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Three piping bags filled with purple, pink, and light turquoise buttercream frosting.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1/2 cups
  • Category: Frosting
  • Method: Stand Mixer
  • Cuisine: American


My best-ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is super versatile and perfect for customizing with your favorite color gels! Made with a handful of ingredients, this basic frosting recipe is easy to pipe onto cakes and cupcakes.


  • 1 1/2 cup (339 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold.
  • 5 cups (650 g) powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (12 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)


  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally, and beating until the butter look light in color.
  2. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated into the butter then add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Beat for about 60 seconds.
  3. Next, add an additional 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the last 1 cup of powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream. Beat on low until the ingredients start to mix together. Increase speed to medium-high and beat for another 3-5 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.
  5. Color your buttercream using your preferred brand of food coloring (see post for tips and tricks).


  • Store frosting in an airtight container. This frosting can be stored at room temperature if served within 24 hours. Otherwise, refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.
  • This frosting can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for 7 days. Store it in an airtight container. Bring the frosting back to room temperature and re-whip the frosting before use.
  • To freeze buttercream, seal in an airtight container or bag for up to one month. Thaw to room temperature and rewhip before using. 
  • Flavor with different extracts or zest of lemon, orange, or lime.
  • This recipe makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes. If you need to scale this recipe up to down, visit my tutorial for my vanilla buttercream, which includes scaled recipes. 


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 540
  • Sugar: 65g
  • Sodium: 6mg
  • Fat: 31.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 19.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 66.7g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Protein: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 82mg