Pumpkin frosting is easy to make with 4 ingredients. Plus learn solutions to common buttercream problems and how much frosting you’ll need for cake, cupcakes, layer cakes. This is our go-to no fail pumpkin frosting recipe!

pumpkin cupcakes with pumpkin frosting on wooden tray

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.

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.

Ingredients

  • unsalted butter
  • shortening (can be replaced with butter)
  • pumpkin puree
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • powdered sugar
pumpkin cupcake with pumpkin frosting on wooden background with pumpkins in background

How To Make Pumpkin Frosting

  1. 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.
  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.
  4. TA DA! Pumpkin spice frosting that you can spread on pumpkin cupcakes.
how to make pumpkin spice frosting collage

Common Buttercream Problems

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

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.

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

pumpkin buttercream frosting piped onto metal plate

Butter or Shortening in Frosting

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, most of the time I make my frosting with all butter.

piece of pumpkin cake with pumpkin frosting on metal plate

How Much Frosting Do I Need?

This recipe yields about 2 cups of frosting. Here’s a guide for how much frosting you’ll need for..

  • 9×13 inch cake: 3-4 cups
  • 12 cupcakes: this is really dependent on how much frosting you pipe onto each cupcake, about 2.5-3 cups
  • 8 or 9 inch 3 layer cake: 6 cups

Frosting Tips

  • Use room temperature butter
  • Do not pack powdered sugar into the measuring cup, use the spoon and level method
  • If the frosting is too thick, add a splash of heavy cream or milk

How To Store Frosting

If using the same day, store frosting in an airtight container on the counter.

To store for 2 or more days, store in an airtight container in the fridge. Place the frosting on the counter 20 minutes before using to come to room temperature. Re-whip with a mixer to bring it back to a fluffy consistency.

Pair Pumpkin Frosting With..

Pumpkin Frosting

Pumpkin frosting is easy to make with 4 ingredients. Plus learn solutions to common buttercream problems and how much frosting you’ll need for cake, cupcakes, layer cakes. This is our go-to no fail pumpkin frosting recipe!
4.46 from 79 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2 cups
Author: Beth

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature* 1 & 1/2 cups
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 5-7 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Place room temperature butter (and vegetable shortening if using) in a mixing bowl. Beat using an electric mixer until smooth, 1 minute.
  • Add in the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Mix using a spatula.
  • 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.
  • Use on your favorite desserts like pumpkin cupcakes, doctored up pumpkin cake, chocolate cupcakes, and brownies.

Video

Notes

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.
*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 of powdered sugar and liked the flavor. The amount of powdered sugar all depends on your taste and how stable you want the frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 2tablespoons | Calories: 301kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 1721IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Tag @beth_thefirstyear!