This is the BEST Vanilla Buttercream Recipe! It’s super silky and fluffy and a staple for any baker.
Fluffy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
This Vanilla Buttercream is by far my most popular recipe and it doesn’t surprise me one little bit. Buttercream is a baking staple so knowing how to make a good batch is incredibly essential, and I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count.
What Does Vanilla Buttercream Taste like?
The best way to describe buttercream is a soft, fluffy, silky sweet cloud. It shouldn’t be too sweet and it also shouldn’t taste like butter, it should have the flavour of what you’ve added to it (vanilla essence or any other type of flavoring you’ve decided to use).
How to Make Vanilla Buttercream Less Sweet
Buttercream is very sweet so a great way around this is to use less buttercream on your cupcakes or cakes. If you still find this buttercream to be too sweet I would recommend making Swiss Meringue Buttercream. It’s made using an egg white meringue so it is much less sweet. You can’t just add less sugar to this vanilla buttercream as this will make it have a ‘butter’ flavor.
Different Types of Buttercream
American Buttercream – This recipe is an American buttercream. It’s made with just butter and powdered sugar. It’s the most popular type of buttercream as it is the quickest and most simple to make.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream – SMB is made from a meringue base of egg whites and sugar, butter is then beaten into the meringue. It’s a less sweet buttercream than American so you are able to use more of it.
Italian Meringue Buttercream – Like SMB Italian is made with a meringue base. The main difference here is the meringue is made the egg whites and hot sugar syrup. This is a more difficult process than SMB but it is more stable.
What Pairs with Vanilla Buttercream?
Vanilla Buttercream is so versatile the better question would be what doesn’t pair well with vanilla buttercream? Here are a few of my favourites!
How to add Color and Flavor to Buttercream
Gel is best for color as it’s so much stronger and vibrant meaning you have to use so much less than liquid. I would suggest adding no more than 1 tsp of liquid and as much gel as you need to get the color you are after. Add this at the same time as you add the flavouring and milk.
For flavoring with this buttercream recipe – essence, fruit zest or pulp is best. About 1 tsp of essence like vanilla, almond or orange flavours the buttercream really well. You can also add zest of an orange or lemon, the same about 1 tsp is about right for flavour.
For Chocolate I would suggest following my Chocolate Buttercream Recipe.
Vanilla Buttercream Recipe Ingredients
2 Sticks / 1 Cup / 225g Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter. If you use unsalted butter add a pinch of salt to the butter. Your butter needs to be at room temperature for this recipe.
3 Cups / 375g Powdered Sugar / Icing Sugar – These are both the same ingredient just different names in different parts of the world.
1 tsp Vanilla Essence – Use a good quality pure vanilla essence or extract for the best flavor.
2 Tbsp Milk (optional) – Milk is used to thin out the consistency of the buttercream. If you are piping it you may want it thicker so don’t add all the milk at once.
How to Make Vanilla Buttercream
In a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer add in the room temperature butter. Beat the butter on medium high speed for about 5 minutes – Yes 5 minutes. This is how you get the fluffiest buttercream!
You can see the difference here between beating for a minute and 5 minutes. The butter has almost doubled in volume, is much lighter in color and a fluffier texture. This is the secret to getting white buttercream!
Add the powdered sugar in thirds, beating for a minute or two between each addition. Make sure to scrape down the bowl a few times to make sure everything is evenly combined.
When all the sugar has been added, pour in the vanilla and milk (this is to thin out the consistency). If you are spreading this over a layer cake or topping cupcakes you will want it thinner but if you are piping intricate designs you may want it thicker so don’t add all of the milk at once.
How to Store Buttercream
If you have leftover buttercream or you want to store the buttercream for later use it can be kept in the fridge or freezer.
Storing Buttercream in the Fridge
Buttercream can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week. Keep it in an airtight container or a bowl that is covered. Before using the buttercream let it warm up to room temperature for a few hours before mixing again for a few minutes.
Storing Buttercream in the Freezer
Buttercream can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer the buttercream to an airtight container or bag and place it into the freezer. When you are ready to use the buttercream remove it and let it fully defrost at room temperature. Mix ita gain for a few minutes before using.
Common Questions about Vanilla Buttercream
How to turn vanilla buttercream in chocolate with cocoa powder?
If you would like to make Chocolate Buttercream it will need more sugar to balance out the bitterness from the cocoa powder and more milk to thin out the frosting. I have a Chocolate Buttercream Recipe here if you would like to follow that.
How to Fix Split Buttercream
The most common reason buttercream has split it temperature issues. Before you start making this buttercream let all of your ingredients come up to room temperature. If your buttercream has split and the bowl feels cold let it sit in warm water for a few minutes. Beat the buttercream again for a few minutes and it should come back together.
Equipment needed for this Vanilla Buttercream Recipe
Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer – The butter needs to be whipped for this recipe. It will take about 5 minutes on medium to high speed so you wont be able to do this by hand.
Measuring Cups or Digital Scale – To measure the ingredients for this recipe measuring cups or a digital scale can be used. I have given the amounts for both as different people have different preferences.
Piping Bag and Piping Tip – To use this buttercream on cupcakes it’s easiest to use a piping bag and piping tip. I have used a Wilton 2D piping tip here, it’s my favorite!
Other Frosting Recipes
- Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Salted Caramel Buttercream
- One Minute Chocolate Frosting
- Chocolate Buttercream
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 Sticks / 1 Cup / 225g Butter
- 3 Cups / 375g Powdered Sugar / Icing Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp Milk
- In a large bowl if you’re using a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer add in the room temperature butter.
- Beat the butter on medium high speed for about 5 minutes – Yes 5 minutes. This is how you get the fluffiest buttercream! You can see the difference between beating for a minute and 5 minutes. The butter has almost doubled in volume, is much lighter in color and a fluffier texture. This is the secret to getting white buttercream!
- Add the powdered sugar in thirds, beating for a minute or two between each addition. Make sure to scrape down the bowl a few times to make sure everything is evenly combined.
- When all the sugar has been added, pour in the vanilla and milk (this is to thin out the consistency). If you are spreading this over a layer cake or topping cupcakes you will want it thinner but if you are piping intricate designs you may want it thicker so don’t add all of the milk at once.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give the buttercream a final mix together. It is now ready to be piped onto cupcakes or spread over a layer cake!
- The buttercream will keep for 3 days at room temperature or up to one week in the fridge.
Storing the Buttercream
To keep the buttercream for later use place it into a bowl, cover and into the fridge for up to 1 week.
Freezing the Buttercream
Place the buttercream into an airtight container or bag and put it into the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the buttercream fully at room temperature. Mix it again with a hand mixer or stand mixer for a few minutes before using.
Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before starting to make this buttercream. Cold butter and milk can cause the buttercream to split. If this does happen put the bowl in warm water for a few minutes and continue to mix and it will come back together.
This buttercream can be flavored with any type of essence, extract, citrus zest or freeze dried berry powders. Remove the vanilla and add about 1 tsp of your choice and give the buttercream and taste test before adding anymore.
Coloring the Buttercream
Gel food coloring works much better than liquid coloring. Add as many drops as needed for the color you desire.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Cups Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1783Total Fat: 92gSaturated Fat: 58gTrans Fat: 4gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 243mgSodium: 736mgCarbohydrates: 248gFiber: 0gSugar: 242gProtein: 1g
Nutrition Information is estimated and not always correct