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My EASY Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe is the BEST! Use any caramel sauce to make this frosting – homemade or store bought. It’s the perfect buttercream recipe for cakes, cupcakes, cookies – you name it!

brown cupcake with caramel frosting on top.

BEST Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe

I have been wanting to make a frosting like this for years – it’s creamy like buttercream with the flavor of caramel. While I love cooked caramel icing, sometimes I want buttercream or a more versatile caramel flavored frosting for decorating cakes and cupcakes. That’s what this recipe is!

Why you will love this recipe:

  • Use any kind of caramel sauce – homemade or store bought.
  • Mixes up easily with a hand or a stand mixer!
  • Perfect for piping but hardens when chilled so it’s great for stacking cakes!
  • Easy to make into SALTED caramel buttercream by adding sea salt.
ingredients in caramel frosting.

Ingredients Needed

  • Caramel Sauce: More on this below, but you can use homemade or store bought.
  • Butter: I used unsalted butter. Make sure it’s been softened before starting!
  • Powdered Sugar: This helps make it more of an American Buttercream, perfect for piping!
  • Vanilla: For flavor.
  • Salt: If you want to make Salted Caramel Buttercream, then you should add sea salt or kosher salt (not table salt).

Best Caramel for Icing

The beauty of this recipe is I’ve made it with both store bought AND homemade!

For caramel buttercream with store bought caramel, I’ve tested this with multiple brands of ice cream topping and any work great!

If you want to make homemade caramel, then you can make any of my recipes:

How to Make Caramel Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add softened butter and caramel sauce to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. I don’t recommend using the whisk attachment, but you can use a hand mixer if you want. Cream the two together until the butter is chunky.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on medium-high speed until it comes together in a nice smooth frosting. Unlike my other buttercream recipes, you won’t need any heavy cream or milk – it should be the perfect consistency just because of the caramel.
  3. If you want salted caramel icing, then add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt (to taste).

How to use Caramel Icing

There are so many ways to use this frosting!

So many ideas!

caramel frosting piped into a clear jar.

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • Do you have to use unsalted butter for buttercream? No – if you use salted butter then omit the salt in the recipe (except add the sea salt if you’re making salted caramel frosting).
  • Adding a bit of extra salt helps cut the sweetness of frosting, so if you’re finding your buttercream too sweet, add a few pinches of salt.
  • This frosting is soft when you first make it (depending on how soft your butter is) but if it’s too soft to pipe, just chill it for a few minutes.
  • Store this in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to a month.
brown cupcake with caramel frosting on top.


Why is my frosting runny?

Possibly your caramel sauce was thinner than mine. Or, your butter was really soft when you started. Try refrigerating it for an hour or so and see if it firms up. If not, add more powdered sugar to thicken (and add some salt to cut all the sweetness if it gets too sweet).

Why is my frosting is too thick to pipe?

This can happen for a number of reasons, but you can add a bit more caramel or add 1 teaspoon heavy cream and mix – adding more cream as needed until it’s desired consistency. Don’t add too much at a time though, or it’ll get runny.

Can I use jarred caramel sauce?

Yes! Store bought caramel, dulce de leche or ice cream topping will all work in this recipe.

Can buttercream frosting be left out?

For storing cakes or cupcakes frosted with buttercream, I recommend storing in the refrigerator. But you can leave them out for parties, etc., but once you notice it getting shiny it’s time to chill it.

brown cupcake with caramel frosting on top.

Caramel Buttercream Frosting Recipe

5 from 11 votes
EASY Caramel Buttercream Frosting – this recipe works with any caramel sauce and is perfect frosting for cupcakes, cakes, cookies and so much more!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yield 24 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter , softened
  • ½ cup caramel sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups (452g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt for flavor, optional if making salted caramel frosting
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  • Add butter and caramel to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Cream until butter is chunky in the caramel.
  • Add salt, vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until creamy and smooth.
  • Frost recipe as desired. Makes enough for 24 cupcakes or a 9-inch layer cake. Store in refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to a month.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • You can use any kind of caramel sauce – check out the links in the post for all my caramel recipes.
  • To make Salted Caramel Buttercream: Add up to an additional 1 teaspoon sea salt after making frosting – to taste.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 158kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 163mg | Potassium: 7mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

EASY Caramel Buttercream Frosting – this recipe works with any caramel sauce and is perfect frosting for cupcakes, cakes, cookies and so much more!

Favorite Frosting Recipes

Last Updated on September 24, 2023

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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