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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. This looks so good! I’ve also had a hard time trying for strawberry buttercream using purée. Are there noticeable seeds in the finished product here?0

    1. Hi Megan! Seeds have never been an issue with this buttercream, the freeze dried strawberry powder is quite fine – hope you love it!

  2. First off- I LOVE all of your recipes!! So with this frosting- I have someone wanting a cake with strawberry frosting, but it’s for a boy’s 3rd birthday dinosaur party. Think I’d be able to turn it into blue or green frosting? Have you ever tried coloring strawberry frosting?

    1. Hi Marcia, 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!

  3. Oh my goodness…this frosting is delicious. My grandsons don’t eat any artificial food coloring and I wanted pink frosting for my Valentine cupcakes. This was perfect and tasted so amazing! I think I used less than 1/2 cup of the strawberry powder. I just kept adding until I liked the color and taste.

    1. Hi Bounlieng, this strawberry buttercream frosting is stable enough to frost a three layer cake.

  4. This was an excellent recipe — super strawberry flavor and nice and firm. I was wondering if I could replace the strawberries with other freeze-dried fruits such as banana since I can’t find a good banana frosting that is firm enough for my purposes.

    1. Hi Dede! We’ve had success using other freeze dried berries like blueberries raspberries, but haven’t tested banana. Let us know if you try it!

      1. So I did try this recipe with freeze-dried bananas and it, too, was outstanding!! I had to use the whole package (about 70 g.) instead of the 25 g. in the original recipe to give it enough flavor. I’m so excited to use this frosting recipe for a lot of different freeze-dried fruits. Thank you so much!

      2. I have tried this recipe with every single freeze dried fruit I can find (except apple) and it’s always been a hit. It’s not always 25g of the freeze dried fruit – I usually add that much to start, then taste and add more for flavor if needed. I have made amazing frosting with mango, peach, blueberry, strawberry this way!

  5. This frosting was perfection! We used it on my four year old’s bday cake after she requested the flavor. So strawberry-y. No problem with gumminess or texture. We used Target and Aldi freeze dried berries. My mother in law, who likes fruit but not sweets, hovered over the dregs in the bowl until I asked if she wanted a spatula. She pounced on it! 😀 Thank you!

  6. This frosting is beautiful to look at and easy to work with. It tastes very strawberry-y. I added about a tablespoon of lemon juice, which freshened the flavor a great deal.

  7. Super flavorful. I love how it uses real strawberries, I always get a ton of compliments when I make this frosting 🙂 One of my go-to’s!

  8. This frosting was amazing! Thank you so very much for posting this – I’m so grateful! I paired it with tour Strawberry Cake recipe and it was lovely! My only change was using salted butter which allowed me to add all the confectioner’s sugar without it being too sweet. Thank you again!

  9. BEST STRAWBERRY CAKE! I’ve tried lots of recipes, and tweaked lots of recipes with fresh strawberries, freeze dried strawberries, strawberry jam with the same disappointing results that Sally described! I’m so glad Sally persevered to find the key to the perfect strawberry cake! I’m thankful to have this lovely recipe! The flavor is delicate (I added 1 teaspoon of Beanilla strawberry extract), the color (with 1 drop of red food gel) is beautiful and the texture of the cake is perfect – soft and moist!
    Thank you!!!!

  10. Hi Sally. First let me say that I love your website. I always check yours first before I check another of my favorites like America’s test kitchen. I usually end up on yours. My question is can I use the freeze dried fruit to make a glaze instead of a frosting. I’d like to pour a raspberry glaze over a chocolate Bundt cake. Any ideas? Thanks so much! Keep up the good work! Liz

    1. Hi Liz, we can’t see why not! You could start with a recipe like our vanilla icing (or another glaze/icing recipe you love) and replace some of the powdered sugar with freeze dried raspberries. Let us know what you try!

  11. This frosting is incredibly delicious. It received rave reviews from the 18 year old birthday girl as well as from the other 10 people in attendance at the party. People wanted to know how I managed to achieve the fresh strawberry taste. I’ve been asked to please make this frosting again for the next birthday in 2 weeks. You and your guests will not be disappointed!

  12. What a brilliant technique! I paired this with the cake from your Triple Chocolate Cake recipe and sliced a few fresh strawberries on top. So decadent and amazing!

  13. Love this cake! Second time I’m making it but couldn’t find freezes dried strawberries. Can you use dried strawberries instead?

    1. Hi Sharon! Freeze dried strawberries are really the key ingredient in the recipe. We always find them in our regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Target all carry them.

  14. Made this frosting to go with her strawberry cake tonight. I made 1.25x the icing and it was the perfect amount to a double layer square cake with a little left over. Consistency was perfect and the color was vibrant without additional food coloring. It was like an episode of wild Kingdom in the kitchen as my husband and kids waited for me to put the bowl down. They pounced and locked it clean! Hubby was dipping fresh strawberries in it and said this is the best frosting he has ever had! Thank you for such a wonderful recipe!

  15. is there a sustitute for the freeze dried strawberries? i cant find any where i am.

    1. Hi Diana, Freeze dried strawberries are really the key ingredient in the recipe. We always find them in our regular grocery store in the dried fruit aisle. Wegmans, Giant, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Amazon, and Target all carry them.

  16. I made this recipe using freeze dried raspberries and paired them with your super moist chocolate cupcake recipe. I was making them for a baby shower and the mom-to-be’s favorite flavors are chocolate and raspberry. I made a 1.5x recipe (which ended up being more than enough for 24 cupcakes) but didn’t change any proportions and everything came out so well! Only 3 were left and one person even said they were the best cupcakes they’ve ever had! Thanks for another great recipe!

  17. I used freeze-dried blueberries and got a beautiful purple icing that I used to pipe decorations on the strawberry buttercream. The blueberry seeds get stuck in the smaller tips though.
    I also needed more than 25g of strawberry powder for the pink icing. I used 50g for a 1.5 batch of icing (which covered a 3-layer cake). It was still a bit pale, so I’ll try 2 bags (68g) next time.

  18. I just made this frosting for a batch of Sally’s Lemon Cupcakes that I’m bringing to a meeting with my colleagues tomorrow. I predict they will be a big hit – the lemon cupcakes are my go-to never-fail recipe, but the frosting tastes amazing! Like actual strawberries! It is the most delicious frosting I have ever tasted. It tastes like summer. The color is so pretty, too. It’s a light/bright pink that clearly didn’t come from chemicals in a tube. I’m calling them Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes. Hopefully my long, boring Death By Powerpoint meeting will be redeemed by them.

  19. This was amazing!!! Was so excited to try on my daughter birthday cake this year. This will be my go to for strawberry frosting!!

  20. This is my favorite frosting! If I made extra but didn’t need all of it in the end, could I freeze the rest and liven it up when needed again? If I wanted it 5-6 days later could I just refrigerate?

    1. Hi Sarah, absolutely! The frosting will last up to a week in the refrigerator or up to three months in the freezer. See final step for more freezing directions and how best to thaw and use the frozen frosting.

  21. Thanks for a great recipe! Could I halve the ingredients? I only need enough to frost a small-ish cake, and last time I ended up with too much leftover buttercream!

  22. I made a variety of cupcakes for a wedding. I made this frosting and I have to say it was easy to make and hands down the best frosting i’ve ever had. I love all of your recipes. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

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