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

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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
  • 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. Jeannette christiansen says:

    I loved the flavor of this frosting. It was delicious. I would love any advice for making this as a whipped cream based frosting instead of the cream cheese based frosting. I am really enjoying all of your recipes, thank you for sharing with us!!

  2. it was great

  3. James Lavigne says:

    Do you think dehydrated strawberries could work as a substitute?

    1. Hi James, dried strawberries (assuming you mean the ones that are gummy, like dried apricots) do not grind into a powder since they contain moisture. You need freeze-dried strawberries.

      1. Hi, I’m not sure how to make a stand-alone comment, so I’ll ask here. Do you think I could use a frosting comb on this? Or is it too fluffy? Thank you!

      2. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

        Hi Kai, that shouldn’t be a problem.

  4. Francis Woods says:

    Hi Sally, i found freeze dried strawberry powder? im guessing this will still work?

  5. I used this wonderfully fresh tasting strawberry frosting with your strawberry cake and I’m telling you it is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten made from scratch. My guy even used the word “Outstanding!” I miss my grandmother’s cakes and bakes so much and to taste this sent me back to when she was alive. So, here’s a heartfelt thank you, Sally!

  6. Hi Sally! Love this recipe – I have made it for a few years now as a request for many friend’s birthdays. The last two times I have made it, though, I have had the hardest time piping the frosting – like it’s too thick or gummy. I don’t remember having the issue previously. Did there used to be cream cheese in the frosting, too? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    1. Hi Savilla, I use strawberry cream cheese frosting on my strawberry cake. Is that perhaps the recipe you used in the past? Regardless, this frosting shouldn’t be gummy. Make sure you are using freeze dried strawberries and not just dried strawberries.

  7. Carol Prescott says:

    Hi Sally,

    I’m going to make your death by chocolate cupcakes and want to make a BlackBerry buttercream frosting. I love this recipe and your vanilla buttercream. If I puree fresh blackberries and strain the seeds and chunks do you think it will work with either of these buttercreams? Or should I use freeze-dried blackberries?

    1. Hi Carol, If you can find freeze dried blackberries they would work wonderfully instead of strawberries. I also have a recipe for blackberry frosting using fresh berries (which you can use as a buttercream instead of cream cheese): Lemon cupcakes with blackberry frosting.

      1. If I put this on cupcakes can I leave them out of the fridge? If so how long will they last?

  8. How much of this frosting would I need for a full cake (8” pan) with multiple layers (so on the talller side)?

  9. Hi Sally, I just made your strawberry frosting and it was wonderful. The only problem was that some of my family members said that the strawberry taste was to faint. I used the right amount as in the instructions. Can I add about a half cup more or would it change the frosting.

    1. You can definitely add more of the strawberry powder. Feel free to add a little extra cream or milk to thin out if needed, too.

      1. Thanks so much, will do.

  10. Michelle Brown says:

    Do you think I could use freeze dried raspberries in this frosting recipe instead of strawberries? I see that you have a raspberry frosting recipe that uses raspberry jam. What would you say the differences are for the two? I am planning to frost your 2-layer chocolate cake with raspberry frosting (at the request of my son) and am wondering which type of frosting would work best?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Michelle, you can certainly use freeze dried raspberries in this recipe! It works wonderfully. Both frostings are delicious, though this recipe with freeze dried raspberries will have more concentrated raspberry flavor. You can’t go wrong with either!

  11. Linda Boulton says:

    Hi Sally,
    Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!
    I really want to make this frosting but cannot get freeze dried strawberries in time. Will the cooked down purée work in the frosting?

    1. Hilari @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Linda, I recommend using the frosting recipe in our chocolate cupcakes with raspberry frosting. Use the reduced down strawberry puree in place of the raspberry preserves/jam.

  12. Hey Sally
    I love your recipes and have been following them for years. The only issue I’ve been having is with the frostings. They are sooo sweet, for your ultimate chocolate frosting I reduced the sugar to 3 cups of icing sugar and it was still too sweet for me. Will cutting the powdered sugar to 1.5 or 2 cups affect the texture of the icing and if so do you have any ideas how to make a less sweet version?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Sarah, Buttercream frosting is going to be very sweet! For a frosting that isn’t as sweet you can try Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

  13. Hi! Would I be able to use like freeze dried mangoes instead of strawberries to make mango buttercream frosting instead? also would this frosting work on your Homemade Strawberry Cake? Thank You!

    1. Hi Lulah, some readers have used freeze-dried mangoes instead with great luck. Let me know how you like it! I’m sure it would be great with the strawberry cake.

  14. Brianne Mckenzie says:

    My 12 year old daughter has been perfecting her baking skills during the last few months of staying home. She absolutely loves your site and has learned so much! She’s actually taking orders from friends now 🙂 She had a request for strawberry cake this week so she made your strawberry cake with the strawberry buttercream and a cream cheese/sliced strawberry filling. She piped rosettes all over and it was beautiful! And absolutely delicious! My only question, the frosting has a kind of powdery crunch to it. Any suggestion on curbing this to make it smoother? Is it better the next day? Thank you for all your advice!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Brianne, We are thrilled that she has been enjoying the site and baking so much! For the strawberry frosting make sure she blends the freeze dried strawberries into a fine powder so there aren’t any larger/grainy chunks. That should help!

  15. Justin Woods says:

    Do you think you could use freeze dried cherries in chocolate buttercream to make chocolate cherry buttercream?

    1. I can’t see why not!

  16. 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?


    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Teresa! Most any freeze dried fruit would work here, yes.

  17. Will these measurements create enough strawberry buttercream to use on the Best Vanilla cake recipe?

    1. Hi Pete, I recommend at least 1.5x or doubling the recipe for a 3 layer cake.

  18. 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!!

  19. Would dehydrate strawberries work?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Mimi, Dried strawberries (assuming you mean the ones that are gummy, like dried apricots) do not grind into a powder since they contain moisture. You need freeze-dried strawberries.

  20. I used freeze-dried strawberries as directed and the result was both gummy and grainy…

  21. Hi Sally, can i use frozen strawberries for this frosting? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kim, you need freeze-dried strawberries. Regular frozen strawberries do not grind into a powder.

  22. Hi Sally! Can I use strawberry preserves or strawberry jam for this recipe? Thanks

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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.

  23. 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!!

  24. 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. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  25. The first time I made this I did it I exaxrly as described. The second time i had a hard time finding them so I looked on Amazon and found freeze dried strawberry *powder*. (They sell it for smoothies.) It worked perfectly and I was able to skip the food processing step.

    1. Naomi Barreto says:

      Devon how much did you use of the powder ? Thanks

      1. I started out with a half cup, since she said that’s approximately what the processed berries would yield. I think I added another tablespoon or so on top of that because I liked the strong strawberry flavor. It thickens the frosting just like powdered sugar was so I had to increase the cream a bit to compensate. 🙂

  26. Hi Sally,
    I’d like to make this frosting to use for your Funfetti layer cake. Would 1.5x the recipe make enough?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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 🙂

  27. Hi Sally, I really love watching your vlogs. I am a Nurse by profession but I love baking as much as I love being a Nurse. I try to use baking as my therapy. I tried to make some of your recipes and they were really delicious. I am really having a hard time piping frosting for cup cakes and cakes. I feel so frustrated sometimes because I wanted my cupcakes/cakes to look pretty like yours. Please give me tips on how to pipe and frost. I would really appreciate it. Thanks

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maddie, thank you so much for reading! This post with Sally’s 5 favorite piping tips and a how-to video should help. And here’s a fun tutorial for piping roses. Hope these are useful for you!

  28. 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. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  29. I made this maybe I did something wrong its gritty and kinda think.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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!

  30. Hi Sally! I have someone requesting a strawberry buttercream cake but they want a dark color- is it possible to achieve a dark grey/black buttercream in strawberry flavor? TIA!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kelli, you can color the frosting, but because it’s already a bright pink your colors will turn out differently. We 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. Hope this helps!

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