This homemade strawberry buttercream frosting is smooth and creamy. This strawberry frosting is made with freeze dried strawberries, which is the key ingredient to a perfect strawberry buttercream recipe.
Perfect Strawberry Buttercream
My favorite childhood birthday cake in the entire world was a strawberry cake with strawberry frosting. To this day, a box of strawberry cake mix with a jar of store-bought strawberry frosting is still one of my favorite comfort foods. It’s completely nostalgic and reminds me of my childhood.
Now, I will be the first to admit that store-bought, out-of-a-can frosting cannot compete with homemade buttercream frosting. It serves a purpose, and for what it is, the flavor is to be expected. But when compared to homemade strawberry frosting? There’s no contest between a real strawberry frosting flavor and the artifical flavors from a can.
This homemade strawberry buttercream frosting is an easy frosting recipe made with simple ingredients. It’s incredibly smooth and creamy, and thanks to the freeze dried strawberries, it’s full of intense strawberry flavor.
Why This Is The Best Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
- Consistency: We’ll talk more about this later, but freeze dried strawberries are key in a strawberry buttercream recipe. Fresh or frozen strawberries will often cause homemade strawberry frosting to split, because of the extra moisture in the berries.
- Flavor: Another reason we use freeze-dried strawberries to make frosting is because they are extremely flavorful. It’s a fresh strawberry flavor in a very concentrated form. Freeze-dried berries have very intense, concentrated berry flavor.
- Versatile: My favorite thing about homemade frosting recipes is that they can be used on all baked goods. I use this frosting for sheet cakes, layer cakes, flourless cake, brownies, cookies, etc.
Uses For Strawberry Buttercream:
- Cakes: I happen to love a buttercream frosting with strawberries on top of a vanilla sheet cake, chocolate cake, or yellow cake. Or, use this easy strawberry frosting as a cake filling and frost the outside of the cake with another flavor. I’d even use it on coconut cake, chocolate cupcakes (because a chocolate strawberry cake is everything), and pistachio cupcakes. Or, use in cake balls or cake pops!
- Brownies: These homemade brownies or this chocolate fudge cake would be perfect with strawberry frosting. I love chocolate and strawberry together, and this frosting would pair well with either.
- Cookies: How do you make strawberry buttercream frosting even better? Sandwich it between two chocolate chip cookies. Or, spread it on my very favorite sugar cookies (and also on these chocolate sugar cookies). What about sandwiched between lemon sugar cookies??
Homemade frosting only needs a few ingredients, and the ingredients for strawberry frosting are simple and straightforward.
- Unsalted Butter: I use unsalted butter almost exclusively in baking, because I prefer to control the amount of salt I add to my baked goods. The same goes for frosting.
- Powdered Sugar: Also known as confectioners’ sugar, powdered sugar is key to making a smooth frosting. Granulated sugar will make frosting gritty.
- Heavy Whipping Cream: Heavy cream makes for a rich, almost luxurious buttercream frosting. However, you can substitute whole milk or half & half if you don’t have heavy cream on hand.
- Freeze Dried Strawberries: You can find freeze dried strawberries at your local grocery store in the dried fruit aisle, and they really are key to making a perfect strawberry buttercream.
- Salt: If desired, you can add a pinch of salt to offset the sweetness of the frosting.
- Pink Food Coloring: The freeze dried strawberries do naturally tint the frosting subtle shade of pink. However, if you want it more vibrant in color, add in a couple of drops of food coloring or food gel.
- Lemon Juice: Optionally, you can also add a bit of lemon juice or lemon zest to brighten the flavor.
- Vanilla Extract or Almond Extract: Additionally, you can also add a bit of vanilla or almond to enhance the flavor.
How To Make Strawberry Buttercream Frosting:
Making strawberry frosting from scratch is such an easy process, and it only takes a few ingredients and a stand mixer (or hand held mixer) to whip it together.
- Step 1: With an electric mixer (hand mixer or standing mixer), cream the unsalted and softened butter in a large bowl on a medium speed until it is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes or so.
- Step 2: Add in the powdered sugar, and continue to mix until the powdered sugar is well combined. I add the powdered sugar into the butter 1 cup at a time, as this prevents the powdered sugar from spilling out of the bowl while the mixer is on a low speed.
- Step 3: Add in the heavy whipping cream, and mix until well combined.
- Step 4: Mix in the crushed freeze dried strawberries, mixing until well combined.
- Step 5: If using, this is the time to add in a little lemon zest (or juice), vanilla extract, or almond extract.
- Step 6: If desired, add in a pinch of salt and add in pink food coloring. Mix until combined.
- Pro Tip: One of the best parts about making strawberry buttercream icing, and homemade frosting in general, is that if the frosting is too thick (aka, too much of a thick consistency), add in more heavy cream until it gets to the desired consistency. And, if the frosting feels too thin, add in more powdered sugar (a little at a time) until it reaches the right consistency. It’s very difficult to ruin homemade frosting, because you can easily thin or thicken the consistency with more liquid or more confectioners’ sugar.
Freeze Dried Strawberries or Fresh Strawberries?
When it comes to making strawberry frosting from scratch, it’s important to use freeze dried strawberries for a couple of reasons.
- Consistency: Fresh berries are full of water, which, when added into a homemade frosting recipe, will often cause the frosting to split (because there is too much liquid now in the frosting). The excess water released in the berries will cause the frosting to be a little runny, to have a weird texture, and a weird consistency.
- Flavor: Freeze dried fruits have a concentrated flavor, so when you use it as an ingredient, it really packs a punch in flavor. Fresh strawberries can be very flavorful, and they can be blah. By using freeze dried strawberries, we’re pretty much guaranteed real strawberry flavor every single time.
When you make this recipe for strawberry buttercream, you can store it in an airtight container the fridge until you’re ready to frost. Alternatively, it can be stored in a bowl with plastic wrap on top to seal it well. For best results, it will need to sit at room temperature for a bit before it is soft enough to use.
Other Favorite Frosting Recipes:
- Vanilla Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Chocolate Frosting
- Cookies and Cream Frosting
Tips and Tricks on How To Make Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Perfectly Every Single Time:
- Room Temperature Butter: In order to make the best strawberry frosting, and homemade buttercream in general, make sure your butter is at room temperature. It will whip more properly when mixed.
- Freeze Dried Strawberries: You will need to crush the freeze dried strawberries, which you can do with a food processor, a blender, or by hand with a plastic bag and a rolling pin. Using a food processor or blender will yield a very fine crumb (think like a strawberry powder) while doing it by hand will make the frosting a bit more textured.
- Food Coloring: If you want the frosting to be more vibrant in color, use food coloring to brighten it up.
- Frosting: This is a traditional buttercream recipe, which means you can spread it on your baked goods with a knife, the back of a spoon, an offset spatula, or with a piping bag.
- Layer Cakes: If making this fresh strawberry frosting for a layer cake, you will probably want to double the recipe (aka make a double batch) to ensure there is enough frosting for the whole cake and the filling inside.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 -4 cups powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 1 1/4 cups freeze-dried strawberries, crushed*
- 3-4 Tbsp heavy whipping cream (you can substitute whole milk or half & half)
- salt, to taste
- pink food coloring
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the unsalted butter in a large bowl on medium speed until it is very light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. This makes for a very fluffy frosting.
- Next, gradually add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beginning with 3 cups (reserve the remaining cup for later).
- Add in the heavy whipping cream, beginning with 3 Tbsp. Beat until well combined.
- Next, add in the crushed freeze-dried strawberries, mixing until well combined.
- If the frosting seems too thin, add in the remaining cup of powdered sugar, beginning with 1/2 cup. If the frosting seems too thick, add in the remaining heavy cream.
- Lastly, add in a pinch of salt to offset the sweetness (optional), and a couple drops of food coloring, if desired. Mix until well combined.
- Use this to frost cookies, cakes, brownies, etc.
*How crushed you want the freeze dried strawberries is up to you. I like my frosting to have a little texture, so I do not crush the berries completely into powder. However, you can if you prefer. I suggest using a food processor, blender, or a sealed bag and a rolling pin to crush the berries.
If desired, add in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lemon zest to brighten the flavor.
Additionally, you can add in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp almond extract.
Here are some strawberry recipes I love:
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