Learn how to make the best strawberry buttercream frosting. This frosting can be made with fresh or frozen berries and turns out extra creamy with a delicious, real strawberry flavor. It pipes beautifully on cakes or cupcakes and tastes delicious on vanilla, strawberry or chocolate cake. **This post was updated March 24, 2023 with new photos and recipe tips**
This strawberry frosting will transform any cake or cupcake into the most delicious treat. It’s bursting with fresh strawberry flavor without being too sweet. It’s creamy, smooth and holds its shape when piped – making it the perfect strawberry buttercream recipe.
Some strawberry frosting recipes use jam, and some use freeze-dried strawberries. I find jam doesn’t provide a true strawberry flavor, and freeze dried strawberries are pretty hard to find in the grocery store. So for this recipe – we’re using real strawberries. No artificial flavors here. It does mean that there’s a little extra work involved to get that delicious, natural strawberry flavor – AND thick, creamy consistency.
But the little extra work is totally worth it. I keep coming back to this recipe over and over again – whether I’m making chocolate cake, vanilla cupcakes or a tray of brownies – because it take every dessert to the next level.
How to Make Strawberry Frosting
There are 2 components for making this frosting. First, you need to make a strawberry puree and reduce it down to a thick consistency. And then you make the frosting using the cooled puree.
To Make the Puree
To get started, first, we’ll core the fresh strawberries. I always cut out the white part in the middle because it doesn’t add any flavor and getting rid of the white part makes the frosting a deeper red color. Then you’ll puree the berries in a food processor or blender. You can’t simply add chunks of berries to the frosting, because it will make the frosting too watery.
Then you’ll push the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds. This isn’t 100% necessary, but I prefer my frosting without the seeds.
Then it’s time to boil down the strawberry puree. Boiling down the puree concentrates the flavor and removes excess liquid/water. This is absolutely necessary so that the frosting has a strong strawberry flavor and doesn’t separate. If you simply add the puree as is to the butter – it will end up watery. The mixture is boiled over medium heat while stirring occasionally until it’s a thick consistency, like jam. At this point, it should be much darker in color (think a dark red-ish pink) and you should only have a few tablespoons left. You can see the puree before and after it’s been boiled down below.
Then the thick strawberry sauce needs to be cooled. This step is 100% mandatory. If the reduced strawberry puree is even the tiniest bit warm when you add it to your frosting – the frosting will separate and it won’t work.
Making the Buttercream
Once the puree is boiled down and cooled, making the frosting is just like any classic, American-style buttercream.
- Beat the butter until it’s fluffy (about 2 minutes).
- Then mix in about ½ of the powdered sugar.
- Beat in the reduced strawberry puree, vanilla extract & salt.
- Then mix in the rest of the powdered sugar about ½ cup at a time, adding in a little cream if necessary.
Tips for Making Strawberry Frosting
- Use fresh or frozen berries to make this strawberry frosting. The more sweet and flavorful your berries are, the better your frosting will taste.
- If using frozen berries, you’ll need to boil down the strawberry puree for longer to get rid of the extra water from the ice crystals.
- Push the strawberry puree through a sieve using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula – if you don’t get all the seeds out, don’t worry.
- Make sure to boil the puree down for at least 15 minutes – it should be thick and look like jam when you’re done.
- Make sure to cool the reduced strawberry puree fully. It should be cold before adding into the frosting.
- The brighter red your strawberries are – the more vibrant color it will have and more flavorful your frosting will be. You can also add a few drops of red food coloring for a brighter pink color.
***If your strawberry frosting separates or is too watery – this is either caused by not boiling down the strawberry puree for long enough to remove the water, or because the reduced puree was too warm when it was added to the butter.
How Much Does it Make?
This recipe makes enough for:
- 12-18 cupcakes piped with frosting
- 18-24 cupcakes frosted with a thin layer, using a knife
- one 9×13 inch sheet cake with a thick layer of frosting
- for an 8×8 or 9×9 inch cake or pan of brownies – cut the recipe in ½
- for an 8 inch 3-layer cake, double the recipe
- for an 8-inch 2-layre cake, multiply the recipe by 1.5
This strawberry buttercream frosting is so perfect on vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cake, or thick sugar cookies. I love the natural strawberry flavor and the color is just way too pretty.
This strawberry frosting tastes incredible on:
Or for more frosting recipes, try these other favorites:
- raspberry buttercream frosting
- chocolate frosting
- cream cheese frosting
- chocolate cream cheese frosting
Strawberry Buttercream Frosting
- 12 oz strawberries (340 grams) fresh or frozen*
- 1 cup unsalted butter* (112 grams) softened, but still slightly firm to the touch
- 4 to 5 cups powdered sugar (440-550 grams) sifted
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon whipping cream if needed
- Core the strawberries to remove the white centers.
- Place the berries in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. You should have about 1 and ½ cups of strawberry puree.
- Then put the puree through a sieve to remove the seeds - I do about ⅓ of the mixture at a time. Push it through the sieve using the back of a spoon. Discard the seeds.
- Pour the strained strawberry puree into a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Allow the mixture to boil gently while occasionally stirring.
- Continue boiling until it reduces to a thick jam-like consistency. It should be dark red in color and less than ¼ of the original volume. This can take about 20-30 minutes, potentially more if using frozen berries. Remove from the heat and cool fully. You can speed this up by transferring to a bowl and placing in the fridge.
- In a large bowl using a stand or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until fluffy and no lumps remain.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and carefully beat in 2 and ½ cups of the powdered sugar.
- Ensure the strawberry puree is cold, then add 2-3 tablespoons into the frosting along with the vanilla and salt. Beat together on medium speed until combined. (At this point the mixture will look uneven and not much like frosting).
- Beat in the rest of the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. If the frosting looks thick, you can add 1 more tablespoon of the cooled, reduced strawberry puree for a stronger strawberry flavor, or 1 tablespoon of whipping cream. Continue beating in the rest of the powdered sugar until the desired sweetness is reached.
- Fresh vs Frozen Berries: If using frozen berries, it will take longer to boil down the puree.
- A Note About Flavor: The flavor of your frosting is dependant on how flavorful your strawberries are.
- For a Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting: replace ¼ cup butter with 4 oz full-fat, brick style cream cheese
- Yield: This recipe will make enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes if frosting using a piping bag, or 18-24 cupcakes if frosting using a knife. It's also enough to frost the top of a 9x13 inch cake.
- Nutrition: Nutrition information is based off of the frosting for 1 cupcake, assuming you frosted 18 cupcakes with this recipe.
- Storage: Frosted cakes & cupcakes can be left at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 day, or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Make Ahead Tips: You can make the puree (steps 1-5) the day before you plan to make the frosting. Let the reduced puree cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.