Simple Vanilla Frosting

Okay so I know in my Sugar Cookie post I said “I’ll see you next year!” but I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t post my sugar cookie recipe and not post the simple vanilla frosting recipe too, right? The sugar cookies are really really good, but who ever eats sugar cookies without frosting? So *twist my arm* I felt I should share the frosting with you as well.

This recipe makes quite a bit of frosting, two cups I believe. But if you are frosting a cake than you should have plenty! I know I had more than enough for the cookies which left me with some left over to snack on. Have you ever dipped graham crackers in frosting???

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
So here is my favorite simple vanilla frosting recipe. And if you don’t want the vanilla flavor, feel free to change up the flavor to coconut, almond or lemon! I would maybe start with a half teaspoon of these flavors and add more if needed.

Here is what you will need. Powdered Sugar, Vanilla, Milk {whole} and butter.

In your mixing bowl add the 4 cups of powdered sugar…

the four tablespoons of butter…

…and the teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.

While on medium low speed, slowly pour in the whole milk. I started out using 4 tablespoons of milk and added another tablespoon until it reached the consistency I wanted.

Mix until smooth

Scraping down the sides until all ingredients are completely combined.

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
And there you have it! A delicious vanilla frosting!

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
For the holiday frosting, I just divided the frosting in ramekins and added some food coloring.

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
My girls went to town frosting and decorating.

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
We had a star with white frosting and coconut.

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
A stocking with polka dots and coconut “fur”.

Simple Vanilla Frosting l
And an ornament with some “pizazz!”…

Enjoy! And if you give this recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Simple Vanilla Frosting l

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Simple Vanilla Frosting

Yield: 2 cups


4 cups Powdered Sugar

4 tablespoons Butter, softened

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

4-6 tablespoons of Whole Milk


In your mixing bowl add the powdered sugar, butter and vanilla. Turn your mixer on medium low and slowly add your whole milk. Adding more milk if needed. Increase the speed to medium until fluffy.

*for special ocassions tint the frosting with food color!

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36 Responses to “Simple Vanilla Frosting”

  1. #
    kathdedon — December 28, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    I adore simple vanilla buttercream frosting! Your photos are stunning – well done!

  2. #
    Kori — December 28, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I love this simple frosting recipe too – classic and delish! 🙂 Looks like you had fun with it too! I made cookies with my mom while I was home for the holidays… I guess you're never too old for holiday fun and traditions 🙂

  3. #
    BakingWithoutABox — December 28, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Oh we got decorator photos too! So glad you shared with us before calling it good for the year. Flawless photos as always.

  4. #
    Jennifer — December 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Oh WOW! I never realized how easy making frosting could be! Thats awesome and equally un-awesome for my skinny jeans. haha! Regardless – I'm SO making this!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  5. #
    Haley — December 29, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Your daughters are beautiful! And the frosting is making me want to make more sugar cookies!

  6. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — December 29, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Kathdedon~ Thanks! I love a good frosting too!

  7. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — December 29, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    Kori~ It is so fun to just let my kids take over and get creative!! I hope we still make these even when they are older 😉

  8. #
    Val — December 29, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Where is my spoon??? I could just eat that frosting out of the bowl. It looks that good.

  9. #
    Melanie — December 30, 2010 at 2:37 am

    This frosting looks simple and yet so divine! I love your philosophy on cooking from scratch…I attempt the same thing and while it is challenging, it is so fun! Can't wait to look through your recipes!

  10. #
    foodies at home — December 30, 2010 at 7:04 am

    Oh my gosh what I wouldn't give to lick the spoon of that frosting! YUM!! Cookie decorating is always so much fun!

  11. #
    Mary — December 30, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    These cookies are so cute! I didn't get around to making sugar cookies this year, unfortunately, so I am enjoying yours instead. Have a happy new year!

  12. #
    Laurie @simplyscratch — December 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks Mary you too!

  13. #
    Brenda — December 31, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    they look great and what cute helpers you had too!

  14. #
    Sprinkled with Flour — January 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    What a great looking frosting…simple, but rich and decadent:) yum!

  15. #
    Elle Marie — September 7, 2011 at 6:27 am

    The frost look great and the girls are amazingly beautiful, love the photos. Nice blog

  16. #
    Heidi — October 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I just wanted to let you know I’ve linked to this recipe in a post on my blog (link in Website field)

    So thank you for helping me out!

    Lovely blog 🙂

  17. #
    elizabeth — December 24, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Can I use 2% milk with this recipe

    • simplyscratch replied: — December 27th, 2013 @ 10:04 am

      Hi Elizabeth! Absolutely!

  18. #
    miss debbie — January 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    I substituted white chocolate macadamia coffee creamer in place of milk and vanilla extract and everyone raved over flavor!

    • simplyscratch replied: — January 6th, 2014 @ 11:56 pm

      YUM! That sounds amazing Debbie!

  19. #
    i love it — February 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    i love it

  20. #
    Munchkin — June 6, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Although this frosting looks amazing and it’s easy to make, it’s a total disappointment! This is a type of frosting, that if it’s on a cupcake or cake, you would scrap it off, before you eat it! It’s way too sweet and it tasteless. Yes, it does have butter and vanilla, but you can’t get past the sweetness, to actually enjoy it! It’s missing that creaminess, rich decadent flavor that will actually compliment the cake! If you’re looking for a great appearance, then go with this one. Don’t bother making this frosting. There are others out there that are WAY better then this!

  21. #
    Alia — June 24, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Could this be used as a cake frosting? If not then what should I do for my cake? Thanks:)

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — June 25th, 2014 @ 10:43 am

      Hi Alia, you absolutely can! I also have a few other frosting recipes on here as well if you’re looking for options, search frosting under the search tab :).

  22. #
    Nancy Cosmas — June 27, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Wow exactly wat I was looking for…..
    Thank you….cant wait to try in my home…

  23. #
    Gabby — October 30, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I can’t wait to try this tomorrow!

  24. #
    jenna may dixonj — August 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

    this a good thing are a good from: Jenna may dixonj

  25. #
    Lorena — October 3, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    I cannot stress enough how easy this frosting is! Thank you for sharing!!! Literally in 5 minutes it will be done & in another 5 minutes it will be devoured.

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 6th, 2015 @ 10:56 am

      Absolutely! Glad you liked it!!

  26. #
    Kayla — May 1, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    This frosting did not taste good. I put peppermint oil in it an mint cookies to give it some flavor!

  27. #
    Esmeralda — July 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    So easy love it will try next time to give frosting a different taste.


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