easy vanilla buttercream frosting

Need the perfect vanilla buttercream frosting for your cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more? This buttercream frosting is rich and delicious, and best of all, you can make it in 5 minutes!

The Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

There’s nothing quite like a decadent buttercream frosting atop a moist and delicious cupcake. I have so many childhood memories sitting at the counter with my mother and younger siblings and licking the buttercream frosting off of a knife after we would frost some sugar cookies or cupcakes. As a parent, I’m quite impressed by my mother’s wisdom to give us our own plate so as not to spread germs to others, since I was not the only one to dip my fingers in the vanilla buttercream before we finished the cookies!

I’ve adopted the same policy with my own children since it’s almost impossible for a 6-year-old to resist the temptation to stick his finger in a perfect bowl of frosting.

We’ll often be frosted in the white powdered sugar dust if we stand too close to the stand mixer, but it’s always worth it! Vanilla buttercream is always a win for a light and sweet treat, and this buttercream frosting is especially forgiving.

Unlike cakes or cookies where measurements need to be exact, in this buttercream recipe, you can adjust the measurements until you get just the right texture that you need. And no baking is required! Just keep adding a little bit more powdered sugar and heavy cream until you get exactly the texture that you need.

While this one will pair well with your favorite cookies, cakes, and macarons, it’s only the beginning of a beautiful dessert. Because, really, can you ever have too much frosting?

buttercream frosting
Print Recipe
4.41 from 5 votes

The Ultimate Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Fast, simple and delicious buttercream frosting for cookies, cakes, and more!
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dairy, easy, easy dessert, frosting, gluten-free, no-bake
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 143kcal
Cost: $2


  • bowl
  • mixer


  • 3 cups powdered sugar AKA confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp heavy cream can sub whipping cream or milk of choice
  • food coloring optional


  • In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together the sugar and butter. Mix on a low speed until well-blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes until creamy.
  • Add vanilla and cream or milk, continuing to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more. You can add more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
  • If desired, add food coloring to frosting. If using multiple colors, be sure to separate into smaller bowls first.


Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Fat: 1.2g | Saturated Fat: 4.5g | Sugar: 19g

vanilla buttercream frosting on cake

Extra Notes:

Feel free to experiment with this base of this buttercream frosting recipe. Add some caramel for a sweet and salty experience, or top with Oreos or another favorite cookie or candy.

For this buttercream recipe, it’s so important that your unsalted butter is at room temperature. If you melt it down, you won’t get the right consistency. If it’s too cold, it won’t whip very well. Room temperature is key!

Even though this is technically a vanilla buttercream frosting, you can substitute the vanilla extract for another flavor of choice. I personally love almond extract, but you could try peppermint, lemon, or even rose water for a different flavor option. You’re not confined to just the vanilla extract- delicious as it is!

You can switch up heavy cream for a different type of milk. Those who are dairy-free might opt for coconut milk, or you can lighten it up a little bit with 2% or skim milk.

Make It Your Own

What’s your favorite part about this vanilla buttercream recipe? What tweaks have you made? How did you pair it- with a layer cake, cupcakes, cookies or something else? Share below in our comments or with your loved ones on your favorite family app!

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Laura KrausAuthor posts

Laura Kraus

Laura was born with many stories to tell and has been writing in one way or another ever since. She's written TV news stories, blogs, children's cartoons, legal briefs, commercials, and everything in between. In addition to working for FamilyApp, she's also architecting the Faithful Beginnings School Readiness Guide for preschoolers. She loves traveling, new adventures, finding a great bargain, and reading to her three children.

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