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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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Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (Master Recipe)
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 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
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.

Try my All-New Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Best-Ever Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting - No more buttercream mishaps, this recipe is fool proof!

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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419 Comments

  1. Esther on September 21, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    How many cupcakes can this buttercream recipe frost?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 21, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      Hi Esther,
      This is a big mix, it will frost at least 24, but it depends on how heavily you use it. You can get a lot more out of it if you wish,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. Issy on September 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    Will your buttercream frosting cover a three layer eight inch cake?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 21, 2017 at 1:34 am

      Hi Issy,
      Yes, this is a big mixture,
      Gemma 🙂

  3. Serena on September 18, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Hi Gemma!
    I just discoverd your site! You’re amazing!
    I’m going to try every recipes you’ve posted!!!
    And i’m super exited to use you buttercream recipe couse….i hate buttercream when i make it!
    I wanna do it you’re way!!!
    Just a question: the doses you’ve posted are good for frosting a cake of whitch size?

    Thanks!!!
    Serena
    ps sorry my english i’m italian 🙂

    • Gemma Stafford on September 19, 2017 at 2:04 am

      Hi Serena,
      It is great to have you with us. Happy that you will try this recipe, and the Swiss buttercream one is great too, particularly when the ambient temperature is high.
      This is a big mix, it will fill and cover a 9 inch cake – generously.
      Gemma 🙂

  4. maura on September 12, 2017 at 11:52 am

    my icing is a bit grainy and runny, how can I fix this?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      Hi Maura,

      I have just updated the recipe. I changed the recipe to add more sugar so you won’t end up with grainy frosting. if you want to go ahead and add the same amount again of icing sugar into your frosting that will fix it.

      Hope this helps,
      Gemma.

  5. Tarax26972 on September 10, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Gemma, I’m so excited to try this new recipe. What Flour should I use for the best results ? Cake down flour or regular all purpose flour. Also did you use 6 inch wide 2 inches deep for this recipe ?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 11, 2017 at 2:00 am

      Hi there,
      I am not sure which cake you are looking at! If it is the Vanilla birthday cake, then cake flour, or all purpose flour will be good. (https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/vanilla-birthday-cake-recipe/). Over mixing is the enemy of this type of cake, so do not over work the batter, and all will be well,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Sakkthini Krishna on September 8, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Hi gemma,
    I would like to add melted chocolate/ nutella into this recipe . How much can I add ?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 9, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Hi there,
      You can add cocoa to this recipe, you will need about 2 tablespoons of sieved cocoa to get a good result. You can add melted chocolate too, cool it first, it will stiffen the mix, and you will need to use it right away to pipe it easily. The nutella will remain soft, but it will add sweetness, which you may not need!
      Experiment a little with this, this will inform you,
      Gemma 🙂

  7. Ansu on September 8, 2017 at 2:37 am

    Hello Gemma

    I made the buttercream frosting and it turned out good. I have a query. I find it too sweet for me so is it possible to reduce the sugar content without changing the consistency? Does the confectioners sugar same as the granulated sugar processed in a blender?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 8, 2017 at 2:50 am

      Hi Ansu,
      The success of this recipe is dependent on the proportion of butter to sugar, it is what it is really! The addition of a little milk. or cream, somewhat helps with the sweetness. Granulated sugar, which has been processed will not be any different to a confectioners sugar, though some of these have additional ingredients, such as cornstarch/cornflour.
      The effect of the cornstarch is to make the sugar more free flowing, add to the thickening effect of the milk/cream/butter. so it is complex, but simple. Balance is everything,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Ansu on September 8, 2017 at 3:09 am

        Hello Gemma

        As per the recipe I have used 340gm of butter and 360gms of powdered sugar. But as per the cup measurement sugar is double the butter. Does it make a difference with the sweetness of its the conversion difference?

        • Gemma Stafford on September 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm

          Hi Ansu,

          So I looked into the recipe and made some changes. The recipe now has more sugar which will give you what you are looking for.

          Hope this helps,
          Gemma.

  8. Rosario on September 7, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Hi Gemma,

    Quick question. In the vanilla birthday cake video, you also show the buttercream frosting being made. The one difference is that you’re using the paddle attachment, whilst in this demonstration, you’re using the whisk attachment. Do both work equally well, or do you recommend one over the other?

    Thanks
    Rosario

    • Gemma Stafford on September 7, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Hi Rosario,
      either one will do for this. The paddle is great to break down the butter if it is a bit stiff. It is also a stronger attachment, and would often be my choice for a bigger mix,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Rosario on September 7, 2017 at 8:35 am

        Thank you for the quick reply, Gemma. Much appreciated. I made the three cakes last night and chose the time to leave the butter out so they soften. London never gets that hot, so they should be soft but not too soft. I also was going to say that with the paddle and judging from your video, it seems to be doing a better job in breaking up butter. I will make the 340g butter to 360 powder sugar amount for the vanilla cake, and I will use the paddle. I’ve though got plenty of butter and icing sugar on standby, to make with the whisk. Let’s see how it goes.

        • Gemma Stafford on September 13, 2017 at 7:40 pm

          So I just went back and revisited the recipe and adjusted it to add more sugar. I think I got confused my the cups conversion. Have a look know and this should have fixed any problems 🙂

      • Rosario on September 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm

        Hi Gemma,

        Thank you for the tips on the buttercream frosting. Came out spot on. In fact, the measurements were also spot on. Just enough left to decorate the top. I uploaded the photo of the cake onto the vanilla bday cake recipe so you can see 🙂 thanks again.

        Rosario

        • Gemma Stafford on September 8, 2017 at 3:18 am

          hi Rosario,
          PHEW! I am really happy that this one worked well for you, thank you for posting the pic. wil lbe over to check it out in a few minutes,
          Gemma 🙂

  9. melanie on September 7, 2017 at 4:29 am

    Hi Gemma,

    If i wanted to make a double or triple batch of this icing would it be as simple as doubling or tripling the recipe or is there more to it?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 12, 2017 at 6:24 am

      no more to it, simply multiply it out :).

      Happy Baking!
      Gemma.

  10. Bryan on September 6, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Could you use shortening (crisco) instead of the butter?

    • Gemma Stafford on September 6, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Sure, Bryan. If that is what you have then use it. 🙂

  11. Rachana on September 5, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Hi Gemma,
    I want to bake the vanilla cake from your recipe and the butter cream frosting for my daughter’s upcoming birthday. I wanted to make sure that can I use the unsalted butter bar from the store. If not then where can I find the other kind of butter.

    Thanks

    • Gemma Stafford on September 6, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      Hi Rachana,

      yes unsalted butter is perfect. Good luck with your cake 🙂

      Gemma.

  12. Minal on September 3, 2017 at 11:54 am

    Hi Gemma, i made this frosting but for some reason when I tasted it I first tasted butter then the icing sugar? I beated the butter for 7-8 minutes and it’s was really light and fluffy. Could you tell me why that happened??

    • Gemma Stafford on September 4, 2017 at 1:54 am

      Hi Minal,
      i would need to know exactly what you used. If you beat the real butter and powdered/icing sugar the sugar should dissolve into the butter, adding a little milk or cream will further do this. Tell me a little more,
      Gemma 🙂

  13. Jessica Bing on September 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I make this often for every cupcake and cake! Sometimes it comes out thin as others had noted. Could it be the butter is too soft? I use Keller’s unsalted butter.

    Thanks for any input.
    Jessica

    • Gemma Stafford on September 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Hi Jessica,

      That’s funny Jessica. You could be right, it might be the butter being too soft. I’ll make a note on the recipe so it doesn’t happen to others.

      Room temperature butter is perfect, but definitely not butter almost melting.

      Hope this helps.
      Gemma.

  14. Elizabeth on August 27, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Hi Gemma,

    I just wondered if this recipe is supposed to be equal parts butter to sugar? I saw you link this and say it is a 2:1 recipe but in the ingredients list the butter and sugar weights are equal? Thanks!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Elizabeth,

      I know what you are saying. So usually you would have double the amount of sugar to butter. it’s a general rule of thumb.

      Let me look into my recipe and see if I made a mistake. Sugar is always double fat.

      Leave it with me 🙂

  15. Geanna on August 25, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Hi Gemma!

    I made this for my daughters 2nd bday cake!

    The frosting came out awesome!

    Could I use this under fondant?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 25, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Hi Geanna,

      Yes you absolutely can use it under fondant. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

      Gemma.

  16. Minal on August 22, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Hi, I would like to half this recipe could u tell me the amounts that i need if i half this plz??

    • Gemma Stafford on August 22, 2017 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Minal,

      Simply divide this recipe by 2 and it will give you exactly what you need 🙂

  17. Abigail Jimenez on August 22, 2017 at 7:56 am

    Hello, can this also be used to decorate cookies?

  18. Christine J Simon on August 20, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    I’m considering using cream next time, but had to say that this frosting was delicious. I used European butter (much better aftertaste) and this frosting is a dream! I it in advance for my daughter’s first birthday party in 6 days and am curious to see how it holds up in the fridge! Thank you for this simple and heavenly frosting.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 21, 2017 at 1:33 am

      Hi Christine,
      Good to hear! Yes, it is a lovely frosting. It will hold up well for you, but remember you have added a perishable thing in the milk!
      Remove to room temperature a couple of hours before needed, whisk it through again, and all should be good. Usually I would make this, and use it in one day. It can also be frozen, but will need to be re-whisked when defrosted. All baked goods are best served freshly made,
      Gemma 🙂

      • Christine J Simon on August 21, 2017 at 1:52 pm

        Thanks for the helpful hint.

  19. Christina M. on August 20, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Fabulous buttercream frosting! We followed your recipe exactly and it is unforgettable. My daughters and husband can’t stop licking the bowl and spatula 🙂 Thank you Gemma!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 21, 2017 at 1:34 am

      Well done Christina, you obviously made a great job of this!
      Gemma 🙂

  20. Phyl on August 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Is there a reason why my buttercream feels crunchy in a cake covered with fondant? Could it be hot weather?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 19, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      Hi Phyl,

      did you use confectioners sugar? I have no idea why your buttercream would be crunchy.

  21. Minal on August 18, 2017 at 5:50 am

    How many cups does this make??

    • Gemma Stafford on August 19, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Roughly 5-6 cups :). enough for 2 cakes.

  22. Samantha on August 17, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    The taste is amazing, but mine came out too thin. I used real butter and followed the directions to the T. Please advise. Thank you.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 18, 2017 at 1:36 am

      Hi Samantha,
      If you followed this to a T it would not be thin! Real butter does not become thin when beaten, it is quite a solid thing. Tubs of ‘butter’ are not real butter, unless it tells you so no the pack. Do let me know exactly what you used. Adding too much milk may be an issue, but generally not.
      Gemma 🙂

      • Hali on September 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        We followed it to a T and it came out runny too.

        • Gemma Stafford on September 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm

          Thats so strange. Was your butter super soft? almost melted?

          • Shruthi Achut on September 17, 2017 at 10:57 am

            Even I have the same problem… When I start beating the butter it is fine for sometime and I start adding the icing sugar bit by bit and keep beating it, the butter melts and its a runny mess…. I guess this happens in hot places… I dunno… The room temperature of the place where I live is 25°C /77 F, which is quite normal I guess. I am not sure of why this happens.
            P.S I use homemade butter, made out of the cream extracted from fresh milk, all done at home… So I guess we could rule out any adulteration….



          • Gemma Stafford on September 18, 2017 at 1:58 am

            Hi Shruthi,
            Yes, it may be that you are leaving it at room temperature for too long, this is melted butter, and now I know what you mean by liquid.
            Work a bit faster, I think you may be taking too long to beat this if the butter is melting. Refrigerating, and beating again will work, but it is best not to allow it to melt!
            Gemma 🙂



  23. Saundra on August 14, 2017 at 12:09 am

    This was my first time ever making a buttercream frosting and it was unbelievable! Had rave reviews from everyone! So easy with your instructions and absolutely delicious! I’ll never buy store frosting again. Thank you!!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on August 14, 2017 at 2:14 am

      Hi Saundra,
      It sounds like you really got it right! That is really what matters, when you follow a recipe carefully you cannot fail!
      Thank you for letting us know,
      Gemma 🙂

  24. BB on August 13, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Any suggestions for what to do if the frosting comes out too thin? Just add more powdered sugar?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 13, 2017 at 10:46 am

      Hi there,
      The question is how did it get thin?
      If you use real dairy butter, the recipe amount of sugar, and the milk prescribed, it cannot be thin!
      I need you to give me more information, this does not sound right.
      Gemma 🙂

    • Shruthi Achut on September 18, 2017 at 12:43 am

      Hi BB,
      If the frosting comes out thin just leave it out in the freezer for 45 min, whip it , again freeze, again whip… Keep repeating… Add pinches of cornstarch, it works. You will have a good buttercream frosting in the end and that’s a promise( only if your family is patient enough not to eat it all :D).

      And as to why the frosting gets thin, i have little idea! I can just hazard a guess….

      All the best and have a nice day !
      Also do tell me if this works for you
      -Shruthi

  25. laceyavellino on August 12, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    hi can I use margarine instead of normal butter pls?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 13, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Hi Lacey,
      I would not choose to do this. Real butter is the fat of cows milk. Margarine is a vegetable sourced hydrogenated oil, it is a totally different thing.
      If you are vegan then you will prefer to do this, but it will not give the same result. Choose the best quality margarine you can find. Be careful about the texture, and adding the milk. Choose a hard margarine rather than the spreadable one, it will be too soft,
      Gemma 😉

  26. JanieCastro on August 7, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Hi, can this recipe be use with a cake covered in fondant and left overnight?

    • Gemma Stafford on August 8, 2017 at 5:38 am

      Hi Janie,
      This really depends on where you are leaving the cake overnight!
      If you have a cool place, up to about 16 degrees Celsius, then it will be ok. The fondant will suffer if it is too warm, or humid too. I think in a warm place you will need to use a cool box, you can fashion one yourself using picnic ice blocks, bags of ice, kitchen towels, and something to insulate the box, like a blanket!
      Just a suggestion! I am used to coming up with ways to do things, for travel etc!
      Gemma 🙂

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