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The Best Homemade Vanilla Buttercream Recipe

Homemade Buttercream Frosting – make your own delicious frosting at home using simple ingredients. It’s so much better than store-bought.

Simple Homemade Buttercream Vanilla Frosting

Nothing tops a cake or cupcake better than homemade buttercream frosting.  (I used to refer to it as homemade buttercream icing, but learned that there really is a difference between the two – more on that later.)

vanilla icing on top of chocolate cupcakes

Making buttercream frosting is a cinch if you have a good mixer and four ingredients:

  • butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla
  • milk

The key is to whip the butter really well before you add any additional ingredients.  I like to get it looking light and airy before I add powdered sugar.  It’s important to slowly start the mixer or powdered sugar will be everywhere.   Once the powdered sugar and butter are well blended, then it’s safe to add the vanilla and milk.

Buttercream Vanilla Frosting Tips:

  • Keep whipping the frosting until it gets lighter and fluffier in appearance.
  • Use room-temperature butter, not melted butter.
  • Don’t use unsifted powdered sugar, unless you actually like little clumps of powdered sugar in your frosting.
  • When mixing the frosting, if it is too dry, add 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it is fluffy and moist.

This vanilla buttercream frosting is great on chocolate cake, chocolate cupcakes, white cake, purple cake – you get the idea.   Top your cake or cupcakes with homemade vanilla buttercream once they have cooled and you’ll one sweet treat waiting to be eaten.

It’s safe to leave cakes or cupcakes topped with American Buttercream out at room temperature for a few days.

chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
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4.54 from 32 votes

Homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This is the only recipe you will need for homemade vanilla buttercream frosting.
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Keyword Homemade Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 batch
Calories 184kcal
Author Lynda


  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar sifted
  • 2 Tbsp whole milk
  • 1 -2 tsp vanilla extract


  • Beat butter at high speed in an electric mixer until light in color. Reduce speed to low and gradually add powdered sugar.
  • Once sugar has been incorporated into the butter, add milk and vanilla and whip at high speed for 3-5 minutes.
  • Spread or pipe frosting onto cupcakes.



Serving: 1/16 | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 92mg | Sugar: 20g

What’s the Difference Between Frosting and Icing?

Icing is typically thinner and runnier than frosting – it’s more like a glaze. It’s the pretty topping that you see on cookies.  (Think royal icing.)

Frosting, on the other hand, is thicker and fluffier and is ideal for topping cake.

There are at least four types of buttercream:  American Buttercream, Swiss Meringue Buttercream, French Buttercream, and Italian Meringue Buttercream.  American Buttercream is the sweetest and easiest of them all to make.

cupcakes with homemade vanilla frosting

If you like cupcakes like I do, check out my recipes for Peppermint Cupcakes and Small Batch Lemon Cupcakes.  Both are great topped with homemade vanilla buttercream frosting.  Or, you could go and buy a box of Immaculate Baking Chocolate Cake mix – it’s practically like making cupcakes from scratch, plus it’s non-GMO.  Yea!

Are you a buttercream frosting fan like I am? 

Check out these other desserts that pair well with buttercream:

  • Classic White Layer Cake – This is a basic cake that can be embellished with buttercream and sprinkles, chocolate chips, or anything else your heart desires.
  • Decadent Chocolate Layer Cake – Chocolate and vanilla are a match made in dessert heaven.   Wouldn’t you agree?
  • Peppermint Cupcakes – These cupcakes are made with a box of Devil’s food cake mix and have a touch of peppermint added.  Top with this silky buttercream for a luscious dessert.
  • Small Batch Lemon Cupcakes – Because sometimes you want something a little sweet and citrus-y but don’t want to bake a gazillion cupcakes.

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Recipe Rating


Friday 30th of April 2021

I have been using this frosting recipe for over a year now. It is perfection - and so simple!! Thank you!

Sandra LePage

Monday 24th of August 2020

Do we use unsalted butter?


Monday 24th of August 2020

You could. If you do, you might want to add a pinch of salt to help enhance the flavor.

Deborah Nicholson

Sunday 9th of August 2020

Also not herd of powders sugar


Sunday 9th of August 2020

Confectioner's sugar or icing sugar

Deborah Nicholson

Sunday 9th of August 2020

I am English what is two sticks of butter


Sunday 9th of August 2020

That's the equivalent of 1 cup of butter.


Sunday 17th of May 2015

I just made my chocolate birthday cake today. I can honestly say I have made innumerable cakes,cupcakes in the last 30 or so years... This is the best mix I have ever used hands down. Not only is a wonderful rich chocolate flavor (so often lacking in a mix) but batter is nice consistency and it bakes evenly. You won't regret!!!!


Monday 18th of May 2015

Happy Birthday! What a "sweet" way to celebrate it. (Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I hope your birthday was great!)