Mint Frosting is a smooth, creamy mint buttercream made with peppermint extract and is the best frosting to use for mint chocolate cupcakes and brownies. Refreshingly green for St Patrick’s Day!

Mint Frosting in a bowl with spatula

Mint chocolate chip is probably one of my favorite ice cream flavors.

In fact I even made this mint frosting to look like ice cream scoops on top of my mint chocolate cupcakes.

And once March hits, it’s time to drink all the homemade shamrock shakes.

However, not all mint are created equal. I do not like fresh mint. I prefer my artificial peppermint extract, please and thank you.

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, it’s time to make all the green things – mint fudge, mint pie, and mint buttercream frosting.

It’s like my small batch buttercream but with peppermint extract and green food coloring added.

Of course you don’t HAVE to add food coloring, but you can trick your brain into thinking it tastes mintier with it.

Use it to decorate small batch chocolate cupcakes or as a mint frosting for brownies.

Mint Buttercream in a bowl with knife

Ingredients For Mint Frosting

To make your mint buttercream, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Powdered sugar: Thickens the frosting so you can easily spread or pipe it.
  • Butter: The reason it’s called buttercream! Butter provides the richness and creaminess of said frosting.
  • Salt: Add a pinch of salt if using unsalted butter.
  • Milk: Helps smooth out the frosting
  • Peppermint extract: Similar to vanilla, it’s extract made with peppermint leaves. This has a different flavor than spearmint and wintergreen, so it’s important you use one labeled peppermint. This is also not the same as peppermint oil. Oil is much more potent than extract.
  • Vanilla extract: Yes, you’ll still want to add some vanilla in addition to peppermint as it’ll give the frosting a little more depth of flavor
  • Green food coloring: Use a few drops of liquid food coloring to get that iconic mint green look

Is peppermint extract the same thing as peppermint oil?

No, peppermint extract is NOT the same as peppermint oil.

The difference between peppermint extract and peppermint oil is extract is made by steeping peppermint leaves in alcohol (usually vodka).

Peppermint oil is made from the pure oil derived directly from peppermint leaves.

Oil is much stronger than extract, so it’s not a 1:1 substitute. Trust me – you don’t want to use the same amount of oil as extract!

If you do want to use peppermint oil in your peppermint frosting, use 1/4 teaspoon oil for every 1 teaspoon extract as oil is about 4 times stronger.

Mint frosting on top of mint chocolate cupcakes

How To Make Mint Frosting

Here’s how to make mint buttercream frosting:

  1. Beat together powdered sugar and butter until smooth and creamy then scrape down the bowl.
  2. Add milk, peppermint extract, vanilla, and food coloring then beat for an additional minute. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk. If it’s not thick enough for piping, add more powdered sugar.

I highly recommend using an electric mixer to beat together the ingredients rather than beating by hand.

Using a mixer makes it super smooth and adds air, which is key for making a fluffy frosting. I personally use a 5 quart stand mixer. However, you can also use a hand mixer.

Mint buttercream frosting with knife in bowl

How much does mint buttercream make?

The yield for this small batch frosting will depend on what you’re making:

  • If you’re piping cupcakes, you can frost between 6-8 cupcakes, depending on how tall you make the swirls.
  • If you’re frosting cupcakes with an offset spatula, you can frost 1 dozen cupcakes because you typically don’t use as much as you would piping.
  • If you’re frosting a 6 or 8 inch cake such as my single layer chocolate cake, you can frost the top and edges
  • If you’re frosting a small two layer cake, you can frost the middle and top. Frosting the edges will depend on how much you’ve used so far. You can always leave it as a naked cake with the edges showing.

Can mint buttercream be made in advance?

Yes, you can make peppermint buttercream frosting in advance! Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

You may need to bring your frosting to room temperature if it’s too hard to spread.

Do you have to refrigerate peppermint frosting?

No, you do not need to refrigerate buttercream. Because it uses a good amount of powdered sugar, buttercream is safe to leave out at room temperature for 2-3 days.

However, buttercream tends to melt if it’s too warm because of the butter’s melting point. In the winter I can leave my cake out, but in the summer I refrigerate my cakes.

You also want to refrigerate your cake if you want it to last longer than 3 days.

Chocolate cupcakes with mint buttercream frosting

What To Make With Mint Frosting

In addition to chocolate cupcakes, you can also frost my small chocolate cake.

Not a fan of chocolate? Check out my small batch vanilla cupcakes and small vanilla cake.

Mint Frosting FAQ

Why is my frosting lumpy?

Start with room temperature butter. If you beat it while too cold, the frosting won’t be as smooth and may result in a lumpy frosting. If you beat it while too warm, the frosting will become too soft to set up.

Why is my frosting runny?

You may have added too much liquid or your kitchen is too warm. To fix this, add a little more powdered sugar to thicken it up or refrigerate for 15 minutes before using.

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, double the ingredients to make more frosting.

More Frosting Recipes

Enjoyed this buttercream recipe? Here are more frosting recipes for you to make:

Looking for more? Check out my full list of small batch frosting recipes.

Mint Frosting in a bowl with spatula

Mint Frosting

Yield: 1 cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Mint Frosting is a smooth, creamy mint buttercream made with peppermint extract and is the best frosting to use for mint chocolate cupcakes and brownies. Refreshingly green for St Patrick's Day!


  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk or heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (or 1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 drops green food coloring


  1. In a large mixing bowl (with the paddle attachment if using a stand mixer), beat together the sugar, butter, and pinch of salt until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the bowl then beat in peppermint extract/oil, vanilla and food coloring. Beat another 1-2 minutes.

    If the frosting is too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it. If the frosting is too thick, add a few drops of milk to thin it out.
  3. Use immediately or store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


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