Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


This is without a doubt, my favorite Buttercream Frosting recipe EVER! What sets this recipe apart is the technique. Learn all the tricks on how to make the best buttercream frosting for all your special occasions!

buttercream frosting

Buttercream Frosting

My sister came over a few days ago and wanted me to help her make a cake for her son’s first birthday. Of course I love every opportunity I get to help someone bake so you can count me in.

She wanted to make a mini tiered cake (and I don’t own the mini tiered cake pans so I had to get creative) and she wanted a delicious, white, fluffy frosting to cover it.


buttercream frosting recipe

How to Make Buttercream Frosting

My sister asked if we could get a really white frosting without the yellow tint. I told her she needed a buttercream frosting, and the trick is in the technique. How you make buttercream frosting doesn’t just begin and end with the ingredients, but also the method in which you prepare the frosting.

In my opinion, these are the keys to a very light, fluffy, creamy, and amazingly delicious buttercream frosting:

  1. Really whip the butter. I am talking until it’s basically white. Really pay attention to the shade of the butter when whipping, making sure it becomes very very pale.
  2. Use heavy cream. Cream makes everything better, and creamier of course.
  3. Lots of butter. Yes there are days I try to be a little healthier and reduce the amount of butter I add to my buttercream frosting but those days I will admit, it’s just not quite as good. This is an indulgent frosting and sometimes it’s definitely worth it.
  4. Ratio is important, don’t add any more powdered sugar than listed or the proportions won’t be right and your texture won’t be what I call perfect.
  5. Don’t overdue it with the vanilla, add no more than 1 1/2 tsp. If anything reduce the amount. The beauty of the flavors of the buttercream comes from the butter. Basically it makes it taste like ice cream, it doesn’t need to be enhanced, just lightly highlighted.
  6. Whip it some more. Once you add the cream you still want more air and fluffiness in there. This isn’t a one minute frosting recipe but I’m telling it’s well worth the time and patience invested.

Our Results: The Best Buttercream Frosting!

My sister and I both agree this is the best Buttercream Frosting! Don’t forget the trick is in the technique. There are hundreds of buttercream frosting recipes out there, but the one that sets this apart from the others is preparation (and the use of salted butter).

I hope you love this buttercream frosting! Now go make a batch of this luscious frosting and have cake today. Any day is a great day for cake :)!

buttercream frosting recipe

Frosting vs. Icing. What’s the difference?

Generally frosting is thick, rich and fluffy while icing is usually thin and frequently glossy. Frosting usually uses lots of butter while icing uses a little if any. Icing is great for cookies while frosting is perfect for cakes.

So is this buttercream icing or buttercream frosting? In my opinion it’s definitely frosting but maybe you’re just used to that name icing so go with it.

….And wait! Don’t throw that buttercream frosting out! I frequently end up with a little frosting left over when I’m frosting cakes or cupcakes because I can’t perfectly evenly divide it out. And no way am I going to throw good buttercream frosting down the drain! So, what to do with it (PS feel free to any additional ideas in a comment below)?

easy buttercream frosting

Ideas for Leftover Buttercream Frosting

  • Sandwich between Nilla Waffers and roll edges in sprinkles for an easy treat the kids will love.
  • Spread over warm toast, add a pinch cinnamon if desired.
  • Spread over graham crackers, optionally sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  • Add a spoonful or two to your morning bowl of oatmeal (I tried a cream cheese in my banana oatmeal one morning, wow good).
  • Use it as a dip for pretzels.
  • Dunk teddy grahams or gingersnaps (its like homemade Dunkaroos).
  • Spread over fruit, such as bananas or strawberries.
  • Melt chocolate frosting and pour over ice cream.
  • Add chopped nuts to it, chill and cut in squares.
  • Spread over warm pancakes or french toast.
  • Sold in some whipped cream or cool whip and use it as a fruit dip.
  • add some caramel sauce and dip apple slices.
  • Turn it into a simple craft with the kids, tint it with food coloring, get out all the different varieties of sprinkles, icings and little candies you have in the cupboard and let them spread it of graham crackers and decorate as desired.
  • And of course last but not least simply place leftover frosting in an airtight container, store in refrigerator (up to 4 days) and enjoy throughout the next few days by the spoonful (if you don’t want to temp yourself so much, freeze it for up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator – never microwave to thaw).

How to Make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Looking for a chocolate recipe? I’ve got one HERE you’ll love!

More Recipes You Might Like


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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

4.96 from 23 votes

This has been my go-to vanilla buttercream frosting for years and years and I'll never need another recipe. It's perfectly rich, amazingly fluffy, it has a wonderfully sweet taste, and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The best topping to your favorite cakes!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttercream frosting, vanilla buttercream
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 342 kcal
Author: Jaclyn


  • 1 1/2 cups (340g) butter, at room temperature (3 sticks)*
  • 4 1/2 cups (570g) powdered sugar
  • 3 - 4 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the paddle or whisk attachment whip butter on medium-high speed (if using whisk attachment whip on high speed) until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 - 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides of the bowl. 

  2. Add in powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla extract and mix on low speed until blended, then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 - 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  3.  Immediately spread over cooled cake or cupcakes.
  4. *I use 1/2 cup salted butter and 1 cup unsalted butter for a nice balance.
  5. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Recipe Notes

  • If using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl reduce each mixing time by a few minutes. Mostly just pay attention to the shade, it should become very pale, almost white, and fluffy each time.
  • This recipe yields enough for a two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes with a shorter layer of frosting.
  • If you want an alternate flavor of frosting, coconut or almond extract would be a great substitute for the vanilla extract, just add it to taste.
Nutrition Facts
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 41mg 14%
Sodium 128mg 5%
Potassium 4mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 53g 18%
Sugars 52g
Vitamin A 9.5%
Calcium 0.6%
Iron 0.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Baby's first birthday cake with buttercream icing

Make A Mini Cake Using Glass Storage Containers

If you were wondering how to make the mini tiered birthday cake, this is how I did it:

  1. Line each a 1 cup, 2 cup and 4 cup oven safe, round glass storage container with aluminum foil, pressing and molding the foil directly to the insides of each container and leaving an slight overhang of foil on the sides (to lift out the cake), then spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray (or use a baster and baste with vegetable oil or melted butter) then dust with flour and shake off excess.
  2. Preheat oven according to directions listed on cake mix box and prepare cake according to directions listed on package.
  3. Fill foil lined cups 2/3 full (you may have just a bit of excess batter).
  4. Bake in preheated oven (baking time will vary based on what type of cake mix you use, so judge accordingly), I made the confetti cake and it took about 25 – 30 minutes for the one cup, then an additional 5 minutes for the 2 cup, then another 5 minutes for the 4 cup (so you should be removing the smallest first, letting the medium bake a little longer and the largest bake the longest), insert a toothpick into the center of cakes to check for doneness.
  5. Allow cakes to cool in glass bowls several minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool run a knife evenly along the top (about 1/2 – 1 inch down) to make cake even and remove excess on top.
  6. Turn cakes upside down and frost with buttercream frosting, frosting largest first, then medium and finishing with the smallest (note that frosting sets quickly so keep that in mind if adding sprinkles).
  7. Celebrate and enjoy!


  • theresa Chesshir: if I’m making a pineapple cake with this buttercream frosting can I change the cream for pineapple concentrate and will it still have a nice texture?
    Theresa October 19, 2018 at 1:19pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It would be a bit runnier and sweeter but it may work. I can’t say for sure without testing, sorry. November 9, 2018 at 2:50pm Reply

  • Donna McGee: You can put it into silicone molds and freeze them to make decorations for your cake October 17, 2018 at 6:33pm Reply

  • Nicole: I was really looking forward to this recipe. It was my first time making my own frosting. I followed every one of the instructions. But it was super sweet and normally I love sweets. The cake did get eaten within 2 days so I can’t give a bad review. But next time I will use less powdered sugar. October 13, 2018 at 8:25am Reply

  • Virginia Quintero: I was new to making buttercream and not one other recipe talked about the difference in whipping time! This is by far the best recipe I’ve found! It’s my go to now! Ridiculously delicious! October 6, 2018 at 4:03pm Reply

  • Alicia: Delicious!!!! October 5, 2018 at 5:27pm Reply

  • Katy Kurzynski: Thank you for your delicious recipe. I also used it as a base for a cream cheese buttercream filling for a pumpkin cinnamon swirl wedding cake for my sister’s wedding. It’s in a few hours, I’ll send you pictures when it’s done. I used two and a half sticks of unsalted butter, and half a brick (4oz) of cream cheese, and boosted the powdered sugar to 4 3/4 cups. It didn’t make it too sweet, and after chilling it for 5 minutes, I was able to pipe it into the layers. I’m kind of a novice with buttercream, but I wondered what to do if you wanted a little more of a crust? September 29, 2018 at 4:50am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I don’t exactly know what you mean by crust but maybe the outer layer that normally dries or hardens just a bit? With cream cheese frosting I never get that unless chilled. September 29, 2018 at 10:59am Reply

      • Brenda: If you replace 1/2 of the butter with Crisco, it will crust. September 29, 2018 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Pooney: Hi, I am excited to try this buttercream recipie out for my sons birthday cake, especially as it uses cream!! How long does it last unrefridgerated? I was planning to make the cake 2 days before his party. September 29, 2018 at 2:27am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’d wait to make the frosting until the day of for fluffy delicious results. September 29, 2018 at 11:00am Reply

  • Liz: Will this hold up well in High Humidity town ~? September 27, 2018 at 8:54pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It should. September 27, 2018 at 10:07pm Reply

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