Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 10 min.


About 3 cups

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
After trying a few buttercream frosting recipes, this easy vanilla buttercream frosting takes the cake with its unmatchable homemade taste. With a few simple variations, you can come up with different colors and flavors. —Diana Wilson, Denver, Colorado


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


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Tips

How can you adjust the consistency of vanilla buttercream?

There are several frosting techniques you can use to adjust vanilla buttercream frosting depending on your desired consistency. For example, try sifting your sugar before mixing to make your frosting smoother. Or, if you'd like your frosting to be on the fluffier side, beat it for a few extra minutes to add extra air. To make your frosting thinner, add more milk; to make your frosting thicker, add more sugar.

How can you make other flavors from this vanilla buttercream frosting recipe?

Vanilla buttercream frosting is a versatile base, making it easy to change the flavor with the addition of one or two ingredients. For a quick fix, substitute the vanilla extract with extract flavors such as peppermint, almond, coconut or maple. However, for flavors that don't have easy to find extracts, such as peanut butter or chocolate, try adding 1/2 cup of peanut butter (in place of the butter) or 1/2 cup of baking cocoa (in place of the last 1/2 cup of sugar) directly to the frosting mix with an extra tablespoon or two of milk. You can even add food dye if you'd like to change the color.

What can you frost with vanilla buttercream frosting?

Vanilla buttercream frosting would go great on top of cupcakes, cookies, brownies, cake or anything else that could benefit from a sweet addition.

—Sammi DiVito, Taste of Home Assistant Editor

Nutrition Facts

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