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A small jar of piped vanilla frosting with a teal napkin and piping bag next to it

Perfect Vanilla Frosting

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.7 from 85 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 Perfect Vanilla Frosting is the best for a reason! This easy buttercream frosting recipe makes stable, fluffy frosting that’s ideal for decorating cakes and cupcakes. Ready in 10 minutes with just 4 ingredients!


  • 1 1/2 cups (339 g) (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cold.
  • 5 cups (650 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


  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 looks 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 remaining 1 cup of powdered sugar along with the heavy whipping cream and salt. 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.


  • How much does this frosting make? This makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a two layer 6-inch cake. 

Storing and freezing:

  • Storing this frosting: This frosting can be kept at room temperature if serving within 24 hours and it’s not too hot. It can be made ahead of time and kept refrigerated for 7 days. Frosting must come back to room temperature before piping, and I suggest to re-whip it.
  • Freezing this frosting: This frosting can also be frozen in an airtight bag, be sure to squeeze all the extra air of out the bag. Thaw to room temperature and I suggest to re-whip prior to piping

Adjusting the consistency:

  • If your frosting is too soft: Add additional heavy cream 1-2 teaspoons at a time until desired consistency is reached. I recommend continuing to beat the frosting while doing so.
  • If your frosting is too thin: Add an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar at a time and continue to beat the frosting until desired consistency is reached.

How to scale the recipe

  • Frosting for 12 cupcakes or 9×13 inch cake
    • 3/4 cup (170g) unsalted butter, 
    • 2–3 cups (260g-390g) powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon (15ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
    • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • Frosting for 3 layer, 8-inch cake 
    • 2 1/2 cups (567g) unsalted butter, cold
    • 8–10 cups (1041-1301g) powdered sugar
    • 1 tablespoon (15ml) vanilla extract
    • 3–4 tablespoons (45-60ml) heavy whipping cream (or milk)
    • Pinch of salt (optional)

Additional notes- coloring and flavors

  • Coloring this frosting: If you are coloring this frosting, I suggest using gel colors for the best color variation. 
  • Flavor variations: This can be made with virtually any type of extract, including almond, lemon, peppermint, mint, coconut, etc. You can also add some fresh fruit zest such as lemon, orange, or lime.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 540
  • Sugar: 65.4g
  • Sodium: 6.1mg
  • Fat: 31.3g
  • Saturated Fat: 19.5g
  • Carbohydrates: 66.7g
  • Fiber: 0
  • Protein: 0
  • Cholesterol: 83.2mg