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!Jump to Recipe
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 of 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?
The Ultimate Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 1-2 Tbsp heavy cream can substitute whipping cream or milk of choice
- food coloring optional
The Ultimate Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 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.
Beyond Vanilla Buttercream Frosting- Variations and Tips
Feel free to experiment with this base of this buttercream frosting recipe. While it’s perfectly delicious on its own, here are some variations for you to adopt. Be sure to share your favorites with us on social #getfamilyapp!
- Top with Oreos or another favorite cookie or candy for a crunchier frosting that’s absolutely delicious.
- Mix in some caramel for a sweet and salty experience
- If you’re avoiding dairy, use room temperature margarine as a butter substitute. It has a similar consistency and really delicious. Likewise, switch out the heavy cream for coconut or almond milk.
- Substitute the vanilla extract for another flavor of your 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!
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!
For a neater look, be sure to use a piping bag. Yes, you can always spread the frosting with a knife or poke a hold in a Ziploc bag for a DIY piping bag. But piping bags and tips are really inexpensive and easy to find at most grocery stores. If you do any baking, it’s a great thing to have.
Make sure your cookies or cake has cooled to room temperature before you start frosting. If you start the process too soon, the frosting will melt into your confections and will look sad and droopy.
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!