When it comes to frosting, nothing can beat American Buttercream Frosting! It’s the softest, creamiest frosting that is perfectly sweet and delicious. I really can’t imagine frosting my cakes and cupcakes without it! If you love Magnolia Bakery buttercream, you’re going to be obsessed with this easy copycat recipe.

A pink cupcake is sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles.

American Buttercream Frosting

Truly delicious frosting is hard to come by, but when you find that perfect recipe for it, you can never let it go! That’s exactly how I feel about this American buttercream frosting recipe. It’s tried and true – just ask any of my family and friends! Just about every cupcake or cake they’re eaten from my kitchen has been beautifully topped with this homemade frosting.

Just the other day, I had a serious sweet tooth craving kick in. I tried my hardest to ignore it, but I eventually caved! So, I made a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies, then used this homemade frosting recipe to make frosting-cookie sandwiches. Let me tell you, if you’ve never had fresh buttercream frosting piped between two perfectly baked chocolate chip cookies, you’re missing out on quite the experience.

This recipe can be personalized with different colors and flavors, it only calls for 4 simple ingredients, and it takes just under 10 minutes to make from start to finish. There’s no catch to this foolproof Magnolia Bakery copcycat recipe! It’s perfectly delicious and oh-so simple.

If you’re looking for the perfect cake to frost with this buttercream frosting, consider whipping up a Funfetti Cheesecake or Pink Champagne Cake. Or, if you’re anything like my family, you can just eat the frosting right out of the mixing bowl with a spoon of your choice.

Three bowls contain blue, pink, and orange frosting.

How to Make It

This recipe is SO easy to whip up! If you have kids in the house, the only difficult part is keeping their hands out of it… and deciding who gets to lick the bowl, of course!

Cream. Add butter, 4 cups of sugar, milk, and vanilla to a large mixing bowl. On medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. This should only take about 5 minutes! For best results, use room temperature butter.

Squiggles of frosting are piped onto a parchment paper.

Add more sugar. Gradually add the remaining sugar, beating well after each addition for about 2 minutes. Keep stirring until the frosting is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. If you reach the perfect consistency without using all of the sugar, that’s okay!

Color. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring or coloring paste to the frosting and stir it in thoroughly.

A piping bag is piping pink frosting onto a vanilla cupcake.

How to Store Homemade American Buttercream Frosting

If you’re not planning on using the frosting immediately, be sure to store it at room temperature!

If placed in the refrigerator and chilled, the frosting will set.

Homemade frosting can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Keep it in a dark, cool spot, and definitely out of direct sunlight!

Pink, blue, and orange frosted cupcakes are presented on a countertop.

Variations to Try

If you’re looking to shake up this classic vanilla buttercream frosting recipe, try out a few variations I also enjoy!

  • To make chocolate buttercream frosting, add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder until the desired flavor is reached.
  • Around Halloween and Thanksgiving, I love adding 2-3 tablespoons of cinnamon with just a pinch of nutmeg to this buttercream recipe! It’s delicious when piped on top of Pumpkin Cream Muffins. (Who said cupcakes had to have all the fun?!)
  • You can also add pretty much any extract to this versatile vanilla frosting! Banana, coconut, and strawberry extracts are just a few of the flavors you can work with to accompany whatever it is you’re frosting.
Several frosted valilla cupcakes are placed on a countertop.

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready to sink my teeth into a fluffy cupcake with sweet buttercream frosting! Here are a few of my favorite cupcake recipes:

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A piping bag is piping pink frosting onto a vanilla cupcake.

Get the Recipe: American Buttercream Frosting (Magnolia Bakery Buttercream)

Fluffy, sweet American Buttercream Frosting is the easy icing you need for all your cake and cupcake recipes. Simple to make with just a few ingredients.
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  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 6-8 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • mixer


  • Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of sugar, the milk and vanilla. On medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Gradually add the remaining sugar beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes) until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency.  You may not need all the sugar.
  • If desired, add a few drops of food coloring or coloring paste and mix thoroughly.
  • Allow the frosting to sit at room temperature for an hour before using so it can firm up a bit.
  • Use and store the icing at room temperature because the icing will set if chilled. Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


Makes enough for one 2-layer 9 inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes.
This is for a Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, if you want to make Chocolate Buttercream, add 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder until the desired flavor is achieved.
Calories: 189kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 10mg, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 245IU, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg