This coffee buttercream frosting is fluffy, delicious, and amazingly easy to make at home. The recipe uses instant coffee, softened butter, powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp of milk. It’s packed with coffee flavor is perfect for cakes, cupcakes, and more.

Coffee frosting in a small bowl on a marble backdrop

Is it just me or do you love all the coffee flavored things too? From coffee cookies to coffee blondies, I cannot stop putting coffee into my desserts. Especially chocolate desserts!

Coffee is used a lot in chocolate desserts because it brings out the chocolate flavor even more. I love frosting my reader favorite small 6 inch chocolate cake recipe with this icing! I also always use this buttercream frosting on my coffee cupcakes.

Coffee icing is one of my favorite homemade frosting recipes to make. It was the first frosting recipe I made when I was in pastry school at Le Cordon Bleu. I know you will love it too! It’s great because you can make it as thin or thick as you want. Learn how to thicken frosting quickly to make it the way you like!

If you love decadent frostings as much as I do then definitely check out my Mascarpone frosting– it will make you feel so fancy! You can also try this espresso buttercream if you’re more of an espresso fan!

Ingredients needed:

Ingredients for coffee frosting
  • Instant coffee- were using this twice in the recipe. Once in the dissolved form, and then again by throwing some instant coffee ground into the mix! If you don’t have instant you can also use whatever coffee grounds you have.
  • Butter– It is essential that you use softened butter. The butter needs to be soft so that it creams well with the powdered sugar. Learn how to soften butter quickly.
  • Milk or cream– These are interchangeable in this recipe, you can even use a dairy free milk or even water if you want!

If you don’t have instant coffee you can use brewed coffee. You will need 1 tbsp. You can still use the dry granules as well to throw in the buttercream.

How to make coffee buttercream frosting

  • Start by adding butter and sifted powdered sugar to the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. To cream butter and sugar well, beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color.
  • Add in the dissolved instant coffee and beat again for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl then add the cream and dry instant coffee grounds and mix again for 30 seconds.

How to store and freeze buttercream frosting

Store- Store the frosting in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap lined directly over the frosting. This helps the buttercream from forming a crust.

You can also rip a piece of plastic wrap and dump the frosting on top of it. Wrap it up and store it in the fridge.

Freezing– Yes, you can even freeze it for up to 2 months! Wrap the frosting in plastic wrap and seal well or place in a zip top bag then place in the freezer.

Make Ahead- You can make the buttercream ahead too. Store it in the fridge if it’s a week out, or on the counter top if it’s just a couple of days.

Tips for recipe success

  • Sift the confectioners sugar so that the frosting will be smoother and you wont have any clumps. This is not a necessary step but it does help!
  • There really is no way to mess up this homemade frosting. If the frosting is too thick, then add 1/2 tbsp milk or cream at a time to loosen it.
  • If the frosting is too thin, add a little more confectioners sugar (1/4 cup at a time) until it thickens.
Coffee frosting frosted on a cake

You can adjust the coffee flavor by adding in more or less of the dry instant coffee granules, and remember the flavor will deepen over time!

That’s what I love about DIY frosting recipes, you can really play with the flavors depending on what you like.

You can also leave out the dry granules if you prefer.

Recipe FAQ

Is it okay to add dry coffee grounds in icing?

Yes of course! That’s what this recipe calls for. You can also leave them out if you prefer.

Do I have to use instant coffee?

Nope! I use it for ease but you can use whatever kind of coffee you have on hand. You can even use decaf coffee.

Yield

This homemade icing will fill and frost a 2 layer, 8″ cake or 12 cupcakes.

Desserts to top this with

More of our favorite frosting recipes

Coffee frosting in a small bowl on a marble backdrop
4.78 stars (18 ratings)

5-Minute Coffee Buttercream Frosting Recipe

This homemade coffee buttercream frosting is fluffy, delicious, and amazingly easy to make. The recipe uses instant coffee, softened butter, powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp of milk. It’s packed with coffee flavor is perfect for cakes, cupcakes, and more.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules, divided
  • 1/2 tsp milk or cream

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • Add the 1 cup softened butter to the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sifted 3 cups of confectioners sugar and beat on low speed working up to medium for 2 minutes.
  • Dissolve 1 tsp of the instant coffee granules in 1 tbsp of water. With the mixer on medium speed add the coffee to the bowl. Stop and scrape down the bowl. Add the 1/2 tsp cream and the remaining 1/2 tsp dry instant granules to the frosting and mix on low speed until combined, about 1 minute.
  • Spread all over cakes and cupcakes!

Notes

If you dont have instant coffee you can use the kind you use for the coffee machine, you will just have to brew it instead of adding the hot water to it. You will beed 1 tbsp of brewed coffee.
You can still use the dry coffee grounds to add to the buttercream.
Espresso powder works as a substitute too.
If the frosting is too thick, add 1/2 tsp milk until you reach the desired consistency. If the frosting is too thin, add 1/4 cup confectioners sugar until thickened. 
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 202kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 33mg, Sodium: 2mg, Potassium: 7mg, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 378IU, Calcium: 4mg, Iron: 1mg
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