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Let me teach you how to make naturally flavored (and colored) strawberry buttercream frosting. The secret is to replace some confectioners’ sugar with powdered freeze-dried strawberries. Simply grind freeze-dried strawberries into a powder using a food processor. This strawberry buttercream is ultra creamy and smooth with intense strawberry flavor. 

strawberry frosting in a glass stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Let’s talk about how to make strawberry buttercream frosting.

Strawberry frosting has always left me feeling a little defeated. The problem is that I always tried making it with fresh strawberries. I’d chop them up, even blot the moisture a little bit, then throw them into a vanilla frosting. The buttercream would instantly curdle as a result of the excess moisture. Instead of relying on artificial strawberry flavor, I took a trick I learned while writing my cookbook Sally’s Candy Addiction. Use strawberry dust!

I have a recipe for strawberry buttercream candies in that cookbook– they’re actually the pretty pink striped candies you see on the cover. The filling is creamy and smooth with lots of concentrated strawberry flavor which– you guessed it– is made from freeze-dried strawberries. I decided to make actual strawberry frosting the same exact way.

2 images of freeze dried strawberries in a food processor and freeze dried strawberry crumbs in a food processor

strawberry frosting in a glass bowl with a spatula

How to Make Strawberry Buttercream Frosting: Quick Video Tutorial

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  1. Freeze-Dried Strawberries: Grind these into a fine powder using a food processor or blender. Want to make a raspberry buttercream? Use freeze-dried raspberries instead.
  2. Unsalted Butter: Start with room temperature butter. Room temperature butter is cooler than you think. If the butter is too warm, the frosting will taste greasy.
  3. Confectioners’ Sugar: Confectioner’s sugar is the bulk of this frosting, sweetening it and binding the ingredients together.
  4. Heavy Cream or Milk: Liquid thins out and adds creaminess to the frosting. You can use heavy cream or milk. Half-and-half works too.
  5. Vanilla Extract: Vanilla extract adds incredible flavor.
  6. Salt: A pinch of salt offsets all the sweetness.

Baker’s Tip: Do not use “dried strawberries” which are like raisins, dried apricots, and dried pineapple. They have a gummy texture and don’t grind into a powder. You need freeze-dried strawberries, which have all of the moisture removed. They’re the strawberries you find in some boxed cereals.

unwrapped lemon cupcake with pink strawberry frosting on top

Where Can I Buy Freeze-Dried Strawberries?

They’re more commonly found than you think. I always find freeze-dried strawberries in my regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Target each carry them.

What Tastes Best with Strawberry Frosting?

The possibilities are endless.

Or you can add a little white chocolate like I do with these white chocolate strawberry cupcakes or turn it into cream cheese buttercream like I do with my strawberry cake.

lemon cupcake with strawberry buttercream cut in half

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strawberry frosting in a glass stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Strawberry Frosting

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: about 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


Homemade strawberry frosting with real, natural strawberry flavor!


  • 1 cup (about 25g) freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1 cup (235g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (480g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream or whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


  1. Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried strawberries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, strawberry powder, heavy cream/milk, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. Taste. Add 1-2 more Tablespoons of heavy cream/milk if needed to thin out, if desired. (I usually add at least 1 more.) Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  3. Use immediately or cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting on medium speed for a few seconds so it’s creamy again. After thawing or refrigerating, beating in a splash of heavy cream or milk will help thin the frosting out again, if needed. (It stiffens in the refrigerator.)


  1. Heavy Cream: Heavy cream produces an extra creamy frosting, but whole milk or even half-and-half work too. Lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch, but the frosting isn’t as creamy.
  2. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-18 cupcakes or a thin layer on a 9×13 inch quarter sheet cake. 1.5x the recipe for a two layer cake. (Doubling the recipe would be far too much.)

Keywords: strawberry frosting, frosting

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Hi Sally,

    I can’t get over how good and creamy this recipe turns out every time I make it. Can I use any other fruit as long as it is dried freeze?


  2. I made this frosting to top a white cake, and they were PERFECT together. I normally don’t care for white cake, but I’d eat this combo all day long! I reduced all ingredients to 75% of the recipe for a smaller cake, except for the vanilla and strawberries. I did struggle with the strawberries. I had a 1oz(28g) bag of freeze dried strawberries, and I’m glad I decided to grind up the whole bag (in case I wanted to make it again was the original thought). A lot of my powdered strawberries stuck to the lid and sides of the food processor, which was a pain. And I still had a few larger pieces, so I ran the powder through a sifter (I have picky kids) to make sure you wouldn’t “feel” them when you ate the frosting. I also had to use way more than 10-12g of strawberries to start tasting it. Maybe it was the brand I used? Anyway – it was all totally worth it. Just be prepared to kind of work with the strawberries a bit, and this recipe is a hit!!

    1. Hi D, I don’t recommend adding jam to the frosting as it is mostly sugar and doesn’t have a very strong strawberry flavor. You can add strawberry extract or essence if you wish.

  3. As with everything I’ve made from your blog, this came out so scrumptious! Creamy, perfectly flavored, not grainy at all from the powdered strawberries. Already planning on making it again!!

  4. Can this frosting be dyed with food coloring gel? I’m making a kids themed birthday cake(pj mask) with blacks and blues but I know she would just love this strawberry frosting.

    1. Hi Tiffany, You can color the frosting, but because it’s already a bright pink your colors will turn out differently. I recommend mixing all of the frosting ingredients except the freeze dried strawberry powder, set a little aside in a separate bowl to be colored, and then add your strawberries to the rest. I hope this helps!

    1. Hi Liz, You can make 1.5x the recipe for a two layer cake or double for a three layer cake depending on how thick you like your frosting 🙂

  5. Hi! Sally. I’m obsessed with your blog. It is literally the reason I have become really excited and passionate about baking, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but after I had my first baby I really kind of lost all hobbies and sense of myself,
    so it’s just really a special thing! Anyway.
    I want to make this icing to put on your lemon cake, but I was thinking it could be fun to make it a strawberry- lemonade buttercream. Do you think I could add lemon juice in place if some of the cream to do that? Or what do you think would be the best solution?
    Thanks so much for all you do. You’re an incredible person.

    1. Hi Natalie, thank you so much for this sweet comment! We haven’t tested a lemon and strawberry buttercream but don’t see why that wouldn’t work. Let us know how it goes!

    1. Hi Darlene! Sometimes it depends on the brand of confectioners sugar you are using. If you find yours is gritty try sifting the sugar after measuring it next time. Also make sure to process your freeze dried strawberries into a fine powder before beginning. That should help!

  6. Hi Sally,

    I’m going to make your Vanilla cake and Swiss Meringue Butter cream. I wanted to know if you thought this would be a good filling for that cake or if I should stick with the Swiss as the filling. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Liz, You can certainly use it with that combination – really anything goes for filling a vanilla cake! You can also simply add some of the freeze-dried strawberry powder to your Swiss Meringue for the center if you don’t wish to make a second frosting. Happy baking 🙂

  7. Hi, how much of the dried strawberries would you add to your swiss meringue recipe? And do you think that recipe would be firm enough in a number cake? I am using a jaconde sponge if that makes a difference. Many thanks.

    1. Hi Barbie, For the Swiss Meringue we recommend adding 1/2 cup of freeze-dried strawberry powder along with the vanilla extract and salt. No other changes to the recipe necessary. We have used it many times to fill a layer cake, but we haven’t specifically tried a number cake. Let us know if you try it!

  8. You did it again! Great frosting… although I just made your Swiss merengue frosting and that is better than the American frostings….
    Loved this frosting, although I would have added a tablespoon extra of heavy cream. Thank you!!

  9. The recipe says 1 cup strawberry powder in the ingredients but 1/2 cup strawberry powder when explaining how to make it. Which is it! 1 cup or 1/2 cup?

    1. Hi Sandra, The recipe calls for 1 cup freeze dried strawberries that you then process into a powder in step one. This should leave you with about 1/2 cup of strawberry powder. Hope this helps!

  10. Hey! I’m super excited to try this recipe. I was wondering if this was used for cupcakes, would the frosted cupcakes need to be refrigerated due to the strawberry BC or would they be okay to sit out overnight.

    1. Hi Kristin, they should be okay stored at room temperature for about a day. After that, we recommend storing them in the fridge, and you can always bring them back to room temperature before enjoying again. Hope you enjoy this recipe!

  11. Wow! So creamy, delicious, and a dream to pipe. This frosting did not disappoint.

  12. For an eight inch, three layer cake, would you recommend making 1.5 or double this recipe? Thanks!

  13. Hi I’m wondering if this would work just as well with freeze dried raspberries. You have a recipe for raspberry buttercream made using raspberry preserves. Wondering which would work best.

    1. Hi Jenn, absolutely! Many readers have reported success using freeze dried raspberries rather than strawberries in this recipe. Let us know if you give it a try.

      1. My daughter is begging for a Raspberry frosted chocolate cake for her birthday. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe with freeze dried raspberries. Is there any reason you wouldnt pair this with the chocolate cake from your Triple Chocolate Cake recipe (other than I wont be able to call it triple chocolate anymore?)?


      2. Hi Bram, that sounds like an absolutely delicious combination. We hope your daughter loves it!

  14. Another great recipe! I made this to fill macarons and they were delicious. I also used this same recipe and replaced the freeze dried strawberries with freeze dried raspberries and it tasted wonderful!

  15. I made this for my nieces birthday cake last year and it was a huge hit! I’m wondering if anyone has tried it with freeze dried blueberries… should I use 1:1 blueberry:strawberry? I’m thinking it would pair well with Sally’s lemon cupcakes.

    1. Hi Dana, yes, definitely! In our experience, freeze-dried blueberries create a lavender/blue tinted frosting. It would be a fantastic pair with our lemon cupcakes!

  16. I love this recipe! Do you imagine it would work well for all kinds of freeze dried fruit? Banana cake is so popular but I struggle to find a banana frosting recipe. It makes me wonder if there’s a reason banana frosting isn’t a thing? I’ll give it a try anyway, but I’d love your thoughts – maybe you’ve tried it and can warn me off!

    1. Hi Marie, we haven’t personally tried it with freeze-dried bananas, but we can’t see why that wouldn’t work! Let us know how it turns out for you.

  17. Hi Sally,

    We love this recipe and have prepared it a number of times. Can I substitute the butter with vegan butter like earth balance and soy milk instead of heavy cream/milk. My daughter want’s this for her birthday and she has a dear friend who is allergic to milk and milk products.

    1. Hi RC, we haven’t tested it ourselves so we can’t guarantee results, but let us know how it goes for you!

  18. Hi Sally! I love your recipes and recommend your website to anyone and everyone who will listen! I made your strawberry buttercream and it was delicious. I did tweak it some and it was still a wonderful consistency and flavor. I used twice as much ground strawberry powder and half as much sugar. Is there a reason you use as much sugar in your buttercream?

    1. Hi Charity, That is the recipe that we have found to have the best consistency. We are so glad that your recipe turned out great. If you’re looking for something with less sugar, try our swiss meringue recipe.

  19. Can you use this frosting for cookies?
    I’m making a lemon sugar cookie and would like to put a strawberry frosting on them .

  20. Hi! I was wondering if you know how many cupcakes this would frost? (I was going to do a typical swirl) Thanks!

  21. Great-looking recipe! Would the frosting be too sweet for frosting a crepe cake? Do you think it’s stiff enough? Can I add more strawberry powder or lemon zest to brighten the flavour? Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Samantha, you can certainly try using this frosting for a crepe cake. You may want to slightly increase the liquid to make it a bit softer so that the frosting does not rip the crepes. You can add more strawberry powder, but keep in mind that it will change the texture so you may need to tinker with the other ingredients, too. Lemon zest would also be a delicious addition. Enjoy!

  22. Looks like a great recipe. How long can this frosting stay prepared in my cake? Will it hold up well for a few days in the fridge prepared with the cake?

  23. I need to make this for a 3 layer 8″ cake, will 1.5 times the recipe be enough or should I double? Also using acrylic discs to ice

  24. Great frosting! I’ve made it a few times. I’m wondering if it would be possible to first make it as plain vanilla buttercream (without the strawberry powder, to have some buttercream to make other colors), then to add the strawberry powder after it’s done. Just trying to avoid making 2 batches of frosting. Thanks!

    1. Hi Carli, If you are going to frost the cake “semi-naked” style then 1.5 times would fine. If you wish to have a thicker layer on the outside (plus enough for between the 3 layers) you can double it. Enjoy!

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