A Complete List of Buttercream, Frosting & Icing Recipes

Buttercream, frosting, icing, whatever you call it, I’ve put together an extensive list of recipes for you to choose from for finishing your next cake.

What’s the difference between buttercream, frosting and icing?

Well, there is no “legal” definition of buttercream, frosting or icing (as far as I know).

As the name implies, buttercream has butter as the main ingredient. Although, a recipe that uses vegetable shortening rather than butter can also be called buttercream. Whether it includes butter, vegetable shortening or a mix of the two, you can call it “buttercream”.

So what is a frosting or icing? I call anything that you use to cover a cake “frosting” or “icing”. Any buttercream can be a frosting or icing, but not every frosting or icing is buttercream. Ganache, whipped cream or meringue can be used as a cake frosting.

Which is the best buttercream or frosting?

Ultimately, the perfect frosting for your cake is the one which you like best. I will guide you with a full description and pairing suggestions for all my frosting recipes.

Which frosting is the best for Carrot Cake? I think you can probably guess. Which is best for Red Velvet Cake? You might be surprised. How should you frost a delicate Vanilla Genoise or Old Fashioned Buttermilk Cake? There are plenty of great options.

Buttercream & Frosting Recipes

A delicious and light frosting is the crowning glory for your favorite cake recipe. There are so many types of frosting to choose from. Peruse this list of frostings and buttercreams to find the perfect finish for your cake.


  1. I love your recipes! I stumbled on your Perfect Cake recipe and love how thorough and detailed all your posts are. You cover everything which is super helpful! I’m a hobby baker and have very little experience. I want to work my way through your frosting recipes and wondered if you have a suggested progression? I have only ever made American buttercream and didn’t know there were other options! I’m a little intimidated by the meringues and other cooking techniques, but I’m eager to learn and experiment.

    TL;DR: What is the best progression to try all these frostings and gain experience if you have only ever made ABC frosting?

    1. After ABC I would try the Ermine Frosting, then the German Buttercream, then either the meringue or French Buttercreams. Don’t be intimidated by the meringue frostings. They are really quite forgiving and not nearly as fussy as you might imagine. The Swiss Meringue is a little easier than the Italian Meringue. Have fun.

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