The Best Vanilla Buttercream

The Best Vanilla Buttercream – light and fluffy, creamy and delicious, but this vanilla buttercream is not only delicious, it’s easy to make and a breeze to frost with.

The Best Vanilla Buttercream: all my tips and tricks for making the best buttercream of your life. Once you have this buttercream, you'll never go back to another recipe. It's simple, delicious and spreads onto your cakes like a dream. #cakebycourtney #thebestvanillabuttercream #bestvanillabuttercream #vanillabuttercream #howtomakebuttercream #buttercreamrecipe #icingrecipe #frostingrecipe #buttercreamfrostingrecipe #howtomakefrosting #vanillafrostingrecipe

The Best Vanilla Buttercream

This buttercream is just too good not to have its own post! It’s light and fluffy, silky and smooth – and just all-around delicious.

To me, a buttercream should never be so dense that it steals the show away from the cake. In fact, a buttercream should be part of the ensemble, a complementary element to the layers and fillings. However, that’s not always the case. I grew up thinking buttercream was dense and heavy. It wasn’t until I started making homemade cakes and homemade frosting that I realized, it didn’t have to be that way.

How to Make Buttercream Frosting

To get a light and fluffy homemade buttercream frosting, I have a detailed post: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM to give you in-depth instruction for making your buttercream unreal! Here’s an overview with a quick picture tutorial for making the best vanilla buttercream:

  • Sift your powdered sugar
  • Use slightly cold butter and mix on its own for 2 to 3 minutes
  • Use heavy whipping cream
  • Beat for 5 minutes
  • Stir by hand

Before frosting your cake, make sure to stir the buttercream with a wooden spoon or spatula to push out the air pockets. This makes getting smooth sides on your cake so much easier.

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Look at the transformation in color and texture in these pictures below.

You’ll be able to get nearly white in color with that extra five minutes of beating. More importantly, you’re creating a light, fluffy texture that won’t overpower your cake layers.

The Best Vanilla Buttercream: all my tips and tricks for making the best buttercream of your life. Once you have this buttercream, you'll never go back to another recipe. It's simple, delicious and spreads onto your cakes like a dream. #cakebycourtney #thebestvanillabuttercream #bestvanillabuttercream #vanillabuttercream #howtomakebuttercream #buttercreamrecipe #icingrecipe #frostingrecipe #buttercreamfrostingrecipe #howtomakefrosting #vanillafrostingrecipe

Vanilla Buttercream

4.98 from 35 votes
A light and fluffy vanilla buttercream


For the Buttercream

  • 2 cups (452g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 6 cups (750g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • 3-4 tbsp (57.75g) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp (8.4g) vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra ½ batch.


To prepare

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for about 2 to 3 minutes. This will soften the butter without it having to be warm.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, one cup at a time, mixing a little in between each addition.
  • With mixer on medium speed, add whipping cream, vanilla and salt.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. The frosting will become lighter in color and texture.
  • Before spreading on your cake, spend a couple minutes mixing the buttercream by hand with a wooden spoon to push out the air pockets.
Cuisine Buttercream
Course Dessert
Keyword easy buttercream recipe

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

Get my free cake decorating guide
Everything you need to know about decorating a cake like a pro!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I find buttercream always turns out tasting like too much powdered sugar, do you think the brand of powdered sugar makes a difference in taste? What brand do you use? Any other tips to cut the sweetness of the powdered sugar? Thank you.

    1. 5 stars
      I personally use salted butter instead of unsalted butter and that always seems to cut through all the sweetness when I make buttercream. It’s not excessive or super salty, just leave out the pinch of salt and taste it and if it’s still super sweet, add just a tiny touch of salt. Preferably kosher or sea salt. Iodized salt makes everything taste funny. American buttercream is always super sweet. If you wanna try one that isn’t as sweet Swiss meringue and French buttercream are really good alternatives, French buttercream does not have a white color though. It’s more yellow. But they’re both really good.

  2. 5 stars
    I have never liked my vanilla buttercream recipe, and whenever someone requests vanilla frosting I try to suggest another because its very sweet and not my best. I am SO EXCITED that I tried this recipe!!! Its so much more creamy and perfect than others I’ve tried. I think its more buttery than other recipes I’ve used and it reeaally makes a difference. I didn’t think vanilla buttercream recipes could be that different but THIS IS THE ONE!

  3. 5 stars
    I have made several other buttercream frostings over the years and yours is the first I actually loved! Clear instructions and wonderful results. Thank you!!!

  4. How long can I store the buttercream in the fridge before using to decorate a cake? How long should it stay out of the fridge for to soften before I use in piping bag? Thank you!!

  5. Hi Courtney,
    Can I color this buttercream with gel food color? About how much do you add between your layers? TIA!

  6. This recipe doesn’t really say how much this makes. It just says “enough to cover your cake”. What size cake would that be?

    1. This will make 6 cups of buttercream – enough to fill and cover a three layer 8inch cake or four layer 6inch cake.

  7. 4 stars
    This recipe tasted great! I found it to be really dense though. Would you recommend whipping it with the whisking attachment to make it fluffy or would that not work? Thank you!

    1. No I think pad is best, just make sure you beat it at a high speed for a few minutes to lighten the texture.

  8. Hi! I’ve tried this recipe a few times recently with beating the buttercream for 5 mins at the end, but no matter how much I try mixing it by hand, I always end up with a ton of air bubbles! Do you have anymore tips to keep the light and fluffy consistency but not have all the air bubbles? Do I need to mix a smaller amount by hand vs the whole bowl?
    Also, once I mix it for that long it ends up really, really soft, is that normal?

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Courtney, I make the American Buttercream with this recipe. But when I make the swiss meringue buttercream, I feel the difference. No matter how much you try, there still remains the very slight grains of powdered sugar in the Buttercream. I have eaten the cakes of professional bakers and I felt the same with their american buttercreams. Whereas SMBC is very silky smooth. Is there any method to have SMBC type feel with American buttercream. I am asking this because SMBC is EXPENSIVE to make. And I don’t know that I can freeze cake with it or not. Please solve this problem 🙂

  10. 5 stars
    This is my all time favorite buttercream! I’ve gotten so many comments about it being the perfect buttercream! My sweet spot is 3.5 tbsps of heavy whipping cream 🙂

    I have a KitchenAid 5 quart lift stand mixer, has anyone tried making 1.5 batches of buttercream at a time? I’m nervous to try more than 1 batch!

  11. 5 stars
    This is the best frosting i’ve ever made it goes on a cake so evenly,smooth,and perfect. The recipe is simple and easy to remember.

  12. If I frost the cake the night before serving it does the entire cake need to be refrigerated – bc of the heavy cream in the buttercream?