Simple Vanilla Buttercream

Jump to Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

This Simple Vanilla Buttercream is our family’s classic buttercream recipe. This melt-in-your-mouth buttercream is the perfect cupcakes topper!

This Simple Vanilla Buttercream is our family's classic buttercream recipe. This melt-in-your-mouth buttercream is the perfect cupcakes topper!

Simple Vanilla Buttercream

Today I have for you a very simple recipe.

As I’ve told you before, I’m a little picky about the sweetness of my desserts.  I’m especially picky about my frostings.  In fact, I used to split a cupcake with my sister. She’d get the frosting, I’d get the cupcake. My perfect frosting can’t be chunky or bumpy.  It has to be smooth.  It can’t be too sweet, and I usually like it flavored with peanut butter or chocolate.

In fact, in the past, I would just put whip cream on my cakes, but that was before I started baking and discovered the peanut butter frosting, chocolate buttercream, and now, the Simply Vanilla Buttercream.

 simple vanilla buttercream frosting

One of the tricks to making this frosting is to whip the butter all by itself. You’ll whip the butter in a stand mixer bowl on medium speed until it gets almost white in color. From there, this recipe is just your standard icing recipe: butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk.

Perfectly simple and simply sweet.

Frosting cupcakes can be so much fun.  Before I started baking and blogging, we’d just put frosting on with a knife.  That’s good enough, but now we like to pull out the decorating bags and tips and make pretty swirls.  Let me share with you how to do this, so you can have cupcakes fit for a picture!

 simple vanilla buttercream frosting

First, you’re going to get Wilton tip 1M and a decorating bag.  Put the tip inside the decorating bag.  I love the fact that there’s no need to use a coupler! After you’ve filled the bag about half full of frosting, hold the bag straight up from the center top of the cupcake at a 90 degree angle, about ½ an inch away from the cupcake. Squeeze out icing to make a star. Without releasing your pressure on the bag, swirl the frosting to the outside edge of the cupcake, then pile up as much icing as you want by swirling around and around, making each swirl just inside the edge of the previous swirl. Release the pressure and pull up and away to end your swirl at the center of the cupcake.

Not so hard, huh? Once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy.


unwrapped white cupcake with white swirled frosting
unwrapped white cupcake with white swirled frosting

Simple Vanilla Buttercream

4.71 from 24 votes
The best vanilla buttercream, made simply. Perfect for piping on cakes and cupcakes.
Servings 10
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Email Me This Recipe!
Enter your email and get the recipe sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week.


  • 1 cup salted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream


  • In a stand mixer bowl, with the mixer on medium speed, whip the butter for 2 minutes until it is almost white in color. Make sure the butter is at room temperature, but not melted.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and 3 tablespoons milk. Beat on low speed for 3-5 minutes, adding in the last tablespoon of milk if the buttercream needs to be thinner.
  • Spread the frosting on a cake or pipe on cupcakes.


*I usually use heavy cream. If the milk has a higher fat content (such as heavy cream as compared to 2% milk), you may need to add more because it is thicker.
*Recipes makes about two cups.


Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 165mg | Potassium: 11mg | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 575IU | Calcium: 11mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 353

About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

Get 5 Classic Recipes with a Deliciously Secret Twist

You might also like

Join the Discussion

4.71 from 24 votes (22 ratings without comment)
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

6 months ago

5 stars
Question Regarding Icing Texture

Sarah B
6 months ago

5 stars
Love this buttercream! Our favorite recipe to use on our Christmas cut out cookies!!!

3 years ago

I don’t think you said to sift the powder sugar…I always do.

Helen Foggarty
3 years ago

How do you get a white frosting

4 years ago

I don’t have a big stand mixer, only hand held, can I still make the frosting?

Cam's mom
5 years ago

I would love to make this for my sons birthday, but need enough for 36 cupcakes. Can I just triple the batch? Would I have to adjust any of the ingredient amounts? Thank you!

5 years ago

The cookies were delicious….I think I will add the almond extract next time
Frosted with Buttercream ….yummy!
Is there a Chocolate Buttercream frosting that is as good as the vanilla version?

5 years ago

Can I cut the Buttercream Frosting recipe in half for few cookies?

5 years ago

i’m making this right now, and it’s very thin. what can i do to fix it. i added extra milk too.

5 years ago

Made this…I think that I’d use unsalted butter next time.

Erin Bienstock
5 years ago

How much frosting does it make?

7 years ago

Yummmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy! Can you share the recipe for the cupcakes? They look divine! 🙂

8 years ago

When I made this, it came out lumpy and was acting like it wanted to separate. Any tips on how you got it to come out smooth.

8 years ago

Can I substitute unsalted butter for the salted? Would I need to add salt then? Thanks 🙂

9 years ago

how far ahead of time can you make this icing? I was thinking of making it the day before, would it hold up in the fridge? thanks!

9 years ago

This looks great! About how many cupcakes does it frost?