{Cupcake Basics} How to Frost Cupcakes

Simply the BEST tutorial on How to Frost Cupcakes!

One topic that I often receive questions on, is how to frost cupcakes.  I’ve been wanting to post on this topic for some time, but wanted to do a nice complete post, something that would be a nice reference for you to come back to.  I hope this post will be a good resource for you.  I remember when I first started decorating cupcakes I too was very interested in (and intimidated by) creating a beautiful swirl on cupcakes.  After doing it only a few time I found that filling a piping bag and adding a nice swirl of frosting on cupcakes is actually much easier and quicker than spreading frosting!

A few tips to get you started…

In order for the frosting to have enough body (be thick enough) to hold up, you need a good frosting to start with.  Make sure not to add to much liquid, or allow your ingredients to be too warm.  I would not recommend using canned (pre-made) frosting to pipe on cupcakes, it’s usually not firm enough to hold up.  I have heard of people adding powdered sugar to canned frosting to thicken it… but if you are going to do that, it’s just as easy to make it yourself.

I’ve posted recipes for American Buttercream, and Cream Cheese Frosting, the two frostings I use most of the time.  Swiss Meringue Buttercream (explained beautifully by Rosie of Sweetapolita) also makes a beautiful frosting for piping.

Simply the BEST tutorial on How to Frost Cupcakes!

(Left to Right)  Large round tip, Open star (Wilton 1M), Closed star (Wilton 2D), French tip

To frost cupcakes, you’ll want to use a large (sometimes called jumbo) decorating tip.  The four most common shapes (openings) are shown above.  The Wilton 1M and 2D are often available at craft stores, the others you may have to buy on-line.  I like to use a coupler to hold my tips in place, for these large tips you’ll need a large coupler as well.  Large tips can also be used without a coupler, by simply setting the tip inside the bag, then filling with frosting.


Sweet Baking Supply

Sweet Estelle’s

Bake it Pretty

Country Kitchen Sweetart

And for a grand finale… my first ever video!  Simple and to the point, but I think it’s sometimes helpful to just see something done from start to finish.  Enjoy!

P.S.  No, my counters are not dirty, yes the grout is brown… that is the color of the grout.  My kitchen (and counters) are original to my house, which was built in 1958.  They’re old.

Have fun experimenting with different tips and frostings.  Use concentrated gel coloring to color your frosting (like Americolor or Wilton).  Add some sprinkles, and you’ve got a beautiful and delicious treat!

Simply the BEST tutorial on How to Frost Cupcakes!

Several other posts you may find helpful as you learn to make beautiful cupcakes…

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

American Buttercream Frosting

How to Bake Cupcakes  (tips to help you bake beautiful and delicious cupcakes)

Cupcake Liners (answers to common questions, and my favorite liners)

The BEST cupcake frosting tutorial!!  Great recipes and tips!  - GloriousTreats.com

Happy decorating!


  1. This frosting is perfect!!!! i have been looking for a buttercream frosting that i can make that doesn’t fall apart or get grainy…and i love cream cheese so I took your advice and added a slight bit of cream cheese to the american buttercream frosting and viola!!! i did use a bit of vanilla paste instead of extract and colored it green for st patty’s day..but it piped beautifully onto the cupcakes! I’m very happy. and it tastes wonderful! Thank you!

  2. Hi!
    I have a question about the frosting.

    I tried the buttercream frosting before and I really like it’s looks – it keeps the shape very well and can be dyed easily. It also gets dry nicely, creating a thin shell on the outside but stays soft on the inside. The only problem with it is the awful taste – I can’t imagine anything worse than butter with lots of sugar.

    At home I usually use whipped cream or mascarpone cheese for the topping, but now I’m making batch of cupcakes as a gift and have to transport them by car for over 2 hours. So mascarpone and whipped cream are out of the question as they won’t stay on top and the cupcakes will get all messy.

    That cream cheese frosting looks interesting, a reasonable compromise between taste and durability. I’ve never made this frosting before, so could someone with better experience tell me how it is compared to the buttercream one? Is it also stiff and keeps shape well? And what sort of cream cheese is best for it?

  3. hey what icing recipie do you use in this totorial

  4. Thank you for posting all your recipes and frostings ! You have no idea how a page & video like yours that is laid out so nice can really please another and help making baking so much nicer !! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Where did you get the decorating tip all the way to the left?! (just open circle)

  6. I am planning along with some of my girlfriends to make cupcakes for my baby shower I was so nervous but looking at your blog put me at ease. Your work and tips are awesome!!

  7. I have come back to your site numerous time since I started baking cupcakes for my little ones! You are awesome and so detailed! Thank you! My question today is about the color palette you used in your how to pipe cupcakes…its gorgeous …perfect for my daughter spring’s party.

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  9. This tutorial is wonderful! The American Buttercream recipe is now my go-to frosting. I do have one question: I am making a batch of frosting to use for an activity at a girl scout meeting and need to make it ahead. Can I leave it out a couple hours until we are ready to use it? I am afraid that if I refrigerate, it will not defrost properly or in time for us to use it. (we will be piping, not spreading) Thanks for the great post!

    • Hi Andrea,
      I guess it all depends on the temperature where you are. I would recommend keeping it in the fridge, and then taking it out only 20 minutes or so before you are going to use it.

  10. Amazing colours!! I can’t wait for my Wilton tips to arrive in the mail to try this out!

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  14. You have a really good website and the amazing photos it looks
    So good and I like it
    Have a good day with a small taisty cupcak…..

  15. great website. i loved it! i was just wondering where you find the professional tips of the piping bags that chefs or bakers use? 🙂

    • Hi Amanda, I’m guessing you just mean larger bags? I usually use a 16″ bag and that is perfect for holding a good amount of icing, without being overwhelming to handle. I’m pretty sure Country Kitchen Sweetart (linked above) would carry them. They may carry an even larger size as well. You should be able to find 16″ bags at most of your well stocked local craft stores (Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc) as well.

  16. Are these mini sized cupcakes or large\standard?? Thanks so much for the tutorial!!

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  18. Amazing post! I am a cupcake lover and i will try these out this weekend! Quick question- what can I substitute the butter with in the frosting recipe? Thanks loads!

    • Hi Jessie,
      Butter is an important component in the recipe. I’ve never experimented with non-dairy options, but if that’s what you need I might suggest googling for vegan frosting recipes.

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  23. I could recognise these cupcakes anywhere. I have just seen a cupcake shop in Seville, Spain, that is using your photograph in their business card! The proof here, in their facebook page:

    I can’t hate more these things. They have clients everyday and are opening a second shop: They can’t say they have no money to pay a photograph or buy a stock!

    • Hi Mhina, Thanks for letting me know. Yes, that is my image and they do not have permission to use it. It’s a shame. Unfortunately I do not speak Spanish so I’m not sure my comment on their page would mean much. Thanks for letting me know.

  24. Loved this page!!! I shared it on my page as I thought the layout and pictures were fantastic! Thanks x

  25. Please tell me what purple icing gel you used, that is the exact color i need for an upcoming event! thanks so much, love your page!!!

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  27. My daughter and I had an ah-ha moment…WE CAN do this! Thanks for the motivation.

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  33. Your video was simple and to the point. Loved it

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  36. Super cute! Love the article! Btw did you take these photos?! They are super cute!

  37. Hey, I just wanted to let you know that someone is trying to pass off your work as hers…just thought you should know

    • Hi Moira, Thanks for your note. I’m not sure how to contact the owner of the page you linked to, so I think I’ll have to let it go for now. Thanks for looking out for me! <3

  38. Love you’re website!

  39. your website that is…

  40. as a seasoned interior designer – I would love nothing more than to consult with you regarding the project of up-dating your kitchen counters

    kindest regards,
    Sharon Endick


    • Hi Sharon, Thanks for your note! The comment about my counters was added after someone left a negative comment about them. I would love to re-do my kitchen, but the issue is money, not lack of ideas =)

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  46. Thanx! Never knew you could make a rose that way. I learned a pretty difficult way, but the way I did mine are prettier, but yours in an awesome way to do faster!!!! Love your teaching!!! And clear directions, you don’t keep talking about random things like some people do.

  47. Thank you so much!! This is exactly what I was looking for, I can’t wait to try the frosting and techniques. My girls LOVE cupcakes and this looks easy enough for even them to do. Yeah!!!!

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