Pumpkin Buttercream

No fail pumpkin buttercream recipe with only 5 ingredients!
pumpkin frosting piped in blue bowl on dark wood background
Sometimes I dream about making buttercream when I’m sleeping.. it’s become that natural! It’s kind of like brushing your teeth when you’re half asleep :)

But I didn’t always know how to make buttercream. Before I learned, I thought it was one of those super secret baking techniques that only skilled bakers knew. Like Martha Stewart. I even thought there was a specific recipe I needed to follow. I was so wrong!

Any skill gets easier and becomes more natural with practice. Learning how to make buttercream is a great skill to have because it opens tons of doors in terms of flavors and pairing with cake.


pumpkin frosting piped on pumpkin cupcakes on wood background with pumpkins
Today we’re sharing a recipe for pumpkin buttercream. But you don’t really need to follow the recipe to a T. Add more or less powdered sugar or pumpkin pie spice depending on what you like. Use all butter or a combination of butter and vegetable shortening.

But for all of those people out there who like following a recipe exactly, you can do just that!

pumpkin frosting piped onto metal plate
Buttercream is very easy to make and it’s adaptable, so even if you do mess up, you can easily fix it!

Let’s talk over a few common things that could occur when making pumpkin frosting..

1. Oh no! My buttercream is too wet and just flops over!
Solution: Add more powdered sugar, 1/2 to 1 cup at a time until the buttercream is loses that glossy look

2. Ekk! My buttercream is too thick, it won’t easily come out of a piping bag!
Solution: Add more pumpkin puree. Since pumpkin puree is naturally moist, that will help put some moisture back into the buttercream.

3. Sheesh! This buttercream is dangerously good.
Solution: Put it on everything :)

Now onto the butter vs vegetable shortening debate..

Sometimes I use a combination of butter and shortening in my buttercream, especially if it’s hot outside. Vegetable shortening gives buttercream stability. Using vegetable shortening in buttercream will definitely prevent it from being “floppy.” If you’re having problems with your buttercream staying in beautiful swirls after you pipe it on, consider using shortening next time.

However, you can use all butter – which I do frequently too!

butter in a blue bowl on dark wood surface

How to make pumpkin frosting

Start by placing room temperature butter (and vegetable shortening, if using) into a mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, 1 minute.

butter, pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice in a blue bowl on dark wood surface
Add in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Mix using a spatula.

pumpkin frosting in blue bowl on dark wood surface
Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing with a spatula at first so the powered sugar doesn’t puff up everywhere. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, beat the buttercream using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes.

How to make pumpkin buttercream, with only 5 ingredients!


Pumpkin buttercream is terrific with chocolate cake, classic white cupcakes, and pumpkin cupcakes.

pumpkin spice frosting piped onto pumpkin cupcake with text overlay

For a step-by-step of how to make this pumpkin buttercream recipe, watch this short video:

Pumpkin Buttercream

Pumpkin Buttercream

Yield: makes about 2 cups of frosting
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

How to make pumpkin spice frosting / buttercream, with only 5 ingredients! 


  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (equal to 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5-7 cups powdered sugar **see note
  • (optional: replace 1 stick of butter with 1/2 cup vegetable shortening for a more stable frosting, especially in hot weather)


  • Some have commented that they used 3 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar and liked the flavor. The amount of powdered sugar all depends on your taste and how stable you want the frosting.


  1. Place room temperature butter (and vegetable shortening if using) in a mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer until smooth, 1 minute.
  2. Add in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Mix using a spatula.
  3. Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing with a spatula at first so the powered sugar doesn’t puff up everywhere. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, beat the buttercream using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes or until smooth.
  4. Use on your favorite desserts like pumpkin cupcakes, doctored up pumpkin cake, chocolate cupcakes, and brownies.


To frost a 6 inch 3 tier cake, double the recipe. To frost a 8 inch 3 tier cake, triple the recipe. To frost 12 cupcakes, you could get by with the original recipe, otherwise increase the recipe by half. To frost 24 cupcakes, double the recipe. I always like to err on the side of having leftover buttercream. Plus, I pipe a lot of buttercream onto each cupcake.


  1. Haha, I wish I can dream about making buttercream in my sleep, too! One day, I’ll be an expert buttercream maker like you! Thanks for the tips, Beth!

  2. This buttercream looks so spicy and creamy and delicious :)

  3. Fabulous tutorial Beth! This pumpkin buttercream looks a-mazing! :)

  4. That buttercream looks awesome! I can just imagine all the things I’d put this on!

  5. Pumpkin buttercream is the best! Can’t wait to try your variation!

  6. Can I eat this with a spoon?!  I’ve never made buttercream before but I imagine it tastes so much better with pumpkin!  It sounds delicious!

  7. If I make this it would never actually make it onto a cake. I would just eat it with a spoon! :) Looks great!

  8. That looks so good☺

  9. Once the cake is frosted, do you have to refrigerate it or can it sit out overnight? It taste so good. Yummy. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Love it youmake everything so easy to follow .Its easy to understand and then you show us what to use. Your an angel.

  11. Hi Beth,  I just pulled up your pumpkin butter cream recipe.  I will be making this.  Especially with Fall coming.  Sooooo easy.  That’s my kind of recipe.  Thanks,  Staci

  12. Does the frosting freeze well?

    • Hi Brittany! Are you wanting to freeze the cake with the frosting on it? I have never frozen a cake with buttercream on it for a long period of time, but it freezes well for short periods so I am thinking it would be okay!

  13. I work for a mobile catering/ vending company and I think this frosting would work well for some of our desserts but I need to know the conversion from 1 stick of butter to one pound of butter. Is there any way you can help me out with this. Thank you in advance.

  14. I plan on making cupcakes for my office Halloween party. I am definitely making this for the frosting! Can I make this and frost the cupcakes the night before or does it have to be refrigerated?

  15. Yummy. I just made this today to top a spice bunt cake. Covered it completely with some to spare . topped it off with chocolate sprinkles (cause we have to have sprinkles whenever possible.)Can’t wait till after dinner to enjoy a piece. Thanks for a nice recipe to add to my collection.

  16. In my opinion, this calls for way too much sugar. I used only 3 1/2 cups and it was plenty. Also, remember to sift your powdered sugar before using.

    • Thanks for sharing Ella!

    • Yep – I totally agree and wish I had read comments before making.

      Tried to salvage by adding butter, but was torn because I didn’t really need more volume. This one definitely sports a sugar-forward flavor to say the least!

      Also as a note – I doubled the recipe (plus the 1 cup extra butter) and still have probably 3 cups leftover after generously icing two 9×13 sheet cakes.

  17. Can I use Crisco shorting !

  18. This looks delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  19. What if I cant buy pumkin pie spice here?

  20. I already have vanilla buttercream made, do you think i could just add the spice and puree?

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