This Buttercream Frosting for Cookies is made with coconut, almond and vanilla extract for the perfect flavor combination ever. Seriously, this is the best frosting recipe! It’s silky smooth, perfectly sweet, and has the most amazing flavor. Use it to frost cookies, sugar cookies, cookie bars, cakes, cupcakes and more! 

Use this sugar cookie buttercream frosting on my Sugar Cookie Bars, Crumbl Sugar Cookies and No Fail Cut Out Sugar Cookies (which are the best sugar cookies for holidays and celebrations!)!

Swirled pink Buttercream Frosting for Sugar Cookies.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Coconut. Almond. Vanilla. The flavor of the buttercream frosting for sugar cookies is a combination of coconut extract, almond extract and vanilla extract — now before you think that’s far too many, trust me on this! The flavor combination is out of this world! It makes it the best buttercream frosting ever.
  • Versatile. This buttercream frosting recipe can be used on sugar cookies, cut out cookies, cookie bars, cakes, cupcakes, and more! You can also mix up the color to make it work for any holiday or celebration.

Ingredient Notes

Buttercream Frosting for Sugar Cookies ingredients portioned into glass bowls on a white background.
  • Unsalted Butter: I always opt for unsalted butter in any baking because you have a better chance at controlling the amount of salt. Use room temperature butter for best results. 
  • Powdered Sugar: Sift the powdered sugar for a super smooth texture. 
  • Heavy Cream: The heavy cream (same as heavy whipping cream) will help add a bit of liquid to create a frosting texture without being too liquid. The cream will also beat up a bit with the frosting, giving an even fluffier frosting consistency than if you use water or milk. 
  • Flavorings: The combination of vanilla extract, coconut extract, and almond extract is perfect! They all work together so well. 
  • Food Coloring: I used little bit of gel food coloring, but you can use liquid food coloring if you’d like or if that’s what you have on hand. Feel free to use different colors to work for the holidays! Green and red work great for Christmas cookies; red and pink work great for Valentine’s Day cookies, black and orange or green and purple are fun for Halloween cookies, and different shades of green is great for St. Patrick’s Day! 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Beat the butter. Add 1 cup unsalted butter softened to room temperature I the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 minutes or until light in color and texture. 
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and cream, plus flavorings. Add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar, 2 T of heavy cream, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp coconut extract, 1/2 tsp almond extract and a scant 1/2 tsp of salt. Beat until well combined and light in texture (about 1-2 minutes on medium speed). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 
  3. Add remaining powdered sugar and cream. Add 2 additional cups of sifted powdered sugar and 2 T heavy cream. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes until light in color and texture. Add the food coloring, enough to reach the desired shade.
  4. Frost the cookies! You can use this buttercream frosting for cutout cookies, sugar cookies, cookie bars, cake, cupcakes and more! Spread or pipe on each top of the cookie or cookie bar!
A glass bowl filled with a pink Buttercream Frosting recipe for Sugar Cookies or sugar cookie bars.

Recipe Tips

This sugar cookie buttercream frosting will frost a 13×9-inch pan of sugar cookie bars or 2.5-3 dozen sugar cookies, depending on the size of the baked cookies.

This buttercream frosting for sugar cookies is easily spreadable or pipeable. Put it in a piping bag with a decorative tip or in a ziplock bag with the corner cut off. 

Be sure the butter is at room temperature before making this classic buttercream recipe. 

You’re going to want an electric mixer — either a hand mixer or stand mixer — to get the best smooth and fluffy frosting texture. 

If you’re wanting a white frosting, I would recommend using clear vanilla extract. You’ll still get a pretty white frosting color with regular vanilla, but clear would definitely be whiter! 

If using liquid food coloring or gel food coloring, start with a small amount and increase from there. 

American buttercream frostings are typically pretty sweet. If you are looking for a frosting recipe that is less sweet, I would recommend my Swiss Meringue Buttercream and my Whipped Cream Frosting

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Store left over buttercream frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week, or on the counter for 2-3 days. If you store it in the fridge, the frosting will need to come to room temperature and may need to be whipped again before frosting cookies. You may have to add powdered sugar if the frosting became a little slack. 

To freeze, store the frosting in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove the buttercream cookie frosting and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Then transfer to the counter to come to room temperature. Beat with a hand mixer to return to a spreadable, soft consistency (adding a splash of milk/heavy cream if needed to loosen the texture). 

To freeze decorated cookies, flash freeze for 5 minutes or until set. Then wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight — without the plastic wrap but still in the ziplock bag. 

This sugar cookie frosting with butter will harden if refrigerated or frozen — due to the butter in the recipe.

Cut sugar cookie bars topped with pink buttercream frosting.

Recipe FAQs

Is buttercream frosting good on sugar cookies?

Heck yes! This recipe is amazing on soft sugar cookies! 

Do buttercream frosted cookies need to be refrigerated?

You can leave frosted sugar cookies out at room temperature, in an airtight container or ziplock bag for a day or two, but then I would store them in the fridge. 

Can I stack cookies that are frosted with this buttercream?

This buttercream recipe doesn’t harden enough to be able to stack your cookies or desserts. For that you would need something more like a royal icing. 

Pink Sugar cookie buttercream frosting in a glass bowl.

More Frosting Recipes

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Swirled pink buttercream frosting.
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Buttercream Frosting for Cookies

Use this buttercream frosting for sugar cookies or sugar cookie bars, or cupcakes! This frosting is seriously the best!!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 10 mins
Servings: 1 serving

Ingredients
 

  • 1 cup unsalted butter - softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar - divided
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream - divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • gel food coloring - optional

Instructions
 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute or until light and fluffy.
  • Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 T heavy cream, vanilla, coconut, almond extract, and salt and beat again until combined and fluffy about 1-2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 
  • Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and 2 T heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the gel food coloring, several drops until your desired color is reached. 
  • Frost sugar cookies, sugar cookie bars etc. Will frost 1 13×9 sugar cookie bar recipe or 2.5-3 dozen sugar cookies, depending on the size of the cookies. 
  • Store left over frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 week, or on the counter for 2-3 days. If you store it on the counter the frosting may need to be whipped again before frosting cookies, and you may have to add powdered sugar if the frosting became a little slack. 

Notes

Store leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Remove and let thaw in the fridge overnight. Remove and let come to room temperature. 
Beat up the frosting after being chilled to return to a smooth and spreadable consistency. 

Nutrition

Calories: 3723kcal (186%)Carbohydrates: 482g (161%)Protein: 4g (8%)Fat: 206g (317%)Saturated Fat: 130g (650%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 53gTrans Fat: 7gCholesterol: 556mg (185%)Sodium: 1214mg (51%)Potassium: 134mg (4%)Sugar: 472g (524%)Vitamin A: 6555IU (131%)Vitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 101mg (10%)Iron: 0.4mg (2%)
Course: Dessert, Frosting
Cuisine: American
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