Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

This quick, easy, and delicious strawberry buttercream frosting is loaded with strawberry flavor to make all of your baking dreams come true.

Homemade strawberry buttercream frosting in a large bowl with strawberries in front and behind it.
Marta Rivera

American buttercream frosting is the simplest of buttercreams to prepare. It has a fluffy, whipped texture, it’s easy to flavor, and the sweet taste is a favorite of young and old alike.

At its core, American buttercream is just a combination of butter and powdered sugar whipped together until light and fluffy. I take that base and use multiple strawberry ingredients—strawberry preserves, freeze-dried strawberries, and strawberry extract to make a strawberry frosting bursting with berry flavor!

For me, a strawberry frosting should not only smell like the berry itself; I want the essence of strawberries invading my mouth when I take a bite and this easy to make strawberry buttercream fits the bill!

This strawberry frosting is so versatile. You can use it to pipe decorations, frost cupcakes or stack between layer cakes. Here is a guide on how to frost a layer cake like a pro!

How to Make Strawberry Frosting

The biggest draw in this recipe is the lack of shortening in it. Many American buttercream recipes add a generous amount of vegetable shortening, but I try to avoid it as much as possible.

This is an all-butter based frosting, which means it has a great mouthfeel and it doesn't cling to the inside of your mouth unpleasantly. To make it follow these steps:

  • Whip room temperature butter with sifted powdered sugar in a mixer until almost white in appearance. That substantial whipping allows the sugar to dissolve, eliminating the grittiness many American buttercreams are notorious for.
  • My secret weapon is freeze-dried strawberries. You can find them at most grocery stores. Just grind them into a fine powder and add them to the frosting for concentrated berry flavor and color!
  • I also use strawberry extract, but if you don’t have it or don’t want to use it, you can add an additional 1/4 cup of the freeze-dried strawberries to the mix. Just make sure you grind them first.
  • Two other additions: vanilla extract and fresh lemon juice highlight the strawberry flavor in this frosting.
A large bowl of strawberry frosting with strawberries, a red spatula, and frosted cupcake around it.
Marta Rivera

Tips for Troubleshooting Strawberry Frosting

The biggest issue most people have with this type of frosting is the potential for grittiness that the powdered sugar may leave in the finished product. Here are a few tips to make the perfect frosting:

  • Sift the powdered sugar before using to reduce the grittiness as it incorporates more air into the sugar.
  • Use a high-quality sugar and avoid brands with beet sugar, which often has more additives in it. Stick to pure cane sugar.
  • Toward the end of the whipping of the sugar and butter, rub a small amount of the frosting between your finger and thumb. If it still feels gritty, continue whipping the mixture for 5 minutes. 

When it comes to increasing the strawberry flavor follow these dos and don’ts.

  • Only add the recommended amount of strawberry preserves. Increasing the amount of preserves can cause the frosting to become too soft to hold peaks and shapes when you pipe it.
  • If you want more strawberry flavor, add an additional 1/4 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder or another teaspoon of the strawberry extract.

How to Store Strawberry Frosting

This buttercream keeps well at room temperature for 2 days. Just store it covered on the countertop and in a cool area of your kitchen.

You can also store the frosting in the fridge for 5 days or freeze it. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container and it can be frozen for up to 2 months. When you’re ready to use it, place the container of frosting in the fridge overnight and allow it to thaw. Then, scoop it into the bowl of a stand mixer and use the paddle attachment to blend out any large chunks of frosting that remain.

Once used or piped, you can store your cupcakes, cakes, or desserts at room temperature for a couple of days. 

Homemade strawberry buttercream frosting in a bowl with cupcakes and strawberries behind it.
Marta Rivera

Strawberry Frosting Snapshot

Why you should make it:

  • Taste: bright, fruity, and almost floral. Sweet.
  • Texture: very fluffy, light, with a pillowy mouthfeel
  • Piping: top tier among frostings for piping. Thick enough to be used as a border between layers or to pipe stiff roses
  • Works best on: layer cakes, cupcakes, as a frosting for cookies, and on sheet cakes
  • Make-ahead: The frosting can last in the fridge for 5 days or you can freeze it for 2 months.

 What you may want to consider:

  • Not as rich as a meringue buttercream
  • Can remain gritty if not whipped properly
  • The butter content makes this unsuitable for extremely hot and humid outdoor environments. 

More Delicious Frosting Recipes

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time 20 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Servings 40 servings
Yield 5 cups (covers 24 cupcakes or 1 3-layer 8-inch cake)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 pounds (907g or 7 cups) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/2 cups strawberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry extract (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, to thin (as needed)
  • Special Equipment
  • Spice Grinder

Method

  1. Cream the butter:

    In the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until it is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula. 

  2. Add in the powdered sugar:

    Decrease the mixer's speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. Scrape down the bowl after the last cup of sugar is added. Add the salt. Turn the mixer back up to medium speed and beat the sugar and butter together for 3 minutes. 

    Adding powdered sugar to whipped butter in a stand mixer to make strawberry buttercream frosting with freeze-dried strawberries
    Marta Rivera
  3. Change kitchen aid attachment and whip butter and sugar:

    After 3 minutes, swap out the paddle attachment for the metal whisk attachment. Whip the butter and sugar at medium-high speed for another 3 minutes to incorporate air into the mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and as much of the whisk as you can.

    Rub a small amount of the mixture between your index finger and thumb. If the frosting feels gritty, continue whipping for another 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and whip once more. 

    Whipped butter and powdered sugar to make Strawberry buttercream frosting with freeze-dried strawberries.
    Marta Rivera
  4. Crush the freeze-dried strawberries:

    Add the freeze-dried berries to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse until it becomes a fine powder.

    Freeze dried strawberries in a spice grinder to make strawberry frosting.
    Marta Rivera
  5. Add freeze-dried strawberry powder, preserves, extracts, and lemon juice:

    Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder, strawberry preserves, strawberry extract, lemon juice, and vanilla extract to the bowl. Begin mixing the frosting on low. After 30 seconds, increase the mixing speed to medium-high and whip the frosting for 3 minutes. 

    Strawberries added to butter and sugar to make Strawberry buttercream frosting with freeze-dried strawberries.
    Marta Rivera
  6. Finish the buttercream frosting and store:

    Stop the mixer and assess whether or not the frosting is too thick. If it feels too stiff to spread, blend in 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream at low speed to soften. If it is soft enough to spread, you're ready to transfer it to piping bags or a storage container for later use. 

    Strawberry frosting in a mixer bowl.
    Marta Rivera