Best vanilla buttercream frosting recipe makes light & fluffy vanilla frosting! This easy homemade vanilla frosting recipe takes just 5 minutes to make.
This homemade vanilla frosting is rich and creamy while still being light and fluffy. It is sweet and rich with a nice vanilla flavor.
This easy vanilla buttercream frosting is made with just 5 simple ingredients, and it only takes less than 10 minutes to whip up!
Even though it's light and fluffy, it's sturdy enough to use for piping. All of which makes it the ultimate vanilla frosting!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter - I use salted butter. If using unsalted butter, add additional salt to taste. Also, I use butter that's at cool room temperature. The butter should dent when pressed, but the stick shouldn't lose its shape.
- Powdered sugar - AKA confectioner's sugar or icing sugar. If your powdered sugar is lumpy, give it a quick sift to help it mix in better.
- Vanilla extract - For the best flavor, use pure vanilla extract.
- Salt - Don't skip the salt! A pinch or two of salt helps to keep frosting from tasting flat.
- Heavy whipping cream - The heavy whipping cream helps to give the frosting its rich flavor and light and fluffy texture.
How to make vanilla buttercream frosting
This American buttercream frosting is really simple to make!
Step 1 Using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Step 2 Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix until well-combined.
Step 3 Add enough heavy cream to make it the proper consistency, and beat until well-combined.
There are a couple things that make a big difference in this frosting.
- First, beating the butter before adding in the powdered sugar is key. Mixing the butter helps to further soften it up so that it can better combine with the sugar.
- Second, sifting the powdered sugar helps to remove any lumps and lets it really mix in well. If your powdered sugar isn't lumpy, feel free to skip this.
- Third, using heavy whipping cream in place of milk gives you a lighter, creamier frosting.
You can. However, the frosting won't be as rich, creamy, or light and fluffy with milk.
That depends! I use pure vanilla extract for the flavor. However, if you would like the frosting to be as white as possible, you can use clear vanilla.
Adding in additional powdered sugar will give you a thicker/stiffer frosting.
Add additional cream to make the frosting thinner.
You can! I frost the cake or cupcakes then freeze.
The frosting should be stored in the refrigerator.
This vanilla buttercream frosting recipe will make enough frosting for a 9x13-inch sheet cake or 24 cupcakes. If you're going to frost the top, middle, and sides of a 2-layer 9-inch round cake, I recommend making 1.5 or 2x the batch.
You can! You can use another flavor, like almond extract, lemon, orange, or peppermint, to make a different flavor of buttercream frosting.
Vanilla buttercream frosting pairs well with vanilla cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes, sprinkle cake, or even red velvet cake.
More frosting recipes!
If you’ve tried this vanilla buttercream frosting recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who've made my recipes!
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup butter softened
- 3 - 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Pinch salt
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Beat butter with a mixer - hand or stand - on medium for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar ½ a cup at a time, and beat until well-combined.
- Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and beat until well-combined.
- Add 2 tablespoons cream, and beat until combined.
- If necessary, continue adding powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time or cream 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach desired consistency.
- Vanilla: If you want whiter frosting, use clear vanilla. For reference, I used pure vanilla extract.
- Cream: You can use milk in place of cream, but the frosting won't be as rich and creamy.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
Originally posted 10/10/18. Updated with new photos and tips 8/25/20. Update again on 2/11/22 with new photos and additional tips and information.