Bold Baking Basics, Gemma's Best Recipes

How To Make The Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

4.24 from 562 votes
Make the Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe with my chef-tested tips and techniques for the perfect buttercream icing every time!
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe: Follow my chef-tested technique to making the best ever icing recipe!

Hi Bold Bakers!

 

Working as a professional chef I have learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years. Now I’m going to show you a Bold Baking Basic recipe that I get the most requests and queries for: How to Make the Best Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting. Watch my step-by-step video below and get all my best tips on how to make icing (along with a complete recipe below!):

How to Make Buttercream Frosting?

How do you make fluffy buttercream icing? The secret ingredient in my buttercream frosting is time.

Most people whip their butter for a few minutes then start adding in sugar and expect a light and airy result, but it’s never achieved. This frosting recipe takes its literal sweet time to really incorporate as much air as possible into the butter. This means allowing your butter to whip to perfection for a full 7-8 minutes. Only then do I add in sifted powdered sugar one spoon-full at a time.

While this takes a bit of patience, follow my steps and you will have the best buttercream frosting every time:

  1. Get Some Air: Use an electric stand mixer or hand mixer. For the stand mixer, use the whisk attachment because this will get all of the air into your frosting.
  2. Soft Butter is Everything: The most important thing that you need is to have soft butter. If you leave your butter out at room temperature for around three hours, it will be a lovely texture for you to start whipping. This is super important and the base of your frosting.
  3. Whip it Good: Turn your machine on a medium high speed and beat the butter by itself for around eight minutes. Get your butter light and fluffy before you add in any sugar.
  4. Sift your Sugar: While the butter is whipping, sift your your icing sugar (powdered sugar). It is really important to sift it because you want to get a lot of air in there and make sure there are no lumps. This will give you a lighter frosting as well.
  5. Spoonful by Spoonful: Once your butter is pale and light, add in your sugar spoonful by spoonful. Add in a spoonful, let it fully incorporate, and then add in your next one. Make sure your machine is on medium high speed here because we want to incorporate all of the lovely air that is going to give us a soft, fluffy frosting.
  6. Finishing Touches: When all of your sugar is added in, add in vanilla extract and a little bit of milk. What that does is it just lightens up your frosting. Turn the machine back on high speed and let everything incorporate. In just a few few minutes, you will have perfect frosting.

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WHAT IF MY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING ISN’T STIFF ENOUGH?

What do you do if you’ve followed my tips but you find your frosting just isn’t stiff enough? The first thing I’d suggest is to chill the buttercream frosting. By bringing down the temperature, the frosting should tighten up immediately. This is a great trick for buttercream frosting that may have been over mixed, or made at too warm a temperature. If this does not seem to do the trick, try adding more sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons at a time. With just a few extra tablespoons of sugar, your frosting will transform and be so much easier to work with, saving you from wasting ingredients.

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WHAT IF MY BUTTERCREAM FROSTING IS TOO THICK?

If your frosting feels too thick, there is no reason to start over from scratch on a new batch. Simply add milk 1 tablespoon at a time to your Buttercream Frosting until you reach your desired consistency. From there, simply pipe or frost as normal. You’ll be surprised how little milk you actually need to fix this problem. This will not at all affect the flavor of your frosting, regardless of what is in it.

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Watch The Recipe Video!

Gemma's Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe)

4.24 from 562 votes
Learn how to make my easy, Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe, which is perfect for my Vanilla Birthday Cake and any of my cakes & cupcakes.
Servings: 12
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Learn how to make my easy, Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe, which is perfect for my Vanilla Birthday Cake and any of my cakes & cupcakes.
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • cups (12oz/340g) butter, softened
  • 6 cups (1lb 8oz/680g) icing sugar (powdered sugar), sifted
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean pod (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using an electric hand mixer whip the butter until light and creamy for about 7-8 minutes on medium/high speed.
  • Once the butter is pale in color and light slowly add in the icing sugar one spoon at a time on medium speed. Let the sugar fully incorporate before adding in more sugar.
  • Add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, salt and cream or milk.
  • Whip on high speed for another 3-4 minutes until very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  • Use the buttercream straight away or keep it refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. Before use, make sure it comes to room temperature.

Recipe Notes

I have updated this recipe to add more sugar to the frosting. This is the new, improved version.

 

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Comments & Reviews

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GEORGIA GOOD
Guest
1 month ago

I’ve made this quite a few times and it is a very good buttercream. Thick, super fluffy, and a good flavor without being too sweet. It takes a bit of time, but it’s worth it for how airy it is!

Angela Smith
Guest
Angela Smith
1 day ago

Can Tahitian Vanilla bean or Mexican Vanilla bean be used in this recipe? Thank you!!
Angela

Tanya Brown
Member
Tanya Brown
3 days ago

Tried and failed numerous times. Don’t know why I didn’t steer clear the first time 😭 and so sickly sweet. Watched the video to death and did it all to the T. It was suggested I had a bad batch of powdered sugar…then I overbeated, didn’t beat enough, add hot water, warm towel, didn’t soften the butter….argh…I spent way too much time on this.

Ziggy
Guest
Ziggy
1 month ago

Hi Gemma. I made the vanilla buttercream frosting last week and the consistency was good… thick enough to frost a cake. However, it was tooth-achingly sweet. It was so cloyingly sweet, my husband banned me from frosting our kids’ birthday cake with it. I didn’t have enough ingredients left over to start a new, less sweet batch. So the next day, I whipped up some mascarpone and then I added only 2 heaping tablespoons of the original frosting, as it had enough sugar and vanilla in it for flavor. Honestly, I can’t understand why anyone (or better yet, *how* anyone)… Read more »

Jenna
Member
Jenna
1 month ago

Hi Gemma, wanted to bake a cake for my friend which is a 7 inch cake,around 2 to 3 layer. Should I cut the amount into half? I’m also not sure which to use, buttercream or the others? I want to use it as both filling and frosting. Any suggestions?
Thank you????

liddyM23
Member
liddyM23
1 month ago

Hi Gemma,
I came across your website whilst looking for an easy vanilla frosting. I wanted a recipe that didn’t taste gritting with sugar, but wonder what I did wrong, however, it tasted grate and wasn’t as gritty as my usual buttercream recipe. I think it’s the butter, but how soft should the butter be to start mixing?
Thanks, Liddy

Sabeen
Guest
Sabeen
1 month ago

Hi Gemma! Can I use salted butter in this recipe in place of salt?

nazzy
Guest
nazzy
1 month ago

Hi Gemma Nazzy again,

I made your frosting and it stayed but i found out that when i add the colour it gets a bit lose as i have liquid colouring. then i add some more icing sugar.
also i have this problem, why does the frosting breaks while piping?
can u give a samll qty version of swiss meringue cream as i can use it to teast on piping?
i made my sons birthday cake” wheels on the bus” wanted to share with u.

NH
Guest
NH
2 months ago

Will this work if the sugar is skipped/replaced with a sweetener such as Stevia drops or erythritol? I imagine it would be ok in terms of the texture and consistency? Thoughts?

Sabrina Adams
Guest
Sabrina Adams
2 months ago

I’ll start by saying I don’t usually like buttercream, especially from a store, but this recipe is amazing. I’ve never made buttercream before, but I wanted to do something special for my husband’s birthday. I made a chocolate chip cookie cake and topped it with this buttercream. I followed your steps, and this came out perfect. I love it. Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to use the last half of the icing.

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for a FREE profile and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new dessert recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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