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Super Red Buttercream Frosting

  • Author: Rose Atwater
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 cups 1x


Super Red Buttercream Frosting. Tried and true tips to get really bright red frosting every time. With the right red food coloring and a few good practices, you'll be able to solve this neverending problem of the pink and coral and not-so-red, red frosting. 


Units Scale
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature (434g)
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening* (205g)
  • 7 cups or 2 lb. bag of powdered sugar (454g)
  • 2-4 Tbsp water or milk (15ml)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4ml)
  • 1 tsp butter vanilla (4ml) (optional)
  • Pink gel food coloring (optional)
  • Tulip Red gel food coloring (or other options listed in the post)


  1. Add the butter and shortening to the mixing bowl and cream together. Scrape down the sides to be sure that it's completely mixed together.
  2. Add the vanilla and butter vanilla flavors and mix again.
  3. Slowly add in the confectioner's sugar, a little at a time until completely incorporated.  This will take time and might make a mess  (unless you use a Bosch Mixer).  Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl often.  When all the sugar is added, your frosting will be super thick and dry. 
  4. At this point, start adding tablespoons of milk or water to "thin" the frosting to the desired texture.  I usually use milk, but either works just fine.  I make fairly thick frosting to cover and fill cakes and make it slightly thinner to decorate.
  5. If you're starting with pink, add pink gel coloring and mix until you get a bright pink color.
  6. Add a generous squirt (start with approximately a tablespoon) of red gel coloring to the frosting and mix until well incorporated.
  7. Cover the frosting with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container and allow the color to deepen and develop for a few hours or overnight at room temperature.
  8. You can use this immediately or keep it in the frig in an airtight bowl for up to 2 weeks.  It can also be frozen for several weeks.  If you're using it out of the refrigerator, make sure it's completely thawed and rewhip, adding milk as needed to get the desired texture again.



  • add a tiny drop (like a dot from the end of a toothpick) of black gel coloring to get a deeper/darker red.
  • use Americolor Super Red for a darker red
  • microwave 1/4 cup of the red frosting to melt it and deepen the color, then mix it back into the bowl of buttercream. chill if needed to firm up the consistency.
  • start with pink frosting to jump-start your red frosting
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Countertop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: red frosting, red icing, how to make red food coloring darker, red buttercream, how to make red buttercream, red buttercream frosting, red buttercream cake, how to make red food coloring, what colors make red food coloring, how to make red icing, how to make dark red icing

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