Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Try my simply perfect vanilla cupcakes next!

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

My favorite homemade very vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix, these are 1,000% better!!

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.

My favorite homemade very vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix, these are 1,000% better!!

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 homemade very vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix, these are 1,000% 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…

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.

They’re sweetened with granulated 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.  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.

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

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.

My favorite homemade very vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix, these are 1,000% better!!

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.

Love cupcakes? Add these to your baking list: super moist chocolate cupcakes, ultimate birthday cupcakes, soft & fluffy funfetti cupcakes, pistachio cupcakes with creamy strawberry frosting, party piñata cupcakes, mocha nutella cupcakes, peanut butter & jelly cupcakes, ultimate Snickers cupcakes, strawberry cupcakes with creamy strawberry buttercream, and red velvet cupcakes.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

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 (spoon & leveled)
  • 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 and slightly cooled
  • 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 pure vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean1

Vanilla Bean Frosting

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4-5 cups (480-600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream2
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 split vanilla bean1
  • 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.

Recipe Notes:

  1. If you can't get your hands on vanilla beans, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead.
  2. 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 recommend a springform pan because this will be a taller cake) and bake for 30-34 minutes. Or try my white layer cake for a double layer cake.

Did you make a recipe?

Tag @sallysbakeblog on Instagram and hashtag it #sallysbakingaddiction.

© 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? Try my funfetti version!

Easy Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes. Seriously, the BEST cupcakes ever. Easier and tastier than a box mix!

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.

My favorite homemade very vanilla cupcake recipe. Ditch that boxed mix, these are 1,000% better!!



  1. Mercedes on 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? 

  2. Melissa on October 14, 2015 at 4:02 pm

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


    • Melissa on October 14, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      And how about doubling or tripling the batch?

      • Sally on October 14, 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.

  3. Aubrey on 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!

    • Sally on October 14, 2015 at 10:43 pm

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

      • Aubrey on October 14, 2015 at 11:10 pm

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

  4. Rowena on 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!

  5. sue griffore on 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…….

  6. Elysia on November 23, 2015 at 3:49 am

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

  7. Christina on 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???

  8. vicki on 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!


    • Sally on December 14, 2015 at 6:36 am

      Buttercream works.

  9. Amanda on 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? 🙂

    • Sally on December 31, 2015 at 5:13 pm

      See step 4 for mini.

  10. Courtney Morris on January 14, 2016 at 6:17 pm

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

    • Sally on January 15, 2016 at 7:08 am

      You can leave it out, yes.

  11. Briana on 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 =)

    • Sally on January 21, 2016 at 2:53 pm

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

  12. Diane on 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

  13. Sara on February 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Hello, I just found out about your blog a couple of months ago and I just wanted to say that your recipes and tips are simply amazing! I am somehow new to baking and everything I made following your recipes turned out to be a huge hit, especially the caramel apple upside down cake and the apple bundt cake (everybody wanted the recipe to that 🙂 )
    I made the very vanilla cupcakes recipe using an 9 inch pan like you suggest in the notes and it is so light and fluffy and cute! Next time I will use more vanilla though (I had only vanilla powder at home, I live in Greece and vanilla extract is not so easy to come by and it ‘s also quite expensive..)
    Also, the triple chocolate layer cake??? I had been looking for this exact recipe for years, a friend of mine grew up in the States and always made it for birthdays etc and she would never ever give the recipe away :p . I was so glad to find yours 🙂 
    Anyway, sorry for the long post! Thanks again 🙂 

    • Sally on February 24, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Sara, it sounds like you love apple cakes as much as I do! So happy you’re loving all my recipes. Thank you for reporting back!

  14. Beebs on February 28, 2016 at 9:58 pm

    Just wondering if I can use egg whites that have been frozen?
    I had some egg whites leftover from making lemon curd, couldn’t use them at the time so froze them (as many sites indicated that you can).
    Would it be ok to use these in your recipe?

    • Sally on March 1, 2016 at 9:24 am

      I don’t see why not!

      • Beebs on March 22, 2016 at 6:31 am

        I used the frozen egg whites. Totally fine.  The cupcakes had great flavour and texture.  Definitely a go-to vanilla cupcake recipe, especially when I have egg whites to use up!

  15. Ava on February 29, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Can I substitute the butter in the cupcake batter for canola oil? I’m making cupcakes for someone who is lactose-intolerant. Also, would coconut or almond milk work instead of whole milk? Thank you!

    • Sally on March 1, 2016 at 9:21 am

      I don’t recommend either, especially not the oil for butter.

    • Willow on May 16, 2016 at 12:42 am

      Hi there-
      I know this was a few months ago but in case anyone else reads this, you can find vegan butter in most natural food stores. I’m not lactose intolerant but I avoid dairy as much as possible. Earth Balance is a pretty common brand to find that makes these. Hope that helps!

  16. Vicky Holland on March 18, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    I have been searching for a good vanilla cupcake. I have tried several that claimed to be the best. I was having an issue with the liner coming loose after taking them out of the oven. I had no problem with this cupcake. Made them and sent them to work with my Husband for his co workers. He said the comments about how great they were went on and on. My family calls me the Martha Stewart of the family, so i have a lot of experience in baking. This cupcake was fabulous! Those that might have trouble with this recipe either did not follow the measuring directions precisely or their oven doesn’t cook evenly. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sally on March 19, 2016 at 9:19 am

      Glad everyone LOVED them, Vicky! Thanks so much for reporting back.

  17. Ananya on March 23, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Hey Sally!
    Love your recipes!!
    Quick doubt : can I substitute the butter with anything else? Or is butter the best option??
    Thank a ton!

    • Sally on March 23, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      No sub for butter. It’s KEY!

  18. Laura S. on March 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Not sure if someone has already asked this or not. If I wanted to make 2 or 3 4-inch round cakes, how full would I fill the pans and how long should I bake?

  19. Theresa on March 25, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Hi Sally!
    Can cake flour be used instead? If so, would it be the same amount?
    Thank you and have a blessed Easter!

    • Sally on March 26, 2016 at 9:46 am

      For these, I would use the same amount of cake flour.

  20. Kady on March 26, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    Hi Sally. I just had to comment and let you know that I baked these cupcakes today with my four year old daughter. We added pink, blue, purple and yellow food colouring for a fun Easter theme. My daughter usually asks me to bake cupcakes to distribute to friends and family but she adamantly states that she does not like cake. However, she ate an entire cupcake tonight without frosting! She has never had more than a bite of any cake before and she usually announces her dislike but she absolutely LOVED these and told me to make these “forever”! Thank you Sally for converting my daughter to the fun side!!

    • Sally on March 27, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      WOW! Now that’s a compliment. 😉 So sweet.

  21. Ling Wei on April 7, 2016 at 5:59 am

    HI sally, may i know if i can substitute the butter with veg oil instead? 

  22. Dimitra on April 13, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Sally,
    Could I use lactaid skim milk For this recipe? Or would it affect the cake? Could I use 2 eight inch cake pans instead of 9 inch? 
    Thank you, 
    Love your blog! 

    • Sally on April 13, 2016 at 4:49 pm

      Yep, that should be just fine.

      • Dimitra on April 14, 2016 at 10:54 pm

        Thanks Sally! Do I bake the cakes in the 8 inch pans for 30-34 minutes? 

  23. Melissa on April 18, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Hi Sally,
    Can I make this without vanilla beans? Vanilla beans are Awfully expensive in my supermarkets. Could I use more vanilla or something?

    • Sally on April 19, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Yep, you can leave them out. Just add more vanilla extract.

  24. Claire Chao on April 23, 2016 at 5:01 am

    Hello Sally,
    First of all thank you for sharing your amazing recipes.
    I just tried this recipe but it failed 🙁
    Liner sticks to the cupcake and it tastes chewy.
    Also its not as high as in your pictures. 
    Im not sure why..
    Is it because of I whisked egg white for too long?
    Which step should I be careful of not over mixing?
    Or perhaps expired baking soda?
    Appreciate your help, really wanna work out this amazing recipe. 
    Thank you!


    • Sally on April 25, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      Hi Claire! So sorry about that. You’ll want to be careful to NOT overmix the wet & dry ingredients. Baking powder and soda- did you accidentally mix the amounts of the two up? Are they fresh as well? I like to replace mine every 3 months because I find they each lose potency not much longer after that. The cupcakes could have also been underbaked.

  25. Holly on April 23, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Sally!
    Any thoughts on using buttermilk rather than the almond milk? Love your blog!!

    • Sally on April 24, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Buttermilk easily works as the milk here- no problem there!

  26. Baker on May 7, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Hi, Sally! I want to make these tomorrow for a party and was wondering if I could fill these. I have a cupcake filler, but I was worried that they might crumble if I did fill them. And if these will crumble, what recipe would work on your blog? Thanks! Love your blog!

    • Baker on May 8, 2016 at 3:54 pm

      Okay, so I pulled these out of the oven and gave one a try. They tasted great, but the color of the liner was ruined by the oil coming out of the cupcake. Literally the best cupcake recipe EVER, but next time what should I do to make it less oily?

      • Sally on May 9, 2016 at 7:07 am

        Are they cupcakes oily to touch? I’m so glad you enjoy their taste, but I would suggest only partially melting the butter next time. So, melt it for maybe about 30 seconds in the microwave then whisk it manually until completely melted. This creates a thicker and less greasy melted butter mixture to begin with.

  27. Courtney on May 17, 2016 at 6:50 am

    Hi Sally, I’m making this for my husband’s birthday, and wanted to make sure that the frosting recipe is enough for frosting the 9″ cake? He doesn’t eat a lot of sweets but when he does he likes a good frosting to cake ratio, I have had a lot of luck with all of your other recipes and I am sure this one will not disappoint.

    • Sally on May 17, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Hi Courtney– this will be plenty of frosting for a single layer 9-inch cake.

      • Courtney on May 18, 2016 at 11:59 am

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly, I made this yesterday afternoon, and we had it for dessert. It was delicious. I love everything vanilla bean. Those flecks just make me giddy, is that weird? This was perfect for my vanilla cake/frosting loving husband, his chocolate loving daughter was not as impressed! And thanks again for my now go to Vanilla Cake recipe.

  28. Jordan Francis on May 30, 2016 at 12:28 am

    Hi there Sally!
    I recently stumbled upon this recipe and have been waiting to give it a whirl, luck would have it I found just the right opportunity. My in-laws are coming over for a BBQ and my father in law is an EXTREMELY picky man, but I have heard him mention how much he liked an Almond-Vanilla cupcake a few months back. Any ideas on how I can convert the recipe slightly for that? Maybe sub a little almond flour in or use almond extract instead of vanilla? Any help would be amazing!

    • Sally on May 30, 2016 at 11:51 am

      Subbing in almond extract for vanilla is just what I’d do. Maybe 1 teaspoon almond, 1 teaspoon vanilla?

  29. Jackie on June 6, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Hello! I love your recipes:) just wondering whether I could experiment and sub the granulated white  sugar for coconut sugar or maybe half a cup of brown rice syrup? Thank you in advance :):)

  30. Francisca Gondwe on June 17, 2016 at 4:03 am

    Hi sally,

    I made the cupcakes and they tasted delicious especially if they are hot.

    I did not put the frosting but they still tasted good.thank you for sharing your recipes.



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