Favorite Vanilla Buttercream

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Finally! A completely separate post for the most common recipe in any baker’s repertoire: vanilla buttercream. This is my favorite vanilla buttercream recipe. There’s nothing fancy, crazy, or complicated about it– but the flavor and texture will certainly taste like you added something special.

But guess what? You didn’t. It’s our little secret.

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

The word “creamy” doesn’t even do this stuff justice. But even though it’s supremely creamy, this vanilla buttercream holds its shape beautifully. So it’s perfect for piping even the most complicated and intricate designs.

I’ve used this vanilla buttercream more times than I can even fathom, but I love it most paired with chocolate or vanilla cupcakes. If you scale it up (slightly) you can use it to frost a layered cake, like I do with my white layer cake recipe.

Want to see how I use it to decorate cupcakes? That video is right here!

 

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Favorite Vanilla Buttercream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 - 5 cups (480-600g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Add 4 and 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, the heavy cream, and vanilla extract with the mixer running on low. Increase to high speed and beat for 3 full minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup more confectioners' sugar if frosting is too thin or another Tablespoon of cream if frosting is too thick. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. (I like 1/8 tsp salt.)
  2. Cover tightly and store for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer. After freezing, thaw in the refrigerator then beat the frosting for a few seconds so it's creamy again.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9x13 quarter sheet cake. Follow these ratios for a 2 layer cake and these ratios for a 3 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.

And here is my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe!

Deliciously soft, creamy, silky, and easy PERFECT chocolate buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

Deliciously soft, creamy, and easy PERFECT vanilla buttercream recipe! sallysbakingaddiction.com

104 Comments

Comments

  1. Jennyfer on December 20, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    CAN this  frosting  be left out of the fridge for a day? Or does it have to be kept refrigerated? I’m trying to frost some cupcakes but they will have to spend the night out of the fridge but I notice it have heavy cream and I worry, they will be ruined tomorrow. Thanks

    • Sally on December 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      They can be left out on the counter overnight.

  2. Devorah on December 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I made a double batch last week and its the best cupcakes I ever made. I just made a quadruple batch yesterday!! Can I use milk instead of cream in the vanilla buttercream recipe?

    • Sally on December 27, 2017 at 6:35 am

      Hi Devorah! You can, yes, but the frosting won’t be as rich and creamy 🙂

  3. Cynthia on December 31, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Simply the best vanilla butter cream frosting! Your instructions were spot on. Beating it on high for three minutes and the additional salt made this recipie unique. It’s  A keeper. Thank you!  Cynthia 

  4. Bixie on April 30, 2018 at 11:58 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. I made 422 cupcakes last term for a 10th anniversary celebration of a group that I run, and piped your buttercream into roses on top of each. There was not a single one left, and I saw many return-eaters! I make this all the time and have to run many kilometres to not look like a cupcake myself! But it’s soooooo worth it!

  5. Natasha on May 8, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Can this butter cream be made in advance and frozen?

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Yep! Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw in the refrigerator. Before using, beat it for a few seconds so it’s creamy again.

  6. Fi on May 14, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Hi Sally if I make this 2 days in advance and leave it in the fridge do I need to beat it again before I use it? Tks

    • Sally on May 14, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Just so it’s smooth and creamy again, I would beat it for a few seconds.

  7. Nicki on May 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Is it okay to add food coloring to this frosting?

    • Sally on May 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Yep! I recommend gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring is less concentrated; you usually need more of it to reach a desired shade. This can alter the texture of the frosting.

  8. Sumita Kapoor on May 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Hi sally. I am one of ur new fans & absolutely love your work My question is even if I am following a recipe correctly, why do I feel little icing sugar crystals in the frosting? It’s not 100% smooth. Am I doing anything wrong or this is how buttercream icing is supposed to taste ?

    • Sally on May 18, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Hi Sumita! Thank you so much for visiting my website. If your frosting is completely smooth, try sifting the confectioners’ sugar a couple times before adding to the butter.

      • Sumita Kapoor on May 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        I sift and put. It’s completely without any lumps. I personally find the frosting just fine but have got feedback that it tastes a bit as if sugar hasn’t mixed



  9. Haley on May 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    It’s hot where I live, can you substitute the butter for shortening or at least half of it?

    • Sally on May 25, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Yes, if you use half shortening half butter it should be more stable in the heat!

  10. Sherri on June 4, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Is there a way to make this frosting into different flavors, like cherry, blueberry, etc?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      I’ve had a lot of luck using freeze-dried fruit like in my strawberry frosting. Other than that, I’ve used extracts for a little flavor.

  11. Eve on June 7, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Can I substitute almond milk for the heavy cream?

    • Sally on June 8, 2018 at 10:23 am

      You can, but the buttercream won’t be as creamy.

  12. Kim on June 16, 2018 at 11:23 am

    When you measure the powdered sugar, do you use the spoon and level technique or do you scoop it so its more packed? Also, if my frosting looks a little separated, do I need more powdered sugar? Thanks!

    • Sally on June 16, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Kim! When making frosting, I usually just scoop the confectioners’ sugar out of the canister/bag. It’s not as imperative to be mega precise with something like buttercream. I suggest adding more confectioners’ sugar if you notice the buttercream is separating.

  13. Yvonne Tan on June 16, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Hi, I found the buttercream very sweet after 1 cup of icing sugar so I didn’t add any more. Is it supposed to be very sweet? And my frosting is a bit soft.

    • Sally on June 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Hi Yvonne! Buttercream is mostly sugar, so it’s going to be extremely sweet.

  14. Michela on June 21, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Dear Sally,
    I love baking and your recipes are 100% sure success! I just have a problem while doing my frosting: for as much as I mix I keep feeling the granules of sugar in it. I use confectioners sugar of course but for some reason I can’t cream it with the other ingredients..did it ever happen to you? I am invited to a bbq this week end and I wanted to bring your fudgy brownies..with sprinkles of course! 🙂
    Thanks!

    • Sally on June 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Have you experimented with different brands of confectioners sugar? I have heard other readers say that some brands can do this. You can also try creaming the butter first (make sure it’s room temperature) and then slowly adding in the sugar. Hope this helps!

  15. karen miller on June 30, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    I made the moist chocolate cupcakes today and frosted them with the vanilla buttercream frosting. Of course I had to taste test one completed cupcake and it was wonderful. Hope my group at church likes them tomorrow. I made two batches. One was regular size and the other mini. Will certainly be my go to recipe again.

    • Sally on July 1, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Thank you so much for trying my vanilla buttercream and chocolate cupcakes recipe, Karen! Appreciate it!

  16. Sarah on July 24, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I’m using this frosting to decorate a cookie cake, how long would this frosting last unrefrigerated? Or would you recommend refrigerating the cookie cake?

    • Sally on July 24, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      Regular buttercream is fine to leave at room temperature for a few days!

  17. Amy on July 28, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Can I use the whisk attachment? My paddle started chipping and I haven’t received my new one.

    • Sally on July 30, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Hi Amy! Definitely. The buttercream may be a little lighter from the extra air that the whisk whips in.

  18. Erin on August 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Sally! I’m a huge fan of your recipes! Your blog is always my go-to! I see that you mentioned that this frosting pipes well; can it also be used to get a smooth frosting on a layer cake? Or should I add some shortening? Thanks!

    • Sally on August 3, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Yes, you can make it smooth without shortening!

  19. Rics on August 28, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Sally! My friend asked me to help her throw a DIY cupcake decorating birthday party for her 5-year-old daughter, and your blog was the first thing i thought of! 😉 Is this a good frosting recipe to use if i want a frosting that is stable/ not so runny? Also, can i add food coloring to make it more colorful and festive?

    • Sally on August 29, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Thank you for turning to my blog for the birthday party treat! This frosting is thick and pretty stable, awesome for decorating and holds food coloring well.
      By the way, a cupcake decorating party sounds SO fun!

  20. Liz on September 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Sally, let me just say one word DELECTABLE, these are the first cupcakes I’ve made that I didn’t have to change or add ingredients, they were so moist and the buttercream was so creamy, I did add a small drop of almond along with vanilla it just gives it a little oomph, I also added grated chocolate to the buttercream as I made the vanilla one this gave a cookies and cream look, love this recipe

    • Sally on September 10, 2018 at 2:32 pm

      So fun with the grated chocolate!

  21. Rachel on September 12, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Hi, how many sugar cookies do you think one batch would frost? I’m planning on piping on the butter cream and adding chocolate chips to look like sunflowers!

    • Sally on September 13, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      So pretty! Hard to say without knowing how large the cookies are, but I’d say this amount of frosting would frost 36-48 3-inch cookies.

  22. Tom T. on September 20, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Delicious exactly as written. I used a full 1/8 tsp. of fine-grained salt. Super excited about these cupcakes tomorrow!

    • Sally on September 21, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      I’m glad you like it, Tom! Enjoy the cupcakes!

  23. Shelley on October 10, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I was thinking of icing my pumpkin cookies with this – do you think I could add cinnamon to make it into a cinnamon buttercream? Would I need to do anything else except add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon to it?

    • Sally on October 11, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Hi Shelley! Nope, nothing else needed except for the teaspoon of cinnamon. Should be delicious on your pumpkin cookies!

Reviews

  1. karen miller on June 30, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    I made the moist chocolate cupcakes today and frosted them with the vanilla buttercream frosting. Of course I had to taste test one completed cupcake and it was wonderful. Hope my group at church likes them tomorrow. I made two batches. One was regular size and the other mini. Will certainly be my go to recipe again.

    • Sally on July 1, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Thank you so much for trying my vanilla buttercream and chocolate cupcakes recipe, Karen! Appreciate it!

  2. Tom T. on September 20, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Delicious exactly as written. I used a full 1/8 tsp. of fine-grained salt. Super excited about these cupcakes tomorrow!

    • Sally on September 21, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      I’m glad you like it, Tom! Enjoy the cupcakes!

Questions

  1. Natasha on May 8, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Can this butter cream be made in advance and frozen?

    • Sally on May 9, 2018 at 9:44 pm

      Yep! Freeze for up to 2-3 months and thaw in the refrigerator. Before using, beat it for a few seconds so it’s creamy again.

  2. Fi on May 14, 2018 at 12:45 am

    Hi Sally if I make this 2 days in advance and leave it in the fridge do I need to beat it again before I use it? Tks

    • Sally on May 14, 2018 at 5:46 am

      Just so it’s smooth and creamy again, I would beat it for a few seconds.

  3. Nicki on May 17, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Is it okay to add food coloring to this frosting?

    • Sally on May 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

      Yep! I recommend gel food coloring. Liquid food coloring is less concentrated; you usually need more of it to reach a desired shade. This can alter the texture of the frosting.

  4. Sumita Kapoor on May 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

    Hi sally. I am one of ur new fans & absolutely love your work My question is even if I am following a recipe correctly, why do I feel little icing sugar crystals in the frosting? It’s not 100% smooth. Am I doing anything wrong or this is how buttercream icing is supposed to taste ?

    • Sally on May 18, 2018 at 9:36 am

      Hi Sumita! Thank you so much for visiting my website. If your frosting is completely smooth, try sifting the confectioners’ sugar a couple times before adding to the butter.

      • Sumita Kapoor on May 18, 2018 at 12:03 pm

        I sift and put. It’s completely without any lumps. I personally find the frosting just fine but have got feedback that it tastes a bit as if sugar hasn’t mixed



  5. Haley on May 24, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    It’s hot where I live, can you substitute the butter for shortening or at least half of it?

    • Sally on May 25, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Yes, if you use half shortening half butter it should be more stable in the heat!

  6. Sherri on June 4, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    Is there a way to make this frosting into different flavors, like cherry, blueberry, etc?

    • Sally on June 4, 2018 at 11:06 pm

      I’ve had a lot of luck using freeze-dried fruit like in my strawberry frosting. Other than that, I’ve used extracts for a little flavor.

  7. Eve on June 7, 2018 at 9:48 pm

    Can I substitute almond milk for the heavy cream?

    • Sally on June 8, 2018 at 10:23 am

      You can, but the buttercream won’t be as creamy.

  8. Kim on June 16, 2018 at 11:23 am

    When you measure the powdered sugar, do you use the spoon and level technique or do you scoop it so its more packed? Also, if my frosting looks a little separated, do I need more powdered sugar? Thanks!

    • Sally on June 16, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      Hi Kim! When making frosting, I usually just scoop the confectioners’ sugar out of the canister/bag. It’s not as imperative to be mega precise with something like buttercream. I suggest adding more confectioners’ sugar if you notice the buttercream is separating.

  9. Yvonne Tan on June 16, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    Hi, I found the buttercream very sweet after 1 cup of icing sugar so I didn’t add any more. Is it supposed to be very sweet? And my frosting is a bit soft.

    • Sally on June 18, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Hi Yvonne! Buttercream is mostly sugar, so it’s going to be extremely sweet.

  10. Michela on June 21, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Dear Sally,
    I love baking and your recipes are 100% sure success! I just have a problem while doing my frosting: for as much as I mix I keep feeling the granules of sugar in it. I use confectioners sugar of course but for some reason I can’t cream it with the other ingredients..did it ever happen to you? I am invited to a bbq this week end and I wanted to bring your fudgy brownies..with sprinkles of course! 🙂
    Thanks!

    • Sally on June 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Have you experimented with different brands of confectioners sugar? I have heard other readers say that some brands can do this. You can also try creaming the butter first (make sure it’s room temperature) and then slowly adding in the sugar. Hope this helps!

  11. Amy on July 28, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    Can I use the whisk attachment? My paddle started chipping and I haven’t received my new one.

    • Sally on July 30, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Hi Amy! Definitely. The buttercream may be a little lighter from the extra air that the whisk whips in.

  12. Erin on August 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Sally! I’m a huge fan of your recipes! Your blog is always my go-to! I see that you mentioned that this frosting pipes well; can it also be used to get a smooth frosting on a layer cake? Or should I add some shortening? Thanks!

    • Sally on August 3, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Yes, you can make it smooth without shortening!

  13. Rics on August 28, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Sally! My friend asked me to help her throw a DIY cupcake decorating birthday party for her 5-year-old daughter, and your blog was the first thing i thought of! 😉 Is this a good frosting recipe to use if i want a frosting that is stable/ not so runny? Also, can i add food coloring to make it more colorful and festive?

    • Sally on August 29, 2018 at 9:03 am

      Thank you for turning to my blog for the birthday party treat! This frosting is thick and pretty stable, awesome for decorating and holds food coloring well.
      By the way, a cupcake decorating party sounds SO fun!

  14. Rachel on September 12, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Hi, how many sugar cookies do you think one batch would frost? I’m planning on piping on the butter cream and adding chocolate chips to look like sunflowers!

    • Sally on September 13, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      So pretty! Hard to say without knowing how large the cookies are, but I’d say this amount of frosting would frost 36-48 3-inch cookies.

  15. Shelley on October 10, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    I was thinking of icing my pumpkin cookies with this – do you think I could add cinnamon to make it into a cinnamon buttercream? Would I need to do anything else except add a couple teaspoons of cinnamon to it?

    • Sally on October 11, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Hi Shelley! Nope, nothing else needed except for the teaspoon of cinnamon. Should be delicious on your pumpkin cookies!

Leave a Comment


       



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Top 5 Recipes

Recipes You'll Love

Categories

Archives

sallys-cookie-palooza

Cookie Palooza

A tradition since 2013, every December we countdown to Christmas with 10 new cookie recipes in a row!

View More...

fabruary-challange

Baking Challenge

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe.

View More...

pie-week

Pie Week

The first week of every November is all about Thanksgiving Pies.

View More...

My Cookbooks

@sallysbakeblog