Frosting. The swooping, sweet, fluffy, creamy topping is one of life’s most simple pleasures, and nearly impossible to resist. While I, and probably many of you, grew up on store-bought frosting, it pales in comparison to the real thing. I’m not denying there’s a time and a place for the packaged stuff, but the very best frosting recipes are always, always homemade.

This post was hard to write and not just because it made me want to eat cake ALL. DAY. LONG. (Rough job, I know!) It was difficult because there are a gazillion frosting recipes out there and it was nearly impossible to choose the best. As you can see, I couldn’t pick just one, or two, or three… So, whether you’re a chocolate lover, buttercream fiend, meringue maniac, or you simply don’t discriminate, this is the only list of frosting recipes you’ll ever need.

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Best frosting recipes: Vanilla

A complete guide to the best frostings of every type! The best vanilla frosting comes from Sally's Baking Addiction

A bit of heavy cream lifts the Vanilla Frosting at Sally’s Baking Addiction to an ethereal level of creaminess, and two teaspoons of vanilla ensure a rich vanilla flavor. I love this recipe if you are new to making buttercream frosting from scratch. Sally’s recipes and notes are always so helpful, and this popular recipe is no exception. Plus, it’s her favorite!


Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting is an easy method of blending real vanilla bean with butter and sugar, making it at the top of our best frosting recipes list. | Sweetapolita
Runner up: The key to the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting at Sweetapolita is this: whip it, whip it good. Sweet and creamy, but not too thick, this ultra-spreadable dream is perfect for kid cupcakes or as Rosie presents, a classic vanilla cake. The addition of fresh vanilla bean makes this frosting truly special.

Related: Helpful tips for baking with kids, and 6 recipes to get you started.

Best frosting recipes: Chocolate

The best frosting recipes are always homemade, like the Chocolate Frosting from Ruth Reichl's The Cake That Cures Everything. | Oprah

Every year, for every birthday in my house, I make a chocolate sprinkle cake adorned with Ruth Reichl’s Chocolate Frosting found at Oprah. (It’s also in Reichl’s newest cookbook, My Kitchen Year.) Unsweetened chocolate is beaten with whipped cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar for chocolate-y softness that melts in your mouth—think more creamy than icing-like. This amount works well for a two-layer 9-inch cake, but take note: If you don’t frost the cake right away, the frosting may become difficult to spread. I’ve had luck microwaving it in small portions and beating it again until spreadable.


Rich and creamy, this Perfect Chocolate Buttercream is the best frosting recipe for the chocolate lover in your life. | Add A Pinch

Runner Up: Perfect Chocolate Buttercream Frosting at Add A Pinch may be perfect indeed. Plenty of unsweetened cocoa melds with butter, sugar, and just a pinch of espresso for a chocolate flavor like no other. This heavenly recipe yields a lot of frosting, enough to cover 3 dozen cupcakes (2 dozen for the classroom, 1 dozen for me!).

Related: Awesome bake sale recipes so you can win parent of the year (even if you leave it to the night before).

Best frosting recipe: Meringue – it’s a tie!

A complete guide to the best frosting recipes, including this marshmallow-like, lucious topping for the throwback Devil Dog Cake. | The Beach House Kitchen

Originally from the culinary idols at Gourmet, the throwback Devil Dog Cake at The Beach House Kitchen (above & very top) is covered with the fluffiest looking frosting. It’s reminiscent of the creamy confectionary filling of our youth, but ohhh so much better. Note that you’ll need 2 tablespoons of water for the frosting: the amount is listed in the instructions, but water isn’t typically included in the ingredients section.


Whipping egg whites into sugar creates this heavenly Easy 7 Minute Vanilla Frosting, definitely one of the best frosting recipes to try. | She Wears Many Hats

Light, billowy, marshmallowy… however you want to describe it, the Easy 7 Minute Vanilla Frosting at She Wears Many Hats is a classic that you need to treat your cakes to at least once in your baking life. The timeless method of whipping egg whites into sugar produces an addictive icing that’s as pretty as it is delicious. Use the frosting immediately for the easiest spreading. 

Related: 8 cool birthday party cake ideas for tweens and teens.

Best frosting recipes: Whipped Cream

The best frosting recipes don't have to be complicated. Just two ingredients make up this rich tasting yet light Chocolate Whipped Cream. | Beyond Frosting

Chocolate Whipped Cream | Beyond Frosting

When I first saw the image of Chocolate Whipped Cream that we found at Beyond Frosting, I almost licked the computer screen. Can you blame me? A cross between a mousse and a delicate frosting, the rich-tasting yet airy topping will fulfill all of your chocolate desires.


Best frosting recipes: Whipped Cream in A Jar is a brilliant method for a whipped topping that is light and not too sweet. | Bon Appetit

Runner Up: If you’re not a true frosting fan (I can’t believe you’re still reading this), don’t give up hope yet. The Whipped Cream in a Jar at Saveur is an unconventional whipped topping that’s light and luscious, but not too sweet. Your teeth don’t have to sink through an inch of butter before hitting cake, and no mixers to clean! You make it entirely in a mason jar–a mini bicep workout is needed, but worth it when you see the finished product.

Related: How to make whipped cream—and some not-so-basic, but totally easy upgrades.


Best frosting recipes: Ganache (Glaze)

The name alone–Lucious Chocolate Icing–hints at why this delicious frosting earns a spot on our best frosting recipes list. | Bon Appetit

The Luscious Chocolate Icing at Bon Appetit has a few things going for it: it has three simple ingredients, it can be made up to three days ahead, and it’s deliciously decadent. A touch of coffee enhances the rich chocolate flavor, but there isn’t so much added that it will taste like coffee—just a richer, deeper chocolate taste. Bonus: The topping can also be served over ice cream if you have a non-cake eater (yes, I’ve heard they exist).

Related: How to store baked goods, from cakes to pie, so that they taste great even 3 days later.


Best frosting recipes: Prettiest

With a lovely texture and color, the Berry Buttercream Frosting is one of the prettiest, best frosting recipes to top your cupcakes. | My Name is Yeh

Berry Buttercream Frosting at My Name is Yeh is gorgeous, and just as notably, not complicated. There is an extra step of blending and straining raspberries and blackberries, but this produces the loveliest looking–and tasting–results. Don’t skim too quickly over the olive oil cupcake recipe either. You should be able to have your frosting, and eat your cake, too.