Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. Made with just a handful of ingredients, this frosting comes together in a snap. Not only is this a great vanilla frosting, it’s also the perfect base for other flavor additives. Mix in any other flavored extract to create your own unique frosting. You won’t be disappointed in the light, creamy texture. Use this homemade frosting to top cakes and cupcakes or sandwich it between your favorite cookie.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. Made with 5 ingredients, this frosting comes together in a snap.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

It’s always a good idea to have a basic frosting recipe in your archives and this is one you’ll want to keep!

My coconut buttercream frosting is always a huge hit around here but sometimes you just need something basic. This vanilla frosting is just that!

It’s light, fluffy, smooth, and creamy. It’s the perfect frosting for a basic vanilla cake or any cake for that matter.

This frosting can also be used as a base for other flavors. Try adding in almond extract or any other extracts that you love. Or turn it into pineapple frosting!

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. Made with 5 ingredients, this frosting comes together in a snap.

Tips for a smooth, fluffy frosting

Make sure the butter and heavy cream are at room temperature. The butter should be soft enough to bend without breaking but not so soft that it’s melty.

Whip the butter with an electric mixer until it’s smooth and free of lumps before adding the cream and salt. Once the cream and salt are added, whip the mixture until it’s very well combined.

When adding the confectioners’ sugar, start with two cups and beat it in well before adding more. Depending on how soft the butter was when you started, you may or may not need to add any more confectioners’ sugar. If the frosting does need more sugar, add it in one cup at a time and mix well after each addition.

After adding the desired amount of sugar, let the mixer run on medium high until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. Made with 5 ingredients, this frosting comes together in a snap.

Tools needed to make vanilla buttercream

More frosting recipes you’ll love

Salted Caramel Frosting – Homemade caramel sauce is what gives this frosting such an incredible flavor and texture.

7 Minute Frosting – It’s made completely from scratch and so simple you will want to whip it up every time you get a craving for something sweet.

Cookie Butter Frosting – Flavored with Biscoff cookie spread, you’ll want to put this frosting on everything!

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. Made with 5 ingredients, this frosting comes together in a snap.
4 from 2 votes
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Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so versatile, you can use it for just about anything. Made with just a handful of ingredients, this frosting comes together in a snap. Not only is this a great vanilla frosting, it’s also the perfect base for other flavor additives. Mix in any other flavored extract to create your own unique frosting. You won’t be disappointed in the light, creamy texture. Use this homemade frosting to top cakes and cupcakes or sandwich it between your favorite cookie.

Course Dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Yields 6 cups
Calories 219 kcal
Author Jen Sobjack

Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3-5 cups confectioners' sugar sifted

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Continue to beat until incorporated. 

  2. Add 2 cups of confectioner's sugar, beat on medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened. Gradually add in the remaining sugar, one cup at a time. You may need more or less depending on how soft the butter is. Beat on medium-low speed until the sugar is moistened. Turn the speed up to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Make ahead tip

  1. Frosting will keep for up to 4 days stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Let stand at room temperature to soften before use.

    Or it can be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to use, place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Let stand at room temperature to soften before use.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes enough to frost 24 cupcakes or a double layer cake. Halve the recipe to make enough for 12 cupcakes or a single layer cake.

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This Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe is so versatile, you can use it for just about any dessert.

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10 Comments

  • Marietta Greene

    Used this recipe tonight for your Vanilla Cake recipe and I used 2 STICKS of butter, not 2 CUPS as that seemed excessive and 2x what most recipes call for. I think your suggestion of 1 TBS of vanilla is what made this recipe better than most. Thank you!!

    • Jen Sobjack

      Using 2 cups of butter will yield enough frosting to frost and fill a layer cake. But that also depends on how much frosting you like to use. The recipe notes say to use half the amount of ingredients for half the amount of frosting and it sounds like that’s what you did. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Rebecca

    I made this frosting to use on my nieces bday cake. She turned 8 and I did a tie dye effect cake with this frosting lion king theme. I made 2 8″ cakes stacked. There was no cake left…. got soooooo many compliments on this icing. One girl even said oh no I’ll probably never see you again and you just ruined me…I’m addicted! Haha
    Anyway I’m making a cake now using your vanilla cake recipe for a woman that was at the bday party and that batter is delicious! Haven’t tasted actual cake yet, but using the same frosting since she was In love with it 🙂
    Thanks for posting this
    Oh yea….I’ve made your cherry filling cupcakes as well for work. I was told by more than one person (a male) that was the best cupcake he has ever had.
    Love your recipes 🙂

  • Sarah

    I’ve made you’re frosting and vanilla cake in the past and have loved it. I’ll be making it in a couple of weeks for my daughter’s first birthday. I want to do some things ahead of time and then assemble closer to the date. I want to make the icing about a week before and intend on putting it in the freezer to keep. Would you recommend putting the icing in a ziplock freezer bag or a tupperware? After it’s been thawed in the refrigerator over night would you recommend doing a quick turn in the mixer to mix it up a little before using?

    • Jen Sobjack

      A ziplock or tupperware would work fine. If you put it in a tupperware, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the frosting and press it gently to remove air pockets before securing the lid. If the frosting looks like it is separating after it’s thawed, it’s probably a good idea to whip it with a mixer before use. I typically store the frosting in a piping bag and tie it off with a rubber band. I haven’t needed to mix it before using it after thawing it out. I just cut the tip off the bag and slip into another piping bag fitted with a tip and it’s ready to use.