Easy Vanilla Buttercream

Easy Vanilla Buttercream is so simple to make yet tastes better than any bakery frosting! It is easy to pipe and for decorating cakes and cupcakes.


Wow – it has been a long time since I last posted! I have been super busy writing grants for work and hosting my sister’s bridal shower!!! I can’t wait to share all the details in upcoming posts. For this one event I did my first entirely fondant-covered cake and my first dessert table! I was so pleased with how everything turned out, and my sister loved it, which made all of the work completely worthwhile.  

In my last post, I spoke about the 1st birthday party my friends threw for their son. I did his small cake and these cupcakes for the rest of the guests. I used a yellow cake box mix here, and am so glad I did because everyone raved about how light and fluffy the cupcakes were.  

I’m not a huge fan of canned frosting, probably because my aunt makes the best homemade buttercream frosting ever (my grandma’s recipe). I have never tried to replicate her recipe since she adds a little of this and a little of that until it’s perfect.

I decided to turn to the Test Kitchen for this Easy Buttercream recipe. I have to say, it’s delicious and very, very easy! It’s not quite as light and smooth as Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but takes much less time and was actually preferred over the Swiss version by my husband. This is now my go-to buttercream recipe when I need something quick and delicious.


It’s been 9 years since I posted this recipe, and it is still my go to buttercream! I use it for all of my kids’ birthday cakes and anytime I need a good basic vanilla buttercream!

Cakes with Easy Vanilla Buttercream

Thomas the Train Smash Cake
Bridal Shower Cake with Flower Blossoms
Penelope Bird Cake
Daniel Tiger Cake
Cookie Monster Cake

Gluten Free Easy Vanilla Buttercream

This recipes is naturally gluten free!

Looking for more Frosting Recipes?

Check out these posts featuring Buttercream:
Traditional Vanilla Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Caramel Swiss Meringue Buttercream {no heat}
Easy Dulce de Leche Buttercream
Coffee Buttercream Frosting
Whipped Ganache Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting

easy vanilla buttercream

Easy Vanilla Buttercream

The best homemade buttercream that's so easy to make!
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes worth of frosting (8 if piping a mound)


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (5 ounces)
  • pinch of table salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream


  • In standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. NOTE: if using a hand-held mixer, increase mixing times by at least 50%.
  • Add powdered sugar and salt, and beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds.
  • Scrape down bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds; scrape bowl, add vanilla extract and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds.
  • Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.
  • Tint frosting with gel food coloring, if desired. Use immediately or store in refrigerator. If refrigerated, allow frosting to come to room temperature before use.


This recipe makes enough buttercream to frost 12 cupcakes or a 1-layer cake; double this recipe for a 2-layer cake or if you would like to frost your cupcakes with more frosting.
Source: Adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Complete TV Show Cookbook
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
Keyword dessert

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