Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

A Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is what most of us frost our cakes and cupcakes with. It’s as simple as creaming butter, adding in sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Whether you’re frosting a cake or decorating sugar cookies, everyone needs a back-pocket, go-to vanilla buttercream frosting recipe. A standard, easy vanilla frosting recipe for whatever strikes your fancy. Birthday cakes, brownies, holiday cookies or simply eating it by the spoonful. This is my favorite buttercream frosting recipe.

This recipe makes quite a bit of frosting, two and a half cups so if you are frosting a cake than you should have plenty, but keep in mind that it depends on how thick of a layer of frosting you want. Consider making a batch and a half if wanting thick frosting layers, pipe flowers or if baking a lot of cupcakes.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Always, always sift your powdered sugar. I use a metal mesh strainer and sift a cup at a time into a larger bowl below. This helps your frosting from turning out lumpy.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the two sticks of softened butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy and light in color.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Next add in the sifted powdered sugar and mix on low speed until all of it is incorporated.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com .. Easy Homemade White Cake with White Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com (23)

Then add in the vanilla and add a tablespoon or two of milk at a time until your frosting is a desired consistency. If you need a stiffer frosting, simply add more sifted powdered sugar. If your frosting is too stiff, continue adding a little more milk.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

This frosting should be soft yet hold it’s shape well.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Also, if you don’t want vanilla buttercream, you can use other extracts to flavor it. Feel free to change things up by using coconut, almond or even lemon extract! I would maybe start with only a half teaspoon of these flavors, and taste and add more if needed.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Back in the day, when my kids were little, I would tint my vanilla buttercream frosting with food coloring. Keep in mind you may need to add more powdered sugar if using food colorings as they will thin the frosting a bit.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

My girls went to town frosting and decorating.

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

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

Haileigh’s stocking with polka dots and coconut “fur”.

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com
And Malloree’s ornament with some, as she worded, “pizazz”!

Enjoy! And if you give this Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting l SimplyScratch.com

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

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Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

A simple vanilla buttercream frosting is what most of us frost our cakes with. It's as simple as creaming butter, adding in sifted powdered sugar, vanilla and enough milk until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Total Time: about 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup (two sticks) softened unsalted butter

4 to 5 cups sifted powdered sugar

2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt

4 to 6 tablespoons of whole milk

Directions:

In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, add the two sticks of softened butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy and light in color.

Next add in the sifted powdered sugar, kosher salt and mix on low speed until all of it is incorporated. Sifting powdered sugar beforehand, insures a clump-less buttercream.

Then add in the vanilla and add a tablespoon or two of milk at a time until your frosting is a desired consistency. If you need a stiffer frosting, simply add more sifted powdered sugar. If your frosting is too stiff, continue adding a little more frosting This frosting should be soft yet hold it's shape well.

Pro Tip: Set your butter out the night before so it can soften at room temperature. Microwaving your butter could cause it to soften too quickly (i.e. melt) and you risk your buttercream being too thin and runny or even grainy.

*This recipe makes quite a bit of frosting, two and a half cups so if you are frosting a cake than you should have plenty, but keep in mind that it depends on how thick of a layer of frosting you want. Consider making a batch and a half if wanting thick frosting layers, pipe flowers or if baking a lot of cupcakes.

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38 Responses to “Simple Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe”

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

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

  2. #
    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. #
    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. #
    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!

    xoXOxo
    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

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

    Kathdedon~ Thanks! I love a good frosting too!

  7. #
    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. #
    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. #
    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. #
    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. #
    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. #
    12
    Laurie @simplyscratch — December 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Thanks Mary you too!

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

    they look great and what cute helpers you had too!

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

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

  15. #
    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. #
    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 🙂
    x

  17. #
    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. #
    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. #
    19
    i love it — February 15, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    i love it

  20. #
    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. #
    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. #
    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…
    Yummy

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

    I can’t wait to try this tomorrow!

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

    this a good thing are a good website.com from: Jenna may dixonj

  25. #
    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. #
    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. #
    27
    Esmeralda — July 13, 2016 at 4:53 pm

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

  28. #
    28
    Lene — October 1, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Hi, would it make a difference if you use salted butter?
    Also, will the frosting start to melt if it is hot outside (25 – 30 degrees Celsius (+-86 Fahrenheit))?

    • Laurie McNamara replied: — October 1st, 2017 @ 11:31 pm

      I personally wouldn’t, but in a pinch I suppose you could use salted butter, it may alter the taste of the frosting a bit. And I keep my cake refrigerated until about 30 minutes prior to serving. 86 is pretty warm so I think you may risk it melting, so I would definitely keep it refrigerated until then. I hope this helps! Enjoy!

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