This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

A sweet and tangy topping for all of your favorite sweet treats! My Sour Cream Frosting comes together in minutes with a few simple ingredients. Enjoy this luscious spread with baked goods or fresh fruit!

a vanilla cupcake with sour cream frosting in a heart decorated paper liner.

Silky smooth and not too sweet, you’ll want to spread this sour cream icing on everything in sight.

The best part? My recipe uses just 5 ingredients that you may already have at home! Start with whipped butter, then add vanilla extract, powdered sugar, and a touch of fresh lemon juice to the star of the show.

I like to toss everything into my stand mixer, but you could use an electric hand mixer and a large bowl if needed. It’s so simple, even kids or grandkids could help!

This easy sour cream frosting is sure to become a staple in your recipe collection. Be sure to add my recipes for royal icing and fresh cherry buttercream as well.

ingredients for sour cream frosting on a kitchen counter: butter, lemon, vanilla, sour cream, and powdered sugar.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Sour Cream Frosting

  • Butter — Always using unsalted for frostings and spreads! Each brand of butter contains a different amount of salt, so it’s better to add it yourself as needed.
  • Sour cream — The star of this recipe! For the best consistency, use a full-fat variety. Lighter versions have extra water, which will create a runnier consistency.
  • Lemon juice — This is optional, but I highly recommend it! Along with the sour cream, it gives the frosting just the right amount of tanginess — tastes just like cream cheese frosting!
  • Vanilla extract — Adds warmth and a touch of caramel sweetness. If you prefer your icing to not be too yellow, use clear vanilla instead.
  • Powdered sugar — Be sure to sift well before adding to your mixer. This is notorious for having tiny little clumps that aren’t easily broken up with a whisk or when blended.

How to Make Sour Cream Icing

Bring the butter and sour cream to room temperature before starting the recipe. You’ll get smoother results, and the mixture will come together much faster.

STEP 1 | Whip the butter

Add the softened stick to a stand mixer and beat for several minutes. It should lighten in color to a very pale yellow and have a fluffy, airy texture.

mixing sour cream frosting in a stand mixer and adding powdered sugar to the bowl with a spoon.

STEP 2 | Add the remaining ingredients

Starting on low, incorporate the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla (plus a pinch of salt) until well blended. Then, mix in the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time.

Once it has all been added, scrape down the bowl and whip on medium until creamy — it should take less than a minute.

a beater with sour cream frosting being held up in the air.

STEP 3 | Decorate your goodies

Spread onto baked goods using an offset spatula or knife, or transfer the icing to a piping bag fitted with a decorating tip.

a bowl of sour cream frosting with an offset spatula and unfrosted cupcakes in the background.

tips

  • If the sour cream frosting is runny, add more powdered sugar — a couple of tablespoons at a time — until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Alternatively, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (or even water) will thin out icing that is too thick.
  • For a chocolate version, omit the lemon juice and mix in 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with the sugar.

close up image of piping sour cream frosting onto a vanilla cupcake.

Frequently asked questions

Why do you put salt in frosting?

There are several reasons, actually! First, it helps prevent that cloying, “hurts your teeth” sweetness that can occur in simple buttercreams. It also enhances the added flavors — in this case, vanilla and lemon.

Does sour cream frosting need to be refrigerated?

Yes! While whipped butter is stable at room temperature, the addition of other dairy ingredients requires it to be chilled. Keep well covered or in an airtight container for up to 5 days and re-whip for a minute or two before using.

Can I make sour cream icing without butter?

Technically, yes, but the consistency can get tricky. You could substitute margarine, shortening, or a combination of both if you prefer.

Also, keep in mind that the flavor may be slightly different and icings tend to be sweeter when made with shortening. Give it a taste and blend in an extra pinch of salt if needed.

a vanilla cupcake with sour cream frosting swirled on top.

Serving suggestions

Spread this delicious sour cream icing over cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and more! It would even be delicious as a sweet dip for fresh berries and fruit or spooned into the center of whoopie pies.

You can also add a drop or two of food coloring (the gel kind works best) to match any holiday or special occasion. If you’ll be making this ahead of time, know that the color will continue to deepen the longer it sits.

Please share!

Your shares are how this site grows, and I appreciate each one. Do you know someone who would enjoy this recipe? I’d love it if you would share it on Facebook or Pinterest!

a vanilla cupcake with sour cream frosting swirled on top.

Sour Cream Frosting

My sour cream frosting comes together in minutes with a few simple ingredients. Enjoy this luscious spread with baked goods or fresh fruit!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Sweets
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 183 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice optional
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar sifted

Instructions
 

  • Add the softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until the butter is light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the sour cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat until the frosting is creamy and the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally.

Notes

  • Bring the butter and sour cream to room temperature before starting the recipe. You’ll get smoother results, and the mixture will come together much faster.
  • If the frosting seems too thin, add more powdered sugar — a couple of tablespoons at a time — until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Alternatively, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of heavy cream (or even water) will thin out icing that is too thick.
  • For a chocolate version, omit the lemon juice and mix in 1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with the sugar.
  • If not using immediately, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Nutrition

Calories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mgSodium: 7mgPotassium: 13mgFiber: 1gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 222IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 10mgIron: 1mg

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword cake, frosting, icing, sour cream
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating