Vanilla buttercream frosting is smooth, creamy, not overly sweet, and packed with vanilla flavor. This easy vanilla buttercream frosting recipe is perfect for icing layer cakes and piping onto cupcakes. The best part is, it only takes 5 ingredients and 10 minutes to make! The best vanilla buttercream frosting!
Ingredients for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Unsalted butter – Room temperature for easy whipping.
- Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar.
- Salt – A pinch of salt provides some contrast to the sweetness of the buttercream.
- Vanilla extract – I recommend using pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste for the best “vanilla ice cream” flavor. We are using a full tablespoon for intense vanilla flavor.
- Heavy cream – Heavy cream brings everything together and makes the buttercream light and fluffy.
How to Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
My vanilla buttercream recipe is incredibly easy to make. I recommend using a stand mixer. You can use a whisk or paddle attachment depending upon your preferences. You can also use an electric hand mixer.
- Whip the room temperature butter until light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Add powdered sugar in two batches, mixing on low in between each addition.
- Add the vanilla extract and salt.
- Drizzle in the heavy cream and continue to mix on low until combined.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and whip the buttercream for about 3 minutes to get the desired consistency.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe Tips
Perfect buttercream frosting
Check out my “Baking Tips” blog post on 10 Tips for Making Perfect Buttercream to get more information and tips on how to make the best buttercream frosting.
Room temperature butter
If the butter is too cold or too warm, the buttercream will not whip up well. Remove your butter from the fridge and let it hang out on your countertop for an hour or two before making your buttercream. The butter should be just slightly soft.
Use good quality vanilla
To make the best tasting buttercream frosting, I recommend using a good quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Vanilla can be a bit expensive, but when it comes to making vanilla desserts, you don’t want to skimp on the flavor!
Storing and serving
Store the buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for 3 months! Bring the buttercream to room temperature and rewhip with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer until good as new! The buttercream is best enjoyed at room temperature.
Vanilla Buttercream Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use salted butter?
Sure! Some people find using salted butter to be too salty. With unsalted, you control the amount of salt you add. I love using half salted and half unsalted butter and omitting the additional salt!
Do I need to sift the powdered sugar?
Only if you need to! I don’t sift powdered sugar unless it is lumpy. Try different brands of powdered sugar to find your favorite.
Can I add more or less powdered sugar?
Totally! You can tailor the recipe to suit your taste. Use as little as 4 cups or as much as 7 cups of powdered sugar. You do not need to change the amounts of the other ingredients.
Should I use a whisk or paddle attachment on my mixer?
That depends! I use both depending on my mood! Many bakers feel that using a paddle attachment creates a smoother buttercream. Some recommend using a whisk attachment to make the buttercream lighter. My suggestion is to try both ways and see what you like best!
How can I make my buttercream smooth?
After you are done making the buttercream, mix the buttercream on low speed with a paddle attachment for 5 to 10 minutes. You can also remove air bubbles by mixing the buttercream by hand with a spatula until it is silky smooth.
Can I use an electric hand mixer?
Absolutely can. I do prefer a stand mixer myself, but an electric hand mixer will work just fine!
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Stand mixer or electric hand mixer whisk or paddle attachment based on personal preference
- 2 cups unsalted butter room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar minimum 4 cups/maximum 7 cups – adjust to your taste
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Add room temperature butter to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment. Whip the butter for 5 minutes on medium-high speed, scraping down the sides occasionally, until the butter is light, fluffy, and pale in color.
- Add one half of the powdered sugar and mix on the lowest speed setting until fully combined. Add remaining powdered sugar and continue to mix on low until incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract and salt and mix on low until combined.
- Slowly drizzle in the heavy cream while mixing on low speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure the frosting is well mixed.
- Once the heavy cream is added, turn the speed on the mixer to medium and mix for an additional 3 minutes until smooth.