Buttercream is one of the most classic frostings to use on just about any baked good, be it cake, cupcakes, or even macarons.
It is an easy enough frosting to make, and the sweet but neutral base means it can be flavored in so many different ways.
There are endless ingredients you can add to give buttercream flavor — even the most simple of ingredients can transform the taste of buttercream. With all the different options, it can be tough deciding on a buttercream flavor!
What are the best buttercream flavors? Some of the best buttercream flavors include vanilla, lemon zest, chocolate, espresso, and more. The best flavor will depend on your preferences, but there are some that really do stand out among the rest!
To help you choose your next buttercream flavor, we have ranked our absolute favorites (starting with the best flavor of them all), so you have a variety of options to choose from!
What Is Buttercream?
Before we go over the best buttercream flavors to try, it helps to go over what buttercream is exactly!
Buttercream is a type of frosting, and it is a popular one for many different reasons.
Firstly, it is made with only a few simple ingredients. It is made by mixing together a fat (most commonly butter, but also shortening or margarine), confectioners sugar, and cream or milk.
Another perk is that basic buttercream can have flavors added — there really is no limit to the ingredients and flavors you add, as long as it does not change the texture of the buttercream too much!
The Best Buttercream Flavors
Take a read through the below best flavors of buttercream, and find the one (or a few) that you want to try out next!
Vanilla buttercream frosting is a basic flavor, but it definitely is the favorite among many. While it might be simple, the beautiful flavor of vanilla just can’t be beaten!
The beauty of vanilla buttercream is that the frosting will turn out right each time, as you are not adding any additional ingredients other than the vanilla essence or extract, which holds a strong enough flavor on its own.
Traditionally, vanilla buttercream is made with heavy cream instead of milk — this gives it more of a velvety, buttery flavor that works so well with the vanilla notes. Being made with heavy cream, it is a stiff icing that is easy to pipe.
Vanilla buttercream can be used on just about every flavor of cake or cupcake, and the vanilla flavor pairs well with so many other ingredients too. It can also be colored using food coloring to make it more exciting!
Sometimes, nothing beats a rich chocolate cake that has been iced with a velvety and rich chocolate buttercream.
Chocolate buttercream, like vanilla buttercream, is a basic flavor made by adding vanilla essence and cocoa powder to a buttercream base. The flavor is rich and decadent, and it pairs beautifully with so much more than just chocolate cake!
Due to the addition of cocoa to the buttercream, chocolate buttercream is a heavy, stiff frosting — this makes it easy enough to spread onto a cake or cupcake, and it means that it dries quickly too.
The confectioner’s sugar in the buttercream adds sweetness to the bitter cocoa powder, giving it a sweeter, dark chocolate flavor.
Strawberry buttercream is fruity, sweet, and so 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 and add this to the buttercream.
It’s easy — all you need to do is blend up some strawberries at home into a puree and add this to the buttercream base.
This gives the buttercream a fresh strawberry flavor, and a vibrant pink color too! The puree will also have some small pieces of strawberry left in it too, which will add pops of flavor to the buttercream.
You could also simply add strawberry essence to a buttercream base if you are in a pinch, but it can have a slightly artificial flavor and it won’t give the buttercream a delightfully pink color either.
Espresso-flavored buttercream is amazing if you are a coffee fan and if you love the blend of coffee, sweetness, creaminess, and cake!
You can make espresso buttercream in a few different ways, such as adding instant coffee to the buttercream.
To get the best flavor possible, you should add some freshly brewed espresso to the buttercream base in order to get the full, rich aroma that the espresso has to offer.
Freshly brewed espresso will not only give the buttercream a rich flavor, but it will also give it a light brown coloring too, which looks great on all different types of cakes.
Espresso buttercream is a great frosting to use on vanilla cakes, chocolate cakes, or even coffee cakes for a double coffee flavor.
5. White Chocolate
If you love chocolate buttercream frosting but are looking for something sweeter and creamier, then white chocolate frosting is definitely a great option.
The best way to make white chocolate buttercream is to add melted white chocolate to the prepared buttercream base, mixing it all together well.
When added to buttercream frosting, white chocolate makes a sweet (but not too sweet) and creamy buttercream that has hints of chocolate, but still has the vanilla flavor that you love.
The color of the frosting will remain white, but you can also add some food coloring if you want to decorate the cake or cupcakes you are making a little more!
6. Lemon Zest
Some cakes and cupcakes call for a fresh, zesty, and light buttercream — lemon zest buttercream is the best choice in this case!
Lemon zest buttercream is made by adding lemon extract and lemon zest to a buttercream frosting base. This gives the buttercream a fresh, light, and tangy flavor with a burst of citrus in each mouthful thanks to the lemon zest!
Use lemon zest buttercream for vanilla cakes, lemon cakes, yogurt cakes, and cupcakes too. The buttercream will be light and creamy, plus it will have pops of color from the lemon zest dotted around the buttercream too.
For a lighter lemon flavor, you can leave out either the lemon extract or the lemon zest.
7. Cookies And Cream
Everyone loves cookies and cream, whether it is ice cream, cake, or buttercream frosting! The chunks of cookies paired with the vanilla flavor are a match made in heaven, and this frosting can elevate even the most simple of cakes or cupcakes.
You can pick how large you want the cookie crumbs and chunks to be, but if you are piping the icing, then smaller crumbs would be best. You can always sprinkle some larger chunks over the buttercream once it has been piped onto a cake.
8. Mint Chocolate
Mint chocolate buttercream is the perfect blend between creamy chocolate and refreshing mint, and it is ideal for chocolate or vanilla cakes and cupcakes!
You can choose how much chocolate and mint extract you add to find the perfect balance for your tastes! You can leave the color as is, or you can add green food coloring to give it more of a minty appearance.
Adding some chocolate chips also gives the buttercream some texture too, and biting into a mouthful of frosting with chocolate chips is always delicious!
9. Peanut Butter
If you love all things peanut butter, then there is no doubt that you have to try out peanut butter buttercream frosting!
While peanut butter is thick, peanut butter buttercream is light and fluffy! It has the perfect balance thanks to the saltiness of peanut butter and the sweetness from the confectioner’s sugar.
It is really simple to make peanut butter buttercream — just add some peanut butter to the buttercream base and beat it together well!
The peanut butter is thinned out by the whipping cream in buttercream frosting, making it easier to spread and pipe onto a cake or a cupcake.
This is a good buttercream to use for plain vanilla or chocolate cakes, or even for banana bread.
Raspberry buttercream frosting might seem similar to strawberry, but it has more of a sour tang to it, which is absolutely delicious when combined with the sweetness of the buttercream base.
To make raspberry buttercream, you should puree some raspberries in a blender (or mash them by hand) and add this to the buttercream base.
Raspberries are quite tart, but this will be balanced out by the sweetness added by the confectioner’s sugar. To add some flavor and depth to raspberry buttercream, you can fold in some white chocolate chips too!
Raspberry buttercream pairs well with many different flavor cakes and cupcakes too, such as vanilla, chocolate, and even berry!
11. Chai Spice
If you love chai spice lattes, then you will most certainly love chai spice buttercream! Chai spice buttercream has the same flavor as a chai spice latte, with a delicious sweetness from the confectioner’s sugar.
There are a few options on how to make chai spice buttercream. The first is to brew some chai spiced tea at home and add some of this to the buttercream, or you can use a chai spice mix or even a powdered chai spice mix.
These different options all work well to flavor the buttercream; it will just depend on what you have available to use at home.
Use chai spice buttercream on vanilla cakes and cupcakes.
Peppermint buttercream is the perfect festive season buttercream to try, but it could also become your favorite buttercream flavor to use year-round!
The best way to make peppermint buttercream is to use peppermint extract to add to the buttercream base. If you have some, break up peppermint sticks and sprinkle them onto the top of the frosting once it is on the cake!
Peppermint buttercream can be used on vanilla, chocolate, or mint cakes and cupcakes.
If you are feeling a little bit fancy, then champagne buttercream should be the flavor you try next for your vanilla cake!
Making champagne buttercream might seem like a difficult thing to do, but it is actually really easy — all you need is a buttercream base and some champagne or sparkling wine.
You simply have to mix in champagne or sparkling wine into the buttercream base, add some vanilla extract if you feel it needs some, and that’s it!
Just keep in mind that as you are adding liquid to the buttercream, it might become a little too runny, but you can beat in some more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it up again.
Coconut buttercream is a light, earthy buttercream that can be used on many different flavors of cake and cupcakes, but it is also a great flavor to use for macarons too. You can make coconut buttercream in a few different ways.
If you want a smooth, creamy coconut buttercream, then you can add coconut cream to the buttercream and beat it together well. If you want more texture, you can blend in dried coconut flakes to the buttercream too!
Once you have piped or spread the coconut buttercream onto your cake or cupcake of choice, then you can add some shaved or toasted coconut pieces to the top to finish it off.
Elderflower buttercream might not be as popular a flavor as some of the others, but it is floral and light — this is a great flavor for the springtime and for cupcakes being served at a picnic or macarons at lunch.
You just need to add some elderflower cordial to buttercream icing to give the buttercream that subtle floral aroma and flavor, and the subtle sweetness evens it all out beautifully.
Elderflower buttercream is a great option to use on vanilla cakes, lightly spiced cakes, and lemon cakes.
Buttercream is not only amazingly simple to make, but there are so many different flavors to choose from, most of which only require 1–2 simple ingredients!
To help you decide which buttercream flavor to choose next, or which will pair well with your next freshly baked cake or batch of cupcakes, read through the above for the best buttercream flavors and some tips on how to make them!
Now that we’ve learned all about buttercream frosting and the absolute top flavors, here are some additional questions we thought you might have.
What are the most popular buttercream flavors?
The most popular buttercream flavors include vanilla and chocolate. These pair well with just about any flavor of cake or cupcake, and are simple and easy to make.
What frosting is the fluffiest?
The fluffiest type of frosting is whipped cream frosting, and it is light and fluffy due to the use of whipped cream.
Can buttercream be overwhipped?
Buttercream can be overwhipped — it will mean that there are too many bubbles in the buttercream, but it does not ruin the flavor or texture of the buttercream too much.