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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe: The best ever I have ever tried. Easy to make and it will always work out
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How to Make the Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Bold Baking Basics)

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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 about: How to Make the Best Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Now,  it’s very frustrating when you go out and buy butter and sugar (ingredients that aren’t cheap) and you don’t get the results you want. Over the years I have made frosting after frosting and they never turned out the same although it was always the same recipe. I realized it wasn’t the recipe I had to master but the technique. Follow my steps and you will have success every time.

The technique to making my Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting is simple: watch my video below, follow the few simple steps carefully, re-watch my video, and have confidence that you will nail this recipe.

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I use Buttercream Frosting for a lot of my cake decorating. I find it easy to work with gives great results. Do you have a birthday coming up and you need to make the cake? Try my Vanilla Birthday Cake recipe. It is covered in sprinkles so if you are an advanced or a beginner Bold Baker you will breeze through this cake.

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I also use this tasty buttercream frosting to stuff Homemade Oreos , yes… Homemade Oreos. Let’s just say you won’t be buying store bought again.

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4.6 from 35 reviews
Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe)
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups (12oz/340g) butter, softened
  • 6 cups (1lb 8oz/680g) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean pod (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. Once the butter is pale in color and light slowly add in the confectioners' sugar one spoon at a time on medium speed. Let the sugar fully incorporate before adding in more sugar.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, salt and cream.
  4. Whip on high speed for another 3-4 minutes until very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  5. Use the buttercream straight away for keep it refrigerated for upto 4 weeks. Before use make sure it comes to room temperature.
Notes
I have updated this recipe to add more sugar to the frosting. This is the new, improved version.

Get my 3-Layer Microwave Cake recipe!

 

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651 Comments

  1. Jeanine on April 22, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Gemma, How long can the left over Butter cream be stored for?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2018 at 1:57 am

      Hi Jeanine,
      This buttercream can be stored, well wrapped, in the fridge for about one week to be at its’ best.
      In the freezer it will hold for months! In both instances it will need to be re-whipped when you wish to use it. Take it back to room temperature, and proceed.
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Zay on April 22, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Hi Gemma.. May I ask, how do I make the colours?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2018 at 2:04 am

      Hi Zay,
      This is easy, when you have the colors to add. I how you how to make natural colors here (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/all-natural-homemade-food-coloring/). These will give a light/pale color to your food. for a deeper color you will need to use a manufactured product, a gel or paste. I like Americolor and Wilton. You will find them on Amazon or locally if you have a baking section in your store.
      Thank you for being in touch,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Sophia on April 22, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Hi Gemma,
    This buttercream frosting is way too sweet for me. Can I cut down on the sugar? Like 1 3/4 cup or 1 1/2 cups? Also I’m halving this recipe 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on April 23, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Hi Sophia,
      This is a sweet frosting, and it is proportional 1:2, butter to sugar.
      To reduce the sugar in this recipe you have to replace the bulk of the sugar, and I am not sure it works so well, it becomes a different thing.
      It is easy to reduce this recipe, keeping the proportions in mind. This is a big recipe, but you can take it back to as little as 1oz butter to 2ozs icing/powdered sugar. Adding things like cocoa will balance the sweetness, coffee powder too!
      google some low sugar options, you will see what I mean,
      Gemma 🙂

  4. Anna-Lee on April 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I’m looking to use this recipe to frost just the top of a one layer cake. I don’t really want any leftover because I will not use it. Do you think I could half this recipe?

    Thanks!!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 20, 2018 at 6:11 am

      Hi Anna,
      This is a BIG recipe, it will fill, and fully coat a 10 inch cake, but the good news is it is really easy to make a small portion.
      If you read the recipe you will find it is proportional, 1:2 butter to sugar.
      You did not say how large your cake is, but an 8inch cake, just frosted on top, will take 4ozs butter. 8ozs icing sugar, vanilla to taste and a little milk.
      I hope this helps you,
      Gemma 🙂

  5. Andrea on April 18, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Hi! Would this recipe work under fondant?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 19, 2018 at 2:14 am

      Hi Andrea,
      Yes! I would do a crumb layer first, That is fill the cake, and add a really fine layer of buttercream, which will pick up any loose crumbs on the cake, which will allow you to place the fondant, or another layer of buttercream. Set it up in the fridge before attempting a second layer, that is what helps. This is a big recipe, so make as little or as much as you want, it is easy to reduce it.
      Good luck with your cake!
      Gemma 🙂

      • Andrea on April 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

        Thank you for your quick reply. It’s a large cake and I normally work with ganache but this friend is a butter cream lover! Thank you for the recipe!

  6. Maureen on April 18, 2018 at 6:26 am

    Hi Gemma! I took a Wilton cake decorating course 40 years ago, and now that I’m a Grandma, guess who is making cakes again?! I’m doing 2 9 inch (these will be done with ruffle tip) & 2 6 inch cakes,(that will end up a cat face using grass tip) I’m going to use your Best Ever Vanilla Buttercream. Your recipe says serves 12, so should I double your recipe? It looks delicious!!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 19, 2018 at 3:50 am

      Hi Maureen,
      A skill learned is never forgotten, well done you, it is a great pastime.
      This is a big recipe, though I know the ruffles and grass will use up a lot of it, I would not be thing double this recipe, perhaps 1 1/2 times.
      I will be looking forward to seeing the results, do please post a photo!
      Remember to do a crumb layer, a really light layer to pick up the cake crumbs, this will really help in applying the top coat/ruffles.
      Chill the cake after the crumb layer, and again after the first layers of decoration, this really helps it hold its’ shape.
      I hope you have a lovely party, and great praise for your cake, I think you will.
      Gemma 🙂

    • Maureen on April 19, 2018 at 6:20 am

      Thank you so much! I wasn’t sure if you had time to answer, so I tripled the ingredients when I shopped! LOL that just means I have to keep baking. Thank you again!

      • Gemma Stafford on April 20, 2018 at 7:27 am

        Maureen, this is true, you are obliged to keep on going now!
        Haha! thank you for being here with us,
        Gemma 🙂

        • Maureen on April 21, 2018 at 3:39 pm

          Gemma, this was delicious, but when I did a crumb coat with off set spatula, it would roll back up. I had to really play with it to get it to stick. Then while using the grass tip to make “fur” large chunks would fall off. I did finally finish the cake. I hope it made it to the party!

          • Gemma Stafford on April 22, 2018 at 3:49 am

            Hi Maureen,
            I am happy that you got there, but sorry it gave you trouble. Was it a little too cold to spread? adding a little cornflour will stabilize this buttercream, too much makes it difficult to apply. Not sure why this was an issue for you, but glad you got there with it. I just checked out the pic, it looks great! loved the ears, and the great color on the ‘fur’ well done you,
            Gemma 🙂



  7. Bigger bolder baker on April 17, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for always trying to help, really appreciated!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 17, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Happy to try, even though I do not always get it right!
      Gemma 🙂

  8. Bigger bolder baker on April 16, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    I used icing sugar and followed the recipe exactly but it’s still gritty?dnt know where I went wrong?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 17, 2018 at 2:47 am

      Hi there,
      Me neither! I am wondering if it is down to expectation! The sugar largely dissolves, but it is still there! sorry, I do not seem to be able to help with this,
      Gemma 🙂

  9. Bigger bolder baker on April 16, 2018 at 2:23 am

    Hi Gemma, tried this recipe, still getting grittiness even after beating for long, can I use boiling water to melt the sugar and spoon in as in the recipe to remove the grittiness? Thanks a lot!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 16, 2018 at 3:35 am

      Hi there,
      Are you using confectioners/icing/powdered sugar?
      If you are then you really should not be having this issue. Boiling water will melt the butter, that would not work. The milk you add to this recipe will melt icing sugar, you can test this with a little in a small bowl.
      I have a feeling that I do not have all the necessary information!
      Gemma 🙂

  10. Linda Martin on April 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    You said you had a new improved Buttercream recipe with more sugar added. How much more sugar? Is this a whipped buttercream recipe as I have been told not to use the whisk (to use paddle) as you don’t want to add air into your icing as it will cause bubbles when trying to smooth out your iced cake?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 21, 2018 at 6:27 am

      Hi Linda,

      Sorry for my late reply. This recipe has already been edited so it’s this recipe you should follow. I use the whisk for my buttercream as you get the best results. It yields a soft and fluffy buttercream.If you don’t want that air then use a paddle, however I don’t think it will yield you the best buttercream.

      My buttercream is perfect for decorating with.
      Best,
      Gemma.

  11. daveg on April 9, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    Hi gemma

    I am sorry if you answered this question. Does the buttercream “crust” if you leave the cake on the counter at room temperature? I was hoping to use the viva paper towel method to remove the lines from the cake. Thanks in advance

    • Gemma Stafford on April 10, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      hi there,
      Really all buttercream will ‘crust’ to a degree when allowed to stand at cool room temperature.
      Using a paper towel to smooth the buttercream takes a little practice. A ‘crumb layer’ really helps here. Try this before you have an important cake to frost, practice makes perfect.
      Do use a crumb layer (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/crumb-coat/). This gives a great base to the buttercream, and holds the finish in place.
      I hope this helps,
      Gemma 🙂

  12. Jennifer h on April 8, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Hi- is the butter salted or unsalted?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Hi Jennifer,
      I tend to use salted, but that is because I grew up with salted butter. Most people like unsalted butter for this purpose, and you can add a pinch of salt if you wish,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Jennifer on April 8, 2018 at 12:02 pm

        Thank you so much for your quick reply! I’m going to attempt your vanilla birthday cake with this frosting for my daughters birthday! 🤞

        • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2018 at 2:18 pm

          Great Jennifer, do post us a photo too, I hope all goes well for you,
          Gemma 🙂

          • Jennifer h on April 14, 2018 at 9:07 am

            Thank you! We haven’t tasted the finished product yet- it’s for my daughter’s 3rd bday tonight! (We tasted the frosting & the cake I cut off & they were delicious!) It’s the first all from scratch cake I made so it’s a good first try! My cake decorating could use some work though lol.



          • Gemma Stafford on April 15, 2018 at 3:45 am

            Hi Jennifer,
            Happy birthday to your 3 year old daughter, it is a lovely age, and a great time for a party. Believe me, my decorating skills are not tip top either, but it really does not matter, the love that goes in is what matters most.
            good job, thank you for being in touch,
            Gemma 🙂



  13. NikkiSixx87 on April 7, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    I love this recipe! I used it for my daughters birthday cake and it was a hit. I used a vanilla almond wedding cake, triple berry fruit compote, and this frosting was the finishing touch. If I wanted to make this chocolate butter cream, what would you suggest?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Hi there Nikki,
      That is good to hear, thank you for letting me know, very inventive too!
      Cocoa is a great addition to this buttercream. It will balance the sweetness too. Buttercream frosting is relatively proportional. 1:2 butter to icing sugar. add about 1 tablespoon cocoa to 4oz of icing sugar, sieve it through, and the flavor will be good. 2 tablespoons to 8oz etc.
      I hope this is of help to you,
      Gemma 🙂

  14. Alexandra27 on April 5, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I love the way you explain everything and the great tips that you have.
    How many times should I make this recipe for a 3 tier double layer cakes 10,8,6 in.? Also I have seen several recipes where they add shortening or meringue powder for hot weather conditions what do you suggest? Is good to pipe rosettes on a cake? Thank you in advance for your help!!

    • Gemma Stafford on April 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      hi Alexandra,

      thank you so much :). I would say make this 3 times. That should be enough.

      Mine is good for piping rosettes. However if you want it firmer add even more sugar. The meringue powder is something I haven’t done but it does work. It would help stabilize it even more if thats what you need.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  15. zee on April 5, 2018 at 11:12 am

    Hi Gemma,

    I love the video and the great tips you provide. I have a question I want to make a 3 tier cake 10,8,6 in double layer. How many time should I make your recipe and can I add fruit to fill the cake? Also will this buttercream how it shape when I pipe rosettes and it warm outside. I would ate for it to melt. Is there need for shortening or meringue powder?

    • Gemma Stafford on April 8, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Hi Zee,
      Wow! This is a big cake. The vanilla buttercream frosting here is a big recipe. I think double this recipe should work well for you. What concerns me really is the heat. Buttercream is not really stable in heat. It is a dairy product, and it will soften, and melt at above 18c or so. It can be stabilized with cornstarch/cornflour, or by using egg whites, as in Swiss meringue buttercream for instance.
      fresh fruits are great added to cakes, but again they will begin to spoil at high temperatures. Think about it, refrigerate up to am hour before serving for best results.
      Gemma 🙂

  16. Esha Sah on April 1, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Thanks for the Bold basics series!!

    Today I tried this butter cream recipe. I think it turned out okay. But I can feel fine sugar granules between my finger even though I used powdered sugar and also it has an after-taste of butter to it. Is it normal or am I doing something wrong?

    Also I live in hot and humid place so what precautions should I take so that my butter cream is not runny.

    • Gemma Stafford on April 1, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Hi Esha,

      So you didn’t do anything wrong technically. You just need to whip it up for longer on high speed once you have added in the sugar. You need more air in there and that will eliminate the butteriness. Honestly it takes practice. It took me ages.

      Did you watch the video? Watch it again and listen for those tips.
      Also keep your buttercream in the fridge if that is the climate you are working with.

      Gemma.

  17. BakingLover on March 30, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Thank You so much!

  18. BakingLover on March 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I was interested in trying this buttercream recipe and I have a question. I am making a cake for Easter using two pans about 9 inches. Will this recipe be able to cover both cakes? Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on March 30, 2018 at 2:44 am

      Hi there,
      Yes, easily. This is a big recipe, it will work well for you, and you may have some over. If you do you can freeze it, and re-whip it to use it at a later time,
      Gemma 🙂

  19. Abrown on March 28, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Hi,
    This recipe looks amazing and just what I was looking for. I am thinking of pairing this with your Best-Ever Chocolate Cake because we love the chocolate/vanilla frosting combination. I have a question about this buttercream recipe and when to prepare it. If I plan to make the cake Friday to serve Saturday afternoon, could I also make the buttercream frosting Friday ice the cake and leave it in the fridge overnight? Or should I make the buttercream Saturday morning, Frost and let it set?
    Thanks in advance. And thanks for posting what looks to be a wonderful recipe.
    Abrown

    • Gemma Stafford on March 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind words.
      This is a big cake, so it will take up a lot of space in the fridge, however, if you have the space for it it will work perfectly to bake, allow to get cold, then crumb layer, chill and frost. Other than that you can fill, crumb latyer and apply the final layer on the day. Either one will work for you. For the crumb layer spread a thin layer of frosting between the layers and all over the cake. There’s no need to worry too much about what the cake looks like at this point. This is really just a base layer, a good foundation for your final finish. This gives a great and easy platform to work from, and will yield very professional results.
      tip: Chill the remaining buttercream overnight, bring back to room temperature and whisk before using.
      Good luck with this,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Abrown on March 29, 2018 at 5:07 am

        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly and for your advice! I think I’ll bake, cool, crumb layer, chill, Frost and refrigerate overnight! Thanks again for your help!

        • Gemma Stafford on March 30, 2018 at 4:20 am

          Good for you, it will be brilliant, Gemma 🙂

  20. Renee on March 27, 2018 at 6:07 am

    Hello Gemma! I asked a few questions about your birthday cake and now I have one about the frosting……. this recipe says it serves 12 but how many cups of frosting will this recipe make? I need to fill & frost an 8” double layer round. Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on March 29, 2018 at 4:00 am

      Hi Regine,
      This is a big recipe:
      1½ cups (340g/12oz) butter, softened to room temperature
      5⅔ cups (680g/1lb 8oz) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
      2 teaspoon vanilla extract
      Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean pod (optional)
      2-3 tablespoons milk or cream
      pinch of salt
      You can add up the ingredients to give you a weight/cup measurement. It is a big recipe, I think you will do what you need to do with about 1/2 of this amount.
      Gemma:)

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