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Swirl of Vanilla Buttercream Frosting topped with sprinkles.

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. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 +
Calories 276kcal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened, but still cool to the touch
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (sifted if lumpy) plus more, as needed
  • 1+ tablespoons heavy cream or half and half milk can be substituted in a pinch
  • 1 ¾ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract optional, but highly recommended
  • 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. Continue to add more cream, a little bit at a time, as needed. For a thicker frosting, add a little more powdered sugar. Lastly, turn the mixer to medium-high, and beat well for 1-2 minutes.
    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 ¼ teaspoons vanilla, scant ½ 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).


Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 7mg | Sugar: 34g | Vitamin A: 480IU | Calcium: 7mg