Sugar Cookie Buttercream Frosting

LAST UPDATED: Mar 09, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Feb 08, 2015 | By:

This is a three ingredient Sugar Cookie Buttercream Frosting that is melt-in-your-mouth amazing! Top your favorite sugar cookies with this incredible classic Sugar Cookie Frosting.

Perfect for the holidays or any celebration, this frosting is quick and easy to make.

A sugar cookie with buttercream frosting and sprinkles on a gold baking tray.

This recipe was published February of 2015, and updated with new details March 2021.

It’s no secret that I’m not fond of royal icing. While it’s beautiful, it just doesn’t taste like a treat to me. If I’m going to “spend” the calories, my cookie has to be worth every one. 

I love baking so much, and especially in the fall and winter months. If you’re looking for a good compromise between this lush buttercream and a royal icing, check out my cutout sugar cookie icing that hardens enough to make your cookies perfectly stackable.

Buttercream icing is my favorite way to top the traditional sugar cookie. With a great recipe, and a couple simple tips, they can be almost as beautiful as royal iced ones, but much tastier.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

This Sugar Cookie Frosting is lush, light and fluffy, much like my melt-in-your-mouth Sugar Cookies and Sugar Cookie Bars. It doesn’t harden, so you get a soft bite every time.

Yes, I know you can buy ready made frosting from the store, but homemade is so much better and it takes just minutes to make. It’s so rich and creamy and doesn’t have the artificial taste to it that you can get with store bought frosting.

This incredible buttercream frosting uses pantry staple ingredients, so you can easily whip up a batch whenever you need!

When it comes to icing sugar cookies, buttercream wins over royal icing every single time for me! The royal iced cookies are so very pretty and festive, but for me it has got to be about the taste, and that’s where buttercream comes in!

It’s sweet, rich and buttery, and quite honestly, who wouldn’t want that on their cookie?! Go ahead, go all out. You deserve it!

You need just three ingredients to make this soft frosting.

  • Softened Butter – Salted or unsalted. I generally use salted because it’s what we have on hand, and we like a little salt mixed with the sweet for balance.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also known as confectioners’ sugar
  • Milk – I like to use whole milk here, but you can use whatever you have on hand.


This three ingredient frosting recipe really is just perfect by itself, but if you want to, you can add a few drops of flavoring to amp it up even more.

Vanilla is a classic option, or why not try a few drops of peppermint for a real festive treat! I know this seems like a lot, but it doesn’t amount to as much as you’d think and you don’t want to skimp on these cookies.

It only takes five minutes to whip up a batch of this tasty frosting!

  1. Beat butter until smooth.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, followed by milk.

Dipping Technique

Yes, you can melt this frosting a little and/or DIP your cookies. This technique is the easiest method you’ve ever seen for frosting sugar cookies!

  • Allow cookies to cool 10 minutes and simply ice while warm, or allow them to cool and melt your icing in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  • Using a measuring cup, pour icing on each cookie individually and using a cake spatula, smooth your icing before moving onto the next cookie.

Serving Suggestion

This buttercream frosting obviously works really well with sugar cookies, but you can also use it on cakes, bars and other cookies.

A buttercream frosted sugar cooking on a baking sheet


  • Your butter should be room temperature and soft to the touch.
  • Cream the butter for a couple of minutes, it’s worth it to get the it extra creamy.
  • Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time and it will come together easier.
  • Use immediately on cooled cookies.

These Cookies are Great for Gifting

These sugar cookies with buttercream icing are also great for gifting – I package mine in cellophane bags or kraft paper boxes with a pretty little label.

Yes, you can stack these cookies! The frosting will never harden like a royal icing, but it does set up enough that they can be lightly packaged. This buttercream frosting is not about perfection in decorating, but more about an incredible flavor.

Serving Suggestions

This buttercream frosting works in a number of delicious ways!

Dietary Considerations

  • Nut Free
  • Vegetarian

How to Store

  • Room Temperature – If you’re using this buttercream on frosted cookies, store them in an airtight container for up to three days.
  • Refrigerate – Refrigerate your buttercream for up to one week in an airtight container.
  • Freezer – Freeze buttercream frosting for three months in an airtight container. Before using, move it to the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature before using.
Do cookies with buttercream frosting need to be refrigerated?

Buttercream can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to one week. Cookies made with buttercream can sit out for up to three days without refrigeration.

Does buttercream harden?

This buttercream frosting does! Once you spread your buttercream on the cookie, it will take a couple hours for it to harden quite a bit, perfect for stacking!

If you try this sugar cookie buttercream frosting recipe, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below!

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More Frosting Recipes

A buttercream frosted sugar cooking on a baking sheet

Sugar Cookie Buttercream Frosting

Author: Julie Blanner
3 ingredient Sugar Cookie Frosting that is melt-in-your-mouth amazing!
4.8 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 40
Calories 100 kcal



  • Beat butter until smooth.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, followed by milk.



  • Your butter should be room temperature and soft to the touch.
  • Cream the butter for a couple of minutes, it’s worth it to get the it extra creamy.
  • Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time and it will come together easier.
  • Use immediately on cooled cookies.


Serving:2TbspCalories:100kcalCarbohydrates:15gProtein:1gFat:5gSaturated Fat:3gCholesterol:12mgSodium:41mgPotassium:4mgSugar:15gVitamin A:145IUCalcium:3mgIron:1mg
4.8 from 5 votes
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner