The BEST Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

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 the BEST 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

clock clock icon cutlery cutlery icon flag flag icon folder folder icon instagram instagram icon pinterest pinterest icon facebook facebook icon print print icon squares squares icon heart heart icon heart solid heart solid icon
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
  • 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


  1. Mary // chattavore says:

    Strawberry frosting is pretty much my favorite, so I can’t wait to try this out. I usually make cream cheese icing whenever I make a strawberry cake. This will be a nice change (not that I’m complaining about cream cheese icing!).

  2. Same thing happened to me trying to make raspberry cream cheese buttercream with fresh berries. Even when I would dry them, the buttercream would just turn to slop! Why is that?? Can’t wait to try this method!

    1. There’s just too much moisture battling with the fat in the butter. It’s bound to happen! This way WORKS every time. So easy too.

  3. Oh wow, thank u for this recipe. Can I use fresh strawberries instead? If so should I use the same amount? Thank you! 

    1. Hi Haifa! Did you see the beginning of the post? We use freeze dried because fresh are so darn tricky here! Thanks so much for asking.

  4. I’ve seen freeze dried strawberries in Hy-Vee, maybe Aldis too…

  5. I was thinking of doing this for my daughter’s vday party tomorrow. If I do not refrigerate the cupcakes how will the frosting do if I frost them tonight, put them in the garage where it is around 50-60* then she takes them to school where they will be warmer. They won’t have the party till afternoon.

    1. Frosting will be just fine overnight in a cool garage. Sorry, I just saw this comment now!

  6. Hi Sally. Normally I use a little strawberry coulis in my frosting, If you trickle it in slowly it won’t curdle. That strawberry powder is a great idea though…will give it a go next time I’m whipping up some frosting. Thanks.

    1. Brilliant! I’ll definitely be trying it out with strawberry coulis– thanks so much for the suggestion Colm!

      1. I was just reading this post and wanted to mention that I made a wonderful strawberry icing by simply pureeing the strawberries and cooking them down (no sugar added) until they were reduced to about 1/2. It’s probably a little more work than using the dried strawberries, but it turned out great!

  7. I’ve made your strawberry frosting to pair with lemon macaron shells and named them Fruit Loop macarons. They’re like a bite of sunshine.

    1. I bet they were SO GOOD!

  8. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    So pretty and pink!

  9. Yes! Oh, I remember one of my first (disastrous) baking attempts. I was trying to make strawberry buttercream but the moisture was waaaaay too much for the frosting to handle. And now I can make strawberry frosting even when strawberries aren’t in season or are too pricey. This is now at the top of my to-bake list! Thank you so much <3

    1. Let me know how you like the strawberry frosting when you try it!

  10. Mary Thornton says:

    I love to try some of recipe dessert like peanut butter pies.

  11. Mary Thornton says:

    I like to try some of your food recipe also.

  12. aaaah. Genius! I can’t wait to try this with the freeze dried baby bananas I got. Maybe I’ll even mix them with the strawberries. hmm hmm.

  13. Yolonda Lawson says:

    I made strawberry frosting using strawberry jam, it was good, but not enough strawberry flavor. This is a GREAT idea, thanks for the tip!

  14. Mary Harrington says:

    You recommended the Ateco 849 tip for piping the frosting – what other tips do you recommend for various uses? I have a few large and small ones but would like to buy more, but am not sure which sizes are most useful. Having 30 to 40 seems like overkill, though.

    1. Hi Mary! I plan to write a post about this next month and it’s a great question. I love this 1M swirl tip, #12 round tip, and I like this tip for royal icing on cookies.

      1. Mary Harrington says:

        Thanks for replying! I will look for that post next month and buy the 849 in the meantime. Next week – Pistaschio cupcakes with strawberry frosting!

  15. Emily Howard says:

     Thanks so much for this tip about the freeze-dried strawberries. I tried to make a strawberry purée reduction and that helps with the moisture. I cooked out a lot of the water and used the concentrated purée after it cooled.  I’m excited to make this frosting. I couldn’t find the freeze-dried strawberries at a local Kroger store or Walgreens in the regular section. I did however find freeze dried strawberries in the baby food section. They have a lot of freeze dried fruits there. Just make sure it’s pure fruit and not fruit and yogurt puffs .

  16. Powdered freeze-dried fruit also works great in cake batter too! Kind of like cocoa powder, except fruit. About 5 or 6 years ago, I was trying to find a peach cake that tasted like peach and wasn’t just white or yellow cake with diced peach mixed in. One of the recipes I found called for using a bag of freeze dried peaches. The cake was a hit, and I never looked back.

    The recipe seemed to sub out a package of freeze dried peaches for 1/3 cup of the flour used in the recipe. I have never tried it, but I also suspect this method would work well for homemade ice cream. My only wish is that a company out there would start selling the freeze dried fruit already powdered.

  17. Made this yesterday for my daughter’s birthday cake. Used it as the filling in between chocolate & vanilla cake layers. Unintentionally became a neapolitan cake! It was a hit! I only used about 2-3/4 cups confectioners sugar and thought it was plenty sweet. Thanks for the recipe!!

  18. Jenny from says:

    Hi Sally, I don’t think I have ever seen freeze-dried strawberries in a German grocery store. I don’t think it is worth all the hassle to order them online here. They are very expensive.
    Have you ever considered putting fresh or frozen strawberries in a food processor and then simmering the puree on the stove for a while in order to reduce the liquid? Like for 20 minutes or something like that? I think I will try that, I hate all the artifical flavor and I am looking for the real deal. Hope that works.

    1. I’ve reduced strawberries then put them through a sieve to get the seeds out. It just didn’t have that “strawberry in your face” flavor I was craving. So I think it was just too mich work and then not getting what I wanted. I can’t wait to go get some freeze dried berries and try this!

  19. Made a box strawberry cake and fixed this frosting to go on it . Best strawberry frosting we have ever tasted! Holds its shape and I no problem finding the freeze dried strawberries at my grocery store. My husband loved it and it tastes so fresh. Will be making this again. I did make some changes as I live in Colorado. I used 1 stick of butter, 4 cups of  powered sugar and about 1/4 cup of whipping cream and the rest is the same. Can out perfect.  Thanks for the recipe.

  20. Hi Sally, Just wondering on how you think this recipe will go under fondant ?

    1. This frosting? It would be wonderful under fondant.

  21. Just made this with vanilla cupcakes and it was delicious! The strawberry flavor was perfect and the consistency so creamy. Thanks for the recipe

    1. You are welcome, Kaitlin! So happy you liked it!

  22. I don’t know if I did something wrong, but my frosting tastes like a strawberry malt ball! Like a whopper! Tasty, to be sure, but not natural or like fresh strawberries. Any idea where I went wrong? Anyone else get this result?

  23. No matter what, you want to use 1/2 cup of strawberry powder in the frosting 🙂

  24. This looks SO good! Do you have any recipes for the cupcakes that will match this strawberry frosting?

    1. I sure do! They are listed above the recipe. Enjoy!

  25. SOOO excited for this! I am looking for a good strawberry frosting for whoopie pies that will be in the heat for 2 hours (shaded heat). Do you think this will hold up well sandwiched in a whoopie pie? Would omitting the whipping cream result in a thicker, more sturdy frosting? 

    1. I wouldn’t change a thing about this frosting or leave out the cream– this strawberry frosting as is would be great for whoopie pies!

      1. Thank you sooo much! For the advice and the quick response! Everything you do is amazing!!

  26. How do I change this recipe into Chocolate strawberry frosting to sit atop a gluten free chocolate cake topped with real strawberries?

    1. You can try replacing some of the sugar with cocoa powder instead.

  27. sally, are those freeze dried strawberries only strawberries or have added sugar in? I remember having seen those but i think it had added sugar. I wanna know before purchasing in case its thr wrong one.

    1. Freeze-dried, no added sugar.

  28. This frosting is fabulous. Tried it last fall for hubs birthday and he was in bliss. Now I keep the freeze drieds strawberries in the cupboard, thinking of pairing it with lemon cupcakes. Yum.

    1. I LOVE this frosting with lemon cupcakes!!

  29. I am giving this recipe a try but I do not have heavy cream. What can I substitute 

  30. Hello Sally! Have you tried this strawberry buttercream with your chocolate cupcakes? I’m hosting a “sprinkle” shower and the friend I’m doing this for loves chocolate and strawberries. Would you suggest doing the chocolate cupcake with this buttercream or is there another cake or dessert you’d suggest for this baby shower?

    Thank you,

    1. I would definitely use this strawberry frosting with these chocolate cupcakes. YUM!!!

1 2 3 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love



Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally