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.

Vanilla buttercream on cupcakes

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 cupcakes 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 to decorate cupcakes? That video is right here!


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

By the way, if you make and homemade vanilla extract, this buttercream tastes even more fantastic. 🙂

Vanilla buttercream on cupcakes

Favorite Vanilla Buttercream

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2.5 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: No Bake
  • Cuisine: American


This is my favorite vanilla buttercream. It’s the perfect vanilla frosting that’s simple, creamy and smooth and tastes unbelievable on vanilla cupcakes!


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


  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. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to medium-high speed and beat for 2 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 add 1/8 teaspoon 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.


  1. Quantity: This recipe is enough to frost 12-16 cupcakes or one 9×13 quarter sheet cake. Follow these ratios for a 2 layer cake and these ratios for a 3 layer cake.

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


  1. Hello Sally,
    Do you make your own heavy cream with butter and milk. Or do you heavy whipping cream that comes in a pint size container in the milk section of grocery store?

    1. Hi Amy! I purchase the pints or quarts of heavy cream. You can use heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (essentially the same thing).

  2. Just made this vanilla frosting to go onto sally’s funfetti cupcakes and it is melt in your mouth delicious and smooth like silk! Thank you so much for sharing ❤️

  3. Not sure if this posted already, sorry for the double if it has. I am making a 2 layer cake, how many layers will this cover? In general, I usually use one can of icing in the store for each layer, but want to make from scratch this time! Thanks!

      1. Thank you so much for the fast reply and the help, I appreciate it so much! 🙂 I am thinking of making a chocolate cake to go along with this frosting! Thanks again!

  4. How can I turn this into raspberry buttercream. I have jam and fresh berries but I’m not sure how it would not compromise the buttercream. Thank you!!

    1. Jam or fresh berries would compromise the frosting. Use Sally’s Strawberry Frosting recipe and replace the freeze dried strawberries with freeze dried raspberries. It’s an amazing frosting recipe.

  5. Hi Sally!

    I’m interested in using this to frost your chocolate cake recipe. I’d like to make the cake the night before (to keep my stress levels down day of party), how should I store the frosted cake for optimal flavor? For future reference, how far ahead could I make it the frosted cake?

    1. You can keep the frosted cake covered at room temperature overnight. Longer than that you can keep it covered in the refrigerator but bring back to room temperature before serving!

  6. Hey Sally
    I was wondering if it was possible to change the heavy cream with milk I live with my parents and they don’t have everything ready I can’t drive so I can’t pick up stuff often

    1. Hi Esther! You can try a vegan “butter” stick (Earth Balance has a nice product) and nondairy milk or even coconut cream.

  7. Hello Sally! I’m excited to try this recipe for a pull apart cupcake cake I’m making, but I need the frosting a pretty shade of pink. Would I just add a pink gel food coloring to the frosting or is there more to it?? Thank you!

  8. Hi! If I wanted to change the flavor to almond, how much almond extract do I use?
    And do I combine with the vanilla extract? Thank you for your awesome recipes!

  9. Hi Sally,

    If I wanted to make this frosting the night before I frost cupcakes, will sprinkles still stick to the frosting? Sometimes the frosting seems hardened a little when it sits overnight in the fridge.


  10. Hi Sally,
    First of all, I want to thank you for the many recipes shared! My family absolutely loved everything I made based off your recipes.

    Today I decided to take the plunge into the buttercream world. I followed your vanilla buttercream recipe by half due to limited ingredients. Initially, I put in only 1 cup of confectioners sugar (my family can’t take too much sugar) and noticed that it wasn’t becoming creamy but grainy instead. So I added on more sugar and it started to form, though not to the level that I envisioned. Is this theory correct – The sugar will form a better texture with the butter at the right proportion? The second thing I noticed was that the buttercream didn’t turn out as pale/white like yours pictured, why is this so? Mine turned out like the usual pale yellowish butter colour.

    Would really appreciate your advise. Thanks a million Sally!

    1. Hi Jessica! Happy to help. In order to reach that creamy and smooth consistency, you need enough confectioners’ sugar to soak up the butter and liquid. That’s why there is usually so much sugar in frosting. It’s not only for sweetening. The color of vanilla buttercream depends on how yellow the butter is and this varies by region and brand. If you’d like a stark white buttercream, mix in a TINY TINY TINY drop (literally the smallest dot of a drip!) of purple food coloring into the frosting. This will “clear” out any of that yellow.

      1. Thanks very much Sally for the confirmation and the tip, I’ll give it a go with colouring.

  11. I would like to make your moist chocolate cupcakes and use this vanilla buttercream to frost them (sounds so yummy). We plan to go camping with friends to celebrate our daughter’s birthday. Anyway I can make and frost the cupcakes ahead of time? I will have room in the cooler if that helps!

  12. OMGosh….! So easy and delicious. Not “overly” sweet and certainly not gritty. Light, fluffy, simply perfect!
    I was so impressed with how easy it was to spread and it piped like a dream.
    I will use this recipe again and agin. Thank you so much for gifting this delight!

  13. This recipe is unbeatable!! Personally, I struggle with vanilla icing that doesn’t taste like pure butter. This was light, fluffy, and so delicious! I added a tiny bit of lemon juice because I was making the Sally’s lemon cupcakes (unreal) and I also did a tiny bit of cream of tartar.

    This is my go-to buttercream from now on and was a huge hit! Thank you!

  14. Hi Sally!
    I was wondering if I can substitute heavy cream with fresh cream and confectioners sugar with powdered sugar?

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