Take your favorite desserts up a notch with the best coffee frosting! This coffee buttercream recipe is definitely the frosting for coffee lovers: full of rich espresso flavors, made with real espresso powder.

Looking for more frosting inspiration for cakes, cupcakes, and more? Check out my collection of Easy Homemade Frosting Recipes.

Coffee frosting piped into a glass jar, next to more frosting in a piping bag.

The Best Coffee Buttercream Frosting

I’ve done it. I’ve officially cracked the code for the PERFECT coffee frosting. The revelation came the other day, and it seemed so simple, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it sooner. 

Almost all of my frosting recipes contain heavy cream. All it took was heating the heavy cream to dissolve instant espresso, which is traditionally dissolved in water. The result? All the coffee flavor, without thinning out the buttercream. I know.

This coffee buttercream is creamy and rich, with the boldest coffee flavor. Get ready to pipe it onto everything from a Chocolate Mocha Cake to brownies.

Why You’ll Love This Easy Frosting Recipe

  • Thick, fluffy buttercream frosting. I unlocked the secret to the creamiest coffee frosting that’s full of freshly brewed coffee flavor, minus the risk of thinning it out with actual brewed coffee. The answer: instant espresso powder! Keep reading for details.
  • Only 5 ingredients. You only need a few ingredients to make the ultimate coffee frosting. You probably have them stocked in your baking cupboard already!
  • Quick and easy. If you’ve been intimidated by the thought of homemade buttercream frosting, don’t be. This coffee frosting recipe walks you through it step by step, and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.
Close up of a swirl of coffee frosting piped into a glass jar.

Frosting Ingredients

You only need 5 ingredients to make perfect coffee buttercream. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full recipe details.

  • Heavy Cream – Full-fat heavy cream yields the creamiest frosting, whether you’re combining it with espresso or not. Milk would also be a suitable option.
  • Instant Espresso Powder – For the best overall texture and flavor in this recipe, go with instant espresso powder vs. instant coffee or brewed coffee. See below for details.
  • Butter – I recommend unsalted butter that’s cold from the fridge. Yes, cold butter! The extra whipping it takes to smooth out cold butter results in extra light and fluffy frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract – Use pure vanilla extract. The flavor of imitation just doesn’t compare!
  • Salt– balances out the sweetness

Why Use Espresso Powder In Coffee Frosting?

When it comes to coffee buttercream, nothing compares to instant espresso powder to get that unmistakable, coffee-filled flavor. Espresso powder is far superior to instant coffee or regular coffee in this recipe, here’s why:

  • Dissolves quickly. Espresso powder dissolves fully into the heavy cream and infuses every inch of the frosting with a strong coffee flavor.
  • Finely ground. Adding instant espresso directly into the frosting also adds an extra punch of flavor. Finely ground espresso powder combines more seamlessly with the rest of the ingredients.
  • Potent. Instant espresso powder tastes better than regular coffee and won’t thin out the frosting.
Overhead view of coffee frosting in a large bowl.

How to Make Coffee Frosting 

This recipe makes delicious and creamy coffee frosting, perfect for decorating your next chocolate mocha cake (or just about any dessert, see below). Follow these easy steps: 

  • Dissolve the espresso powder. Begin by warming the heavy whipping cream in the microwave, then dissolve instant espresso into the cream. This will give your frosting a rich, deep coffee flavor.
  • Chill the cream. Once you’ve mixed the cream and espresso, place it in the freezer to quickly cool it down. It will need to be cooled completely before you add it to the frosting so that the frosting doesn’t turn out too runny or thin.
  • Whip the butter. Next, cube your cold butter, then whip it with your stand mixer for 5-7 minutes, until it’s at a light, spreadable consistency.
  • Combine. Now, you’ll add 3 cups of powdered sugar to the whipped butter along with salt and vanilla extract. Continue to beat the frosting for a minute or two before adding the remaining powdered sugar, heavy cream, and loose espresso powder. 
  • Whip again. Give your frosting one last, good 3-5 minute whip. This will give the frosting a light and fluffy texture. Your frosting is now ready to use! You can use it immediately or store it in the fridge for later use.

Recipe Tips

I’m sure you’re going to love making your own buttercream from scratch. Keep these tips in mind for best results:

  • Use cold butter. Starting off with cold-from-the-fridge butter is a bit unconventional, and it takes some extra effort, but I promise you, it pays off! The extra whipping incorporates more air into the frosting and makes it extra light and creamy.
  • Adapt the amount of espresso powder. Depending on how strongly flavored you’d like your frosting, you can add more or less espresso powder to taste.
  • If you don’t like coffee, this coffee frosting might not be up your alley. You might prefer my creamy chocolate buttercream frosting instead!

A chocolate cupcake topped with a piped swirl of coffee buttercream.

Ways to Use Coffee Buttercream

If you’re as coffee obsessed as we are, you’ll never run out of desserts to frost with this creamy coffee frosting. It adds an irresistible, rich espresso flavor that pairs wonderfully with chocolate, and just about any other flavor of cake or cupcake. Here are some ways to use it:

I also have lots of helpful decorating tutorials, including how to use piping tips and how to use a piping bag that offer tons of guidance to make the most of this easy buttercream frosting.

Coffee frosting piped into a glass jar, next to more frosting in a piping bag.

How to Store Leftover Frosting

  • Storing: Store this coffee frosting airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days, after I recommend keeping it in the fridge. Refrigerated frosting will usually keep fresh for up to 7 days, but it needs to be brought back to room temperature before use, and re-whip in the mixer for a few minutes.
  • Freezing: Store the frosting airtight and freeze it for up to 1 month. Defrost to room temperature and re-whip it again before you use it.
  • Storing frosted baked goods: Once frosted, cakes and cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature. If you live in a hot and humid environment, then refrigerate and serve them at room temperature. 

More Frosting Recipes to Try

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Coffee frosting piped into a glass jar, next to more frosting in a piping bag.

Coffee Frosting

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Take your favorite desserts up a notch with the best coffee buttercream frosting! This coffee frosting recipe is full of rich espresso flavors, made with real espresso powder.


  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (12g) instant espresso powder, divided
  • 1 ½ cups (339g) butter, cold
  • 6 cups (780g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Microwave the heavy whipping cream for 15 seconds, then dissolve 1 tablespoon of instant espresso into the cream. Place in the freezer to quickly cool it down and ensure it’s chilled before adding it to the frosting.
  2. Cut the cold butter into tablespoon-size pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally until the butter is whipped and easily spreadable.
  3. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and beat at a medium-high speed until well combined, then beat for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Next, add the remaining powdered sugar with the heavy cream and remaining espresso powder. Beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3-5 minutes. Use immediately or store.


  • Additional instant espresso powder can be added for an even stronger flavor.
  • This recipe makes 4 cups of coffee frosting, enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a two-layer 6-inch cake. You can halve the recipe to frost a 9×13-inch cake.  

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