There is no doubt that easy buttercream frosting is a recipe and skill set that everyone in the kitchen needs to have. While boxed cupcakes and cakes are typically delicious, nothing says love or homemade like fresh and perfect buttercream.
This Russian Buttercream recipe with only three ingredients (4 if you want it thicker) differs from American buttercream. Russian buttercream uses sweetened condensed milk and butter; American buttercream uses butter and powdered sugar.
Using condensed milk gives Russian Buttercream a fluffy frosting recipe that holds well for piping shapes and comes together fairly quickly. As a bonus, it has a great flavor and doesn’t just taste like straight powdered sugar like its counterparts.
- Butter – Butter should be softened at room temperature to make for easy mixing but DO NOT MELT in the microwave!!
- Sweetened condensed milk – Room temperature only.
- vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- powdered sugar, optional for thickening icing if needed
How to make Russian Buttercream
- Add butter to a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high for 6 minutes, stopping the mixer and scraping down the bowl every 2 minutes. The butter needs full time to get all of the air out of it.
- Butter will lighten until it’s nearly white or a pale yellow and be light and fluffy.
- Add one can of sweetened condensed milk in 3-4 parts, beating well after each addition. Start by adding a small amount and incorporating, a little more and incorporating, etc., until the full can is done. This allows the butter and sweetened condensed milk to combine slowly. If you dump the whole thing at once, it will have a hard time coming together.
- Continue to beat 2 minutes after the entire can has been added.
- Now add in 1 tsp of vanilla extra and mix together. The homemade frosting should be a smooth texture.
- If your consistency is too runny, add powdered sugar to the mixture and combine. Continue adding powdered sugar (confectioners sugar), a bit at a time, till desired consistency.
- Place Russian Buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a tip and pipe it onto cupcakes. Frosting must be used and eaten fairly quickly or stored in the fridge.
Softening Butter at Room Temperature
It’s best to remove butter from the fridge, unwrap, and leave it on the counter at least an hour prior to starting the recipe. Remember that conditions in your home can affect this, and if you are already baking, the butter could melt.
Russian Buttercream Facts
This buttercream cannot stay on the counter for hours – it has to be stored in the fridge.
However, it will likely harden once in the fridge due to the butter, and if you need to re-pipe it on cupcakes or cakes, must be brought back up to room temperature first.
Unlike regular American buttercream made from powdered sugar, it is a lot smoother since it doesn’t have any (or at least very little) real sugar.
Add a bit of cocoa powder to turn it into a Russian chocolate buttercream.
What if my Russian Buttercream starts to separate or is runny?
Dealing with baking can be just as much science as it is creativity.
If butter and condensed milk begin to separate, it’s typically due to one of the ingredients being too warm or too cold. I generally solve this by putting the bowl into the fridge for 5-10 minutes and whipping.
What do I use Russian Buttercream on?
Now that the holidays have begun, the most common usage is cupcakes! Try this ultra cute cupcake with Christmas trees on it.
The buttercream makes a pretty nice layer of perfect frosting that looks like snow.