Red Hot Buttercream Frosting

Red Hot cinnamon candies make me nostalgic for kid life.

But the funny thing is, I don’t actually like eating them.  Well, I don’t like eating them whole.  I mostly like the flavor they leave behind…like a sugar cookie that was decorated with red hots….but then the candies fell off so there’s just a bit of red hot sugar left behind?   That’s what I like.  Crazy?

But I thought, duh.  Why not combine the two?


It’s my new Valentine’s fave — crunchy little bits to give you a zing without overpowering the rest of the treat.

Red Hot Buttercream Frosting recipe from MADE Everyday with Dana -- Happy Valentines Day!

Okay, start with a basic buttercream frosting (if you’re in a hurry, store-bought vanilla will work but homemade is so yummy and easy)

makes enough for 24 cupcakes or a few dozen cookies

1 stick butter at room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 Tbl almond extract
dash of salt
6-7 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar (appx a 32 oz bag)

In a bowl, cream the butter for 10 seconds.  Carefully beat in the milk and almond extract and salt for a few seconds.  Making frosting is sort of a give-and-take till you get the right consistency, so start with 1/3 cup milk and add more as needed.  Also, if 1 Tbl almond extract sounds too strong start with a teaspoon and see how it tastes. Personally, I love almond flavor more than vanilla in frosting.  It’s just so tasty.

Now start adding the powdered sugar.  Add 6 cups and beat with a mixer.  Add more sugar as needed, till you have a thick yummy buttercream frosting.

Set the frosting aside and let’s crunch the Red Hots (you can purchase red hot cinnamon candies in most grocery stores for about $1/bag).
• Place the Red Hots in a large plastic bag (do not seal the end of the bag so the air can get out).
• Place a piece of paper under the bag and fold it over to the top of the bag and pound it with a mallet or hammer (the paper helps keep contain any mess)
• Keep hammering till all the large pieces are smashed.

You end up with a lovely pile like this.
NOTE: You should mix the crushed candy into the frosting within an hour or it starts to get clumpy and soft.

Now, if you’re decorating cookies you may not want an entire batch of red hot frosting.   I recommend setting aside  2/3 of the frosting and only converting 1/3 of it to Red Hot.  So in a separate bowl, spoon in a cup or two of frosting and dump about a 1/2 cup of crushed red hots, and mix.  If you need more flavor add more red hots.  Give-and-take.

Then decorate away!…and sample as you go.

Try it on Sugar Cookies, homemade cupcakes,

or my personal favorite….crackers and frosting (Ritz work so much better than grahams).

Whatever your method, it’s a lot of red hot love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!

  1. 1) Michelle Lubbers

    Nothing *strange* about it. Red Hots are one of my favorite flavors too, this is a must try. Oh if I could eat the screen… mmmmm.

  2. This is a great idea! I feel the same way about red hots. Extra points for giving my kids something to hammer : )

  3. 4) Spencer

    I think you just saved tonight’s FHE…

  4. I am the same way, I pick off the red hots and just delight in the “After flavor.” This looks yummy! Great idea to crumble them up into frosting! Thanks 🙂

  5. Oh with the Ritz…now that looks tasty…sweet, salty…nom nom.

  6. 7) Annie

    We make homemade red hot ice cream. It is so good!!!

  7. 8) Rachael

    Looks delish! I just got a kitchenaid mixer for my birthday and I think this is the recipe I might have to make to “break it in!”

  8. If I only had some red hots on hand! I’m exactly like that. I love decorating the cookies with red hots then taking them off and eating the cookies. I will definitely be making this! My uncle has a really yummy recipe for oatmeal cookies that call for cayenne pepper. The spicy and cinnamon combined remind me of red hots.

  9. 10) Robyn

    Looks yummy AND gorgeous!

  10. I JUST took photos of some chocolate covered strawberries on that same tray! Gotta love Target haha! I actually bought that tray after I saw it on your blog.. 🙂

  11. 12) Britney

    you can actually get flavoring (cinnamon) that makes it taste like red hots – no hammering required and you can adjust to your personal taste. It’s candy flavoring that you can find at Michaels. it’s awesome!

  12. This is seriously SO smart. I loved eating sugar cookies growing up when the red hots had fallen off and just left the cinnamony dots. And the cookies look so pretty, too!

  13. it’s after midnight and I’m seriously considering a trip to the store for red hots. looks amazing!

  14. 15) Kristie

    Yogurt covered pop rocks. That has to be my new favorite treat. We found them at a frozen yogurt place. Man are they good in your icecream. Or chocolate covered cinnamon bears.
    I am going to have to try this out. I love the color it gives the frosting. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Ohhh, yummy! I’m making the cupcakes tonight and will frost them tomorrow night, for work on Thursday. I’m the only woman in a man-dominated field (IT security) in my office so I’ll be a Hero Goddess! Thank you!

  16. Oh my goodness, my mouth is watering at the thought of red hot icing. I think I need to make this very, very soon.

  17. This looks absolutely delicious Dana! Not to mention the color is lovely. Thanks for the recipe. A definite must try. 🙂

  18. 19) iHeartQuilting

    Looks yummy. I can’t eat the candy, the strength of the cinnamon makes my teeth hurt, but I do use them to make my canned spiced apples.

  19. Looks delish. I don’t like them whole, either!

  20. Dana! Look at you FINALLY putting a watermark on your image! I commend you! I kept wondering when you would do that. ANNND not to mention your photos looks stellar, AND your recipe is pure genius. Seriously woman, you’re ARE the super woman of today.

  21. 23) Sharon

    Genius. Pure genius! I’m going to aim to make cupcakes with this frosting by Thursday. Thanks for the idea!! 🙂

  22. 24) Mo

    I was so excited when I saw this post, I went to three stores today and could not find Redhots! I’m 39 weeks pregnant so I am now going a little crazy obsessing over this frosting 🙂

  23. Just whipped this up to sandwich between some linzer cookies! Mmmmm… Thanks for the awesome idea.

  24. 26) Gretchen

    I love this idea! I’m totally with you on loving the flavor redhots leave behind!

  25. This is making my mouth water. Seriously…so brilliant.

  26. Just so you know, that is a brilliant idea!

  27. 29) Chelsea

    Looks so yummy! I’m trying out your sugar cookie and frosting recipes for our Valentine party tomorrow. Can I prep everything today? If so should I refrigerate the icing until tomorrow? Thanks!

    • 30) Dana

      sure. you can totally make the stuff ahead of time!

  28. Oh yum, I love red hot’s and I’ve never seen frosting on crackers before- I’ll have to give that a try!

    It was great getting to meet you at Alt! Happy Valentine’s Day- sending goodness your way! 🙂 Anna

  29. 32) Jenny

    made this frosting for the “big” day… only used about a half teaspoon of almond extract and the office full of ladies, (and a few guys) absolutely loved them!! Thanks for sharing. A hit for sure.

  30. 33) jweed

    made the red hot frosting today. my new favorite indulgence. Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. 34) Claire

    Made these tonight! We did half red hots and half lemon heads, which were great when you got hunks, but not much flavor without them so we squeezed in half a lemon. We were really worried about the almond overpowering/confusing the taste of the lemon, which it did on its own (who doesn’t eat some with plain?) but it worked out perfectly when paired with this cookie recipe.

  32. 36) Spunkycutechicknits

    I made my regular sugar cookies and my homemade frosting. I added the red hots to the frosting.…yummy. Thanks for the idea. Im addicted.

  33. 37) Erica Ricky Kennedy

    I love your website and found you through a friend’s posting on facebook.

  34. 38) Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    What a great idea! Can’t wait to make this frosting to top something sweet!

  35. 39) Karen M Scholl

    Thanks! I put red hots on top of an apple cake and it was fantastic! Next time I’ll make it with the red hots inside the cake AND also top with the icing and perhaps try the flavoring for that. Can’t wait to try it!
    Nice with the cardamom I use in my apple desserts.
    I also used red hots to infuse vodka for a friend who loves them and that went down very well! Think I’ll also try the ice cream too — with almond milk. Thanks!

    • 40) Dana

      Oh wow. That sounds really unique! I’ll have to try that. Thanks for sharing Karen!

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