Pumpkin frosting is easy to make with 4 ingredients.
This is our go-to no fail pumpkin buttercream recipe!
This is the ultimate pumpkin frosting how-to guide!
Learn solutions to common buttercream problems and how much frosting you’ll need for cake, cupcakes, layer cakes.
Sometimes I dream about making buttercream frosting 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 for Pumpkin Frosting
- unsalted butter – room temperature butter is needed when making frosting
- shortening (can be replaced with butter) – I make all butter frostings now, but when I originally published this recipe, I was using half butter half shortening. You can use either.
- pumpkin puree – 100% canned pure pumpkin puree
- pumpkin pie spice
- powdered sugar – also known as confectioner’s sugar
How To Make Pumpkin Frosting
Beat butter. 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.
Add puree and spices. 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.
Mix. Once all of the powdered sugar is incorporated, beat the buttercream using an electric mixer, 1-2 minutes.
TA DA! Pumpkin spice frosting that you can spread on pumpkin cupcakes.
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 pumpkin frosting is dangerously good.
Solution: Put it on everything. Especially Homemade Chocolate Cake.
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 especially if the weather is very hot.
However, most of the time I make my frosting with all butter.
How Much Frosting Do I Need?
This pumpkin buttercream recipe yields about 2 cups of frosting. Here’s a guide for how much frosting you’ll need for cakes and cupcakes.
9×13 inch cake: 3-4 cups
12 cupcakes: this really depends 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 for Success
- Use room temperature butter, it is easier to whip into a fluffy frosting
- 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 frosting the same day, store it in an airtight container on the counter.
To store frosting for 2+ 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..
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature*, 1 & 1/2 cups
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 5-7 cups powdered sugar
- Place room temperature butter (see note) 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.