Homemade Strawberry Frosting – Two Ways

This Homemade Strawberry Frosting is the BEST you’ll ever make! And there’s two different ways to achieve it! You can use fresh strawberries that have been reduced over the stove to increase flavor, or freeze dried strawberries!

close up of homemade strawberry frosting on top of a cupcake

The Best Homemade Strawberry Frosting Recipe

I would say that of all the flavors of frosting, I get the most questions about strawberry frosting. It’s a bit illusive. Strawberry puree alone often doesn’t lend enough flavor and if you add too much, you thin out your frosting beyond where it’s usable. And if you add chunks of strawberries, it really throws things off. So what’s a strawberry lover to do?

I’ve used both these methods for strawberry frosting before in various recipes on the site and finally decided to put it into its own post and give you all my tips! First, let’s go over both ways to make this frosting. One method is to use fresh strawberries that have been cooked in a pan on the stove to reduce the liquid and create a thicker, stronger strawberry puree/sauce. The second method would be to grind up freeze dried strawberries and add the powder to your frosting.

How to Make Strawberry Frosting

Both methods of strawberry frosting have the same frosting base. Much like my vanilla buttercream frosting, you’ll start with your butter (and shortening, if you like) and beat that until it’s nice and smooth. From there, you’ll add about half of the powdered sugar and mix it all together until smooth.

strawberry frosting in a mixer bowltwo cupcakes with homemade strawberry frosting on top

Next, you’ll want to add your strawberry flavoring. If using fresh strawberries, you’ll want to have your strawberry reduction ready and cool. To make it, puree your strawberries and strain the puree to remove the seeds. While straining it isn’t completely necessary, it’s nice to do so that your frosting doesn’t have little seeds in it.

From there, slowly cook the puree on the stove and reduce it by half. This basically doubles up the strawberry flavor while also giving you a thicker puree to add to your frosting. Cool the strawberry reduction and then you’re ready to add it to your frosting. I typically add about three to four tablespoons so that my frosting doesn’t thin out too much. If you prefer a thinner frosting (which is often ok for cupcakes and sheet cakes, but less ideal for layer cakes), you can add a little more.

If you’re doing to use the freeze dried strawberries, you’ll pop them into your food processor and grind them into a powder, then simply add the powder to the frosting. It’s a much simpler and quicker way to go, if you’re able to find them at your store.

The only other thing that’s different with the freeze dried strawberry method is that you’ll need to also add some cream or water to it. Because the reduction adds liquid to the frosting naturally, you don’t need any extra. But with this version, the dry powder doesn’t do the job on it’s own and a little liquid is necessary to thin out the frosting a bit.

side by side photos of the strawberry reduction and strawberry powder and the frostings they makecupcake with strawberry frosting on top from the side

From there – regardless of which version you make – you’ll want to add a touch of vanilla extract and the remaining powdered sugar and mix it all together until it’s nice and smooth.

Can I Use Frozen Strawberries in this Frosting?

Frozen strawberries would be a fine option to use for this strawberry frosting. I personally don’t like to use them because you can’t tell prior to buying and thawing them if they have good flavor or not. Since the flavor influences the frosting so much, I like to know that mine smell amazing and have great flavor. The other thing about frozen strawberries is the water added. Yes, you’ll cook them down and intensify the flavor, but again I just prefer knowing I’m getting the best and strongest flavor. So while you can certainly use them, they aren’t my preference.

What Makes this the Best Strawberry Frosting Recipe?

Regardless of how you decided to go with your strawberry frosting, both versions are awesome! In fact, even though the freeze dried strawberries give some intense flavor, the strawberry reduction actually does a great job of keeping up. I could hardly tell a difference between them as far as flavor. The great news about that is that you have two amazing approaches to making the best homemade strawberry frosting!

strawberry frosting make with strawberry reductionstrawberry frosting made with freeze dried strawberries

More Strawberry Recipes to Try:

Strawberry Whipped Cream – 2 Ways
Homemade Strawberry Cake
Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes
Strawberry Poke Cake
Strawberry Shortcake Cake
Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake Cake
Strawberry Cheesecake
Strawberry Pound Cake
No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake

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The BEST Homemade Strawberry Frosting | How to Make Frosting
Recipe

Homemade Strawberry Frosting – Two Ways

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Homemade Strawberry Frosting is the BEST you’ll ever make! And there’s two different ways to achieve it! You can use fresh strawberries that have been reduced over the stove to increase flavor, or freeze dried strawberries!


Scale

Ingredients

1 cup freeze-dried strawberries OR 1 1/2 cups (200g) chopped fresh strawberries
1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
34 tbsp (45-60ml) water or cream, if needed
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch or two of salt


Instructions

1. If using fresh strawberries, add the strawberries to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. You should have about 3/4 cups of puree.
2. Add the puree to a small sized saucepan and cook over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a slow boil, stirring consistently to keep it from burning, until it has thickened and reduced to about 6 tbsp, about 10-15 minutes. To measure, pour the puree into a measuring cup. If it’s more than 6 tbsp (between 1/4 and 1/2 cup), add it back to the pan and continue cooking.
3. When the puree has thickened and reduced, pour into a large measuring cup and allow to cool to at least room temperature. This strawberry mixture can be made ahead, if you like, and stored in the fridge.
4. If using freeze dried strawberries, add them to a food processor and grind into a fine powder. Set aside.
5. Regardless of which version you’re making, add the butter (and shortening, if using) to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
6. Add about half of the powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
7. If using the strawberry reduction, add about 3 tablespoons of the reduction and beat until well combined and smooth. If using the freeze dried strawberries, add the powder and about 3 tablespoons of water or cream and beat until well combined and smooth.
8. Add the vanilla extract and slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and beat until well combined and smooth.
9. Add additional strawberry reduction/milk or cream until your frosting is the right consistency. Use your frosting on cakes, cupcakes, etc. Frosting can be left at room temperature for 1-2 days, but if you aren’t using it right away, I recommend refrigerating it for up to a week or freezing it for about a month.


Keywords: strawberry frosting, strawberry buttercream, homemade strawberry frosting, fresh strawberry frosting

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Recipe rating

93 Comments
  1. Vivian A Robaldo

    Great recipe…not familiar with freeze dried strawberries, but will look! How can I measure my ingredients for 7″ cake pans? Thanks!!!:)

    1. Lindsay

      I’m not really sure. Are you using it as the filling and frosting? It depends a little on how much “frosting” you like. I might double it.

    1. Lindsay

      Buttercream generally last for about a month in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer. If you’re using freeze dried strawberries, that should be the case. With fresh strawberries, it may not last quite as long in the fridge. I think it’d be ok for a week though. You could certainly make it and freeze it, then thaw it.

    1. Lindsay

      That depends on how much frosting you like to use and how tall your cake is. If it were me, I would at least double it.

      1. Lindsay

        If you’re asking if this makes enough frosting to cover a three layer 8 inch cake, I would say no. I would at least double it. You could do a little more depending on how much frosting you like.

    1. Lindsay

      I would say that it’s probably best to follow the recipe as it is. If you add too much stuff to the cream, it won’t whip as well.

    2. Lindsay

      Whoops, sorry. I just realized you were asking about my frosting and not the whipped cream. You could add some jam to the frosting probably and it should be fine. It’ll just thin it out a little bit more.

  2. Kai

    Wow! I used 3 cups powdered sugar instead of 4, and just a pinch more fresh chopped strawberries than suggested. IT TURNED OUT AMAZING. I made a 2layer German Chocolate cake, with coconut pecan icing in the center and on top. THEN, I coated the side of the cake, and a thin ring around the edge of the top with the strawberry frosting… it looks AMAZING. Can’t wait to eat it tomorrow. And I’ll share/tag it on Instagram in just a bit, as well as #lifeloveandsugar.
    Thank you thank you thank you!!

  3. Melanie

    I need enough to frost and fill a 3 layer cake using 9 ” cake tins. Should I double the recipe? By the way, I have your book and love it! Just one question..most of the cake recipes use 3 pans, 8″ each. My pans are all 9″. How to I alter the recipes so I can use the pans I already have?

    1. Lindsay

      The amount of frosting depends a bit on how much frosting you like to use. I’d double it at least, maybe even 2 1/2 recipes worth. As for altering the recipes, you could try using two 9 inch pans, but your cake will be a little less tall. Baking time should be similar. You could also try using 1 1/2 recipes worth and do 3 layers.

      So glad you enjoy the book!

  4. Emy

    I’m a 10 yr old who loves baking, and I’m making this for my sister who’s turning 16. After a while, I chose vanilla cupcakes, and my brother chose strawberry frosting! totally worked, and was really good. Definitely making again! Delicious! Thank you so much!

  5. Kasandra Waters

    For the frosting I put in the correct amount of butter, but all I tasted and smelled was butter. For next time should I only put half the butter in? The filling and cake was awesome though!

    1. Lindsay

      Did you use salted butter? I feel like salted butter can be that way. If you used unsalted and were still not loving the buttery taste, you could replace half of the butter with shortening.

  6. Paula A

    hi there!! planning to do this recipe, just wanted to ask how the process for making the frosting would be if frozen strawberries will be used? Thank you! 🤗

    1. Lindsay

      You’d want to thaw them and pat them dry to get rid of excess water that will water down the strawberry flavor. Then follow the directions for the fresh strawberries.

  7. Rachel Jung

    I know that this is a strawberry recipe but I can’t choose between strawberries or raspberries haha
    Will I need to adjust the recipe at all if I use raspberries in place of strawberries?

  8. Avanika Vinay Sane

    Hi! Finally someone who’s given a recipe with fresh strawberries!
    Here they sell a strawberry compote in stores (it looks semi solid in consistency with some berry pieces in it). so I was wondering if I could substitute that in place of the puree? Or is compote too different from a puree? And would the compote work for a strawberry cupcake batter too?
    Would be great if u could solve my query. Thanks!!

    1. Lindsay

      The powdered sugar gives the frosting volume and adds stability. If you don’t need as much frosting and you don’t need it to be a stable/thick, that would be fine. It just depends on how you want the frosting to turn out.

  9. Maria

    I made this frosting & followed the recipe to a T & it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. I used puréed strawberries & cooked on the stove exactly as states in the recipe. I ended up having to use strawberry extract to amp the strawberry flavor. And it was also runny. I had to put it in the freezer. Also, we have central air so our home is not warm. Not sure 🤔 what happened…

  10. Aiman Tajdida Shokrana

    Can i use canned strawberry pie filling for buttercream frosting as here i couldn’t find any fresh ones or frozen strawberry

  11. angela

    I was not thrilled when my son asked for strawberry frosting on his birthday cake, until I found this recipe! The use of freeze dried strawberries is brilliant! (BTW I got them at Trader Joe’s). I could not stop eating this… Thank you so much!

    1. Lindsay

      Cream cheese is also firm when refrigerated, so it will do the same thing. The only frosting that I can think of off the top of my head that will not firm up when in the fridge is a whipped cream.

  12. Krisztina

    Big disappointed the recipe 😭
    I tried the fresh strawberry version and the frosting is horribly hard. I used less than half sugar than how the recipe said. I dont know what happened. Very sad about it because it was made for my Birthday cake

    1. Lindsay

      I really don’t know how you could’ve ended up with hard frosting. There’s nothing in the recipe that is even hard, unless your butter wasn’t at room temperature.

      1. Krisztina

        Thank you for your answer. I really dont know neither. I left the butter out from fridge for overnight, it was soft.
        After i mixed it was nice and smooth good for work with it around the cake and to fill with it. But for the next day when we took from the fridge it was very hard the frosting, unenjoyable..😣

      2. Lindsay

        Ok, so that helps. The frosting was fine when you made it, but firm out of the fridge. That makes perfect sense! Butter firms back up when it’s cold. It’s fine to eat that way, but you can also let it sit out for a bit to get closer to room temperature and soften back up. ANY buttercream is going to firm up in the fridge because it’ll be cold.

  13. Sheri Dearing

    Hi! This looks AMAZING! The recipe states that I can leave the frosted cake at room temperature for 1-2 days. I just want to verify that this is correct because I want to frost the cake the day before the party. I don’t have room in my refrigerator and had given up on strawberry frosting until I read your recipe. I cannot wait to try it! Thank you!

    1. Samantha Del Valle

      Just wondering about an update on if the cake held up after the day at room temperature. I am thinking of decorating the day before as well. I could put it in the fridge but I am not sure which way is better to store it for 24 hours?

    2. Jennifer

      Hi, this came out delicious! I was wondering if it would work to mix blue or green food coloring in (using the fresh strawberry puree version) without yielding a purple or brown color. Will either of those colors work even though the puree gives the frosting a light pink color?

      1. Lindsay

        No, I don’t think that that would work. It would definitely mix with the pink of the strawberry purée.

      2. Jennifer Martunas

        It actually worked! I tested it out first, and it held up. Then I put in 25 drops of blue to the whole batch and it achieved the color I was looking for. 🙂

  14. Nancy Z

    I made this recently as I have been trying to duplicate a childhood favorite.  It was delicious.  I did not purée & strain the strawberries I just mashed them up.  I rather like the strawberry seeds.

    Thank you for some great tips to help me recreate a wonderful memory.

  15. Lia

    Is there a way to make make strawberry frosting that’s not pink? Lol I know it’s silly but my boyfriend’s birthday is coming up and he loves strawberry frosting, but I don’t want his cake to have pink frosting,  unless it have to lol.

    1. Lindsay

      To do that, you’d want to use strawberry extract, which is clear. I can usually find it at walmart or you could try amazon.

  16. dks64

    If you want to use it, you can sub out half of the butter for shortening.

    Lindsay – Your recipe says you can use shortening, twice.

      1. dks64

        I was replying under MERCEDESDESSERTBAR’s comment.

        Search this page for the word “shortening.”

        “Much like my vanilla buttercream frosting, you’ll start with your butter (and shortening, if you like) and beat that until it’s nice and smooth.”

        and

        “Regardless of which version you’re making, add the butter (and shortening, if using) to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.”

        They were clarifying how much shortening they’d use, if they were to follow your tips.

      1. Lindsay

        It depends on how long your strawberries would last. A week might be a little long. I’d say 1-2 days in advance is probably the most just to make sure it stays fresh.

    1. Lindsay

      Perhaps you added too much purée? The only way to thicken it back up is to add more powdered sugar. You definitely want to add small amounts of liquid to frosting at a time because it is harder to thicken it back up.

    1. Lindsay

      That really depends on how much frosting you like to use on your cake. I would probably use about 2 1/2 recipes worth for a full sized cake. But some people tell me I’m insane to use that much frosting, LOL.

  17. Alicia Neil

    When you say “1 cup of freeze dried strawberries” are you measuring before or after you turn it to dust?

      1. Lindsay

        I did not measure the final powder, so it’s hard to say. I’m guessing somewhere around 1/4 cup.

  18. Jessika

    Love your recipes, and this is a wonderful looking one! Excited to try it! I tried to save your recipe to Pinterest and it wasn’t really working. So I created a pin and wanted to share with you because I think you deserve credit and the recipe deserves more platform! https://pin.it/5O5mk9J

      1. Ashley

        Is there any way to make this a cream cheese frosting? Maybe add some cream cheese, what do you think?

  19. Lisa

    Why choose? I added the ground freeze dried strawberries to the reduced pureed strawberries and the flavor was amazing. I was told it was the best frosting some had ever had. Thank you so much for the idea of using the freeze dried strawberries, it increases the flavor without making the frosting too liquid.

    1. colleen mcdonald

      Hi Lisa, how much ground freeze strawberry did you add to the reduced puree? I was too worried it would not taste good if I combined freeze dried with the puree since I make a large number of cupcakes for my church luncheon. Did you measure how much you put in?

  20. Erin

    Lindsay, this was the best post ever! I’ve always wanted to make strawberry frosting, but here in Canada I don’t think freeze-dried strawberries are very common, and that seems like the only way most of my favorite bloggers make it. So this post was super helpful, and I can’t wait to try and make strawberry frosting with the reduced strawberry purée method! 🙂

      1. Brooke

        I tried making this tonight and for some reason it didn’t turn out thick enough? I followed step-by-step. Any recommendations?? The taste was amazing! 🥰

      2. Lindsay

        Did you add the full amount of powdered sugar. The frosting is a balance of the “wet” ingredients (butter, water or cream and strawberries) and the powdered sugar. So if it’s not thick enough, there was either too much of the “wet” ingredients added or not enough powdered sugar.

  21. Candice

    Hello! For your strawberry buttercream, how many cupcakes would you say this amount of buttercream could frost?

      1. Lindsay

        I really haven’t worked with swiss meringue buttercream much. I assume you could, but can’t speak from experience.

      2. Monique Kimani

        I used the freeze dried strawberry method and it turned out great! Saved me some time and effort without sacrificing flavor! Thank you!

      1. Claudia

        So good!! I made this for a two layer cake I made. There was enough for the middle, too and sides!!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12