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How To Make The Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

4.52 from 1476 votes
Make the Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting recipe with my chef-tested tips and techniques for the perfect buttercream icing every time!
Best-Ever Buttercream Frosting recipe, freshly whipped up.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

Nothing beats a good buttercream frosting recipe — it’s one that every baker should have in their back pocket. Here’s the thing, though, mine is so good that I just had to call it the Best-Ever. Just wait until you try it (I mean, just look at all those reviews)!

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 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 the icing (along with a complete recipe below!).

The Key To The Best-Ever 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.

What You Need To Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

How to Make Buttercream Frosting

While this recipe takes a bit of patience, follow my steps and you will have the best buttercream frosting every time (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):

  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 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 minutes, you will have perfect, fluffy buttercream frosting.

Best-Ever Buttercream Frosting recipe, just mixed up in a stand mixer.

Make Sure Your Frosting Is 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 overmixed or made at too warm a temperature. If this doesn’t 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.

If Your 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.

Can You Freeze Buttercream Frosting?

Yes! You can freeze it for up to 3 months, just make sure you pull it out and let it come to room temperature naturally before you use it.

A whisk with Buttercream Frosting on it.

Ways to Use Vanilla Buttercream Frosting & More Frosting Recipes

And don’t forget to buy my Bigger Bolder Baking Cookbook!

Full (and printable) recipe below!

Watch The Recipe Video!

Gemma's Best-Ever Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

4.52 from 1476 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: 5 cups
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: 5 cups



  • 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 at 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.
  • * This recipe amount will generously cover at least 24 cupcakes and cover and fill an 8-inch sponge cake. It is easy to adjust this recipe as it is proportional, at a ratio of 2:1. That is two measures of sugar to one of butter. I.E.
    ** For about 3 mug cakes or 6 cupcakes it would be 3ozs/85g of butter, 170g sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 1/2 tsp- 2 1/4 tsp of milk and cream . This will generously frost this batch.

Recipe Notes

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

Hi Gemma,
Thank you for your recipes! I have made chocolate cake using your recipe and instead of chocolate fudge I made butter cream! Which turned out quite airy, light and sweet. But I didn’t put 6 cups of sugar, because I found it too sweet.
My question is. If it’s okay too use lees sugar?
Thank you.

Cindy Peterson
Cindy Peterson
2 years ago

Hi Gemma,
I’m making a cake for my daughters birthday and I’m excited to try your butter cream frosting recipe. How long can the buttercream frosting stay out? I was hoping to assemble cake on Thursday evening and her party is Friday evening. Would it be ok to keep out or do you recommend putting in refrigerator? Also, I wanted to add some crushed Oreos into the frosting. Would you recommend mixing them in by hand after frosting is made or incorporating Oreos in stand mixer?
Thanks so much!!
Cindy Peterson 🙂

2 years 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.

2 years ago

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

2 years 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?

Emma Reed
Emma Reed
2 years ago


Brooklyn Herrold
Brooklyn Herrold
1 year ago

Hey Gemma I was wondering is a food perseser the same thing as a blender or not?

2 years 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

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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!

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