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. 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. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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 🙂

  2. I love this recipe, the freeze dried strawberries give it so much more flavor without making it runny. Can this recipe be adapted for a cream cheese frosting by just swapping the butter for cream cheese?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Kathryn, We use half cream cheese and half butter. You can find that recipe with this strawberry cake. Enjoy!

  3. I made this frosting to go on a 3 layer 6 inch triple chocolate cake and got raves. I just have one question. This frosting is almost identical to the strawberry frosting on the pistachio cupcakes, but the amount of cream is different. The frosting was so thick I couldn’t spread it. I had to keep adding more and more cream and I was afraid that I was going to overmix it. I’m practicing my cake techniques because I’m going to be making my son’s wedding cake and I haven’t had much practice getting the icing smooth. I will be using a different frosting for the wedding cake, but found it difficult to smooth this strawberry one. Do you have to adjust liquid levels based on climate? We live in a dry climate.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Janet! Climate can definitely change how frostings and other baked goods come out. Feel free to add liquid until the frosting comes to the right consistency.

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

      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!

  5. 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!!

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

      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!

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