How To Make Strawberry Icing


How To Make Strawberry Icing. Now that’s a title sure to grab your attention!

I love to make delicious strawberry icing for cakes, cupcakes and bars! This is one of my most favorite recipes, and it takes only 5 minutes to make. If you are looking for an easy dessert recipe that is always a hit, this strawberry cream cheese frosting recipe is the way to go.

Strawberry Frosting (with Fresh, Frozen, or Freeze-Dried Strawberries)

Learn how to make a fresh, beautiful, naturally pink Strawberry Frosting using either fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried berries! Recipe includes a how-to video!

Vanilla cupcake topped with bright pink strawberry frosting and a halved fresh strawberry

A Fresh, Naturally-Flavored Strawberry Frosting

Today’s strawberry frosting is a sort of choose-your-own-adventure recipe. When I set out to write this post, I didn’t plan on offering two variations of this recipe, but after lots of taste-testing, I decided both versions were too good not to share.

My strawberry frosting can be made using either fresh, frozen, or freeze-dried strawberries. No matter which method you choose, I guarantee it will yield an authentic, fresh strawberry flavor with a natural bright pink color, perfect for covering your favorite cakes or cupcakes (hint: pair it with my dark chocolate cupcakes for a chocolate/strawberry cupcake… yum!).

Today we start with a buttercream frosting base which we then infuse with the real fresh taste of strawberries. Let’s get to it!

What You Need

Ingredients needed for strawberry frosting
  • Strawberries. For today’s recipe you will only need one or the other: freeze dried strawberries or fresh strawberries (or frozen, quartered strawberries, which we will treat exactly the same as we would fresh berries). I detail the differences in the frostings made with either further on in the post, but you really can’t go wrong either way.
  • Powdered sugar. An essential ingredient for nearly all of my frosting recipes, this thickens the icing. Do not try to substitute granulated sugar, which will not work.
  • Butter. Another classic buttercream frosting ingredient, you’ll want this to be softened, but not so soft that it’s melting/oily. I opt for unsalted butter and then add salt to best control the flavor of the frosting.
  • Vanilla and salt. These two ingredients are added in small quantities to enhance the flavor of the frosting. While you could omit the vanilla extract for a purely strawberry flavor, I found in this recipe the vanilla enhances and deepens the berry flavor, rather than detracting from it.
  • Cream. Heavy cream is only necessary if you are using freeze-dried strawberries. Because they are completely dehydrated and so have no moisture to them, they tend to make the frosting dry. A splash of cream will bring the frosting back to a smooth, spreadable, easy-to-pipe consistency. If you don’t have cream, milk will work, but you will need a bit less as it is thinner.

As always, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Make Strawberry Frosting Using Fresh or Frozen Berries

Collage with four photos showing how to make strawberry buttercream using fresh strawberries

For fresh or frozen berries, the steps will be the same. If you’re using frozen strawberries, you do not need to thaw them first.

  1. Start with quartered berries (with the stems removed) and add them to a small saucepan. Add a splash of water, too. Ultimately our goal is to cook the excess water out of the berries, but adding an extra bit in the beginning keeps the berries from sticking to the saucepan and burning.
  2. Cook over medium heat. Once the berries begin to release their juices (the pot will suddenly have a lot of red liquid in it!) grab a potato masher or fork and mash the berries.
  3. Continue to cook until most of the water has cooked out, the liquid is thick and resembles a paste, and you basically can’t cook it anymore without the mixture sticking to the pot. Place it in a heatproof dish and let it cool completely!
  4. Prepare your buttercream frosting as usual (creaming the butter, gradually adding powdered sugar, and adding a bit of salt and vanilla) and then stir in the (cooled!) strawberry paste.

SAM’S TIP: It’s important that your fresh strawberry buttercream be thoroughly mixed, but when using fresh fruit try not to over-mix as sometimes, when over-beaten, the frosting can separate. This is not a risk when using freeze-dried berries.

…And Using Freeze-Dried Berries

Collage with two photos showing how to make strawberry buttercream using freeze-dried berries
  1. Measure out 1 cup of freeze-dried berries and toss them in a food processor, blending them until you have nothing but a fine dust remaining.
  2. Prepare your buttercream frosting as usual (creaming the butter, gradually adding powdered sugar, and adding a bit of salt and vanilla) and then stir in the strawberry powder. This strawberry frosting will be thicker than the one made with fresh berries, so in order to make it spreadable/pipe-able, you’ll want to thin it by blending in a bit of cream until you reach a smooth consistency.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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 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.

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?

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
strawberry frosting in a glass stand mixer bowl with a whisk attachment

Strawberry Frosting


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.)

Real Strawberry Frosting

I wanted REAL strawberry frosting for my Real Strawberry Cupcakes and could not find an acceptable recipe. I wanted an intense strawberry taste without using an extract or gelatin. I came up with this recipe using a strawberry puree reduction that is truly the strawberry-est. If you love strawberries, you’ll LOVE THIS!!!


Real Strawberry Frosting

Recipe Summary

Cook:20 minsTotal:40 minsPrep:20 minsServings:18Yield:18 servings


Decrease Serving18Increase ServingAdjustOriginal recipe yields 18 servingsIngredient Checklist

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted, divided



Instructions Checklist

  • Step 1Place strawberries in a blender; puree until smooth.
  • Step 2Transfer strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring often, until puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.
  • Step 3Beat butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Step 4Beat 1 cup confectioners’ sugar into butter until just blended.
  • Step 5Beat 2 tablespoons strawberry puree and vanilla extract into butter mixture until just blended.
  • Step 6Repeat with 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons strawberry puree two more times.
  • Step 7Beat last 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar into mixture until just blended.

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Gorgeous strawberry buttercream frosting made with 5 simple ingredients and bursting with strawberry flavor. This fluffy, easy strawberry buttercream recipe is perfect for your favorite cakes, cupcakes, brownies and more!PREP TIME15 MINS COOK TIME0 MINS TOTAL TIME15 MINS

If you’ve seen my cake recipes, you know that I LOVE a really good frosting. I haven’t been putting them on the site separately, but figured it’s about time to do so because there’s endless ways to use frosting.

This recipe was specifically made for my chocolate strawberry cake (coming tomorrow!) but it would also be delicious on your favorite brownie recipe, cakes, cupcakes, cookie sandwiches and more. Check out all my ideas below. xo!

frosting a cake with strawberry buttercream

What is buttercream?

Buttercream is a type of frosting made with, of course, butter, plus sugar and milk or cream. It’s super fluffy and great for decorating cakes & pastries because all of the ingredients are whipped together until smooth but hold a nice shape.

Unlike “icing,” which is made from mostly powdered sugar and a liquid fat like milk, traditional buttercream recipes use about a 2:1 ratio of sugar to butter. Some recipes use other fat sources like margarine or shortening as well. In this recipe, we’re infusing a delicious vanilla buttercream frosting with wonderful strawberry flavor.

strawberry buttercream in a bowl

Ingredients in strawberry buttercream

This easy strawberry buttercream recipe uses just five simple ingredients for a perfectly fluffy, strawberry frosting you’ll make again and again. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Butter: our fat source in this recipe is good old fashioned butter. I prefer to use salted butter because it has more flavor, but unsalted works perfectly.
  • Powdered sugar: we’ll use plenty of powdered sugar to sweeten the buttercream.
  • Freeze dried strawberries: to get that delicious strawberry flavor, you’ll actually blend up freeze dried strawberries into a fine powder.
  • Vanilla: for an extra boost of flavor.
  • Milk: feel free to use any milk you’d like to thin the strawberry buttercream just a bit.
ingredients for easy strawberry buttercream on a board

Why use freeze dried strawberries?

I tested this strawberry buttercream recipe many different ways and found that using freeze dried strawberries, as opposed to strawberry jam or even fresh strawberries, gave the frosting and even deeper strawberry flavor (and color!) Unless you have very ripe, sweet strawberries, fresh ones potentially won’t give your buttercream the strawberry flavor you’re looking for

Bonus: you can make this easy strawberry frosting all year round, even when strawberries aren’t in season!

Easy ingredient swaps

  • Make it dairy free: feel free to use vegan butter.
  • Use unrefined sugar: feel free to try using my homemade paleo powdered sugar or your powdered sweetener of choice in this strawberry buttercream recipe and let me know how it turns out! I have only tested it as is though.
whipped butter in a bowl to make strawberry frosting

How to make strawberry buttercream frosting from scratch

You won’t believe how easy this strawberry buttercream recipe is!

  1. Blend the strawberries. You’ll first blend your freeze dried strawberries in a blender or food processor until they become a very fine powder.
  2. Cream the butter. Next, whip your softened butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until it’s light and fluffy.
  3. Whip everything together. Add the freeze-dried strawberry powder, powdered sugar & vanilla extract to your electric mixer and beat for 2-3 minutes more. Add in a few tablespoons of milk to thin the frosting out, beat again until smooth.
freeze dried strawberries in a bowl with butter to make strawberry buttercream

How do you make buttercream frosting fluffy?

The key is to whip together all of the ingredients slowly and increase the speed of your electric mixer as you go. This will create beautiful peaks in the frosting and make it super easy to frost your favorite treats. Don’t forget to add a little bit of milk at a time as needed, this will also help to make the frosting easier to spread.

mixing strawberry buttercream frosting in a bowl

Ways to use this strawberry buttercream

The options are truly endless. Here are some of my favorite ways to use this frosting:

  • Double the strawberry fun with this Almond Flour Strawberry Shortcake Cake
  • Add a layer to my famous Grain Free Tahini Brownies or my Flourless Almond Butter Brownies.
  • Did someone say strawberry banana? Put a dollop on these Healthy Soft Banana Bread Cookies
  • Decorate one of these Almond Flour Chocolate Sugar Cookies or make a fun cookie sandwich for Valentine’s Day.
frosting a cake with simple strawberry buttercream frosting

How to store homemade buttercream

  • At room temp: this strawberry buttercream will stay good at room temp for about a day on a cake.
  • In the fridge: feel free to keep the frosting in the fridge for up to a week if you’re looking to prepare it ahead of time. Let the frosting come to room temp before using it. After you’ve frosted your cake or another dessert, I also recommend storing the cake in the fridge after one day.

Can you freeze buttercream frosting?

Actually, yes! You can freeze this strawberry buttercream frosting for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer-friendly bag. When you’re ready to use it, simply let it thaw in the refrigerator, let it come to room temp, and then re-whip it in your electric mixer.

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