How to Make Buttercream Icing. Buttercream icing is a staple for baking. Used for everything from cakes to cookies, it's ideal for decorating with intricate shapes like rose petals and other embellishments. Tasty and beautiful, buttercream icing is an important recipe to master. Read on to learn how to make buttercream icing.

Begin by putting powdered sugar and vanilla into a mixer. The amount you use will depend upon how much icing you need to make. In general, use 1 cup of powdered sugar to one stick of butter, a 1/4 tsp. of vanilla, and just enough milk to make the mixture creamy and smooth.

Add the butter, but first leave it out long enough that it's room temperature. You need the butter to be soft so that it blends to a smooth, creamy texture, but not so soft that your icing has no structure.

Select your mixer's slowest setting possible, then turn it on.

Mix the powdered sugar and butter together slowly. It will take some time for the two to blend, so don't be discouraged when you don't get instant icing.

Drizzle in small amounts of milk to get the icing to a spreadable consistency. As you mix, pour in a tiny bit at a time. If you add too much, you'll find that your icing gets thin very quickly. If this happens, add more powdered sugar to make it thick again.