Rich and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting is so tasty on cakes, cookies, brownies and more! This is an easy frosting recipe that always turns out perfect.
This is the most classic buttercream frosting recipe, and it goes perfectly with Vanilla Cake! For a chocolate version, try our Chocolate Buttercream!
Our Go-To Vanilla Frosting
I always like to have a go-to recipe when it comes to frosting.
Something that can go with multiple desserts and taste delicious on almost anything. That is what makes this our go-to vanilla buttercream frosting recipe. It’s creamy, smooth, and the perfect consistency for spreading on cakes, cookies, etc.!
Whip up this frosting recipe in just a couple of minutes with only a few ingredients. Quick and easy—your new go-to frosting recipe for any and all desserts.
How to Make Buttercream Frosting
You need only a few ingredients for this buttercream frosting:
- softened butter
- powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
Beat the softened butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, salt, and mix to combine. Add the milk or powdered sugar as needed to make a smooth frosting. Beat the frosting on high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- Use unsalted butter. You can use salted butter, but don’t add extra salt. If you use unsalted, you can control the amount of added salt to taste.
- Room Temperature ingredients: Make sure the butter is softened so that it creams up easily. Also, having the milk/half and half at room temperature will also help this frosting cream together nice and easy.
- This vanilla buttercream frosting makes a great base for other flavors. Simply replace the vanilla with another extract such as lemon, peppermint or almond.
Too thick or thin: Getting the right consistency for your dessert is key. For example if you plan to pipe on decorative tops on cakes or cupcakes you’ll want a thicker consistency. Other desserts may be better with a thinner frosting. You can easily adjust the consistency by:
- If it’s too thick at 1 tbsp of milk at a time mixing until you get your desired consistency
- If it’s too thin add 1 tbsp of powdered sugar at a time mixing until you get your desired consistency
Over-mixing can create too many air bubbles in your frosting causing a different texture to occur, To return to the desired smooth creamy texture use a wooden spoon to mix the frosting by hand. As you mix, push the buttercream frosting up against the sides and bottom of the bowl to remove the air bubbles.
This buttercream frosting is perfect for piping. I generally only use my piping tips when I’m topping cupcakes or other small desserts. The following steps are how I pipe onto cupcakes, but you may find the tips adaptable to other treats.
- Choose your tip. The larger the tip the thicker the piping will be. I like using larger tips like the Ateco 808 for smooth piping, or an Ateco 844 tip for star piping.
- Place your tip of choice at the bottom of a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping tip you can trim the corner off of a Gallon Ziplock bag. It will have a smooth edge like the Ateco 808.
- Fill the bag with frosting. I like to place the bag inside of a tall cup, fold the end of the bag over the edges of the cup, then use a baking spatula to fill the bag. Make sure you leave enough space to twist the top of the bag closed.
- Gently push the frosting down to the bottom to make sure you don’t have any air pockets. Twist the top closed.
- Make one dollop of frosting in the center of the cupcake. The dollop will be the guide for the rest of the frosting to go around.
- Frost around the center dollop. Once you have gone a full rotation lift up to the second layer, moving inward slightly, and continue squeezing out the frosting. Repeat layers until you’re happy with the height and look.
- Be sure to use even, steady pressure the entire time as you push out the frosting.
How to Store Buttercream Frosting
Take note on how to store frosting…
- FRIDGE: The frosting can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days. Store in an airtight container. Be sure to bring it to room temperature and remix before frosting your dessert.
- FREEZER: Place the frosting in an airtight freezer safe container. It can be frozen for 2-3 months. Thaw in the fridge and then bring to room temperature. Mix well before using.
This frosting works on so many types of desserts such as the classic cupcakes and cake, but also on brownies, bars, cookie cups, and more.
For more Frostings, check out:
- Berry Buttercream Frosting
- Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
- Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting
- Easy Marshmallow Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- Lemon Frosting
Buttercream Frosting Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups butter softened
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup milk or half and half
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- Beat the butter in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt, and mix to combine. Add milk or powdered sugar as needed to make a smooth frosting.
- Beat on high for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
I don’t have a stand mixer or hand mixer so I’m just doing this by hand. I only have a wire whisk and silicone spatula. Which one should I use?
I would probably use both. The whisk at the beginning & the spatula at the end, to get all the sides. Good luck!!
Just wanted to say, this recipe is amazing. I made a batch to pair with your vanilla cupcakes recipe. I tasted it–it was really good.
HOWEVER, I don’t know how to pipe frosting. I have a piping tip and piping bag ready and I piped the frosting onto the first cupcake and it look really messy. I didn’t want to go on since I was afraid it might ruin the looks of the other cupcakes! 🙁
Could you tell me how to pipe frosting? Mine are always messy and lopsided even when I use a piping tip.
Thank you so much!
Thank you so much! I would just go slow, don’t squeeze to hard, & practice 🙂 You’ll get it 🙂
My go to vanilla frosting now too! Thank you!
My go to frosting now too! Thank you!
Do you know about how many cupcakes this will frost with a single layer of frosting? Does one batch cover a 6” 2 layer cake? Thank you for guidance!
Yes, a full batch should cover a 6″ 2-layer cake! It’s hard to say on the cupcakes, because it honestly depends on how much frosting you like for each one. Depending on if you pile it high or just a little. But if using an average amount of frosting per cupcake, it should cover a full recipe’s worth (ex: 24 cupcakes, if using a box mix).