Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 24

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This easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is smooth and creamy and perfect on any cake or cupcake!

vanilla buttercream frosting in glass bowl with spoon stuck in

Recipe posted first on Spend With Pennies.

Some days (most days) there is just nothing that beats a cupcake with smooth, creamy, luscious Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

We will put this frosting on pretty much anything:

  • Funfetti Cake (it’s great for piping!)
  • cupcakes (any flavor)
  • cookie cakes
  • cookie sandwiches (pick two of your favorite cookies and sandwich them together with a thick schmear of buttercream frosting)
  • a spoon

It’s incredibly versatile as you can add in a variety of extracts and flavors (see some ideas below), and any leftovers can be frozen for another use (or it can be frozen right on a cake or some cupcakes).

vanilla buttercream frosting close up on sprinkle cupcake with purple liner

How to make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  1. Start with room temperature unsalted butter — this will ensure a smooth frosting with no lumps!
  2. Whip in your sugar and vanilla until super smooth — it will be very thick!
  3. Add your cream a little at a time and whip it again — this ensures you reach your desired texture and firmness without overdoing it!
  4. Add a pinch of salt to cut the sweetness — this is crucial! Buttercream frosting can be overbearingly sweet but just a bit of salt really helps.
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How to make thick Buttercream Frosting for piping:

This recipe as is is nice and thick for piping and will hold its shape well.

I tend to push the limits on how much cream you can add to frosting, as I like mine as light and fluffy as it can be while still holding its shape and not turning into a puddle.

The best thing to do is play it “by ear” (or by sight rather), and add as much cream as you want to get the texture you like.

If I was making this recipe and not worried about it holding intricate designs, I might even add a little extra cream to make it as light and creamy as possible.

buttercream frosting on cupcakes overhead on marble background

Flavor variations on this buttercream frosting recipe:

  • Add a 1/2-1 teaspoon of almond, mint, or lemon extract (or get crazy and try another flavor!) to go with whatever you’re putting it on.
  • Stir in some crushed M&Ms, Oreos, or Reeses Pieces at the end — just make sure if you’re piping it you use a large round tip.
  • Add in a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, cocoa or Nutella for an interesting twist!

How to freeze frosting:

This Vanilla Buttercream Frosting freezes like a dream, on your dessert of choice or on its own.

Simply place it in a freezer safe container and freeze for 2-3 months.

When you need it, place in the refrigerator or on the counter to thaw (just don’t let it sit on the counter too long after it reaches room temperature).

Make sure your frosting is at room temperature but not warm when you go to use it, and give it a good stir before spooning it into your piping bag or spreading it onto your baked goods.

vanilla buttercream frosting on cupcakes with sprinkles overhead on white background

Other delicious frosted things (perfect for spreading with this Buttercream Frosting!):

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

4.50 from 4 votes
This easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is smooth and creamy and perfect on any cake or cupcake!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Dessert
Servings 24
Calories 185cal


  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar 600g
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt to taste


  • Place butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until combined — it will be thick. Beat in vanilla extract.
  • Add cream, a little at a time, and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Continue adding cream until desired texture and firmness is reached.
  • Add a pinch of salt (to your tasteand beat until combined.
  • Spread or pipe onto cake or cupcakes, or see post above for storing for longer periods of time.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 185cal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 70mg | Potassium: 8mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Calcium: 5mg
Keywords butttercream frosting

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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  1. KD says

    The recipe is simple and easy to follow. The frosting tastes like creamy powdered sugar. Which was expected. This frosting is not shelf stable, I had to put it in the fridge a few times while frosting a layer cake. This is not good for cakes that need to travel in warm weather and a definite NO for summer picnics. If you are in a pinch this will work.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi KD, as we said in the post, you want to make sure you use this at room temperature but not warm. It has worked great for us on cakes and cupcakes, so not sure why you had that experience.

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