How to Make Vanilla Buttercream (video)

basic vanilla buttercream recipe

A great recipe for simple vanilla buttercream frosting is priceless! I love the versatility of this frosting and the ease with which you can make it! This buttercream frosting holds its shape very well, making it ideal for frosting cakes, cupcakes and decorating desserts with piping tips. This frosting will hold its shape well enough for flowers, too. Try adding different flavors, syrups or even fruit puree at the end to make a flavored frosting!

Watch My Buttercream Video Tutorial

Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions for making the best vanilla frosting! Want new recipe notifications? Subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel to get an email notification each time a new recipe goes live!

Ingredients for Vanilla Frosting

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this fluffy and cream vanilla buttercream frosting:

  • Unsalted Butter: only use real, unsalted butter for this recipe! Soften the butter for 30 minutes at room temperature prior to using. The butter needs to be slightly soft but not melted!
  • Confectioner’s Sugar: use a fresh bag of confectioner’s sugar to avoid a grainy buttercream.
  • Vanilla Extract: for adding the vanilla flavor! If you need a pure white frosting, use colorless vanilla extract.
  • Heavy Cream: adding a little bit of heavy cream makes the frosting a bit fluffier.
  • Salt: add just a pinch of fine salt to balance out the flavors.
simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream

How to Make Vanilla Buttercream

This creamy and smooth frosting is quick and easy to make and perfect for cakes and cupcakes! Here’s how I make it and some tips:

  1. The unsalted butter should be softened at room temperature first; it should not be too soft or runny. If that occurs, place into the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the butter into a mixing bowl and whisk for about 5 to 7 minutes on high speed, until the butter is light, fluffy and pale white in color. If the butter stays flat, it may be too soft.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients: vanilla, salt and heavy cream. Gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar, mixing on low speed first, then on high speed. Add more or less sugar, depending on desired consistency. I usually add 3 cups.
  4. Once all sugar has been added, whisk buttercream on high speed for a few more minutes, until fluffy.

Get Smooth Buttercream Every Time!

I frequently get asked about the consistency and texture of buttercreams that use confectioner’s sugar. If you’ve ever had a grainy buttercream, you know what I’m talking about! To avoid this problem, I recommend always using a fresh bag of confectioner’s sugar. This type of sugar absorbs moisture like nothing else and will quickly clump up when left in the pantry, causing recipe problems! Get smaller bags of confectioner’s sugar and sift the sugar before using in the recipe.

coconut cupcake recipe with Italian meringue coconut buttercream

Vanilla Buttercream Recipe Proportions

This vanilla buttercream recipe is very simple to increase or reduce. I recommend cutting the recipe in half if you don’t need too much frosting; or, doubling it up if you have a larger cake.

  • As a guide for you, this recipe will frost a three layer, 8-inch cake
  • 24 regular cupcakes
  • two layer, 9-inch cake
  • one layer, 10-inch cake

My vanilla frosting with my ‘Simple Vanilla Cake’ recipe. I absolutely love how fluffy and creamy this frosting is!

How to Store Buttercream

If you don’t plan to use this buttercream frosting right away, you can store it for later. You can store it in the refrigerator for 1 week. Simply place it into an airtight container and into the fridge. Soften at room temperature for 1 hour, then mix again and use. You can also store it in the freezer. Transfer the buttercream into a freezer friendly container and store it for up to 1 month. Defrost the frosting in the refrigerator overnight.

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Simple Vanilla Buttercream video recipe

More Recipes!

Enjoyed my recipe for classic vanilla buttercream? This recipe is part of my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ series, where I share simple cake, frosting and filling recipes. Make sure to check out the entire collection!

Supplies/Tools

Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):

How to Make Vanilla Buttercream (video)

15 mins prep + 0 mins cook
4 cups
Learn how to make the best, simple vanilla buttercream frosting for cakes, cupcakes, desserts and more!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt, pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 cups confectioner’s sugar

Instructions

  • Butter should be softened at room temperature first; butter should not be too soft or runny. If that occurs, place into the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes. Place butter into a mixing bowl and whisk for about 5 minutes on high speed, until butter is light, fluffy and pale white in color.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: vanilla, salt and heavy cream. Gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar, mixing on low speed first, then on high speed. Add more or less sugar, depending on desired consistency. Once all sugar has been added, whisk buttercream on high speed for a few more minutes, until fluffy.
  • If desired, additional flavors may be added at the very end. Some recommend flavors: 1/4 cup strawberry or raspberry puree; 1 tablespoon lemon zest; 1 tablespoon instant coffee + 2 tablespoons water.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 1309kcal | Carbohydrates: 120g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 95g | Saturated Fat: 60g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 254mg | Sodium: 90mg | Potassium: 37mg | Sugar: 118g | Vitamin A: 2947IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg