Very Vanilla Cupcakes.

My favorite homemade very vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix, these are 1000% better!

The BEST homemade vanilla cupcakes. Easy to make and full of rich, buttery vanilla flavor. Recipe by @sallybakeblog

What a week it has been!

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me – my last day at my office job. My job in the corporate financial world has been a part of my life for 4 years. Without the experience learned in my career, I would not be where I am today with my website. I am so thankful for my time there!

A new chapter is about to unfold and you may be seeing a lot more of me. I am a full time website publisher, cookbook author, photographer, and sprinkle lover.

Best-Ever Vanilla Cupcakes. Homemade, fluffy, moist, soft, easy.

Today I’m bringing you something simple. No frills, nothing fancy, just pure tasting goodness. Don’t get me wrong, I love an overloaded cookie more than anything. But sometimes you just need to keep things simple.

After I shared my Easy Homemade Funfetti Cupcake recipe with you, I had many readers write to me and ask for a plain vanilla cupcake recipe.  How do I not have one of those on my website? Challenge accepted!

I took the funfetti cupcake recipe, tossed the egg yolk, added in an extra egg white, used vanilla yogurt, and loaded the batter with fresh vanilla bean.  I topped the pretty white cupcakes with extreme vanilla frosting, which is also loaded with fresh vanilla bean.

Look at all the pretty vanilla bean specks!

My favorite recipe for Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes. Ditch that boxed mix, these are much better!

I bought a jar of vanilla beans at Whole Foods for only $6. The are sold in the spice aisle of most major grocery stores.  3 large vanilla beans came in the bottle and today’s recipe will only use one.  Their fragrance is unparalleled by anything (pure or imitation) vanilla extract will give you.

Wait until you smell these cupcakes baking in your kitchen…

Very Vanilla Cupcakes - an easy homemade vanilla cupcake recipe. My favorite! by

Like my Homemade Funfetti Cupcake recipe, today’s cupcakes come from a very simple batter that can be mixed by hand.  Yes, there is no mixer required for the cupcakes!  There are 4 ways I included vanilla flavor today: vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla yogurt, and vanilla almond milk.  Don’t worry, the only two very important ones are the vanilla extract and vanilla beans.  Feel free to use regular yogurt and milk if you need to.

Today’s easy cupcakes are sweetened with sugar, left moist and soft from butter and yogurt, and their color remains impeccably white from using 2 egg whites.  The presence of an egg yolk made these cupcakes a bit too yellow, so I subbed an egg white the second time I made these today. Yes, I have a lot of cupcakes laying around the apartment right now…

The yogurt I used is fat free vanilla flavored greek yogurt. Even though there is only 1/4 cup of yogurt in the batter, I still feel good knowing I’m getting a teeny tiny protein punch from its addition. That makes these “healthy”… right?  Of course.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes by - triple the vanilla in this simple homemade cupcake recipe!

Like I mentioned above, I added vanilla extract to the batter as well as pure vanilla bean.  I simply scraped the seeds from 1/2 of a vanilla bean into the batter. In order to scrape the seeds of a vanilla bean, simply cut it down the middle length wise and use a knife to scrape out all of the black seeds, aka the intense vanilla flavor specks.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes by

The cupcakes only take about 20 minutes in the oven.  The baking time didn’t really change between my oven switch.  I recently moved and have had trouble adjusting to a new oven.  Fortunately, these cupcakes bake up no differently here.  Quite the solid recipe!

After the cupcakes cool, make your frosting.  The frosting I used is my very favorite fluffy vanilla frosting.  I recently swirled this frosting on top of homemade lemon cupcakes.  If you are a fan of lemon, you don’t want to miss those!  I made the fluffy vanilla frosting again today and added fresh vanilla bean as I mixed the frosting ingredients together.  Yes, I am now in love with vanilla bean seeds. 😀

All it takes is some softened butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean.  I piped my frosting on top with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Feel free to just swirl the frosting on with a knife or use another piping tip.  I love the 1M; it creates pretty swirls like a soft serve ice cream cone!

Very Vanilla Cupcakes by - triple the vanilla in this simple homemade cupcake recipe!

Pure, unadulterated very vanilla flavor. Nothing more, nothing less.  If you are a vanilla fan, you are going to love these.  If you are a chocolate fan, you are still going to love these. If you have any sort of tastebuds whatsoever, you are going to love these.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

Print Recipe

My basic vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix! These taste better any way.


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 and 2/3 cup (210g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 cup (60g) vanilla greek yogurt (or plain; or regular yogurt; or even sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) vanilla almond milk (or cow's milk; or soy milk; or plain almond milk)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean

Vanilla Bean Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4-5 cups (480-600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean
  • salt, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar - mixture will be gritty. Whisk in egg whites, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Split 1 vanilla bean down the middle lengthwise. Scrape seeds from half of the vanilla bean into batter. Reserve other half.
  3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until no lumps remain. Batter will be thick.
  4. Divide batter among 12 cupcake liners (or 24 mini) and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bake for 8-9 minutes if making mini cupcakes. Allow to cool.
  5. To make the frosting, beat softened butter on medium speed with an electric or stand mixer. Beat for about 3 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add confectioners' sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean seeds with the mixer running. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. Add more powdered sugar if frosting is too thin or more cream if mixture is too thick. Add salt if frosting is too sweet (1/4 teaspoon). Frost cooled cupcakes (I used Wilton 1M piping tip). There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake.
  6. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and in the refrigerator up to 7.

Additional Notes:

*Strongly urged to use heavy cream.  You may use milk or half-and-half, but heavy cream will give the frosting a thicker texture.  I recommend it.

Do you want to make a vanilla cake out of this? You can! Simply bake in a 9-inch cake pan (I urge you to use a springform pan because this will be a taller cake) and bake for 30-34 minutes. 

Do you want to make a double layer vanilla cake out of this? You can! Double this cupcake recipe and bake it in two separate 9-inch cake pans. Fill the pans only 1/2 way full and use any extra batter to make cupcakes (because there is a little *too much* batter). The bake time is around 22-24 minutes, give or take. Use a toothpick to determine doneness.

© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.


Do you like cupcakes? Here are a few of my favorites.

Easy Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

You will never make boxed Funfetti Cupcakes again after you try this homemade recipe!


Homemade Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Frosting


Apple Spice Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

apple spice cupcakes with salted caramel frosting


Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Frosting


Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting

Simple Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting


Chocolate Cupcakes with Creamy Nutella Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting


Q: What are you up to all weekend?  We are (still) unpacking and getting settled in the new apartment!  Getting used to my new camera and new lighting and a new oven? It’s been a challenge! Nothing a cupcake can’t remedy.




496 Responses to “Very Vanilla Cupcakes.”

  1. #
    Rachelposted June 7, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Hi Sally, I’m an addicted baker of ALL your wonderful recipes!! Your name is now a staple in my home and I cannot wait to have your second cookbook in hand!!  I’ve recently added your amazing cupcakes to my baking addiction and I am wondering what  product(s)  you recommend for frosting the cupcakes? Thank you so much!!


  2. #
    Aliciaposted June 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Without a doubt THE BEST vanilla cupcake/cake recipe out there and I’ve tried them all.  I’m so glad I found your website.  I’ve made this recipe for birthdays, graduations, bbq’s and then some…  Thank You :) 


  3. #
    Dakota Schmukiposted June 23, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    I made this cake and it was so yummy! However it was a little dense… any advice as to why that is? My ingredients are fresh, at room temperature… not sure what I did  wrong.


  4. #
    heatherposted June 25, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Using this recipe for cupcakes in a cone for a party…would cooking time be the same?


  5. #
    Kristyposted June 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

    I made this icing with your classic yellow cupcake recipe. SO GOOD!! Best frosting I’ve ever had and so easy to make!


  6. #
    Xanthiaposted June 26, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Sally!
    I’m new to piping frosting. (i usually just use a knife to spread it on!)
    Last time i made cupcakes the icing i piped didn’t stick to the cupcake and it ended up falling off. Do you know what i could do to combat this problem? 
    Thank you


  7. #
    Jenniferposted July 1, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Sally, I am so excited to make some magic with these after work today! I bake almost exclusively using your recipes–you never steer me wrong! A couple questions–do you think I could add some chocolate chips for texture without disrupting the overall density of the cupcake? Do you think it would take away from the final product? Also, are you more of a Madagascar or Tahitian vanilla girl for this recipe, and what is your stance on using vanilla bean paste in place of either the extract or the scraped beans?


    • Sallyreplied on July 1st, 2015 at 8:26 am

      Hey Jennifer! I’m so glad you commented and let me know that you love my recipes. Answers: (1) adding chocolate chips is a great idea to include a little extra flavor and texture. Go with 3/4 cup – 1 cup of chocolate chips. (2) I prefer Tahitian vanilla. I rarely use vanilla bean paste, just because the extract is so easy to come by. That doesn’t mean I don’t EVER use it. And it’s a great sub for the scraped vanilla beans and extract in this recipe. Vanilla bean paste concentrations vary and there are usually instructions for equivalents on the jar.


  8. #
    beccaposted July 9, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    i stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest a while back and have had the opportunity to make these cupcakes (and even the cake version) multiple times. every time I make them, for different crowds, I receive rave reviews!! I always make sure to credit you, because I sure as heck would never be able to come up with this. Thank you for sharing this recipe. it’s a life saver!! :)


  9. #
    Dakotaposted July 10, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    My frosting did not turn out, I need up throwing it all away because it was so greasy. I doubled the recipe, other than that I followed it exactly, what did I do wrong? My cupcakes turned out delicious tho, thanks! 


  10. #
    aliciaposted July 16, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Hi Sally-

    I made these the other day and they are delicious…however they came out really dense. What did I do wrong? Thanks!


  11. #
    Jillposted July 25, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I was looking for a Toffee Chip Cupcake recipe. Do you think adding a cup of toffee chips (like Heath bars) would taste okay in this recipe? Also, am I able to substitute extract for the Vanilla Bean?

    Love your recipes!!



    • Sallyreplied on July 27th, 2015 at 11:52 am

      The addition of toffee would work! And you can use extract instead of vanilla bean, yes.


  12. #
    Annieposted July 30, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Sally, I love your recipes! This is the first one I’ve had an issue with. I’ve made it twice and both times it came out super dense and gooey. A toothpick comes out clean but the texture is very odd. What am I doing wrong?


    • Sallyreplied on July 30th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Annie! Are you measuring your flour appropriately? And the other ingredients? It sounds like they were underbaked too (judging from the gooey texture). Maybe another 2-3 minutes in the oven will help next time.


  13. #
    lydiaposted August 9, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Maybe the greatest vanilla cupcakes ever. So very tasty and vanilla-ey. The beans really made them special. I made these and the Lemon Raspberry ones for a party and while they were both culinary delights, the vanilla ones were more popular. I’ll never use a boxed cake mix again!


  14. #
    Vera Johnsonposted August 16, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I’m definitely going to try making your vanilla cupcakes. I just found them and am happy that I did! My question is, can I double this recipe? Thank you so much!


  15. #
    Susan Jonesposted August 18, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I just made mini wedding cake cupcakes iced with white chocolate icing for a wedding shower.  They were divine.  I’m anxious to try the macaroons.  :)
    I would like to know where I can buy or order your cookbooks.  Thanks for lots of great recipes and directions!!


  16. #
    Maria McNamaraposted September 10, 2015 at 8:50 am

    Hi Sally!!! 
    I am super excited to try this recipe. Wondering do you use unsweetened vanilla almond milk or sweetened. I did see your note that you could use cows milk etc. but wondering if the sweetened would make the cupcake to sweet or the unsweetened wouldn’t add enough sweetness. Thank you in advance! 


    • Sallyreplied on September 10th, 2015 at 9:00 am

      I use unsweetened almond milk.


  17. #
    Pepper sage- A Dash of Pepperposted September 14, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    So excited! About to make these!


  18. #
    Teeposted September 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    I made these and reduced the recipe by 1/2 and they came out more like muffins. Any idea why?


  19. #
    steffiposted September 25, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Hi sally. I made these today and they were yummy. However, they were slightly vhewy and had huge air pockets in them. Is it because i reduced the aount of sugar or overmixed?  My batter had lots of lumps so I kept mixing. 


    • steffireplied on September 25th, 2015 at 9:03 am

      *Amount of sugar


  20. #
    Meryposted October 3, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Hi Sally! all your cupcakes look really good but I am looking forward to have a SUPER MOIST – kind of dense –  Vanilla flavorful cupcake! A recipe that would taste awesome even with no frosting at all! Have you bake something like this? I need your help here! 

    All my best,


  21. #
    Mercedesposted October 12, 2015 at 1:42 am

    Hi Sally! I’m so excited to make these cupcakes! I’m wondering, because I live in a high altitude, do I need to add extra flour? If so, how much? 


  22. #
    Melissaposted October 14, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Sally- Would anything need to be changed within this recipe to add food gel coloring?



    • Melissareplied on October 14th, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      And how about doubling or tripling the batch?


      • Sallyreplied on October 14th, 2015 at 6:29 pm

        Nothing to change if using gel food coloring– doubling or tripling the batch is OK though I always, always recommend making 2 or 3 separate batches. Less risk of overmixing since you are working with less volume.

  23. #
    Aubreyposted October 14, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Hi Sally! This recipe has become my FAVORITE! Question about the egg whites. Do you ever use egg whites from a carton, or always fresh? I’m wondering because I plan on baking a couple batches of this recipe and it would seem easier to just measure the cartoned egg whites instead of wasting all of the yolks from cracking fresh eggs. But I used cartoned eggs once before with this recipe and the texture and color seemed different. Am I doing something wrong or should I not use cartoned egg white? Thank you!


    • Sallyreplied on October 14th, 2015 at 10:43 pm

      I always, always, always use fresh egg whites. Never carton in my baking.


      • Aubreyreplied on October 14th, 2015 at 11:10 pm

        Okay! Thank you! All of your recipes turn out perfect – you are a baking scientist!

  24. #
    Rowenaposted October 26, 2015 at 12:06 am

    Hi Sally, 

    I just want to thank you for posting this recipe. I am an amateur baker and my daughter just asked me to bake cupcakes on her birthday. I initially planned to use a boxed mix, until I saw this in your site and was challenged when you said ditch the boxed mix haha. You are absolutely right, I was able to impress the guests during her birthday but most importantly, my daughter and husband loved it. 

    Thanks again!


  25. #
    sue grifforeposted November 18, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    anxious to try these.  can you please tell me what size eggs you use in the recipe.  sounds like the egg white really makes a difference and I would like them to be what you recommend.  thank you…….


  26. #
    Elysiaposted November 23, 2015 at 3:49 am

    Hi sally if im using cake flour is the measurement same with the all purpose flour?


  27. #
    Christinaposted December 8, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Hi! Im new to your website, and i am super excited about these cupcakes. I just ate one unfrosted one, and they seem dense. Im trying to figure out what i did wrong???


  28. #
    vickiposted December 14, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Hi Sally – thank you for all your wonderful recipes, they are all so great and is my go-to website for cupcakes! I am wondering for this very vanilla cupcake, can I use buttermilk instead of sour cream? Sour cream doesn’t come cheap at my location.

    Thanks a bunch!



    • Sallyreplied on December 14th, 2015 at 6:36 am

      Buttercream works.


  29. #
    Amandaposted December 30, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    I love these cupcakes what would the temperature and baking time be of I wanted to make mini ones? :)


    • Sallyreplied on December 31st, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      See step 4 for mini.


  30. #
    Courtney Morrisposted January 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Sally, would it be okay to omit the vanilla bean?


    • Sallyreplied on January 15th, 2016 at 7:08 am

      You can leave it out, yes.


  31. #
    Brianaposted January 21, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Hey Sally, a few questions… Can you store the frosting separately? if so how long, where and how do I do it. Thank you =)


    • Sallyreplied on January 21st, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      Yep! Cover tightly in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  32. #
    Dianeposted January 24, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    Oh my god!!!! My husband is beyond picky and he can never know whats in these, but he loved them Box mixes be gone!!!
    I cut the butter in half and frosting was delish also i split frosting up and added cardamon and cinnamon thank you


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