Sour Cream Frosting – Tangy and Sweet Buttercream Frosting

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Sour cream frosting adds a delicious tangy note to the classic sweetness of buttercream frosting. This sour cream frosting won’t taste like sour cream, but people will notice its wonderful bright flavor when paired with all manner of desserts.

Cupcake topped with sour cream frosting
This sour cream icing is a great substitute for cream cheese icing or buttercream frosting!

Adding just a touch of sour cream into frosting can make a world of difference!

Tips for Making Sour Cream Icing

You can take a few steps to make sure that your sour cream frosting recipe comes out great every time:

  • Make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature. The butter needs to be soft but not melting, and the sour cream should have been sitting out of the refrigerator for a few hours before you begin.
Adding sour cream to frosting
Sour cream icing will have a similar consistency to a classic buttercream but with a slightly tangy flavor that adds interest to your favorite baked goods!
  • Beat the butter on high speed with an electric mixer for three minutes. Beating the butter this long is necessary to incorporate air; if you beat it for too short of a time, the frosting will be heavy instead of light and airy.
  • You can use vanilla extract, but try using vanilla bean paste for a stronger vanilla flavor. It’s made with actual vanilla beans and the flavor is sensational.
vanilla bean paste on a spoon
Vanilla bean paste will give your sour cream icing a strong and authentic vanilla flavor.

Best Ways to Use Sour Cream Icing

  • Lemon Cupcakes (Use instead of lemon frosting with lemon cupcakes if you don’t want too intense of a lemon flavor.)
  • Cherry cupcakes (You’ve heard of sour cherries, but sour cream paired with cherries is just as good!)
  • Banana cupcakes (Bananas go really well with the tart flavor of sour cream.)
  • Vanilla cake (This sour cream frosting goes perfectly with any vanilla cake recipe.)
  • NY Cheesecake (Pipe the frosting on top of cheesecake instead of whipped cream to make it even more decadent!)
Piping sour cream frosting on a cupcake
This sour cream buttercream frosting has gorgeous specks from the vanilla bean paste and makes a great topping for all of your favorite desserts and baked goods!


Use full-fat sour cream for the richest frosting flavor. However, low-fat sour cream and even Greek yogurt will also work.

You can also use cream cheese and it will be great – but I like to use a higher ratio of cream cheese to butter than I do sour cream to butter. See my cream cheese frosting recipe for the exact recipe.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a review!
Cupcake topped with sour cream frosting
Print Pin
4.49 from 47 votes

Sour Cream Frosting

Add a delicious, tangy taste to the classic sweetness of buttercream frosting with this recipe for sour cream icing.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 263kcal
Author Stefani


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar add more until it reaches your preferred consistency
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract use vanilla bean paste for a stronger vanilla flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 cup full-fat sour cream room temperature


  • Beat butter on high speed with an electric mixer for about three minutes until light and airy.
  • Mix in confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar) a little bit at a time.
  • Add vanilla, salt, and sour cream and continue to beat for another minute. If desired, add more more confectioners' sugar to make the buttercream frosting stiffer.


This frosting frosts about 12 cupcakes with a large swirl or an 8″ square cake.


Calories: 263kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 103mg | Potassium: 11mg | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 503IU | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Click here to leave a comment and rating!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Candace Taylorsays:

    5 stars
    Perfect on chocolate cupcakes!!!

  2. Kyle Lehmannsays:

    5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe! I add a wee bit more sour Creme, and more vanilla paste. Other than that, it’s about the only frosting I’ll use anymore. Thank you!

  3. Pam Kozlowsays:

    Can a sour cream buttercream be used on a layer cake? IF so how long can it sit out at room temperature. I am doing a two tiered cake and using a filling of chocolate sour cream frosting. I recently read that a cake with sour cream frosting should NOT be left out at room temperature for more than “1 hour”. Since most cake need two hour to come to room temperature I am now hesitant to use a frosting with sour cream in it. Also can you freeze the sour cream frosting a couple of weeks before decorating the cake? Thanks for any advice.

    • Stefsays:

      I leave mine at room temperature for days, but I’m not a food safety expert so don’t take my word on that. Yes, you can freeze it. Just bring it room temp and give it a mix before using.

  4. Roy jonessays:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe. I iced 12 cupcakes and had a fair amount left to freeze.
    Someone else bitched about it being salty. It is not too salty. I actually added more sour cream than called for. I probably added another 1/8 cup.

  5. Linda Dinsmore Brinksays:

    5 stars
    The tip about beating the butter thoroughly before adding any of the sugar was the best trip I’ve ever gotten! It came out sweet but not sticky sweet smooth with a tangy kind of tasty. Five stars and I’ll make it again!

  6. Lanesays:

    5 stars
    This is my #1 frosting for carrot cake.

  7. Normasays:

    I substituted Starbucks instant coffee granules instead of vanilla extract. Used this to frost a chocolate mocha cake. So yummy!

  8. Normasays:

    5 stars
    I added Starbucks instant coffee granules instead of vanilla flavoring with the powered sugar. I used this to frost a chocolate mocha cake. So yummy!

  9. Cherylsays:

    How can I make this chocolate sour cream frosting?

  10. Mrs. Dirty Dishessays:

    5 stars
    Ooooh! I think I might try this using plain Greek yogurt in place of the sour cream. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Stefsays:

    Camber – Sure!

  12. Camber Mechelesays:

    Could I substitute vanilla yogurt for the sour cream?

  13. kamailesfoodsays:

    My friend’s dad makes the most AWESOME chocolate cake with chocolate sour cream frosting. He makes it whenever we go there for dinner. I haven’t had vanilla sour cream frosting though. Definitely need to give this one a try.

  14. cookies and cupssays:

    5 stars
    that sounds good. I love sour cream and bet this is fantastic!

  15. shallowOcitysays:

    O my my my!! Your recipes and pics just keeps getting better and better!! I LOVE your blog and always look forward to see what I should try and whip up next :)

    CONGRATULATIONS!! I would like to give you this BLOG AWARD!!!


  16. Elianasays:

    5 stars
    This sounds super delish. Thanks so much for sharing.

Show All Comments