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!
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.
How to make buttercream frosting: step by step photos:
1. Cream butter until fluffy.
2. Add sugar and cream again to dissolve.
3. .Mix in remaining ingredients (milk/cream, salt, & vanilla), and whip until light and fluffy! Start off with 2 tablespoons of milk/heavy cream, and gradually add more if your buttercream seems too dry. Not all powdered sugars are the same, so you may or may not need more liquid to get the right consistency!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- 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 heavy cream ** see notes
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- 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 milk or 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 if using heavy cream as it can turn grainy. Mix in more milk/cream as needed to get your desired consistency.Pipe, spread, or spoon frosting on any dessert you like!