How to Make Vanilla Buttercream (video)
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
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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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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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!
- Next, try my easy, creamy ‘Vanilla Pastry Cream’ to make a Vanilla German Buttercream!
- My ‘French Buttercream’ is silky smooth and delicious!
- Italian Meringue Buttercream is also a great option and can be flavored with almost anything!
Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- I love my classic KitchenAid stand mixer – it’s a must for any baker!
- This set of jumbo cake decorating tips is amazing! I love to use these disposable pastry bags.
- For cake decorating, I highly recommend this Ateco turntable – it makes decorating so easy.
How to Make Vanilla Buttercream (video)
- 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
- 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.
Looks absolutely delicious! Will this make enough frosting to frost a cake?
Yes, this recipe is perfect for an 8-inch cake 🙂
Hi Tatyana, am a long time follower of your recipes – have tried quite a few and love them all.
Quick question for this buttercream frosting recipe- I made it and keep it in the fridge. When i took it out couple hours later it was fairly hard. I let it sit at room temperature for over an hour but it still didn’t get to it’s original frothy texture. Any tips? I such a situation is it advisable to add a bit more heavy cream and whisk it again or anything else that can be done?
Hi! I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes!
I make my buttercream the night before pretty often. Let the buttercream warm at room temperature for about an hour, then beat again using the flat beater until it’s creamy and smooth. No need to add any additional cream.
Dear Tatyana, I love your videos!! I made the chocolate buttercream yesterday and it was delicious!. Can you tell me how much time I should put the chocolate chips on the microwave to melt them? . Thank you so much. Milagros Rios – Lima Peru.
Hi! So glad you enjoyed my recipe! You can melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler. If microwaving, stir the chocolate every 20 to 30 seconds until it’s smooth. Stirring it often will ensure it doesn’t burn!
I’m your all time follower I love your recipes and love your hair ??
can you please tell me how long can I keep this frosting in room temperature after I applied into a cake? Please reply me dear..
Happy cooking and baking ?
Hi! I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes! A frosted cake should be fine at room temperature for a few hours. 🙂
Hi love your videos you the butter cream frosting is it really sweet
Hi! If you’re looking for a frosting recipe that’s less sweet, try my whipped cream frosting. It doesn’t hold its shape as well as a buttercream, but it’s a great alternative
Its my first time to make this really beautiful buttercream with your recipe and i love it! how many days it can up to in the fridge? hope to hearing from you soon. Many thanks
Hi! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Cover it well or store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week 🙂
Is that correct, 2 cups butter and only 4 cups powdered sugar???
You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking – the more sugar you add, the thicker the consistency of the frosting
how many cupcakes with this frost?
This recipe will frost 24 cupcakes 🙂
Hello Tatyana. I’ve been following your videos for a while. I’ve tried few recipes for this type of buttercream however every time I make, it would still give me that grainy buttercream. Is there any other way to overcome this? Does it also mean if I want a thick consistency, I would need to use a lot of sugar? Tq
Yes, for a thicker frosting, you’ll need to add more sugar. Try using a fresh bag of confectioner’s sugar for this recipe; this sugar will absorb moisture very quickly and clump up. Also, sift the sugar first to get rid of any tiny clumps. Hope that helps!
Hi tatyana I have tried making buttercream multiple times now and every single time it comes out really greasy looking and also wet. it never gets thick. I put it in the freezer just for a few minutes to cool faster since it might be that it is too warm here but then i try rewhipping it and adding more powder sugar but it never works.. please fove me tips and suggestions i dont want to use store bought frosting.??
Hi Vanessa! I’m so sorry your buttercream isn’t turning out well! Make sure your butter isn’t too soft. Sounds like maybe the butter is too melted. It needs to be soft but not to the point where it won’t whip up. Also, make sure to whip your butter first for a few minutes before adding anything else. If your buttercream gets soft, the only way to thicken it is to place it into the refrigerator. Let is stand there for at least 30 minutes, then mix it again and add a cup of confectioner’s sugar if it’s still not fluffy
Going to try this could you freeze any left over?
I haven’t tried freezing buttercream before, but if you have with other recipes, this one would be just fine! 🙂
This recipe always turned out great for me. I am interested in your guidance on adding flavoring.
What proportions would you recommend in adding fruit such as jellies or would you suggest powdering dried fruit then adding it? What different results would you get between using melting chocolate versus using cocoa powder?
I would hate to have such a good icing become ruined because it becomes too fluid.
Thanks. Гарний день.
Hi! Those are all great questions! If you want a great chocolate buttercream, I have a recipe on my blog that calls for both chocolate and cocoa powder. For the fruit, I recommend adding up to 1/4 cup fresh fruit puree such as strawberry or raspberry, and up to 1/3 cup fruit preserves. You will want to wait and add the fruit at the very end, once the frosting is all done, and mix for about 30 seconds.
This buttercream is amazing!!!!
I’m baking my in-law 50th wedding anniversary cake, so far I used your buttercream recipe, and your perfect chocolate cake recipe, and tomorrow I’m going to make your salted Caramel frosting!
So far so good! Thank you so much for sharing your amazing recipes!
Hi Yvonne! That’s wonderful! I’m so glad you’re enjoying all my recipes! Please send my regards to your in-laws, that’s a huge relationship milestone! Hope everyone enjoys that cake!
Hi Tatyana,l want to know what will happen if I don’t use heavy cream??
Hi! I add the cream to thin out the frosting a bit, even milk would work just fine. If you don’t add it, it will just be thicker 🙂
Hi your recipe looks easy to make, please could you tell me what brand of butter you use? I live in uk, and usually use the Anchor brand but my buttercream always looks yellow. Yours looks perfectly white! Thanks for your help. X
This recipe so great! I usually use Challenge butter for baking. It’s not very flavorful and usually very white. Also, try whisking the butter for longer to get it even more pale in color
Thanks for sharing your recipes with us. I have been searching for a perfect vanilla cake and after spending the day making multiple recipes (including the recipe of a famous well known baker *which was wayyy to heavy and sweet*) I came across your simple vanilla cake. After having others taste test all the cake s, your cake was picked as the favorite every time!!! Moist, Just perfectly sweet without being to much.
Now I plan on trying your buttercream. I am making a birthday cake for aa friends niece and have a few questions for you though…
Can you use salted butter for the icing?
More importantly once applied to the cake does this icing have to be refrigerated or can it be kept on the counter? I know usually the milk u add is so small compared to the sugar that they say it’s fine on the counter but I’m curious about the heavy cream and if it’s safe?
Thank you very much!!
Hi! I’m so glad you liked my recipe! Sounds like you went through quite the effort to find one 🙂 I recommend using unsalted butter if you have it; that way you have a lot more control over the saltiness of the frosting. It should be just fine for 3 to 4 hours. If you plan on making the cake the day before, refrigerate it overnight and remove it about an hour before serving to allow the frosting and cake to thaw 🙂
Hey Natasha! I want to try this icing for a baby shower cake and make it blue. Can I add food coloring and if so, at what point do I add it ?
Hi Sandra! This is Tatyana 🙂 This is an excellent cake for a baby shower cake! You can absolutely add any color you desire. I recommend using a concentrated gel food coloring or even powder food coloring to achieve a very rich color. Enjoy!
After making this recipe – recipe looks like it’s for 48 cupcakes – not 24. I have so much wasted frosting using your recipe. Waste of my money.
The recipe size is based on standard American cupcakes. Sounds like you were adding a lot less frosting than what you would find in most bakeries. Please keep that in mind for next time!
Thank you so much for this ,
Question though! How much is 2 cups of butter in grams ?
Hi! You’re very welcome! It’s around 453 g. I have most of my recipes with metric measurements. Simply hit the ‘metric’ button in the recipe card.