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.
Tools & Supplies for Making Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
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!
Use gel food coloring for the best color with no impact on the consistency. My favorite brands of gel food coloring are Americolor and Chefmaster.
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!
Click here to see a quick video on how to make vanilla buttercream frosting! Follow Cake Me Home Tonight on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube for more recipe videos and baking tutorials!
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.
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Comments & Reviews
Mary Harris says
If I double the icing recipe do you think it would be enough to ice and decorate a two layer 9” by 13” cake? I want to make sure I have plenty of icing to decorate (it’s a space theme cake)
Hi Mary! I believe that doubling should work. I don’t know how much frosting you plan on using for the decorating, but a double batch should be just fine!
Literally THE best recipe on Earth. Period! 👍❤️
Sue, thank you so much! I am THRILLED to hear that you enjoyed this recipe!! Thanks for the positive review and comment 🙂
This is the best tasting buttercream I’ve ever made! I’m not a fan of overly sweet. Question though: can this be stored at room temperature after the cake is frosted, since it has a lower sugar content than most buttercream?
Hi there, Katie! You can leave the buttercream out at room temperature for a day or two due to the high fat content in the frosting! I have kept a cake out with this buttercream for a couple days with no issue. If it is very hot and humid, I do recommend chilling! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Love your recipe thank you. Question. My buttercream frosting always taste like butter. Any suggestions?
Hi Nancy! You can certainly add a bit more powdered sugar to suit your taste! Another option is to try different brands of butter. Some butters taste more buttery than others!
This goes great with the eggless cupcakes I make my granddaughter. All my grandchildren love it.
Thankd for the recipe
Love that! I might need to get that eggless cupcake recipe from you! 😉
Can we use a manual whisk?
Unfortunately, no. To whip up the butter and the frosting to be light, smooth, and creamy, you will want to go with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer.
Do you think this frosting would work on sugar cookies?
Absolutely! It doesn’t get super firm like royal icing does, so just keep that in mind! But it is a delicious frosting to use for sugar cookies!
Monique Navarro says
How many servings would you say this makes ?
It is difficult to say because it depends on how much you use. I typically use one recipe to frost about 3 dozen cupcakes or a 3-layer 7 or 8-inch round cake with extra for piping! 🙂
Amber Allen says
Love this recipe so much! I use it for both cupcakes and letter number cakes! Just wondering about how many cups does this recipe make? It states five servings is that equal to five cups? Thank you
Hi Amber! Yes! It makes approximately 5 cups! With my new website design, I need to see if I can update the serving size amount so that is shows up in cups! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and for the positive review!
Hi, can’t wait to try this recipe! Quick question: the number you can change above Print, Pin, and Share- what does that refer to?
Hi Maria! That number is the serving amount. For this recipe, it is 5 cups. I am going to try and see if I can make some adjustments with my recipe card plugin so that number mades a bit more sense!
Amber Allen says
Love this recipe so much! Jw about how many cups of frosting does this recipe make?
Hi there, Amber! So happy you enjoyed this recipe! It makes approximately 5 cups of frosting!
I just want to say that I have made this vanilla buttercream frosting. Love Love Love it.
Thank you for trying the recipe! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the positive review! 🙂
Tammy Hull says
I have made probably 10 dozen cupcakes in the past 2-3 weeks due to this frosting recipe! I’ve brought multiple batches of cupcakes with this frosting on it and coworkers have raved about it. My students love it, too. I’m new to piping my cupcakes and the consistency of the frosting is perfect. My cupcakes look like they came from a bakery.
Tammy – thrilled to hear you are loving this recipe! I am so happy you tried it out! It sounds like you have been busy baking! I love it! 🙂
Theresa Emmert says
Hi! Did you have to refrigerate the cupcakes?
If you are serving the cupcakes within a day or so, you do not need to refrigerate the buttercream.
Jessica Chew Gegogeine says
When using for birthday cupcakes, how long can they sit at room temperature after piping? Im trying to figure out how much time before the party I’ll need to do this.
I usually recommend chilling after a 24 hour period. But they can stay out for a day or two without a problem. Just make sure they are in a sealed container or some sort.
Juanita Mancera says
Hi would this be good for number cakes?
Yes, absolutely! It pipes very well and holds up nicely!
Very very very good. Made the icing for my sons birthday cake. Everyone loved it!!!! Tastes sooooooo good. Thank you
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for the positive review! 🙂
Cathy Bory says
Is this a crusted frosting? I’m wondering if I have to put sprinkles on after I pipe each cupcake, or if I can pipe all of them first, then go back and decorate all at once.
Also, if I refrigerate the cupcakes overnight, will the frosting by soft or crusted when the come back to room temperature?
Can’t wait to try this for a birthday party this weekend! Thank you! :^)
I usually sprinkle immediately after piping just to be sure that the sprinkles stick. When chilled, the buttercream definitely firms up but I don’t consider it to be a crusting buttercream.
Leah Housholder says
Do you think this would be enough to pipe 40 cupcakes?
It depends on how much frosting you are using. Usually it makes about 2-3 dozen for me. 🙂
Carla Rutledge says
I just made a batch of Rumchata vanilla buttercream frosting using your recipe and following all your tips and I can say this is that batch I am MOST happy with! Will definitely be following you trying to get better in my baking techniques and presentation. Can’t wait to surprise my workcenter with these boozy cupcakes I made for DIa De Los Muertos 😊.
I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe! Rumchata buttercream sounds absolutely amazing! Thank you for your positive review and comment! 🙂
I live in a very hot area of California and haven’t had the best results with buttercreams in the summer months. I’m glad I read through the reviews. I used 3:1 butter and shortening and it turned out perfect!! It’s not super sweet, which I loved!! I’ll never use another buttercream recipe. Thank you!!
Buttercream is tough in hot climates! Using some shortening is a great way to stabilize it a bit! I’m thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! I appreciate your positive review and comment! 🙂
What do you mean 3:1 for the butter ?
I’m not exactly sure what you are referring to, but if you clarify where this is, I will be happy to respond! 🙂
This is my GO TO icing recipe. I started baking cakes in 2020 and realized most recipes were too sweet and kept playing around with recipes until I got something close to yours. I then found your recipe and it makes it easy to refer to since I don’t make cakes too often to memorize it. And I often find people instantly scrape off their icing until I tell them “no try it, you might like it” and they always do! Since I know I love this recipe, I pretty much only trust your recipes for any other dessert. Thank you!!
I am THRILLED to hear this recipe has become your go to! That is truly an honor! Thank you so much for trying it and leaving a positive review! This made my day!
I’m in Australia and have no idea how to measure cups of butter. They’re sold in blocks of 250g or 500g. Thanks.
Hey there! Head to the recipe card and click on “metric” button near the ingredients. This will convert the measurements to grams for you! 🙂
Thanks for this recipe!
Does this icing harden a little when I pipe it or does it remain soft
It remains soft at room temperature. If it is chilled, it will firm up! 🙂
Erin S says
I am going to make this recipe for cupcakes and was wondering how it would hold on cupcakes for a birthday party if it can’t be refrigerated.
It does perfectly well at room temperature. I have iced cupcakes and had them at room temperature for over a day without an issue!
It can be left at room temp overnight? Even with the heavy cream in it?
Yes! It can. The high fat content allows it to stay out! I usually recommend chilling if it is more than 24 hours, but it is perfectly fine overnight 🙂
I work as a chef and I want to incorporate a peach whisky sauce into the frosting, how would I do this without making the frosting to fall/liquified?
That sounds delicious! I haven’t tested something like that, but this is how I would approach it. I would replace the heavy cream with the sauce and check for flavor and consistency. Then, I would slowly add a spoonful at a time to get the desired taste and consistency. The buttercream will likely have a softer consistency, so I would highly recommend chilling after frosting. That sounds absolutely delicious! Please let me know how it turns out!
Your frosting looks great! Have you tested how it holds in hot and humid weather? I have seen other recipes for American buttercream that do not have heavy cream. Does the heavy cream make this frosting more susceptible to melting? Thanks!
The heavy cream creates a light and fluffy texture with the buttercream. The butter is what makes the frosting susceptible to melting. You could either keep the buttercream chilled or you could also try replacing half the butter with vegetable shortening. 🙂
Katie B says
About how many cupcakes would this recipe frost? Thanks!
Hello! It depends how much frosting you use to ice the cupcakes, but I usually say about 3 dozen 🙂
My mixer broke and I’ve been postponing buying a new one. Do you think I could make this in my food processor? I’ve been using it for baking a lot lately, though it doesn’t have adjustable speeds.
I have never tried to make buttercream in a food processor, so I can’t say for sure…but, my inclination is that it probably wouldn’t work too well. If you try it, please let me know 🙂
Patricia Avery says
I see that your video calls for salted butter yet the recipe calls for unsalted. Which is the best to use
You can use either! Sometimes I use salted butter if I have it. Just omit any additional salt. Some people find it to be too salty, but it works for my taste! You could also do 1/2 salted and 1/2 unsalted! 🙂
Kylie Thurman says
Help! I followed all of the directions, but mine turned kind of grainy and isn’t as thick, fluffy or smooth as yours? It seemed okay until I switched to the paddle attachment! How can I fix it?
Hello! Did you add the heavy cream? Usually adding the heavy cream is what makes the buttercream smooth and fluffy. You could try and switch back to the whisk attachment and rewhip it to see if that will help. Another thing to check is to make sure you used the appropriate amounts for all the ingredients. Sometimes if the ratios of the ingredients are not correct, that can throw off the recipe. I hope this helps!
This was so easy to make and tasted amazing. I had to make two cakes and honestly everybody loves the frosting. Will be making it again. Thank you so much!!
Thank you so much for trying out the recipe! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed it!
Angel Wood says
Used this recipe for a cake I made for my sister-in-law and it was a huge success. Everybody loved it and my brother, who isn’t a huge “sweets” guy, ate about 5 pieces of cake over a weekend and asked for the link for this recipe. He kept raving about how good it was 👍😊 Thank you for sharing!!
Thank you so much for trying the recipe! I am so happy to hear that it was enjoyed! And thank you for your comment and positive review!
Brenda K Hardin says
Do you double the ingredients to make a bigger batch?
I am needing this for a 4 layer cake
Yes you can double the recipe. I know that a doubled recipe does not fit into my stand mixer, so you might need to make two batches 🙂
kathleen roska says
hello for the heavy cream can i substitute it miilk? thank u
Yes, you absolutely can! The texture may be slightly less creamy, but it will still be delicious! 🙂
Ray Beltz says
Do you think adding peanut butter to it will work? Or would it ruin the texture?
You can add peanut butter! I will be sharing my recipe for Peanut Butter Buttercream within the next few weeks. The measurements are slightly different. If you have TikTok, I have already posted the recipe video up there!
Hi! I notice this recipe doesn’t have as much powdered sugar as other buttercream recipes (which I would like because it won’t be as sweet). However, do you think it would be thick enough to pipe buttercream flowers on cupcakes or is it better for just swirls and rosettes? Thanks!
Hello! Yes, it holds up very well with piping flowers, leaves, etc. I haven’t had an issue with it not holding up well!
Stacy Epps says
Do you think I could use Swerve Confectionery Sugar to keep it keto?
I have never tested it personally, but someone on my TikTok said they use Swerve confectionery sugar and it worked well! If you try it, please let me know what you think! It is not my area of expertise but I am curious!
Kristina Justen says
I used this on a funfetti cake I made for my daughter’s birthday and it was sooo good! Multiple people came up to tell me how amazing the frosting was, one even saying “I could eat a whole bowl of this stuff!”. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the buttercream! Thank you for trying out the recipe!