Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)

Our favorite Vanilla Buttercream Frosting! This American buttercream recipe is creamy, fluffy, and has just the right amount of sweetness. It pipes beautifully on Vanilla Cake, our favorite Cupcakes, and even Sugar Cookies.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (1)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Watch Buttercream Frosting Video Recipe:

This classic buttercream frosting is one of the easiest and most stable frostings you will make. Vanilla buttercream is perfect as is, but also works great for adding different colors and flavorings (see instructions below). Watch the video tutorial and you will realize just how easy it is.

What is American Buttercream?

American buttercream is essentially a combination of butter, confectioners sugar (or powdered sugar), adding a little milk or cream to lighten the texture with vanilla and salt for flavor. Most American buttercreams are overly sweet, but after testing this recipe over the years, we came up with the perfect proportion of butter to powdered sugar along with our tips for achieving the best buttercream texture.

The consistency is similar to our famous Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but there is no heating or cooking required because American Buttercream frosting doesn’t contain eggs.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (2)

Ingredients for Buttercream Frosting:

Butter: keep about 2 hours at room temperature or until butter is 65˚F to 67˚F on an instant-read thermometer, or until you can indent the butter with your finger. Choose a lighter-colored butter which is typically the cheaper butter. Avoid yellow-colored butter.

Vanilla Extract: Use the best quality vanilla extract.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (3)

Heavy Cream or milk: add it to desired consistency. Without it, the frosting will look dry and won’t pipe as smoothly. If it’s too thick, it can also get stuck in the piping tip. Start with adding 1 Tbsp of cream or milk at a time and add it to your desired consistency, mixing between each addition.

Powdered Sugar:sift to eliminate lumps so they don’t get stuck in your piping tips.

Can I add less sugar? You can add powdered sugar to taste but using more will make the frosting thicker and using less with make the frosting looser and taste more buttery. If using less sugar, you will likely need to add less cream or milk at the end.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (4)

How to Add Different Flavors to Buttercream:

To make flavored buttercream, just stir in your desired flavorings at the very end of mixing. Try these mix-ins:

  • Chocolate Buttercream: Add 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, or add to taste.
  • Coffee Buttercream: Dissolve 1 1/2 Tbsp instant espresso powder in 2 Tbsp warm water.
  • Raspberry or Strawberry Buttercream: Add 1/2 cup seedless preserves and red fool coloring for a deeper color.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (5)

How to Add Color to Buttercream Frosting:

A white vanilla buttercream base is perfect for adding color because it doesn’t compete with other colors. If you plan to color the buttercream, start with a thicker frosting (add little or no cream at the end since the color can thin the frosting slightly).

  1. Set aside the amount of frosting you want to color in a separate dish.
  2. Add 1-2 drops at a time depending on frosting quantity then stir and add more as needed. Wilton has a great guide to achieving the right color.

Gel Color is best because it is thicker and more concentrated than liquid food coloring. You can add more color before your frosting gets too thin. We recommend the Wilton Color Right 8-piece (a great starter kit), or the Americolor 12-piece set (if you want more unique shades). Both sets work well for adding color to frostings.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (6)

Can I Make Buttercream Ahead?

If you aren’t using it right away, you can refrigerate buttercream frosting in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks or freeze up to 3 months. When ready to use the frosting, follow these steps:

  • Thaw if frozen – Allow the buttercream frosting to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Room Temperature – let the chilled frosting to come to room temperature, or until no longer firm.
  • Stir – use a spatula to fold and soften the frosting before using it.

More Frosting Recipes:

These are our best-loved frosting recipes and the ones we make most often to frost cakes and cupcakes. I hope they all become new favorites for you!

  • Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting – the same one we used for our popular Chocolate Cake
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting – a stable cream often used on wedding cakes
  • Cupcake Frosting – so simple and lightened up with cream cheese
  • Chocolate Ganache – can be used as a glaze or whipped into a frosting
  • White Chocolate Frosting – sturdy and pipes beautifully
  • Cream Cheese Frosting – our go-to for Red Velvet

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

4.99 from 181 votes

Author: Natasha Kravchuk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (8)

This American buttercream frosting recipe has just the right amount of sweetness and pipes beautifully and will cover a 9-inch layer cake, 24 cupcakes, and many sugar cookies!


Prep Time: 15 minutes mins

Total Time: 15 minutes mins


Servings: 24 cupcakes (makes 5 cups frosting)

  • 1 1/2 cups Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar, or added to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt, or to taste
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 Tbsp heavy cream or whole milk, added to desired consistency


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or handheld electric mixer), beat butter on high speed for 5 minutes or until lightened in color and whipped, scraping down the bowl as needed.

  • Meanwhile, sift 4 1/2 to 5 cups of powdered sugar. Reduce mixer to medium-low speed and add powdered sugar one heaping Tablespoon at a time, letting it incorporate with each addition. Add powdered sugar to taste and beat until it is fully incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

  • Add 1/4 tsp fine salt (or to taste), then add 4 tsp Vanilla Extract, beating until incorporated.

  • Add 3 Tbsp heavy cream or milk, 1 Tbsp at a time, and adding it to the desired consistency. Beat another minute until whipped and well combined.

Nutrition Per Serving

198kcal Calories23g Carbs1g Protein12g Fat8g Saturated Fat33mg Cholesterol27mg Sodium3mg Potassium22g Sugar382IU Vitamin A5mg Calcium1mg Iron

  • Full Nutrition Label
  • Nutrition Disclosure

Nutrition Facts

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Amount per Serving



% Daily Value*






Saturated Fat





























Vitamin A















* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American

Keyword: American buttercream, buttercream frosting, vanilla buttercream

Skill Level: Easy

Cost to Make: $

Calories: 198

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Natasha Kravchuk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (9)

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe (VIDEO) (2024)


How do you make buttercream smooth and not grainy? ›

If the buttercream is still grainy, you can try warming it up over a double boiler or adding a little bit of heavy cream. It's important to find the right balance of ingredients when making any kind of buttercream. Too much sugar or not enough liquid can cause the buttercream to break or become too gritty.

What is the formula for buttercream frosting? ›

In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed. Stir in vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk. Gradually beat in just enough remaining milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. If frosting is too thick, beat in more milk, a few drops at a time.

What is the most difficult buttercream to make? ›

Italian Meringue Buttercream

This is considered one of the very difficult methods for making buttercream because the sugar syrup must be cooked to a specific temperature and then, while piping hot, poured into the whipped egg whites.

What is the secret to buttercream? ›

The secret ingredient in this recipe is time. Most people whip their butter for only a few minutes before adding in sugar, but you'll never achieve a light and airy result this way. This frosting recipe takes its literal sweet time to really incorporate as much air as possible into the butter.

What is the best buttercream for a smooth finish? ›


Pros – It is soft, smooth and not too sweet. SM buttercream is arguably the best frosting in terms of cake decorating because it is the easiest way to get those smooth clean lines.

How do you make buttercream super smooth on a cake? ›

Starting at the top, put enough buttercream on in a lump to cover the top and come over the sides a bit. Smooth this flat by holding pallete knife stationary and flat and spinning the cake. Take spatula off over the edge and on the edge of spatula so you don't pull up buttercream.

What makes buttercream thicker? ›

Mix 1tbsp of powdered sugar at a time into the frosting using an electric mixer, making sure it's thoroughly integrated. If it isn't as thick as you'd like, continue adding more powdered sugar until you achieve your desired thickness.

What are the 4 types of buttercream? ›

Classically there are four main types of buttercream: Italian, German, French & Swiss.

What type of frosting do professional bakers use? ›

Swiss meringue buttercream is probably the most standard buttercream for pastry professionals. It is incredibly smooth, making it an extremely popular choice for icing cakes.

What is the most popular buttercream? ›

1. American Buttercream. American buttercream frosting is the easiest and most common buttercream frosting—and the quickest to make. It's often used in a piping bag for decorating cakes.

Which buttercream is the easiest to make? ›

American buttercream is deliciously creamy, super sweet, and incredibly fluffy, and by far the easiest buttercream to master. It's just a matter of beating softened butter until it's fluffy, adding powdered sugar, cream, and a little vanilla and whipping it all together. No cooking required!

Can you overbeat buttercream? ›

Try not to overbeat the buttercream after all the ingredients have been added or you might add bubbles, which will ruin the texture of the icing. ... For the best results chill your cake and bring the icing to room temperature. You can also beat the buttercream for a few minutes to create great fluffy texture.

What does perfect buttercream look like? ›

To test the consistency, you should be able to dip your rubber spatula into the buttercream and it will come out with stiff peaks that hold their shape. It should pipe easily without having to put a lot of pressure on the bag and the piped details should not look frayed.

Why does my buttercream frosting look grainy? ›

Confectioners' sugar has cornstarch in it, which absorbs liquids and can cause lumps in the frosting (via Baking Nook). To prevent this from happening, sift your powdered sugar thoroughly, even twice if you have to. This will help to ensure a smooth buttercream frosting.

Why is my buttercream icing grainy? ›

Both icing and frosting are garnitures. Room temperature always is a must for frosting ingredients. There are difference between butter and shortening, both of them are not in the same temperature. If your frosting tend to be too warm or too cold it will appear grainy or chunky.

How do you make smooth creamy buttercream? ›

Most people whip their butter for a minute or so until it's pale and fluffy, but for buttercream you want to whip it for at least 5 minutes. It'll turn a lovely pale off-white and have the consistency of soft meringue, like a Mister Whippee ice cream. You must do this before you add any icing sugar to the butter.

Can you over whip buttercream? ›

Try not to overbeat the buttercream after all the ingredients have been added or you might add bubbles, which will ruin the texture of the icing. ... For the best results chill your cake and bring the icing to room temperature. You can also beat the buttercream for a few minutes to create great fluffy texture.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Emmett Berge

Last Updated:

Views: 5330

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Emmett Berge

Birthday: 1993-06-17

Address: 787 Elvis Divide, Port Brice, OH 24507-6802

Phone: +9779049645255

Job: Senior Healthcare Specialist

Hobby: Cycling, Model building, Kitesurfing, Origami, Lapidary, Dance, Basketball

Introduction: My name is Sen. Emmett Berge, I am a funny, vast, charming, courageous, enthusiastic, jolly, famous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.