How to Make Delicious
Cupcake Frosting

I dare you to keep your fingers out of any bowl containing cupcake frosting. It's so easy to make and so hard to resist! I'm not big on recipes. I'm more likely to keep adding stuff to the bowl until it looks perfect. But, that being said ...

Here is a basic recipe to get you started. Just bear in mind that different brands and different climates or times of year can affect your icing's texture. Ingredient amounts also depend on whether you want thick cupcake frosting or more of a glaze. And, of course, amounts will depend upon whether you're icing 12 cupcakes for a snack or 500 for your child's entire school.

Good news! It's really pretty easy to fix most issues.

There are four basic ingredients in this cupcake frosting: butter (or substitute), powdered sugar, liquid, and flavor. (See below for measurements to get you started.)


  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 cups sifted (or not!) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I like to add vanilla even if adding another flavor)


  1. Allow butter to soften by leaving it out of the fridge.
  2. Add it to bowl and begin beating to smooth it out. Beat until soft and creamy,
  3. Add the liquid.
  4. Gradually sprinkle in icing sugar while beating. It is usually recommended to sift the icing sugar and it definitely blends more nicely. I, however, am a lazy baker and skip this step.
  5. When the texture is to your liking, pour in the flavoring. You may need to top up with a little more powdered sugar depending on your type or amount of flavoring.
  6. Beat until blended.


As far as flavors, try everything!!! The awesome thing is that you don't need any artificial ingredients to flavor your cupcake frosting. Puréed organic fruit makes a wonderful additive. Strawberries and raspberries give the icing a pretty pink color too.

These measurements are guidelines. You may need more or less if you like in-your-face or subtle flavor.

Some examples of yumminess ...

Pure Extract Flavoring - 1 tsp

  • vanilla (you don't need to be too shy with vanilla)
  • coconut (or try coconut oil ... add coconut oil to the butter at the beginning and then beat)
  • almond

Puréed Fruit (blend with a bit of water) - 1 tbsp

Fruit Juice (freshly squeezed) - 1 tbsp

  • lemon
  • lime
  • orange

Other Yumminess - 1 to 2 tbsp

  • chocolate - pure cocoa or melting chocolate (and try chocolate milk in this icing)
  • peanut butter (again ... chocolate cupcakes - tastes like peanut butter cups!)

(aka Why Does My Icing Suck?)

Too runny?

Gradually add more icing sugar while blending until desired consistency is reached. If the flavor becomes to bland, add another scoop of butter.

Too thick?

Add very small amounts of liquid (either milk or flavoring) while blending until desired consistency is reached.

Tastes pasty?

Probably an issue of not enough butter. Add 1/2 tbsp. amounts of butter one at a time and blend thoroughly. Taste after each addition.


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