Vanilla Frosting

5 from 1 vote
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Rich, creamy, and perfectly sweet, this easy vanilla frosting recipe is ideal for cakes, brownies, cookies, and cupcakes. With a smooth texture and a mouth-watering vanilla flavor, this 10-minute recipe is a must-try. 

Close-up overhead view of a jar of vanilla frosting next to a piping back


Yes, I’ll admit it: I’m one of those people who will eat cake just for the frosting. But it has to be a good frosting, and this quick and easy vanilla frosting is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a 4-ingredient homemade buttercream frosting with an amazingly smooth and creamy texture, with just the right amount of sweetness and vanilla flavor. 

So many frostings are overly stiff, or too sweet. But this vanilla frosting recipe is perfectly balanced. The next time you have a moist cake that just needs a tasty frosting on top, you’ve got to try this recipe. 

Why This Is the Best Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This quick recipe is my go-to whenever I need homemade frosting. Here’s why I know you’ll love it as much as I do. 

  • So easy. This recipe really couldn’t be easier. You only need 4 basic ingredients and 10 minutes to make a perfect, luxurious vanilla frosting. The instructions are simple and straightforward, so you can easily make bakery-quality frosting anytime you need it.
  • Customizable. The sweetness and vanilla flavor, mixed with the milk and rich butter, make this homemade buttercream frosting so delicious just as it is. But it’s also a great base recipe that you can use to make any flavor of frosting. Just add your favorite ingredients to this recipe, and you’ll have whatever type of buttercream frosting you need.
  • Better than store-bought. I can’t even put into words how much more delicious this frosting is than the kind that you find at the store. The vanilla flavor is way better, it doesn’t have that artificial taste, and the smooth and creamy texture is unlike anything you can buy. 
  • Cheap. Not only is homemade vanilla buttercream frosting more delicious than the kind at the store, but it’s a lot cheaper. This is a super affordable recipe that will take your baking to the next level. 
Overhead view of the ingredients needed for vanilla frosting: a bowl of powdered sugar, a bowl of milk, a bowl of vanilla, and a stick of butter

Ingredients Needed

You only need 4 basic ingredients to make this amazing and indulgent vanilla frosting. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page for the exact amounts of each ingredient.

  • Butter – Make sure to use unsalted, softened butter.
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract – It’s important to use 100% pure extract.
  • Milk – Whole milk will make this frosting richer and creamier than low-fat milk. 

How to Make Vanilla Frosting

This easy, restaurant-quality buttercream frosting only takes 10 minutes to make. Here’s how to do it.

  • Whip the butter. Put the softened butter in a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the butter until it is creamy and smooth.
  • Add sugar. Put the powdered sugar in the mixing bowl, and mix until combined.
  • Pour in the liquid. Add the vanilla extract and turn on the mixer. While beating the frosting, slowly pour in the milk. Beat until the frosting is smooth and the consistency you’re looking for. 
  • Adjust. Taste the frosting and add more sugar or vanilla if needed. If you want the frosting thicker, add more sugar. If you want it thinner, add more milk. 

Tips, Tricks, and Variations

Here are a few tricks and variations for you to try when you make this easy, creamy vanilla buttercream frosting recipe. 

  • Don’t use overly-soft butter. It’s important to use softened butter in this recipe, or else the frosting won’t be creamy. But you don’t want the butter to be too soft, or the frosting will be runny and thin. For best results, leave your butter on the counter until it reaches room temperature. Don’t soften it in the microwave, or some of the butter will melt. 
  • Make it creamier. If you want an even richer and creamier vanilla frosting, simply replace the milk with heavy whipping cream. You can also use half and half if you’d like. 
  • Customize it. You can add any number of flavors to this buttercream frosting, such as cocoa powder, almond extract, orange extract, freeze-dried raspberries, and lemon zest. You can also add a few drops of food coloring to make a gorgeous and colorful frosting. My favorite Easy Chocolate Frosting is also delicious!
  • Use high-quality butter. Since butter is a star in this recipe, it really helps to use a high-quality option. This buttercream frosting will be delicious with any type of butter, but the flavor and texture will be notably nicer if you use good-quality butter. 
A bowl of vanilla frosting with a spatula in it

What to Serve With Homemade Buttercream Frosting

There’s really only one way to eat this smooth and sweet frosting: on top of cake, cupcakes, and other sweet treats! I like to use a piping bag to put the frosting on desserts, but you can also spread it on with a knife or spatula. Here are a few recipes that you can put this 10-minute frosting on.

How to Store Leftovers

This homemade vanilla buttercream frosting is very easy to store. All you have to do is place the frosting in an airtight container and it will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. When you want to use the frosting, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 3 hours. Mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer until the buttercream frosting is smooth and soft again. 

Can You Freeze This Vanilla Frosting Recipe?

You can definitely freeze this buttercream, and then you’ll have bakery-quality cake frosting anytime you need it. To freeze, put the frosting in an airtight container, and press a layer of plastic wrap into the top of the frosting. Put a lid on, and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. To use frozen frosting, let it thaw at room temperature for 6 hours, then beat with a hand mixer or stand mixer. 

Overhead view of a jar of vanilla buttercream frosting on a kitchen towel, next to a piping bag

More Easy Frosting Recipes

Homemade frosting is the best way to take your cake-making to the next level. Here are a few other frostings that I love to make.

Overhead view of a jar of vanilla frosting next to a piping bag
5 from 1 vote

Vanilla Frosting

By Erin
This rich and creamy vanilla frosting is the perfect addition to any cake, cupcake, or brownie. It's sweet, smooth, and only takes 10 minutes to make.
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk


  • Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to whip the softened butter until it is very smooth and creamy.
  • Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar, and beat until combined. You can add more sugar if want it sweeter.
  • With the hand mixer or stand mixer running, pour the vanilla and milk into the frosting. Beat until the frosting is smooth and the desired consistency.
  • Taste the frosting and adjust as necessary. Add more sugar to make the frosting sweeter or thicker. Add more milk to make it thinner.


  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks, or in the freezer for 6 months.
  • To use leftovers, let the frosting thaw for 3 hours if refrigerated, or 6 hours if frozen. Then mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer until the desired consistency.
  • For a creamier frosting, use whipping cream instead of milk.
  • You can spread the buttercream on cake with a knife or spatula, or use a piping bag.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 141kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 3mg | Sugar: 22g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Dessert Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 cups
Calories: 141
Keyword: buttercream frosting, easy frosting recipes, homemade buttercream frosting, how to make vanilla frosting, vanilla buttercream frosting, vanilla frosting, vanilla frosting recipe
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. MmmMMMM. That looks so good! I think any baked good is better with frosting, and I’m going to put this on everything!