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Russian Buttercream Recipe

Russian Buttercream – the addition of Sweetened Condensed Milk makes this buttercream one of the best-tasting buttercreams you will ever have tasted! Use it in place of any buttercream in your favorite cakes and cupcakes.

Also check out my Dulce de Leche buttercream which uses cooked sweetened condensed milk instead of raw.

Russian buttercream in a bowl with a spatula.

What is a Russian Buttercream?

Russian Buttercream refers to the buttercream that’s made with only two ingredients and is very commonly used in many Russian cakes. The two ingredients are butter and sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche. The addition of sweetened condensed milk gives the buttercream a very pleasant taste and acts not only as of the flavor enhancer but also the sweetener. The Russian Buttercream is very simple to make, given that you follow certain rules.

Pro tips for making the Russian Buttercream

  1.  Start out with room temperature butter. This means that you will need to remove your butter from the fridge several hours before you plan on using it. The butter must have some yield when pressed with your finger, but should not be so soft that you don’t meet any resistance when pressing on it.If your butter is too soft to begin with, it will not be able to hold onto the condensed milk when it is added, and make the buttercream separate.
    If you have softened your butter too much, just put it back in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes, checking on it occasionally.

    TIP #1: If in a hurry, you can use your microwave to soften the butter. To do this you will need to set your microwave to the lowest power and microwave each stick in increments of 20 seconds, then 10 seconds and then 7 seconds, continuing in 7 second increments until the butter is soft, but not melted. Each time the time expires, you will need to rotate the stick of butter to get an even and gradual temperature increase.

    TIP #2: Cut butter into small pieces or use grater to grate butter to expedite the softening process.

  2.  Whip butter for the full amount listed in the recipe. As you whip, the air bubbles will go from big to small. After one minute the butter might look fluffy enough to add the condensed milk, but don’t. Those bubbles are too big to support the extra liquid introduced into the butter and therefor will collapse as soon as you add the full amount. Continue whipping for 5-7 minutes with a stand mixer or even more with a hand held mixer to ensure that the butter is stable enough for adding the condensed milk.
  3. Add the sweetened condensed milk in thirds. Also, after each addition only minimally whip must be whipped (minimally) into the butter before next addition. Again, this will prevent the buttercream from becoming runny, or separating.
  4. Start with ingredients that are the same temperature. Make sure both butter and condensed milk are room temperature or the same temperature. If you try adding cold condensed milk to whipped room temperature butter, most likely the butter will cool down too much and become hard, preventing it from being smooth, or worse yet – separate.

Russian Buttercream, or buttercream made of just butter and sweetened condensed milk in a metal mixing bowl.

What do you do if your sweetened condensed milk buttercream starts to separate?

    • Do you toss the whole thing out? NOPE!

~To solve this, you will need to take away about 1/2 cup of buttercream, put it into a microwave-safe bowl and slowly, in 3-5 second increments heat it and carefully mix it after each increment, until it becomes smooth, but not runny or soupy. Then you would add this to the rest of the buttercream and fold it together. If the buttercream doesn’t come together still, take away another half cup and microwave it again. Follow the above steps until your buttercream comes together.

If at this point your buttercream is too soft, just put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, and mix it every 10 minutes until it is proper consistency.

This is it. If you think you can manage following the above rules, you will definitely be successful! Now read on to see how to make the Russian Buttercream.

Russian Buttercream

Ingredients for the Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream:

  • unsalted butter, room temperature
  • sweetened condensed milk, room temperature
  • vanilla extract or emulsion (emulsion has vanilla seeds in it, so your buttercream will be speckled with vanilla beans throughout)

How to make Russian Buttercream:

  • In a bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whip room temperature butter, stopping to scrape the bottom of the bowl several times, until it has tripled in volume, and is light and fluffy, about 5 – 7 minutes.

How to cream the butter in a Kitchen aid mixer.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or emulsion to the whipped butter. Now add the sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche in thirds, whipping for about 5-10 seconds after each addition. Don’t forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl after each addition.

Adding vanilla and condensed milk into the creamed butter.

  • At the end you should have very light, delicious Russian Buttercream that is ready to be used to frost and fill your cakes, cupcakes or whatever other endeavors you have come up in your kitchen. Stay creative my friends!

How to Make a Chocolate Russian Buttercream:

If you’re looking to make it into a chocolate version, just whip the butter with 2-3 tablespoons of sifted cocoa powder before adding the condensed milk. To intensify the chocolate flavor, you could also add 1/2 tsp of finely ground instant coffee in with the cocoa powder.

Recipes with this BUTTERCREAM:

  • Kiev Cake – Sponge layers sandwiched with Peanut Meringue & Sweetened Condensed Milk Buttercream.
  • Markiza Cake – Shortbread layers with a soft buttercream.
  • Honeycomb Cake – Puff pastry stuffed with cherry and dulce de leche.
  • Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake – A classic chocolate and poppy seed cake.

Russian Buttercream

Russian Buttercream - addition of Sweetened Condensed Milk makes this buttercream one of the best tasting buttercreams you will ever have tasted! | By Let the Baking Begin!
4.92 from 48 votes

The best recipe for homemade buttercream. The best cream great for cakes, roulades, pastries, and other desserts.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin!
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Russian
Keyword: russian buttercream
Calories: 182 kcal
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 servings



  1. In a bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment whip 1 cup room temperature butter, stopping to scrape the bottom of the bowl several times, until it has tripled in volume, and is light and fluffy, about 5 - 7 minutes.

  2. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or emulsion to the whipped butter. Now add 14 oz sweetened condensed milk or dulce de leche in thirds, whipping for about 5-10 seconds after each addition. Don't forget to scrape the bottom of the bowl after each addition.

Nutrition Facts
Russian Buttercream
Amount Per Serving
Calories 182 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 39mg13%
Sodium 133mg6%
Potassium 95mg3%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Sugar 14g16%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 421IU8%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 74mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Linda

    I am going to bake the Kiev Cake next weekend, and I have a question about how much of the Russian Buttercream I should make. When I open the recipe here for Russian Buttercream, it says that it makes 16 servings. I am assuming that I need to make 24 servings (or 1 1/2 times the recipe that originally opens up on the web). Because it describes itself as a per-person metric instead of as a singular recipe, I am not sure how much to make. Am I correct to make 1.5 times the recipe that is for 16 persons (and I will make it for 24 persons)? My thanks!

    · Reply
  • Marie murray

    Can I use unsweetened condensed milk instead

    · Reply
    • No. Unsweetened condensed milk is basically liquid and unsweetened. This recipe relies on the texture and sweetness of the sweetened condensed milk.

      · Reply
  • Alyx

    Sad, I keep seeing this recipe wrongly printed a gazillion times already, why do you people do this. Its 2 8oz sticks NOT 2 4oz or a cup to 1 entire can of condensed milk. No wonder people are having separation issues. Why do you people post recipes to throw people under the bus..geez. Shame on you!

    · Reply
    • Hi Alyx, I’m not sure why you think a different recipe from yours is wrong. Just because it didn’t come out right for you (possibly, not sure) doesn’t make it wrong. I’ve been using this recipe for 20 years. My family who taught it to me, for even longer. The recipe is correct as written. It might take some finesse to get it right, but it doesn’t make the recipe ingredient amounts wrong.

      Adding more butter does make it easier to get the recipe not to separate, but the flavor is inferior because all you’re tasting is butter, not the sweet condensed milk, which is what makes this buttercream so delicious.

      · Reply
  • Rachel

    Does this Russian Buttercream work well to pipe flowers? Thanks.

    · Reply
    • You can, but with the amount of butter to condensed milk makes the recipe not as stiff as you want it for piping. I’ve done it, but it’s not ideal.

      · Reply
  • Angela Randazzo

    If I make the cake, frost, and freeze, once defrosted will this be soft, or have “crusted buttercream” texture?

    · Reply
    • Hi Angela, this frosting will not make “frosted buttercream” texture as it doesn’t have any powdered sugar at all. Frosted buttercream relies on powdered sugar for that “frosted” texture.

      · Reply
  • Mari Posner

    What is the total volume of final product? What is a serving size ?

    · Reply
  • Tracy

    How long will this frosting last on a cupcake sitting on the counter.

    · Reply
  • Sabrina

    Hi is it possible to freeze russian buttercream?

    · Reply
  • Angie

    Hi! Do you think I would be able to mix some malibu rum in this and do you think I could make it vegan by using vegan butter? Thanks!

    · Reply
    • I would use the rum to soak the layers of the cake that you plan to pair this cream with instead of adding it into the ream. I haven’t tried it with vegan butter, so can’t give you an answer on that one. If you do try it, I hope you let me know!

      · Reply
    • Christine

      Also, the sweetened condensed milk prevents it from being vegan ☹️

      · Reply
      • Ecfinn

        You can sub sweetened condensed coconut milk to make it vegan.

        · Reply
  • khat

    Just want to ask which frosting do I need to use for cupcake in sugar cone? For hot weather? I need to make it 1 dayahead of the party? How am i going to store it? Can I add shortening to stabilize the frosting?



    Hope you reply.

    · Reply
  • Delena

    This is my go to buttercream when I need something less sweet than a American Buttercream. It’s fantastic!

    · Reply
  • Mary

    I thought this looked intriguing, but I had trouble with it. Funny how even a simple recipe can go wrong. I suspect my butter was too soft or maybe my kitchen was too warm. Even after chilling, it was very soft. It tastes very nice though and I might try it again so I can figure out what went wrong.

    · Reply
  • Dianne

    delicious but it did start to slide off the cake after a while because it was warm in the room. thank you for the specific directions

    · Reply
    • Hi Diana, thank you for your comment and the star rating! I wonder if the layer of buttercream was pretty thick that it slid off?

      · Reply
  • Alice

    Yes, thats the recipe of my childhood! Tastes amazing. No comparison to store bought or other buttercream frosting recepies on the web

    · Reply
  • May

    Forgot to ask… it very sweet like an american buttercream?
    Thsnk you

    · Reply
  • May

    Hello! Is this buttercream good for smoothing the sides of a cake and piping rosettes on top? or is it too soft for that?
    Thank you

    · Reply
  • Yvonne

    Can you use a sugar sheet with this icing?

    · Reply
    • Hi Yvonne,
      I’m not sure what a sugar sheet is. Please clarify.

      · Reply
      • Yvonne

        Hi. A sugar sheet is a thin edible sugar also called a frosting sheet that is applied to the top of the cake. Also, will your recipe cover a three tiered 8 inch round cake not using it for the filling? Thanks!

        · Reply
  • Roberto

    Can you dye this frosting?

    · Reply
  • Riya

    My frosting is too runny. Is there any way to fix it? Thanks!

    · Reply
  • Virginia Cornett

    I followed this recipe exactly and my icing is in no way gonna pipe flowers. It’s super thin – almost liquid. Can I fix this?

    · Reply
    • Hi Virginia, unfortunately there’s no way to fix it once the frosting goes runny.

      · Reply
      • Shana

        If it’s runny, it’s too warm. Pop it in the fridge for 10-15 min and whip it again. Should come right back together.

        · Reply
  • Ayoola

    Pls how long can the condensed milk frosting last without being regurgitated and can I put d cake in d freezer

    · Reply
  • May

    Hello. How long can this stay out on the counter once the cake is frosted? I plan on frosting it the morning before the afternoon event and leaving it out on my counter.
    Also is it safe for pregnant women to eat? Its for a baby shower.

    Thank you

    · Reply
    • With the ratio of butter to sweetened condensed milk I wouldn’t worry about it being on the counter for a day. Unless the pregnant woman is allergic to any of the ingredients, I think it should be fine.l

      · Reply
  • Laurie

    How would I make a chocolate mocha version?

    · Reply
    • Hi Laurie, you would add 2-3 tablespoons of sifted cocoa powder right before adding the condensed milk and whip it until it’s well incorporated. Add 1/2 – 1 tsp of instant, finely ground coffee if you want to intensify the chocolate flavor.

      · Reply
  • Can I use this frosting under fondant

    · Reply
  • Dana

    Hello! Thanks for the super easy recipe.
    Can this be used under fondant?

    · Reply
  • Mae

    Hi I’m planning to try this out. Has anyone or you try to make it ahead and pipe the next day?

    · Reply
    • The buttercream would be more stable if you piped it as soon as making it. If you’re planning to use it for piping, I would probably reduce the condensed milk amount to about 2/3 of a can instead of the whole can, to increase stability

      · Reply
      • Mae

        Thank you very much! I’m gonna pipe on cupcakes..

        · Reply
  • Xiomy

    The tasted is amazing!
    I have a question.
    Can I leave the cake without refrigerate?
    I’ll donate a cake for a fair at my daughter’s school! So! I should drop off the cake the day before! And it should be server in plates with wrap paper. Would the butter cream melt?

    · Reply
    • Hi Xiomy, the buttercream will not melt if the temperatures are around 70 degrees. If it really hot outside though, it’s probably not the best to keep it out. I would probably refrigerate the cake before bringing to the fair, so by the time it is served it will be room temperature.

      · Reply
  • Heather

    Can you please tell me how big of a cake this will frost of how many cupcakes?
    I am also wondering how I could turn this into chocolate buttercream. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it! I especially love that it does not call for powdered sugar.

    · Reply
  • Tina

    I tried this recipe and substituted the butter for shortening and it was a dream! Kudos for this delicious recipe! I’m looking to try this with margerine sonce it’s cheaper than butter where i live, would that work just as well??

    · Reply
    • Hi Tina,
      I’m happy to hear you liked it even with shortening! I’m not honest how well it would work with margarine since I’m not a fan of its flavor, and therefore haven’t tried it 🙁

      · Reply
  • Gail

    Is this frosting stable? I do a lot of traveling with cakes and am just wondering if it would withstand the bumpy ride… Also, if the cake/frosting is refrigerated, does the butter solidify?

    · Reply
    • Hi Gail,
      The frosting is pretty stable and should withstand a bumpy ride. I would freeze the cake before transporting it though, so that the butter does not soften and make the cake soft.
      The buttercream does solidify when refrigerated.

      · Reply
  • Tam

    I love this buttercream – utter game changer and everything I was looking for in terms of a not-too-sweet buttercream. I want to make another batch, but would love to decorate some cupcakes with chocolate icing – have you had any luck adding either cocoa powder or something like Nutella? Thank you!

    · Reply
    • Hi Tam,
      Thank you! You can easily add some sifted cocoa powder into the butter while you’re whipping. If you want to add Nutella, only add it in place of condensed milk. So Nutella can be a replacement for part of condensed milk, but not as an addition. If you add it in addition to condensed milk, it will be too runny to pipe.

      · Reply
  • Rachelle L Yoder

    This recipe looks amazing! I have not tried it yet, hoping to soon! But I was wondering if I made it ahead of time- or made the whole cake ahead of time if it would be fine to set out at room temperature? Is it safe? Like if I were to make a few huge batches of the frosting, store it on the counter and use it all up throughout the week!? Thanks .

    · Reply
    • Hi Rachelle,
      To be honest I am not sure. I have definitely left the cake out overnight and it was fine the next morning, but I haven’t left it out for more than a day and not sure how safe it would be. Butter is definitely fine left at room temperature and so is the sweetened condensed milk, so I think it would be fine, but can not tell you for sure. If you add the cool whip or whipped cream, definitely do not leave it at room temperature though.

      · Reply
  • Gloria

    This frosting tasted very sour.

    · Reply
    • Hi Gloria, sorry you had trouble with this frosting 🙁
      I would check the ingredients you used in this recipe because there’s no sour ingredients in the recipe, so if it came out sour, you have probably used either wrong or bad ingredients.

      · Reply
  • Lena

    Awesome recipe! Used for kievskiy cake and it turned out perfect. Smooth and delish.
    Awesome work!

    · Reply
  • Lena

    Hi! Would I be able to add gel food color and frost cupcakes with this frosting? If so, at what point do I add it, with the last addition of condensed milk or after it’s thoroughly combined?

    · Reply
    • I would add it as soon as you have whipped the butter and make the color a little brighter than you would want, since it will be lighter once you add the condensed milk. You do not want to mix it more than the buttercream needs to, since that will separate the cream, so be careful.

      · Reply
  • Heidi

    Hi, thanks for sharing your recipe. Will this be good for piping flowers

    · Reply
  • Shawn Pierce

    Your rexipies have been incredible.

    · Reply
  • Emmy above

    I need to know the secret behind soft cake

    · Reply
  • Sathia

    What is the measurement of your 1 can of condensed milk

    · Reply
    • Thanks Sathia for the question!
      1 can of condensed milk is 14 oz by weight, or 1 cup + 2 Tbsp by volume.
      I added it into the post for others that might have the same question.

      · Reply
  • Vicky

    This is definitely the easiest and delicious butter cream! Have you tried whipping the butter and condensed milk at the same time? I make this cream often and always put the butter, condensed milk and vanilla all together and whip for 5-7 min, with the same perfect end result. As long as the ingredients are room temp, that is.

    · Reply
    • Hi Vicky,
      What proportions do you use when you whip them together? I have done that before but the cream always comes out runnier than if I whip the butter separately first. Also, what brand butter and condensed milk do you use?

      · Reply
      • Vicky

        I do 2 cubes (1 cup) if good quality butter like Tillamook, and one can condensed milk, and whip together for 5-7 min. In the beginning, it does separate and is runny but cokes together closer to the end. I did notice one time I used cheap wal mart butter, and no matter what I did to fix it, it remained separated. So I assumed it has to be good quality ingredients.

        · Reply
        • I use Costco butter most of the time and I don’t believe combining them together from the begining works with Costco butter. I will have to try it one of these days again, because you got me real curious though.
          With this recipe, any butter should work, at least for the ones that I have tried.
          Thanks for your comment Vicky!

          · Reply

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