vanilla buttercream frosting on spoon
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

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This rich and creamy frosting is insanely easy to make for any and all of your cake, cookie, and cupcake frosting needs!

* This post was updated with new photos and more detailed instructions 🙂

This is my absolute favorite recipe for vanilla buttercream. It’s not only easy with very few steps involved, but it comes out wonderfully (and not to mention quickly) every time. I mean it feels like I’m eating a cloud, which isn’t great for my portion control. But that’s another problem for another day!

vanilla buttercream frosting piped in cups

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    Another reason I love this recipe is because I find this buttercream is best for piping. It really holds it’s shape well, so you can use it to pipe anything from just a simple swirl on top of vanilla cupcakes to outstanding decorations on towering cakes.

    I can’t decorate to save my life … so I’ll stick to simple.

    vanilla buttercream frosting piped

    Heavy cream vs milk in buttercream:

    Just a quick note I wanted to make when it comes to the liquid you add to thin your frosting. This recipe calls for heavy cream, but you can definitely use milk instead!

    Since milk has a thinner consistency than cream, you should start with 1 tablespoon and add more as needed to get your desired frosting thickness. Frosting made with heavy cream tends to be richer and fluffier, while frosting made with milk is usually denser.

    Be careful when adding liquid though. When buttercream is too runny, it can be a bit difficult to re-thicken it. It’s always easier to add liquid!

    vanilla buttercream frosting in bowl

    Buttercream Frosting Storage:

    Buttercream frosting will keep in the fridge for around 5 days. Before you want to use it, make sure you let it come to room temperature and give it a light mix to make it easier to work with. If you find the buttercream is too solid, add a splash of cream or milk and mix to loosen.

    vanilla buttercream frosting piped in cup overhead

    Can buttercream be frozen?

    Yes! You can definitely freeze buttercream. Transfer it to a freezer safe, airtight container and freeze. Buttercream lasts in the freezer for up to 2 months. Before using, defrost completely and bring it up to room temperature.

    vanilla buttercream frosting piped in cup close up

    Tools to help with your buttercream making (affiliate links):

    • a piping bag and tip are helpful when piping some fancier designs. I just got and started using the Wilton Cupcake Decorating Icing Tips. I’m outrageously excited because piping tips have been on my wishlist since FOREVER!!
    • if you plan on spreading your icing on cupcakes or cake, an offset spatula is a huge help! The Wilton Angled Spatula comes in 2 sizes (depending on what you plan on using it for)

    If you liked this vanilla buttercream, check out some of these similar recipes!

    simple powdered sugar icing/glaze
    chocolate ganache
    small batch chocolate buttercream
    vanilla pastry cream
    vanilla cupcakes
    chocolate cupcakes


    vanilla buttercream frosting on spoon
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    5 from 1 vote

    Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

    This rich and creamy frosting is insanely easy to make for any and all of your cake, cookie, and cupcake frosting needs!
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 0 minutes
    Total Time 10 minutes
    Servings 1 & 1/2 cups of frosting (approx.)

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
    • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted * see notes
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk or whipping cream ** see notes
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

    Instructions

    • Add your unsalted butter to a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it lightens in color and fluffs up slightly. (You can also do this by hand, it'll just take slightly longer)
    • Add your powdered sugar to the butter and mix on low to incorporate. Once you no longer see dry sugar, cream the butter and sugar together on high speed for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar well.
    • Add your salt, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, and vanilla. Whip the mixture for another 1 to 2 minutes on high speed, or until it's light and fluffy, and almost doubles in volume. Take care not to over mix once the heavy cream is added. Add more cream as needed to get your desired consistency.
      Pipe, spread, or spoon frosting on any dessert you like!

    Video

    Notes

    * While it still tastes great regardless, sifting is an important step to help you get a smooth buttercream.
    ** You can substitute the heavy cream for milk if you prefer. Since milk has a thinner consistency than cream, you should start with 1 tablespoon and add more as needed to get your desired consistency. Frosting made with heavy cream tends to be richer and fluffier, while frosting made with milk is usually denser and almost fudgier (yum, and yum!)

    Enjoy!



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    4 thoughts on “Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

    1. 5 stars
      My new favorite buttercream! I used it for a small family wedding cake today and it worked beautifully for fancy piping and tastes great. I love that it’s not too sweet

      1. For sure! You can swap out the milk/heavy cream for an equal amount of lemon juice. Then add however much zest you like to taste 🙂

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