Russian Buttercream Recipe

This is the easiest buttercream frosting you’ll ever make!

Russian Buttercream Recipe

Maybe you master bakers out there are familiar with Russian Buttercream, but it was a new one for me. And now…well, now it’s a staple part of my frosting repertoire because it only uses a few ingredients and–wait for it–sugar is not one of them! What? That’s right, this buttercream uses sweetened condensed milk instead, so gone are the days where powdered sugar is flying all over my kitchen when it goes into the mixer!

Also called Condensed Milk Buttercream, this frosting is often used on Russian and Eastern European desserts, such as Medovik, a beloved Russian honey cake, but I’ve found it to be the perfect complement to all of my cakes and cupcakes. Some recipes for Russian Buttercream use only two ingredients, butter and the condensed milk, but we add vanilla and a bit of salt for added flavor. Even with 4 ingredients, this delicious buttercream could not be easier to make.

With its milky caramel flavor and silky smooth texture, Russian Buttercream is just right for rich desserts like Eggnog Swirl Bundt Cake, as well as a fine pairing with Pumpkin Spice Crumb Cake. Like all good vanilla buttercreams, you can flavor it with other things like cocoa or coffee or cinnamon, or even lemon for that sweet and tart mix we all love.

Room Temperature Butter

How cool or warm you keep your kitchen is not always the best indicator for what we mean by room temperature, especially for butter. And especially for this buttercream recipe, where the butter can’t be too cool but it also can’t be too warm. What does this mean? Leave your butter out for about an hour; you should be able to make a little dent in it with your finger when it gets where it needs to be. If your finger goes through the butter, pop it back in the fridge for 5 minutes or until that finger poke only produces a little nick.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • Powdered sugar optional, if needed for consistency
Russian Buttercream Recipe

How to Make Russian Buttercream

Step 1: Place the unsalted butter in a large mixing bowl. Whip the butter with stand mixer fitted with a whisk on medium-high speed for about 5 to 7 minutes. It needs to become pale and fluffy. You are incorporating air in the buttercream which makes it light and fluffy.

Russian Buttercream Recipe

Step 2: Add the vanilla extract and salt to the whipped butter, turning the mixer to low speed.

Russian Buttercream Recipe

Step 3: Slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk, adding about a quarter of the can at a time. Mix on medium speed after each addition until well incorporated. Don’t forget to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl periodically.

Russian Buttercream Recipe

Step 4: If the frosting appears to be too soft or if it’s not holding together well, you can add powdered sugar, a half cup at a time.

Russian Buttercream Recipe

FAQs & Tips

How to Make Ahead and Store?

Russian Buttercream will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week; bring it to room temperature and stir it well before use. It will also keep in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months; thaw it overnight in the fridge and then stir it well to restore it to its smooth, spreadable texture.

Seven minutes seems like a long time to whip butter

Not in this recipe. One of the keys to perfect Russian Buttercream is to whip the butter–with a whisk attachment, not a paddle–for 5-7 minutes until it becomes pale and fluffy: that means enough air has been incorporated into it and that’s what you need.

Are sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk the same thing?

They are not. The main difference is that evaporated milk is unsweetened–so we wouldn’t want to use it in this recipe.

What’s the difference between Russian Buttercream and American Buttercream?

I’m glad you asked! Russian Buttercream is a less sweet version. It is also less thick than its American counterpart, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it for piping: you definitely can.

Russian Buttercream Recipe

Serving Suggestions

I love the toffee-like notes and deep vanilla flavor in this buttercream, and one of my favorite ways to use it is on top of Spiced Snickerdoodles (sandwiched between two of them is even better!). It’s also a wonderful frosting for Apple Cupcakes. But if you are looking for a truly decadent dessert to wow friends and family, try this: whip up a batch of Russian Buttercream and slather it on Tres Leches Cake and then (yes, there’s more!!) drizzle some Salted Spice Caramel Sauce on top!! This is a true show-stopper.

Russian Buttercream Recipe
Russian Buttercream Recipe

Russian Buttercream Recipe

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Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 164 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
  • Powdered sugar optional if needed for consistency

Instructions
 

  • Place the unsalted butter in a large mixing bowl. Whip the butter with stand mixer fitted with a whisk on medium-high speed for about 5 to 7 minutes. It needs to become pale and fluffy. You are incorporating air in the buttercream which makes it light and fluffy.
  • Add the vanilla extract and salt to the whipped butter, turning the mixer to low speed.
  • Slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk, adding about a quarter of the can at a time. Mix on medium speed after each addition until well incorporated. Don’t forget to use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl periodically.
  • If the frosting appears to be too soft or if it’s not holding together well, you can add powdered sugar, a half cup at a time.

Nutrition

Calories: 164kcalCarbohydrates: 0.1gProtein: 0.2gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 61mgPotassium: 6mgSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 567IUCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.01mg
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