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Homemade Strawberry Frosting with Real Strawberries

This strawberry frosting recipe is the best! It is so light, fluffy, and smooth with real strawberry flavor! The frosting uses the Swiss meringue method to create an extremely soft texture.

strawberry frosting swirled on three vanilla cupcakes

Strawberry buttercream frosting

When it comes to frosting, Swiss meringue is supreme. It’s made by heating egg whites and sugar until the sugar is dissolved then whipping the mixture into a stiff meringue. Softened butter is then whipped into the cooled meringue and the frosting is flavored as desired.

In this case, a strawberry powder is added for an ultimate strawberry buttercream frosting. The texture is light and silky. And loaded with natural strawberry flavor.

You may remember these strawberry macarons. I used this frosting to fill them. The only difference is this recipe yields a larger amount so you can use it on strawberry cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes, layer cakes, or sheet cakes.

Frosting with strawberry powder

There are many ways to flavor buttercream. Some recipes call for using pureed fruit, emulsions, extracts, and powders.

To get the best flavor without sacrificing the texture, I chose to use strawberry powder. You can purchase it or you can make it yourself by grinding freeze-dried strawberries into a fine powder.

Where can I find freeze-dried strawberries

Freeze-dried fruit can be found at most grocery stores in the aisle with the dried fruit and raisins. I used ⅓ cup of powder to flavor the frosting and that’s about 1 ¼ cups of freeze-dried strawberries.

homemade strawberry frosting on cupcakes

What goes into the best homemade strawberry frosting

Here’s what you need to make this incredibly smooth and flavorful buttercream.

  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is cooked with the egg whites until dissolved.
  • Egg whites: Large egg whites will be heated so they’re safe to eat.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt is added to balance the flavors. This is completely optional.
  • Butter: Use unsalted butter that is softened to room temperature. It shouldn’t be any warmer than 60°F.
  • Strawberry powder: Make it by grinding freeze-dried strawberries into a powder. Freeze-dried fruit can be found at your local grocery store or on Amazon.

Can I use another fruit?

You can flavor this buttercream with any other fruit you wish. Just make sure to use fruit powder or the consistency of the frosting will be off.

Choose any freeze-dried fruit, pulse it in a food processor until finely ground, and add it to the frosting.

Can I use fresh strawberries?

You can make the frosting with fresh strawberries. But, you’ll need to make a reduction first or their juices will ruin the frosting.

Do this by pureeing 1 ½ cups (200g) fresh strawberries in a food processor. Cook over medium heat until reduced to about 6 tablespoons. Strain it to remove the seeds then let it cool completely before adding it to the frosting.

Can I use salted butter?

I never recommend using salted butter in any baking recipe. The frosting could end up tasting too salty due to the amount of butter that goes into it. It’s best to use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt used.


How to make strawberry frosting

The process is just like my chocolate Swiss buttercream. But you could also use my vanilla buttercream as a base and it’s would be delicious.

Start by heating the egg whites, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer set over a pot of barely simmering water. It’s important to make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl. You really only need about 1-inch of water.

Keep stirring as the mixture heats up so the eggs don’t scramble. And cook until the temperature reaches 150°F and the sugar is completely dissolved.

process shots showing how to make meringue

Remove the bowl from the stove and use the stand mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the mixture into a thick meringue. It will look like shaving cream.

Let the meringue cool until the outside bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch.

Gradually add the salted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Let each piece of butter mix in completely before adding the next one. After all the butter is added whip the frosting on medium-high speed until it’s light and fluffy.

Add the strawberry powder or tablespoon strawberry puree and mix until fully incorporated. You can sift the strawberry powder before adding it to the frosting to make sure no larger pieces make it in. This will provide the frosting with a smoother texture.

Use a piping bag or offset spatula to decorate cakes and cupcakes.

strawberry powder added to Swiss meringue buttercream
strawberry buttercream piped on a cupcake

Storage tips

The frosting can be made a day in advance. Keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature and re-whip it when ready to use.

The frosting freezes well also! It will keep for up to 2 months. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then let it come to room temperature and re-whip.

More strawberry recipes you’ll love:

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strawberry frosted cupcakes

Homemade Strawberry Frosting

Yield: 4 ½ cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Strawberry frosting made with Swiss meringue buttercream and freeze-dried strawberries. The freeze-dried berries offer real strawberry flavor without compromising the light and airy texture.

The recipe makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a two-layer 9-inch cake.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 4 (140 g) large egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups (339 g) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature (SEE NOTE 1)
  • ⅓ cup (27 g) strawberry powder (SEE NOTE 2)

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar, egg whites, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Set the bowl over a saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water. Whisk gently and continuously while heating the mixture. It should register 150°F on an instant-read thermometer. The sugar should be fully dissolved.
  2. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer and fit it with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is the consistency of shaving cream and cooled slightly, 1-2 minutes. (if the meringue is warm it will melt the butter.)
  3. Gradually add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until smooth and creamy. (Only add the next tablespoon of butter once the last one has been completely mixed in.)
  4. Once all the butter is added, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix on medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 30 seconds.
  5. Add the strawberry powder and continue to mix on medium-high until incorporated.

    Notes

    1. The butter must be softened to about 60°F. It should be soft enough to press an indent with your fingertip but not so soft that it is greasy or melty. Butter that is too soft will turn the frosting into soup.
    2. Strawberry powder can be purchased or made by processing freeze-dried strawberries.
    3. Read my post on how to make Swiss frosting for tips and techniques.

    Make ahead tip

    1. The frosting can be made 1 day in advance. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Bring to room temperature and re-whip before using it.
    2. The frosting can also be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight then let it come to room temperature and re-whip before using.
    3. Cakes or cupcakes frosted with SMBC can be left out at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Or store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

    Recommended Products

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 24 Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 137Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 33mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the values shown are just an estimate.

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    Jose M. Lopez

    Friday 12th of June 2020

    The video posted on IG you added cream of tartar but I cannot see this ingredient in your post. Is it a suggestion or a must to use it? Can be replaced by, for example, xantana gum or baking powder? Thanks a lot!

    Jen Sobjack

    Saturday 13th of June 2020

    There is no cream of tartar in this recipe.

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