Buttercream Frosting is perfectly rich and creamy, with lots of vanilla flavor! Made with 4 simple ingredients, it is quick to whip up and pipes perfectly onto desserts! 

Like lemon buttercream frosting, chocolate buttercream frosting, or a festive peppermint buttercream, this frosting is perfect on top of cakes and cupcakes! It holds its shape well and tastes absolutely delicious!

vanilla buttercream frosting on cupcake

How to Make It

Made with just 4 simple ingredients,this homemade buttercream frosting recipe is easy to make ahead and pull out when needed.

  1. Beat butter until fluffy and add in sugar, one cup at a time. (see recipe below)
  2. Add in remaining ingredients and beat until light & fluffy!

Use this buttercream recipe to spread or pipe on cakes, cupcakes, in between cookies to make homemade Oreos or sandwich cookies, or on a bar or brownie.

To make it your own, stir in some sprinkles, or swap some of the vanilla for almond, lemon, mint or coconut extract for a fun flavor twist.

vanilla buttercream frosting in bowl

How to Store Buttercream Frosting

Once prepared, buttercream frosting can be stored in the fridge or freezer. When ready, just follow the steps below to create fluffy homemade frosting as good as when first made!

  • In the Refrigerator: Make ahead and store in the refrigerator up to 1 week, depending on the freshness of the butter and cream when prepared.
  • In the Freezer: Store in an airtight container and freeze up to 3 months, then let thaw in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

Whether frozen or refrigerated, let the homemade frosting sit at room temperature for several hours to warm up and stir thoroughly before use.

buttercream frosting on cupcakes overhead

How to Store a Frosted Cake

One reason vanilla Buttercream Frosting is so great for birthday cakes is that it can be left at room temperature for a long time. That means there’s no rush to slice and serve your cake.

  • If your cake has a fruit, whipped cream or pastry cream filling, it will need to be refrigerated after a couple of hours.
  • If your cake is filled with this buttercream frosting or another non-perishable filling (like Nutella, peanut butter, etc.), it can be stored at room temperature for up to 2-3 days.

However, I always store my frosted cakes in the refrigerator when I am not serving for some time because chilled buttercream frosting will always hold its shape better (and you don’t run the risk of someone walking by and sticking their finger in it!).

Try Buttercream Frosting on Top These Tasty Treats:

vanilla buttercream frosting on cupcake
5 from 16 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is perfectly rich and creamy, with lots of vanilla flavor! It pipes easily and holds its shape so it's great for birthday cakes and cupcakes.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 24
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  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar (600g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • pinch of salt to taste


  • Place butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  • Add sugar, one cup at a time, and beat until combined -- it will be thick. Beat in vanilla extract.
  • Add cream, a little at a time, and beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Continue adding cream until desired texture and firmness is reached.
  • Add a pinch of salt (to your tastes) and beat until combined.
  • Spread or pipe onto cake or cupcakes, or see post above for storing for longer periods of time.
5 from 16 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 185 | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 8mg | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 309IU | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Vanilla buttercream frosting on cupcakes with a title
Vanilla buttercream frosting on cupcakes with sprinkles and a title
Vanilla buttercream frosting in a glass bowl with a spoon and on cupcakes with a title


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Holly Nilsson is the creator of Spend With Pennies, where she creates easy, comforting recipes made for real life. With a passion for nostalgic flavors and simplified techniques, Holly helps busy home cooks create delicious meals that always work. She is also the author of “Everyday Comfort,” which promises to inspire even more hearty, home-cooked meals.
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Recipe Rating


  1. I will never use another recipe! I extra mixed and made this frosting nice and light and fluffy, LOVE IT!!!! I did use salted butter, but did not add salt and it turned out perfect! I also made your cajun shrimp pasta tonight. You are my go to for everything now!!! I LOVE your recipes!!!5 stars

  2. I absolutely love you and your recipes. Because of you my family thinks I’m a great cook/baker, so I have to admit to them that I use your recipes. I wanted to ask you a question about buttercream frosting. The list of ingredients call for unsalted butter but there is a pinch of salt also in the list. Is it ok to use salted butter or is that too salty?

    1. Hi Stephanie, I am so glad you have been enjoying the recipes! I like to use unsalted butter so I can control the salt but salted butter with no extra salt should be okay.

  3. This frosting recipe was amazing! I received so many compliments on it. (Not sure why I was looking for more healthy shortcuts before making it… it’s cake hahaha) Was worth all of the sugar and calories. I paired it with the yellow cake recipe also on this site.5 stars

  4. Is it possible to sub half and half for heavy whipping cream in this situation? I know you can for some recipes just not sure how it would work for frosting. Thank you

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure, but I would worry that the half and half would not whip as nicely and would thin out the frosting making it not as sturdy. If you try it, I would love to hear how it turns out Alysia!

  5. Beautiful and easy vanilla buttercream … and delicious! I was desperate for a piping buttercream and this one is perfect! Definitely will be my go-to forever! :) Thanks, Holly! I always, always check your site first and always find the perfect recipe for what I’m cooking! And, thank you for the tips and variations!5 stars

    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Chey! ❤️ Glad this recipe worked so well for you.

  6. I used this recipe for my daughters birthday cupcakes and it was great! Tasted delicious and piped perfectly!