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?

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© 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. Penelope PitStop on June 24, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Best. Cupcakes. Ever!  I’ve made these twice in the past month because they’re so freaking good. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. 

  2. candice on June 25, 2016 at 5:38 am

    how long would it take to bake this in a 9×13 inch pan?

  3. Sophiasmommy on June 28, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Hi Sally, I made your pineapple upside down cake which I believe is a similar recipe.  In that recipe you said you can sub the yogurt with more milk or more pineapple juice.  Can I do this here?  Love your recipes.

  4. Arunima on July 27, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I need to make vanilla cupcakes, but without any egg or egg whites in it. What can i use instead of egg whites. 

    • Nikki on March 11, 2017 at 4:00 am

      Baking soda and vinegar. I use 2tsp baking soda and 2 tbls vinegar 

  5. Celene on August 4, 2016 at 11:48 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE these cupcakes. They are soooo good! Made these for my 4yr olds bday for him to take to his preschool and share and I am so glad I made extras to leave at the house. I am usually a chocolate lover but these are oh so good! They were a huge hit at my house, and now I’m using the recipe to make a smash cake for my soon to be 1 year old.

    • Yuri on October 19, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      This is a few minutes mths ago, but how did the smash cake turn out? I’m doing the same, just wanted input! Thanks!

  6. Laurie Bell on August 5, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Hi! I just thought I’d share that my 8 year old daughter is an aspiring baker and she asked me to find her a good vanilla cupcake recipe to try out. She has now baked your recipe about 4 times, and they just get better and better. Her cupcakes sold out at our church bake sale and everyone wanted them, so she made more! Tomorrow she wants to try adding in some strawberries to the cupcakes & frosting for her grandfather’s gift batch . Any tips for that? Fresh or frozen ? Macerated? We LOVE these cakes! Thank you!

  7. Jaynie on August 14, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Hi Sally,

    The vanilla cupcakes turned out a bit gummy.. I followed the recipes and not sure where it went wrong.. it got nice flavour though.. just not spongy and light..
    Please enlighten!

  8. Yuri on August 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    Hey I’m thinking of doing this for my youngest daughter’s birthday, if I put it in a jumbo cupcake pan, how long would I bake it? Thanks!!

  9. Jacquelyn on August 22, 2016 at 9:17 pm

    Hello Sally! Quick question. Would it be okay to bake this in a 9×13 pan? And how long would I bake it for? My husband is requesting a white cake to go with the rainbow chip frosting you just published. Apparently white cake to him is more pure :p 

    • Sally on August 24, 2016 at 8:06 am

      Ha! Ok, so here’s what I would do. I suggest doubling this recipe to fit a 9×13 pan. But only fill the pan about halfway full. Use extra batter for cupcakes.

      I’m actually working on a new white cake recipe to publish sometime this Fall!

      • Jacquelyn on August 24, 2016 at 8:35 am

        Thank you! Would it be the same temperature and bake time as your yellow cake that’s baked in a 9×13 pan? 

      • Sally on August 24, 2016 at 9:11 am

        Yes, same time and temp as that!

  10. Liliana on August 27, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Hello Sally…
    This cupcakes are to be whisked or can I use the mixer? Thanks a lot.

    • Sally on August 29, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      You can either whisk by hand or use a mixer. I typically mix by hand.

  11. Amanda on September 1, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Hi Sally,

    I have been reading awesome reviews about your cupcakes and have actually set about attempting to make them BUT I have run into some PROBLEMS.

    I tried your vanilla and chocolate cupcakes and there was the same outcome – the batter was lumpy though I had taken out my ingredients few hours ahead and was folding and pressing out the lumps as gently as I can.

    Also, I have been making mini cupcakes but it takes like about 20-30 mins to be cooked as opposed to your 8-9 mins. My oven thermometer shows 350 degrees farenheit.

    What could have gone wrong as I am trying to make it for my sons birthday in 2 weeks.

    • Sally on September 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

      Hi Amanda– a whisk always helps rid any big lumps. So try running a whisk through it all. I’m concerned that your mini cupcakes aren’t baking at all. 30 minutes is a very long time for such a small amount of batter. Perhaps try moving your oven rack up?

  12. Chelsea Cox on September 3, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Can these cupcakes be made in advance and put in the freezer?

  13. Mrs. C on September 11, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Oh my goodness! This recipe is so delicious! It was a hot with my family…the only problem was it didn’t make enough! I followed the recipe as is and tge cake AND the icing came out so perfect. You will not be disappointed! Thank you so much for sharing!

  14. Chris on October 1, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Hi Sally, can this receipe be easily doubled to make 24? And will bake time remain the same? 
    P.S i LOVE the funfetti cake! 

    • Sally on October 1, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Sure could! Though recently I’ve been making 2 separate batches. You risk overmixing with too much batter!

  15. Stacey on December 7, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Do these freeze well?

  16. Diana Saenz on December 13, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    Hi Sally! I am an avid Sally’s Baking Addiction Recipe User – is that a thing? It should be! I love all your recipes! I wanted to know if I bake these on a Tuesday and frost on a Wednesday for a party on Thursday, will they be o.k.? Would I store them differently or just keep them in the fridge? Help! My daughter’s birthday celebration is on a Thursday night and I work so I don’t have time to do it all in one night. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Sally on December 15, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Diana! You can bake them on Tuesday, keep covered at room temperature, frost on Wednesday, keep covered at room temperature) and serve on Thursday.

  17. lea on January 18, 2017 at 5:35 am

    hi sally 🙂 i’m a big fan of your recipes, already made several and they were all big hits with family and friends. i haven’t tried your cupcakes though, i’m a total newbie there. so i was wondering if you could create a post for your baking basics series, about how to properly pipe frosting onto cupcakes? i would really love to learn your tricks. thanks so much! 🙂

  18. kate on January 25, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    I love the recipe and i want to use it for my girls birthday…only thing is she’s allergic to dairy. any suggestions on what to replace the diary with in the cake? will margine and soy yogurt work just as well?

    • Sally on January 26, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Kate! I’ve never tried it, but what about vegan butter substitute. Or you can try melted coconut oil. Soy yogurt and nondairy milk should be ok.

      • Maria on February 5, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Hi Sallly, I made these vanilla cupcakes but the inside was very eggy or dense. I ended up putting them back in the oven for another 2-3 minutes, but it didn’t help. Do you happen to have an idea? Thanks 

      • Kate on February 25, 2017 at 1:50 pm

        hi. wanted to let you know i made the cake with vegan butter and soy yogurt and turned out great. Also tired the vegan butter with the icing was just OK. not sure what was off about it tho. my test group said they were good just not sweet enough but to me they were just the right amount of sweet. 

  19. Paula on January 25, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Hi Sally,

    If I use this as a layer cake, you think it’s sturdy enough to be covered in fondant? My sister recommended your site. She is a great fan:)

  20. Mehrin on February 6, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Hi Sally
    I’m going to make these cupcakes tomorrow and I’m super excited. Can I add chocolate chip to the batter or other flavors to the batter before baking it?

  21. Patty G on February 13, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I made these delicious cupcakes today. They are so moist and full of flavor especially with the frosting. I only used pure vanilla extract and added extra to replace the vanilla bean as you requested. 

  22. Thomas on February 18, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Is there any way to make the cupcakes without sugar?

  23. Andrea on March 25, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Hi, I’ve tried your recipes in the past, delicious. I have to make a vanilla cake, I want to use your recipe, for the frosting can I make it with strawberry? Thanks

  24. sophia kim on April 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    I was wondering if it was possible to do the recipe without sour cream? thanks
    p.s i love your website 

  25. Tara on June 3, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Looks so good, I know my husband will love them! Thanks for the recipe! Btw, I love your blog!!

  26. Sarah on June 23, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Hi there. I tried this recipe and I’ve never had any problems with any of your other cakes or recipes before. But this one I made into a double layer cake instead of cupcakes. I doubled the measurements for the cake but not the icing. I didn’t need more icing and the original batch was enough. However my cake came out tasting like sweet cornbread. And I’m not sure why. And no I didn’t use cornmeal. I double checked that no one swapped my stuff on me. It was very vanilla tasting but had the consistency of cornbread that was vanilla tasting and mealy. I’m not sure what I did wrong. It’s the first time I’ve had one of your recipes do something like this. I can link my measurement doubles for reference if need be. And how I baked them and the pans I used and such too if that will help?

    Thanks so much.

  27. Laura on July 9, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Hi Sally

    I need to make 24 vanilla cupcakes for my daughter’s first birthday. Will doubling this recipe work?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Sally on July 10, 2017 at 11:37 am

      I suggest making the batter twice instead of doubling. In the past, doubling has caused the batter to be extra dense. Working with too much of it, I suppose. Much better results making 2 batches.

  28. nicole on July 11, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Sally..I’ve been making alot of your mouth-watering recipes for quite some time..Unfortunately, my doctor confirmed that i have Celiac Disease..Can i use gluten free flour for this cupcake recipe as well as your other cakes and cupcake recipes??

    • Sally on July 12, 2017 at 11:24 am

      Hi Nicole! I’m not the best baker to ask about wheat free baking. I have very little experience. Sorry!

  29. Alicia on September 15, 2017 at 9:12 pm

    I’m hoping to make these for my daughter’s first birthday. I tried another vanilla cupcakes recipe and it was a complete flop!! I found this recipe and rembered a friend of mine who loooves your blog!! ( she made your cranberry-orange scones and they were seriously the BEST scones I’ve ever had; just thinking about them make my mouth water : ) ) Anyways, so I was wondering if I could cream the butter and sugar together instead of using melted butter? I saw another vanilla cupcake recipe on here that you creamed the butter and sugar together. Just curious what’s the difference in the end result? Thanks so much!

  30. Fallon on September 18, 2017 at 11:51 am

    These cupcakes turned out amazing and I got tons of compliments on the vanilla cupcakes for my son’s birthday yesterday! I am writing this down (and the frosting) as my new go-to for cupcakes. Will this recipe also work made as a single cake? I’m planning to do a simple vanilla cake for Thanksgiving dessert this year.




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