This buttercream frosting recipe transforms classic American buttercream into a fresh and fluffy batch of Orange Frosting with real and fresh orange flavor -no flavoring extracts necessary! This naturally flavored frosting is perfect to top all kinds of cakes and cupcakes!

Orange buttercream frosted on top of a vanilla cupcake.

As a trained pastry chef, I love mixing and matching cupcakes and cakes with complementary frosting flavors. This orange buttercream frosting is one that pairs well with SO many sweet treats -from frosting on top of cupcakes or cakes or sandwiching between cookies!

This easy frosting recipe is made using the base of my vanilla frosting with orange flavor added from fresh oranges. You’ll use both the zest and the orange juice to really maximize on flavor. You can make this buttercream as thin or thick as you want! Learn how to thicken frosting quickly with these easy tips!

There’s so many ways to use this icing! You can top it on classic vanilla cupcakes, sandwich it between crispy orange cookies or chocolate orange shortbread. or fill and frost it between this 6 inch chocolate cake for the classic chocolate orange combo (a FAVE!).

Why you should make this

  • This is a FIVE-minute frosting made entirely from scratch with a shortlist of pantry and refrigerator staples you might already have on hand.
  • This frosting is made without extracts or artificial flavoring agents. Instead, it’s made with natural fruit flavor.
  • The versatility! Orange buttercream frosting complements so many cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.
  • This orange-flavored frosting is perfect for decorating almost any dessert!

Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for orange buttercream frosting.
  • Powdered sugar – This superfine sugar sweetens frosting without adding a texture.
  • Unsalted butter – You must use room temperature butter. It must be softened for it to cream properly with powdered sugar. If you forgot to leave your butter out, learn how to soften butter quickly.
  • Orange – Use fresh the juice and the zest! You can use any orange, including navel, valencia, or care cara. Tangerines, mandarins, clementines, and blood oranges work as well.
  • Milk – Helps loosen the ingredients to create a creamy and fluffy frosting. You can also use heavy cream here.
  • Kosher salt – Totally optional, but a pinch of salt refines every sweet, tart, and tangy flavor.

Fresh Orange Juice and Zest

I use all the zest from an orange, I don’t really measure this, just zest the whole thing.

For the juice- start with 1-2 tsp but to be honest, I never really measure it out either. This frosting is super forgiving, so if the frosting gets too thin, I just add 1/4 more powdered sugar. Start with 2 tsp, If it’s too thick, add 1 tsp juice at a time.

Using bottled orange juice

If you buy orange juice instead of fresh oranges, I suggest opting for 100% fruit juice or 100% fruit juice concentrate. Keep in mind that without fresh orange zest, this frosting won’t pack quite the punch of orange flavor.

How to make orange frosting

Cream sugar and butter: In a large bowl with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment), mix the confectioners sugar and unsalted butter on low speed, gradually increasing the speed to medium as the sugar combines with the butter. Mix for 2-3 minutes.

Blend in real orange flavor: Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the orange zest and juice. Continue mixing on low. Add milk and then mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.

As for piping this orange frosting: I like using these piping bags and a 1M tip from Wilton.


This frosting makes enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes. If you are piping the frosting you will get closer to 12 but if you are frosting with a knife you’ll be able to frost about 16 cupcakes.

For a cake, this is enough frosting to fill and frost a 2 layer 8 inch cake.

Tips for Recipe Success

  • Gradually increase speed – When creaming the butter and sugar, it’s important to start on low speed, then slowly increase the speed. This keeps the powdered sugar from blowing out of the bowl and making a huge mess.
  • Thin or thicken frosting – If your frosting is too thick, you can mix in a splash of milk or extra orange juice at a time to loosen it up. If the frosting isn’t thick enough, add more confectioners sugar (1/4 cup at a time) until it is your desired consistency.
  • Enhance the color – To add more pigment to the pale orange color, you can add a few drops of orange food coloring or a bit of gel food coloring.
Orange frosting in a bowl next to fresh orange slices.

Storage and Freezing

Storing – To store this orange icing, transfer it to an airtight container and cover it tightly with a layer of plastic wrap. This helps keep the frosting from hardening on the top. Close the lid of the container, and either keep it at room temperature for a day or keep it refrigerated for 5-7 days.

Alternatively you can just dump out the frosting onto plastic wrap and wrap tightly.

Take the frosting out 1 hour before you want to use it, you may want to rewhip it in the mixer.

Freezing – To freeze, spoon the frosting onto a piece of plastic wrap, then fold the plastic wrap over the top, bundling the frosting securely. Place the bundle of frosting in the freezer until it is almost solid, then place it in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 2-3 months.

Ways to Enjoy

This orange-flavored frosting also pairs perfectly with:

Orange buttercream frosted on top of a vanilla cupcake.
5 stars (14 ratings)

5 Minute Fluffy Orange Buttercream

This buttercream frosting recipe transforms classic American buttercream into a fresh and fluffy batch of Orange Frosting with REAL orange flavor -no flavoring extracts necessary! This naturally flavored frosting Is perfect to top all kinds of cakes and cupcakes!


  • 3 1/2 cups (420 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 (1) orange, large
  • 1 tbsp (1 tbsp) milk, or cream
  • 1 pinch (1 pinch) kosher salt


  • In the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and 1/2 cup unsalted butter.
  • Butter and powdered sugar creamed together in a mixing bowl.
    Mix on low speed working up to medium as the sugar combines with the butter. About 2-3 mins.
  • Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides.
  • Zest the whole orange over the bowl, it's best to do it this way so you save all the oils. Add 1-2 tsp orange juice to the bowl. Mix on low.
  • With the mixer on low add the heavy cream or milk slowly.
  • Mix on medium for 3 minutes and enjoy!
  • If its too thin add 1/4 cup powdered sugar. If its too thick, add in 1 tsp more orange juice.


No need to really measure the juice, you can always thicken it up with more powdered sugar. 
Serving: 1portion, Calories: 210kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Sodium: 5mg, Potassium: 25mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 35g, Vitamin A: 263IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 9mg, Iron: 0.03mg
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