Easy, fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting! A delicious topping for layer cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies, and more. Once you try this recipe, you’ll never go back to store bought frosting again.
Friends, let’s chat about frosting. If you are still team “frosting in a tub,” I am here to pry that tub out of your hands and convince you that HOMEMADE FROSTING is where it’s at. No judgement if you need to take shortcuts in life, but please, please, pretty please don’t let store bought frosting be one of them. I occasionally take shortcuts with a boxed brownie mix or a store bought cake, but I just can’t bring myself to trade in homemade frosting for that junk in a tub.
It is super easy to make homemade frosting, and it tastes one billion times better than store bought. Not to mention, canned frosting is mostly corn syrup, artificial flavors and oil. Blech. This simple recipe is made with ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now: butter, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla.
How To Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat softened butter with powdered sugar.
- Add heavy cream or half and half to thin it out and make it super creamy.
- Flavor the frosting with vanilla extract and the option of also adding almond extract (it’s so good).
- Beat the frosting for several minutes until light and fluffy!
That’s it! See, I told you it was easy. And with only 4 ingredients, there is no reason you can’t whip this up at a moment’s notice.
Add the frosting to your favorite sweet treats by spreading it on or using a pastry bag and tip. Homemade Vanilla Buttercream is the perfect topping for so many delicious treats. It elevates even the simplest recipes (psst… boxed cake or cupcakes can be made extra tasty by topping them with homemade frosting).
TIP: Easily adjust the consistency of your buttercream by adding more powdered sugar (to thicken) or more cream (to thin).
Frosting For Sugar Cookies
If you’re looking for a frosting recipe for sugar cookies, this is it. We top our Cutout Sugar Cookies, Sugar Cookie Bars, and Bird’s Nest Cookies with this frosting all the time. It is the perfect complement to a sweet and buttery sugar cookie.
This frosting is also fantastic on cupcakes and layer cakes. If you’d like to dye the frosting, simply add a couple drops of your desired food coloring near the end of mixing time. If you’re going for a really dark color, the dye might thin out the frosting a touch. Just add a couple tablespoons of powdered sugar to thicken it up again.
Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
- My number one tip for getting the fluffiest frosting is to beat it on medium-high speed for several minutes. This makes the frosting light, fluffy and beautiful! Perfect for making gorgeous swirls on top of a cupcake (chocolate or vanilla).
I’ve been making this recipe for years. In fact, homemade frosting is one of the first recipes that started my transition into baking from scratch. Once I tasted homemade frosting and educated myself on all the garbage in tub frosting (eeek!), I never looked back.
Now, if you need me, I’ll be swiping my finger through a big bowl of vanilla buttercream while no one is looking. Ssshhh.
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NEVER MISS A RECIPE!
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Easy and perfect Vanilla Buttercream Frosting! A delicious topping for layer cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies, and more. Once you try this recipe, you'll never go back to store bought frosting again.
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened, but still cool to the touch
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy) plus more, if needed
- 1+ tablespoons heavy cream or half and half milk can be substituted in a pinch
- 1 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract optional, but SO good
- pinch of salt, if desired to balance the sweetness
Using a hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and half of the powdered sugar until well-combined (starting out the mixer low and increasing to medium-high). Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar (while beating), followed by extracts and 1 tablespoon cream. Turn the mixer to medium-high, and beat well for 1-2 minutes. Continue to add more cream, a little bit at a time, if needed. Alternately, add a little more powdered sugar, if needed. Beat well after each addition.
Depending on how thick you want the frosting, you can easily adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar (to thicken) or more cream (to thin).
Makes enough to frost 12 cupcakes (with piping bag), at least 24 cookies, or a 13x9 cake. Double this recipe for generously frosting a layer cake (including crumb coat and piping bag decorating). For a lightly frosted layer cake you can make the recipe as written, or use approximately one and a half of a recipe (1.5 cups butter, 5 cups powdered sugar, 1.5 tablespoons cream, 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla, scant 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, pinch salt).
The exact amount of powdered sugar needed will depend on several factors: how soft your butter is, how heavy handed you measure the powdered sugar, how much liquid is added. It is VERY EASY to adjust this recipe to make the frosting THICKER (adding more powdered sugar, a little at a time) or THINNER (adding more cream, a little at a time).