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. 

How to make strawberry frosting with real, natural strawberry flavor!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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 their 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.

How to make strawberry frosting on sallysbakingaddiction.com

How to make strawberry frosting with real, natural strawberry flavor!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

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.
  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

Print

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

Description

Homemade strawberry frosting with real, natural strawberry flavor!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup (10-12g) 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

Instructions

  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.)

Notes

  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

How to make strawberry frosting with real, natural strawberry flavor!! Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com

200 Comments

  1. Hi Sally,

    I just want you to know I have tried three other strawberry buttercream frostings over the past week trying to get ready for a baby shower. Every time I was hopeful and every time, disappointed. I ran across this recipe, and since I love every other recipe I’ve tried of yours, I knew this would be the one. I just made this frosting, and it is perfect! It is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!

    Dana

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed this strawberry frosting. Thank you so much for trying it! And for reporting back to me about it.

  2. Hi Sally,

    I have called around to every store I can think of and no one carries freeze dried strawberries 🙁 Do you think I could use regular dried strawberries and it would work out ok? 

    1. Dried strawberries won’t break down into a powder, unfortunately. Have you searched online for any? 🙂

      1. If you have a cvs in your area they carry dried strawberries .

      2. Aldi carries freeze-dried strawberries on a regular basis…

    2. Trader Joe’s also!

    3. Walmart, Safeway, Fry’s/Krogers, Meyer, and Bashas all have freeze dried fruit. Try the baby department. I’ve purchased them from Walmart, Fry’s, Kroger and Meyers. Sometimes I have to go to the baby department and other times I go to the produce department. And I’ve purchased them in Arizona and Indiana.

  3. Could freeze dried blueberries work in this recipe? The reason I ask is because I’m looking for a way to naturally color frosting. Trying to achieve pink blue and white flowers on a cake! Thanks!

    1. Hi Lizabeth! Yes, definitely! In my experience, freeze-dried blueberries create a lavender/blue tinted frosting.

  4. Of the two frostings I tried, we loved this the best. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  5. Will the leftovers freeze well?

    1. Hi Jaime! This frosting freezes well, yes.

  6. I’ve tried this recipe a few times with different freeze dried fruits and have had great success with the flavor. I have a question about the consistency though, is it meant to crust after sitting out or after used for decorating? I’ve noticed a few hours after it’s made, it crusts and the next day it’s usually hard. The flavor is great and I think it develops a little more after it sits. Can the weather affect it? I’ve only tried it in the summer so can the heat affect it or dry it out? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jennifer! The strawberry buttercream crusts, you are correct. Weather could affect it, though it’s just the sugar and texture from the freeze-dried strawberries. Covering it very tightly– plastic wrap almost directly on the surface of the frosting– helps.

  7. Sally, this might be a stupid question, but what kind of salt is best when using here in the frosting? I’ve made this many times and it is great (made the chocolate cupcakes with strawberry filling and ganache) and made it for a chocolate layer cake! Great taste. Thanks.

    1. Hi Stephie! Not a stupid question at all. A lot of bakers like using sea salt or kosher salt and I agree- it’s wonderful in baked goods– but I usually use morton’s regular table salt.

  8. Hi Sally,
    Is there a substitute for Heavy Cream? Does yogurt do the same thing?

    1. Hi Kelly! I recommend milk instead of heavy cream.

      1. Thank you

  9. On June 11 you said the frosting does not crust, but on July 9 you say it does. Which is it and how to avoid crusting if it is expected?

    1. Hi Nellie! My apologies. The correct answer is YES, overtime. The sugar and texture from the freeze-dried strawberries. Covering it very tightly– plastic wrap almost directly on the surface of the frosting– helps.

  10. Might be a silly question, but do I need to make an adjustment for high altitude? I’m at 6,100 feet. Thank you!

    1. Not for frosting, no 🙂

  11. What are your thoughts on strawberry cream cheese frosting? Would love to use strawberry frosting to decorate a cake, but I’m not a fan of buttercream. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Emily! Here is my recipe for strawberry cream cheese frosting: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2018/01/05/strawberry-cake/

  12. All your recipes look amazing Sally.
    I noticed that your strawberry cake doesn’t call for freeze dried strawberries, only reduced strawberry puree. Does it perhaps only work well with strawberry frosting? Can you explain why?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Ann! What a great question. The wetness and moisture from the reduced strawberry puree is not ideal for buttercream. The freeze-dried strawberry powder left a weird flavor and texture to the baked strawberry cake.

  13. This frosting is kinda perfect!!!! Couldn’t find freeze dried strawberries, so grabbed a box of special K red berries & picked them out of there! Kids picked our a cup from a regular size box, worked great. Worth it, this stuff is delicious!

    1. LOL! Now that is creative thinking!! I’m so happy you all enjoyed this frosting!

  14. My son requested a “fancy chocolate covered strawberry cake” for his birthday, because that’s what little boys always want….. I used this frosting on onenof your chocolate cakes, and then poured a little ganache on top, and topped it with chocolate covered strawberries. It was heavenly! Months later, people are still looking for thisnfrosting recipe!

    1. That sounds SO amazing!! I’m so glad you were able to make his requested cake with this!

  15. I made this frosting for Valentine’s Day used in the cupcake & a few months later for a coworkers going away party as the frosting. This past week, on 2 consecutive days, 2 coworkers told me they are STILL thinking about the frosting and have been begging me to make it again! This recipe is to die for and you will not be disappointed!

  16. Hi!! Can I use blueberry instead of strawberry? I want to try make a cake with blueberry frosting for my son 1st birthday
    Thank you

    1. Yes! Most freeze dried fruits will work! I hope he as a great 1st birthday 🙂

  17. Have you tried this recipe and used different freeze dried fruit? Curious to know if blueberries would work! Thanks

    1. Hi Emily! I’ve tried both freeze-dried raspberries and blueberries. Both great results! Some readers have even done apple, mango, and banana with the freeze-dried versions of the fruits.

  18. Hi Sally,
    For a 12″ double layer cake, would you recommend doubling the frosting recipe?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Moe! Yes, I would double the frosting recipe for a 12-inch layer cake.

  19. Hi Sally! I just wanted to say that I mixed this frosting with one of your vanilla cake recipes to make cake balls and they turned out incredible! I don’t think I will ever make chocolate cake balls again! I love your blog so much, thank you for all the recipes!

  20. hi so i googled to see where i can find freeze dried strawberries in toronto and Walmart carries it but its a 40$ tub. is it really so expensive? if so I’d really like an alternative as i wont like to spend so much on cake

    1. Do you have the option to order them online? I can often find them on Amazon. It’s also worth a trip to your regular grocery stores or if you have a Target. They are often shelved with the dried fruits.

    2. I’ve just found freeze dried strawberries online at the natural food pantry for $6.29, plus shipping https://naturalfoodpantry.ca/products/pure-choice-freeze-dried-strawberries?variant=5884197339165

  21. Hi, can I used this as filling and your vanilla buttercream to cover and decorate the cake? Will they taste nice together? Also which is best for your vanilla cake recipe, is it this type of frosting or the strawberry creamcheese frosting? Thank you

    1. Hi Con! You can use this frosting to fill a cake. It will taste lovely with vanilla buttercream. The strawberry cream cheese frosting on my strawberry cake recipe glides on much easier because it’s thinner and creamier. Either would be great with vanilla cake!

      1. Thank u so much, will let u know soon. My sons party is this Saturday, im excited to present it having read ur good reviews. Thanks for sharing your recipes and knowledge.

  22. Could this work for piping roses? Do I add more confectioner’s sugar. I live in the south. Would love to make this along with strawberry cake for my child’s b’day. Thank you so much.

    1. To pipe simple swirl roses you can use this as written – to pipe more intricate roses (like I have on top of my coconut cake) you will want to add more confectioners sugar to get a very stiff frosting!

  23. For anyone having a hard time searching for freeze-dried strawberries: my grocery store doesn’t carry them, but CVS pharmacy does (if you have those near where you live). They are in the snack section, marketed as a healthy snack!

  24. Sally I have made this fristing on a white cake with a strawberry filling many times. It is wonderful! Question, for 3 nine inch layers, 1.5 pr double the recipe?

    1. Hey Laura! 1.5x should be plenty for a 3 inch cake, but I always like a little extra frosting just in case. You could double the recipe.

  25. Hi Sally, your recipe for The Best Frosting really is the best and your are too for sharing it. Thank you so much.

  26. Hi Sally,

    What dairy-free option can I use in place of the heavy cream?

    1. Hi Travina! Any nondairy milk would be great!

  27. Hi Sally!
    I am using this frosting for mini cupcakes for an event. I see that you say it does crust. If I am planning to make/decorate with the frosting one day ahead of the event, any recommendations to keep the frosting fresh for cupcakes? It’s kind of hard to wrap it in plastic like a cake =)

    1. Hi Alli! Do you have a cupcake carrier or anything? Or a large tupperware? Storing them in a tight container will keep the frosting extra fresh.

  28. Hi Sally! Would love to try this recipe on cupcakes for a birthday party next weekend. How quickly does the frosting crust? I intend to make it early in the morning (5:00 AM?) to be served in the early afternoon (1:00-ish), and I’d be keeping them in a cupcake carrier. Do you think they would crust within that time range? Thank you!

    1. Hi Rachel! It will crust after letting out for about 1 day. So you’ll be fine! The frosting will stay nice and creamy stored in a cupcake carrier for a few hours.

  29. Hi Sally,
    I was wondering if I could half this frosting recipe and it be enough for mini cupcakes?

    1. Hi Reese! Yes, you can halve this strawberry frosting recipe.

  30. Hi Sally,
    I need to make and frost my cake a day in advance, and am wondering if it should be kept refrigerated, as are most cakes with buttercream frosting. I’ve only read mention of storing it for a few hours in a carrier. Will refrigerating effect the crusting you mentioned?
    Thanks so much, this is just what I was looking for!

    1. Hi Joan! The strawberry frosting will begin to crust faster if stored in the refrigerator. Keep it covered tightly to help slow that down or store covered at room temperature overnight. (Will be fine overnight!)

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