Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe
Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

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4.5 134 133
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This basic buttercream frosting has unmatchable homemade taste. With a few simple variations, you can come up with different colors and flavors. —Diana Wilson, Denver, Colorado
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
MAKES:24 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 10 min.
MAKES: 24 servings


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk

Nutritional Facts

2 tablespoons: 124 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Yield: About 3 cups.

Change up the flavor. Prepare the recipe as directed making the following substitutions:

Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon almond extract instead of the vanilla.
Chocolate: Use 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup baking cocoa and 6-7 tablespoons milk.
Lemon: Use 5-6 tablespoons lemon juice instead of the milk and 1 teaspoon grated peel.
Orange: Use 5-6 tablespoons orange juice instead of the milk and add 1 teaspoon grated orange peel.
Peanut Butter: Use 1/2 cup peanut butter instead of the butter and use 6-8 tablespoons milk.
Peppermint: Use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract instead of the vanilla.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • When beating your softened butter, wait until it's pale yellow and creamy before adding sugar.
  • For super fluffy frosting, beat a few extra minutes to incorporate a bit more air.
  • Save time: This frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated. Just bring it to room temperature and beat again before using.
  • Originally published as Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting in Complete Guide to Baking 2004, p140

    Sweet White Wine

    Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

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    slye10001000 User ID: 5787172 267351
    Reviewed May. 26, 2017

    "This is the best frosting and the only one I use!"

    gkprodtoh1 User ID: 9165670 265843
    Reviewed May. 11, 2017

    "Very nice recipe"

    volson User ID: 3322527 259224
    Reviewed Jan. 5, 2017

    "This is the best frosting ever! I make the chocolate, but usually substitute a couple of tablespoons of coffee in addition to the milk.

    My granddaughters love it on a Devils Food Layer cake. Thank you for the recipe."

    angela32 User ID: 3084463 254422
    Reviewed Sep. 21, 2016

    "easy recipe for a great frosting! I like to add almond extract too. Yummy!"

    Freetobejenn User ID: 8931114 253925
    Reviewed Sep. 10, 2016

    "I used only the 1stick of butter stated, four cups of powdered sugar,1 tablespoon of vanilla, and half & half to get to the proper consistency I needed. Delicious!"

    clodermeier User ID: 8885397 249920
    Reviewed Jun. 29, 2016

    "This is my go-to frosting for cakes and cupcakes... it tastes amazing! The only thing is that sometimes the powdered sugar leaves little clumps, but a little high-power mixing can usually solve that. I love all the variations of this frosting as well."

    Lheneryf User ID: 8813168 245848
    Reviewed Mar. 23, 2016

    "Great recipe went well on the cake I made and was delicious easy to make as well"

    oldpueblocolo User ID: 8628963 244553
    Reviewed Feb. 27, 2016

    "Love the ease of this recipe. I made the chocolate version with a yellow cake and it was delicious. During Lent I make a lot of cakes and I will use this re pie because it comes out perfectly. Next week will try either lemon or orange version."

    Ham_Sammich User ID: 8473184 242207
    Reviewed Jan. 21, 2016

    "I used the called for butter and vanilla in the recipe, and then added a tablespoon of milk and one cup of powdered sugar at a time until I reached my desired consistency. All in all, I probably used 3.5 cups of powdered sugar and 3-4 tbsps of milk, but I achieved the delicious buttery taste and consistency I wanted... and for my first time making buttercream frosting, I was highly impressed!"

    slocook805 User ID: 7734059 240655
    Reviewed Dec. 30, 2015

    "1/2 cup of butter is not enough for good creamy buttercream frosting that calls for 4.5 cups of powdered sugar. To 4.5 cups of powdered sugar I use 2 sticks (1 cup) of butter, yes it's OK to do that, it's called buttercream for a reason. I think that like fudge buttercream frosting is affected by humidity in the air and when using powdered sugar a little liquid goes a long way. I always start out by mixing together the butter and powdered sugar till it's as mixed as it can get and then the milk, I use half and half with the liquid flavoring added to it. With liquid every drop counts so I start with less liquid then called for and then go from there til I get the consistency I want, I have noticed that over the last year or so this site has revamped recipes and seems to dwell on 2% milk instead of the 96% lean (4%) milk which I always have a gallon of in my fridge along with a container of half and half and heavy cream. There is no low fat or non-fat any kind of dairy in our house and we're healthy. I gave this recipe 3 stars because it really doesn't have enough butter. You can't put health before flavor, texture and comfort factor. I know some might disagree or cringe but we're talking dessert here."

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