This dreamy orange buttercream frosting recipe is super simple, tangy and delicious! Made using orange extract, this homemade frosting is quick and easy to make, yet full of bright orange flavour.
✏️ Recipe creation
This best-ever orange buttercream is creamy and dreamy, perfect for adding a zesty summer twist to your desserts and sweet snacks.
This orange-flavoured American-style buttercream is made from scratch. Only 4 ingredients and ready in 15mins! You can use either orange juice or milk to get a smooth, light and fluffy consistency.
It’s simple to make and so quick, using butter and powdered sugar in a classic buttercream. This deliciously light orange buttercream frosting is an easy way to pack tangy orange flavour into your desserts.
Perfect for topping cupcakes, cakes, cookies, desserts and more!
This orange buttercream recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- Unsalted butter: room temperature for a softened butter that’s easier to beat.
- Powdered icing sugar: sieve your confectioners’ sugar for a smooth frosting.
- Orange extract
- Orange juice (or milk): fresh or bottled orange juice works great.
- Salt (optional)
See the recipe card for quantities.
Top tip: For accuracy, it’s best to weigh your ingredients rather than using cups.
♻️ Substitutions / Variations
If you don’t have orange extract, swap this for fine orange zest (1 ½ orange’s worth / 2 tbsp). Be sure to also use orange juice (not milk) in the recipe.
For a creamier frosting (orange creamsicle style!), add milk to your frosting instead of orange juice. If you’ve got quite thick frosting, you can add a little of both (½ tablespoon at a time).
Use fresh orange juice over bottled where you can, but if you don’t have fresh oranges, you can swap for bottled in a pinch.
For a boozy orange frosting, you can swap the lemon juice for Cointreau (orange liqueur) – perfect to make grown-up treats!
To make blood orange buttercream, swap your regular fresh orange juice for blood orange juice. You can also tint your frosting with a few drops of orange and red colouring to help the colour match.
You can make orange blossom buttercream by swapping the orange extract for orange blossom water extract instead.
To make vegan orange frosting, you can swap the butter for a firm dairy-free butter (baking block). You must use the solid kind rather than a liquid or soft variety.
This is a gluten-free orange buttercream recipe. Be sure the goods you’re frosting are gluten-free too. For example, check out these gluten-free chocolate cupcakes!
Step 1: Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
Steps 2 - 3: Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
Steps 4 - 5: Add in the orange extract, juice (or milk) and salt (if using), mixing until only just smooth.
Steps 6 - 7: If using, beat in a few drops of orange food coloring until the desired colour.
Step 8: Use your buttercream to frost cupcakes, cakes, cookies and more!
🎥 Recipe video
Check out the recipe video below for how to make homemade orange buttercream!
💭 Top tips
- For creamy frosting, beat your butter until it’s pale, light and fluffy before adding your other ingredients. This could take several minutes.
- This recipe makes enough orange buttercream to frost 12-15 cupcakes or a single layer 8-inch round cake. Scale up by ½ to frost a 2 layer 8-inch round cake.
- If you want a stronger orange colour, you can add orange (or red and yellow) food colouring to your buttercream. I recommend using a gel to prevent adding too much liquid.
- Make sure you’re using cooled desserts to frost, not ones fresh from the oven!
Your orange buttercream should last for up to 4 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes! You can freeze your orange buttercream frosting in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost and re-beat before use.
Yes, you can make your orange frosting ahead of time and either keep it in the fridge (up to 4 days) or freeze it (up to 3 months) until you’re ready to use it.
To get rid of air bubbles in your frosting, beat it on a low speed using a paddle attachment before using it. The whisk attachment can sometimes add too much air.
Alternatively, you can stir it with a spatula or wooden spoon by hand for a few minutes.
If your orange icing is too thick to pipe, then you can add more orange juice or milk (½ tablespoon at a time) to thin the frosting until you get the desired consistency.
If your frosting is too thin, you can try chilling it in the fridge for 15-20mins before use. Alternatively, you can beat in a few more tablespoons of butter to thicken it.
You can beat in ¼ cup / 40g of white chocolate (melted) to help thicken or fix split frosting. This will also add some delicious flavour to your orange buttercream!
🧁 Frosting uses
You can use this orange butter icing to frost your cupcakes, cakes, cookies, blondies or brownies. It’s especially great as a macaron filling! For layer cakes, try using it as an orange cake filling as well as a cake topping.
Frost your baked goods with this homemade buttercream by spreading it on generously with an offset spatula or knife.
This recipe makes enough to frost roughly 12-15 cupcakes or a one layer 8-inch cake.
Scale up by ½ the recipe if using it for a filling as well as outside the cake 2-layer 8-inch cake.
To frost a cake fully (outside coating and between layers), you’ll need to double this recipe (scale up by x2) for a 3-layer round 6-inch cake.
For a 3-layer round 8-inch cake, triple this recipe (i.e. scale up by x3).
Depending on how sweet you like your traybakes, you’ll only need half the amount of this frosting recipe for an 8-inch square-sized traybake.
Spread a thick layer across your cooled traybake before cutting it into slices.
Great goodies to frost
Orange buttercream goes great on the following treats:
- Gluten-free chocolate cupcakes
- Funfetti cupcakes
- Bailey’s cupcakes
- Vanilla melting moment heart cookies
- Lemon loaf cake
- Vanilla cake pops
🍪 Other goodies
Looking for some other goodies to make?
A big citrus fan? Why not check out this lemon curd? It’s also a perfect cake filling. Swap in the orange buttercream to this lemon curd cake recipe for a delicious double citrus curd cake - the perfect summer birthday cake!
Chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven. Swap the chocolate orange ganache for orange frosting in this chocolate orange cake – yum! Or use this frosting to top this easy chocolate orange cheesecake.
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Orange Buttercream with Orange Extract
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- Beat the butter (either by hand, using an electric mixer or stand mixer) until pale, light and fluffy. This could take several minutes.
- Sieve half of the icing sugar into the butter and beat until combined, then repeat this with the remaining half of icing sugar.
- Add in the orange extract, juice (or milk) and salt (if using), mixing until only just smooth.
- Use your buttercream to frost cupcakes, cakes, cookies and more!
- This recipe makes enough frosting for roughly 12-15 cupcakes, or to frost a single-layer 8-inch cake.
- Scale up the recipe by ½ to fill and frost a 2-layer, 8-inch cake generously.
- Use softened room temperature butter for ease of mixing.
- For creamy frosting, beat your butter until it’s pale, light and fluffy first. This could take several minutes with an electric mixer.
- If you don’t have orange extract, swap this for fine orange zest (1 ½ orange’s worth / 2 tbsp). Use orange juice not milk if doing so too.
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online nutritional calculator, actual values may vary.