American Buttercream

If you're looking for a rich and creamy frosting that comes together in just minutes, pastry chef Paola Velez's American Buttercream is the way to go. Velez makes hers in a stand mixer, but you could also easily make this using a handheld mixer. On its own, the frosting tastes sweet and buttery—if you want more flavor, try adding a little vanilla extract or lemon zest.

Active Time:
10 mins
Total Time:
10 mins
6 cups


  • 1 pound butter, softened

  • 1 tablespoon solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)

  • 2 pounds powdered sugar

  • Pinch of kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 2 teaspoons lemon zest, for flavoring (optional)

  • 2 tablespoons milk, optional


  1. Add butter and vegetable shortening to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until smooth and glossy, stopping once to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and mix on low to blend. (Cover bowl with a towel when first mixing to avoid a big mess.) The mixture will look crumbly at first, but will come together with more mixing.

  2. Increase speed on mixer to high and mix until buttercream is fluffy and pale, stopping once to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, about 2 minutes. The longer you mix the buttercream, the whiter it will become. Beat in salt and vanilla or lemon zest, if using. If you'd like, add milk to buttercream, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, until buttercream is smooth and spreadable. Buttercream can be stored airtight at room temperature for up to a week. Mix again in stand mixer using a paddle attachment before using.

    American Buttercream
    Photo by Huge Galdones / Food Styling by Christina Zerkis
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