There is no doubt that buttercream frosting is one of the most classic frostings you can use on just about any baked good, whether it be a cake, cupcake, or macaron. This frosting is easy to make, and its sweet but neutral base makes it versatile. Buttercream can be flavored with endless ingredients – even the simplest ingredients can give it a different taste. With so many options, it’s hard to choose one!
Among the best buttercream flavors are vanilla, lemon zest, chocolate, espresso, and more. The best flavor will depend on your preferences, but there are some that really stand out. We ranked our absolute favorites (starting with the best flavor of them all) so you have a variety of options for your next buttercream flavor!
What Is Buttercream?
What is buttercream? Before we go over the best buttercream flavors to try, let’s talk about what buttercream is!
The popularity of buttercream frosting can be attributed to a number of factors.
It is made using only a few simple ingredients: butter, confectioners sugar, and milk or cream.
As soon as these ingredients are beaten together, they will become fluffy, smooth, and easy to pipe or spread onto cakes, cupcakes, or other baked goods.
As long as the ingredients and flavors you add do not change the buttercream’s texture too much, basic buttercream can also be flavored.
The Best Buttercream Flavors
Explore the below best buttercream flavors, and find one (or a few) that you want to try next!
Although vanilla buttercream frosting may seem simple, it is one of the most popular flavors. While it might be simple, the sweet flavor of vanilla cannot be beaten!
As long as you add vanilla essence or extract to the frosting, the frosting will turn out right every time since you are not adding any additional ingredients.
Traditionally, vanilla buttercream is made with heavy cream instead of milk, which gives it a velvety, buttery flavor that works so well with vanilla notes. Heavy cream also makes the icing stiff, so it is easy to pipe.
The vanilla flavor of buttercream goes well with so many other flavors, and it can also be colored with food coloring to make it more interesting.
There is nothing better than a rich chocolate cake iced with a rich and velvety chocolate buttercream.
In chocolate buttercream, chocolate essence and cocoa powder are added to a buttercream base to create a rich, decadent flavor. It pairs beautifully with so much more than just chocolate cake.
The addition of cocoa to the buttercream makes chocolate buttercream a heavy, stiff frosting that is easy to spread on cakes and cupcakes. It also dries quickly.
The confectioner’s sugar in the buttercream sweetens the bitter cocoa powder, giving it a sweeter, darker chocolate taste.
Strawberry buttercream is fruity, sweet, and delicious! There are a few ways to make strawberry buttercream, but the best way to make it is to whip up some strawberry puree at home.
All you need to do is blend up some strawberries at home into a puree and add it to the buttercream base.
The buttercream will get a vibrant pink color as well as fresh strawberry flavor! There will also be some small pieces of strawberry left in the puree, which will add a pop of flavor.
In a pinch, you can also add strawberry essence to buttercream, but it will give the buttercream a slightly artificial flavor and no delightful pink color.
Those who love coffee and the blend of sweetness, creaminess, and cake will love espresso-flavored buttercream!
Add instant coffee to buttercream to make espresso buttercream in a few different ways.
In order to obtain the full, rich aroma of espresso, you should add some freshly brewed espresso to the buttercream base.
The buttercream will have a rich flavor and a light brown color from freshly brewed espresso, which looks great on all kinds of cakes.
If you would like to give a double espresso flavor to your vanilla cakes, chocolate cakes, or coffee cakes, espresso buttercream is a great frosting to use.
5. White Chocolate
White chocolate frosting is definitely a good choice if you love chocolate buttercream frosting but want something sweeter and creamier.
To make white chocolate buttercream, add melted white chocolate to the prepared buttercream base and mix well.
As you add white chocolate to buttercream frosting, it creates a sweet (but not too sweet) and creamy buttercream that has hints of chocolate while still having the vanilla flavor you love.
If you want to make a little more decoration on your cake or cupcakes, you can add some food coloring.
6. Lemon Zest
A lemon zest buttercream is the best choice for cakes and cupcakes that call for a fresh, zesty, and light buttercream.
Adding lemon extract and lemon zest to a buttercream frosting base gives lemon zest buttercream its fresh, light, and tangy flavor with a burst of citrus in every bite!
You can use lemon zest buttercream for vanilla cakes, lemon cakes, yogurt cakes, and cupcakes as well. The buttercream will be light and creamy with spots of color from the lemon zest.
Leaving out either the extract or the zest of the lemon will result in a lighter lemon flavor.
7. Cookies And Cream
The chunks of cookies combined with the vanilla flavor make for a match made in heaven, and this frosting elevates even the simplest of cakes or cupcakes.
If the buttercream doesn’t already contain vanilla extract, you can add some vanilla extract to make cookies and cream buttercream.
The size of the cookie crumbs and chunks is up to you, but smaller crumbs work well for piping icing. Once the buttercream has been piped onto the cake, you can sprinkle some larger chunks over the top.
8. Mint Chocolate
It is perfect for chocolate or vanilla cakes and cupcakes, and it is the perfect combination of creamy chocolate and refreshing mint!
Add mint extract and chocolate chips (preferably dark) or cocoa powder to buttercream to make mint chocolate buttercream.
The amount of chocolate and mint extract you add will depend on your taste. You can either leave it as is, or you can add green food coloring to give it a minty appearance.
Additionally, adding chocolate chips gives the buttercream some texture, and biting into a mouthful of chocolate chips is always a treat!
9. Peanut Butter
It is a no-brainer that you will love peanut butter buttercream frosting if you are a peanut butter lover!
The perfect balance of peanut butter’s saltiness and the sweet confectioner’s sugar makes this buttercream light and fluffy.
Adding peanut butter to buttercream base and beating it well makes peanut butter buttercream easy!
Buttercream frosting thins peanut butter before spreading and piped on a cake or cupcake by adding whipping cream.
Banana bread would be great with this buttercream.
While raspberry buttercream frosting might seem similar to strawberry, it has a sour tang that complements buttercream’s sweetness perfectly.
Raspberries can be pureed in a blender (or mashed by hand) and added to buttercream to make raspberry buttercream.
If you want to give raspberry buttercream some flavor and depth, you can fold in some white chocolate chips as well. Raspberries are quite tart, but they will be balanced out by the sweetness of confectioner’s sugar.
Cakes and cupcakes with raspberry buttercream pair well with many flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and even berries!
11. Chai Spice
In case you love chai spice lattes, you’ll surely love the flavor of chai spice buttercream! Chai spice buttercream has the same flavor as a chai spice latte and is sweetened with confectioner’s sugar.
The first thing you can do to make chai spice buttercream is brew your own chai spiced tea and add some to the buttercream, or you can use a powdered chai spice mix.
To flavor the buttercream, you can use any of these options; it all depends on what you have at home.
Vanilla cakes and cupcakes can be decorated with chai spice buttercream.
Peppermint buttercream is the perfect festive season buttercream to try, but it may also become your favorite buttercream flavor all year long!
If you have peppermint sticks, crumble them up and sprinkle them over the top of the frosting once it is on the cake to make peppermint buttercream.
Vanilla, chocolate, or mint cakes and cupcakes can be decorated with peppermint buttercream.
Champagne buttercream is the next flavor to try for your vanilla cake if you’re feeling fancy.
Buttercream and champagne or sparkling wine are all you need to make champagne buttercream – it seems complicated, but it’s really simple.
All you have to do is mix champagne or sparkling wine into the buttercream base, add some vanilla extract if you feel it needs it, and you’re done!
If your buttercream becomes too runny as you add liquid, you can add more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it back up.
You can make coconut buttercream in a few different ways, but it is a great flavor to use for macarons as well. Coconut buttercream can be used on many different flavors of cakes and cupcakes.
Adding coconut cream to buttercream will give it a smooth, creamy texture. If you want more texture, you can blend in dried coconut flakes too.
Adding toasted coconut pieces to the top of your cake or cupcake after the coconut buttercream has been piped or spread will make it look even better.
While elderflower buttercream may not be as popular as some of the others, it is light and floral – perfect for springtime or for cupcakes at a picnic or macarons at lunch.
Adding elderflower cordial to buttercream icing will give it that subtle floral aroma and flavor, and the subtle sweetness evens it all out beautifully.
On vanilla cakes, lemon cakes, or cakes with lightly spiced frosting, elderflower buttercream is a great choice.
In addition to being easy to make, buttercream comes in so many different flavors, many of which only require one or two ingredients.
Here are some tips on how to make buttercream as well as the best buttercream flavors for your next freshly baked cake or batch of cupcakes!
The best buttercream frosting flavors and some additional questions we thought you might have now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about buttercream frosting.
What are the most popular buttercream flavors?
These two buttercream flavors pair well with just about any cake or cupcake flavor, and are simple and easy to make.
What frosting is the fluffiest?
Since whipped cream is used in whipped cream frosting, it is light and fluffy.
Can buttercream be overwhipped?
The flavor or texture of buttercream won’t be affected too much by overwhipping – too many bubbles will mean that there are too many bubbles in the buttercream.