compliments and requests for the recipe all the time. I used it to frost the cupcakes for The Foodie Baby’s 1st birthday party. She’s a huge fan. And so were several of our guests.

Dress the frosting up with food coloring or leave it white. If I’m not coloring the frosting, I’ll add the scrapings of a vanilla bean pod. I’m a firm believer that those little flecks of vanilla bean make every vanilla dessert taste better – and even if it’s all in my head, it definitely looks like it should taste better!

Quick Buttercream Frosting

A deliciously creamy American-style buttercream frosting.


  • 2 stick of butter, at room temp
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 Tbsp milk*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract*
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean pod, optional
  • a few drops of food coloring, optional
  • Instead of milk and vanilla, a fresh fruit puree (like strawberries) works great.


  1. Place all ingredients in your mixer bowl. Beat on low just until you have no more dry streaks of powdered sugar. (Add a bit of food coloring/gel here, if using. If using a vanilla bean, split the pod in half, scrape with the edge of your knife, and add the scrapings to the mixer bowl.)
  2. Turn to high and whip for 3-4 minutes, until light, fluffy, and smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides.
  3. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I use a Wilton 1M).
  4. Extra frosting can be stored in the fridge for quite a while. Bring to room temp and whip for a couple of minutes before using.


Yields: Enough frosting to frost 18-24 cupcakes

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Estimated time: 10 minutes

If you’re a fellow frosting fan, you also might like these recipes!

Blackberry Buttercream Frosting
Tequila Lime Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Easy Vanilla Buttercream (Annie’s Eats)
A Comparison of 4 Vanilla Frosting Recipes (The Way the Cookie Crumbles)

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