Basic Buttercream Frosting Recipe

How to make frosting
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Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Whipping: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 2 Tablespoons
Yield: 6 Cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
3488 Calories
191g Fat
454g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 3488
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 191g 245%
Saturated Fat 117g 587%
Cholesterol 492mg 164%
Sodium 82mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 454g 165%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 445g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 62mg 5%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 119mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

To get the best of both worlds, this frosting recipe uses both butter and an emulsified vegetable shortening like Crisco. By combining two parts butter and one part shortening, you get the classic mouthfeel and flavor of butter, with a more temperature-stable frosting, thanks to the shortening.

This simple buttercream recipe is made by creaming the fat and sugar together and then adding egg whites for a bit of lightness. Your best bet is to use liquid pasteurized egg whites that you buy at the store, in the dairy case. 

The recipe will make about 6 cups of frosting, which is enough to frost one round 10-inch or 12-inch two-layer cake. If you're frosting cupcakes, this recipe is enough for about 48 cupcakes, assuming about two tablespoons of frosting per cupcake. If you'll be piping the frosting on in a tall swirl, you should probably figure 24 cupcakes instead.


  • 1 pound (2 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 pound (1 1/2 cups) vegetable shortening

  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar

  • 2 ounces egg white, or the whites of 2 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Combine the butter, shortening, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment on slow speed, cream the ingredients together until they are fully mixed.

  3. Add the egg whites, vanilla, and lemon juice (if using) while beating at slow speed until the frosting is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently with a rubber spatula. Use frosting immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Recipe Variations

  • You can add a few drops of food coloring during the final step if you want a colored frosting. Less is more with food coloring. Start with just a drop or two and then add a drop at a time until you achieve the desired color.

  • To make chocolate buttercream frosting, melt ½ lb. unsweetened chocolate and let it cool. Then, during step 2 of this recipe, slowly pour the melted chocolate into the frosting. If needed, you can thin the frosting out with a little bit of milk or cream to achieve the right consistency.