Buttercream Frosting Recipe

5 from 10 votes

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Get this four-ingredient, super simple buttercream frosting recipe. Easy to halve, double or triple, just make sure you have soft butter! Pipe it, spread it or eat it with a spoon, this is the most versatile frosting for any dessert.

I love the sweet simplicity of a vanilla buttercream frosting recipe. I prefer this plain frosting over any chocolate version and the older I get the more I prefer vanilla cake over chocolate…the exact opposite of my husband, the chocoholic. Moist vanilla cake paired with a perfectly sweet, soft and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting doesn’t need anything extra. It’s just simple and delicious as is!

Cupcake with Frosting and Sprinkles

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

  • Butter – this ingredient puts the butter in buttercream… cheesy jokes aside, make sure your butter is softened before making this recipe.
  • Vanilla Extract – this recipe calls for vanilla extract for flavor but it’s not hard to experiment with this. Try mint, or almond extract if it suits your cake better. For example, chocolate cake with mint buttercream frosting makes a good pairing.
  • Milk – this helps bind all the ingredients together and helps give this frosting its signature texture.
  • Powdered Sugar – we have our fats and flavoring down, so this ingredient is all about bringing that perfect sweetness to the frosting.

Flavored Buttercream Frosting

If you aren’t a vanilla person, like my husband, be sure to give these other frostings a try: Amazing Chocolate Frosting Recipe, Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, Perfect Cream Cheese Frosting and Vanilla Cinnamon Cake with Browned Butter Frosting.

Or you could even flavor your buttercream frosting to fit your own needs! I know, so amazing, right?

Because this recipe is flavored with vanilla extract, it only makes sense that you can substitute out for any other flavored extract, like peppermint (chocolate cake with peppermint buttercream). Or almond extract if that’s your thing.

How about flavoring with natural fruit juice? You could zest and squeeze basically any citrus (hello lemon)! Or puree some berries for a mixed berry frosting. Choose whatever is in season and ready to eat.

For all the chocolate lovers out there, you can always add cocoa powder to the mix or melted chocolate.

Buttercream Frosting Recipe Ingredients

How to Make Buttercream Frosting

  1. Measure out the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Using a hand or stand mixer, start to combine the butter into the powdered sugar.
  3. With the mixer on, slowly stream in your milk tablespoon by tablespoon until it starts to come together and look creamy.
  4. If it hasn’t come together, add another tablespoon, mix and wait it out. After about 2 or 3 tablespoons, your frosting should be thick enough to hold its shape, but light enough to have a butter knife or rubber scraper run through it with ease.
  5. Once you reach this point, you are done and the buttercream is ready to use.

Does Buttercream Frosting need to be refrigerated?

Buttercream is easiest to spread at room temperature.

If you have frosted a cake and will be consuming it in the following 24 hours, there is no need to refrigerate.

If you have frosted a cake several days in advance, you may want to refrigerate or freeze for later use. Just be sure to wrap well.

Can you freeze this Frosting?

Yes! Simply place your frosting into an airtight container or bag, seal and store in the freezer for up to three months. To defrost, pull out of the freezer and bring to room temperature. If it seems a little deflated, stir or whip again briefly in a large bowl and use as desired.

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream Frosting Recipe Pro Tips

  • Absolutely 100% use room temperature butter. Plan ahead and pull it out several hours ahead of time. Worst case scenario is to cut it into pats and microwave it using the ‘soften function’.
  • Offset spatulas work amazingly well for frosting a larger, layered cake. These are the ones I use and love!
  • These plastic disposable piping bags are heaven sent! Use them with or without special tips for frosting cupcakes. This large, open star tip and this wide, round tip are my two favorites for frosting cupcakes.
  • Never underestimate using the back of a spoon or a butter knife to decorate! Those can work just as beautifully!
  • Down below, I go over how much frosting one recipe will make and how far it could frost. These are just guidelines since people frost differently and have different frosting preferences. I like mine loaded on thankyouverymuch, but you might like a lighter, thinner layer. To each her own. Also, the tools you use can determine how far one batch of frosting will take you (for example, a piping bag versus an offset spatula). So, keep that in mind as you are frosting away.

Cake with Buttercream Frosting

How much will this recipe frost?

Because this buttercream frosting recipe is so adaptable the possibilities really are endless! One frosting recipe will frost:

  • 1 2-layer 8-inch cake OR
  • 1 9×13 cake OR
  • 12 cupcakes using a piping bag OR
  • 24 cupcakes using a butter knife

How to Color Buttercream Frosting

Start out by making the buttercream frosting recipe as directed. Then add small amounts of food dye at a time and mix again. Repeat until the desired color is reached.

I would recommend using the gel food dye because it is more concentrated meaning that it won’t mess with the texture and thickness of the buttercream. You can find these on Amazon or at a specialty baking store.

Or if you want a color and flavor change, try pureeing berries or use jam to mix into your frosting.

A close up of a slice of cake on a plate, with Vanilla

More Frostings to Try!

This recipe is not rocket science in the least and I assure you that you can totally make your buttercream frosting turn out as perfectly as the pictures make it seem.

Printable recipe card below! Save it, pin it, print it, because it’s one of those must-know recipes.

Have a good day, friends!

5 from 10 votes

Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Get this four-ingredient, super simple recipe for buttercream frosting. Easy to halve, double or triple, just make sure you have soft butter!
servings 12 cupcakes
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Measure out the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Using a hand or stand mixer, start to combine the butter into the powdered sugar.
  • With the mixer on, slowly stream in your milk tablespoon by tablespoon until it starts to come together and look creamy.
  • If it hasn’t come together, add another tablespoon, mix and wait it out. After about 2 or 3 tablespoons, your frosting should be thick enough to hold its shape, but light enough to have a butter knife or rubber scraper run through it with ease.
  • Once you reach this point, you are done and the buttercream is ready to use.

Notes

One frosting recipe will frost:
  • 1 2-layer 8-inch cake OR
  • 1 9x13 cake OR
  • 12 cupcakes using a piping bag OR
  • 24 cupcakes using a butter knife

Nutrition

Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 3mg | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Calcium: 5mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buttercream frosting, buttercream frosting recipe, dessert, vanilla buttercream, vanilla frosting

 

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Recipe Rating




21 Responses
  1. Pam

    5 stars
    Guess I’ll bake a cake for Dinner, this evening, using your Recipe.
    Kansas City is expecting 4-8″ of Snow tonight, so what better time,
    to snack, right?
    Thanks for the recipe. I know it will be yummy.
    Pam

  2. Vanilla Cake Recipe | Lauren's Latest

    […] purest in me would recommend making this cake with this vanilla buttercream  frosting but this chocolate frosting would be equally delicious. Both frostings will make you fall in love […]

  3. Amy V.

    Should the frosted cake or cupcakes be refrigerated? I have always wondered about the milk in the buttercream frosting. Can I keep it out on the counter or should it all be refrigerated?

  4. Cream Cheese Frosting | Lauren's Latest

    […] if cream cheese frosting isn’t your thing, be sure to check out my chocolate frosting, or my vanilla buttercream recipe. Both equally […]

  5. Betty Fudge

    Hi Lauren,
    Love a lot of our recipes,but especially the buttcream frosting, it is so delish,, have used vanilla and almond flavouring and turns out great, had searched For a good recipe and when I found yours loved and use it when I bake ❤️Have frozen it as made a double batch and it freezes well, thanks again.

    Am looking for a nice muffin recipe,,one that meets your exceptions, thanks Betty Fudge

  6. Kathy Hegna

    Hi Lauren Thankyou for the recipe I don’t like so sweet frosting cause it can ruin the whole cake I love butter cream happy thanksgiving to you and your family

  7. Stacy

    Can’t wait to try this for my daughters birthday cake! Shes a vanilla lover (also using your vanilla cake recipe)! If I’m making a 9×13 cake, and want to ice the top as well as decorate with flowers and whatnot, should I make a double batch of this? One and a half? I’m not a baker so going to try my best!

  8. Gene Taylor

    5 stars
    I’ve made this buttercream twice, and I think it’s the best frosting ever! I doubled the recipe both times and used heavy cream instead of milk. I spread the frosting for a really thick, fluffy topping on 9 x 13 sheet cakes and shook multi-colored sprinkles on top for a festive look. This stuff is just delicious!

  9. Cheryl Dalton

    5 stars
    Loved your frosting. Have you ever tried a dash of salt (even with salted butter). It takes the bite out of the sugar.Cheri

  10. Simple Vanilla Cake – Sacred Table

    […] a go-to recipe for vanilla cake with an amazing vanilla frosting. Originally found here (cake) and here […]

  11. Gayatri Bongarala

    Hey Lauren, I was wondering if you have a video version of your recipe? I can’t locate in this page. I’m using a mobile browser.

  12. Lucious

    5 stars
    Tomorrow is my mom’s Birthday and I wanted to make cake pops when I came across this. I have all the ingredients, it’s really simple and it looks AMAZING. Thank you very much, I recommend. 🍰

  13. Linda

    5 stars
    I made this today for my granddaughters birthday cake, and it’s going to be my go to recipe. It’s really good, I had to add a little more milk. Thanks for the recipe

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