The best buttercream frosting is made with four ingredients: butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. This recipe is simple and sweet!

frosting bag piping buttercream frosting into glass jar

This is the best buttercream frosting recipe because it is simple, rich and perfectly sweet. All you need is four ingredients to make this frosting and you’ll be decorating your cakes in no time.

Buttercream frosting is a classic topping for cupcakes and cake. It even makes a good filling for whoopie pies and cookie sandwiches. Try this with my vanilla cupcakes or sugar cookie bars.

Why this buttercream frosting works: This frosting has been a go-to of mine for years because it is rich and creamy without being too sweet. It’s versatile so it works for many dessert recipes—decorate any cake or cupcake, frost cookies, sandwich whoopie pies—the list goes on! The ratio of butter and confectioners’ sugar is perfect while pure vanilla extract adds the right flavor. Milk works to achieve the perfect consistency for piping.

frosting ingredients in bowls

Ingredients

This frosting recipe calls for four ingredients: unsalted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and milk. Here is a breakdown of the ingredients.

  • Unsalted butter is the base for this frosting. Make sure it is at room temperature so when you have a nice creamy frosting.
  • Confectioners’ sugar adds sweetness to the frosting. Sift the sugar so there are no clumps and you obtain a smooth frosting.
  • Vanilla extract provides flavor to the frosting. Use pure vanilla extract (not imitation) for the best taste.
  • Milk thins the frosting slightly so it is easier to spread and pipe on your desserts.

Step by step instructions

Vanilla buttercream frosting is easy to make from scratch. Just follow these simple instructions:

  • Beat butter until smooth. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer for this step. Mix for about 3 minutes so some air is incorporated into the butter.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar. Spoon the sugar in with the butter while the mixer is running on low. Beat until incorporated, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add vanilla extract. Mix just until incorporated.
  • Add milk. Mix until desired consistency is reached.
glass jar filled with piped buttercream frosting

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to refrigerate buttercream frosting? No. Butter is safe to eat at room temperature (about 72 degrees). If it is warmer, the frosting with start to melt. Also the milk is stabilized by the sugar, which makes it safe to eat if left at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.

How to store frosting: Place frosting in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before use. If the frosting is in a piping bag, press out any air and tie the open end with a rubber band. Frosting may need to be rewhipped or kneaded before use.

Can you freeze buttercream frosting? Yes. Place frosting in a plastic freezer bag and press any air out. Seal the bag shut and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and using.

buttercream frosting piped onto vanilla cupcake

Related Recipes

Now’s your chance to put your frosting to good use! Try these recipes and frost away.

If you like this recipe, be sure tag @ifyougiveablondeakitchen on social media so I can see your frosted baking creations!

glass jar filled with piped buttercream frosting

Buttercream Frosting

The best buttercream frosting is made with four ingredients: butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and milk. This recipe is simple and sweet!
4.86 (7 ratings)

Ingredients

  • cup  (226 g or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, , room temperature
  • 2 1/2  cups  (300 g) confectioners' sugar, , sifted
  • teaspoons  pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch  salt
  • 1-2  tablespoons  milk,, room temperature

Instructions 

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the butter using the whisk attachment (the paddle works too). Beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add in the confectioners' sugar until completely incorporated.
  • With the mixer on medium speed, add the vanilla and salt, and beat for a minute, until fluffy. Add milk until desired consistency is reached.
  • Transfer to a frosting bag with tip and frost away!

Notes

Recommended tools
  • Stand mixer this makes beating frosting quick, easy and thorough
  • Whisk attachment – adds air to make your frosting fluffy
  • Piping bag and tips – This assortment will give you all kinds of creative options when piping your frosting
Storing buttercream frosting: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Bring to room temperature before using. When frosting is on a cake or cupcake it is safe to stay at room temperature for 2 or 3 days.
Freezing buttercream frosting: Transfer frosting to a freezer bag and remove all the air. Place in the freezer and store for up to a month. Defrosting in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature.
Calories: 168kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 21mg, Sodium: 71mg, Potassium: 2mg, Sugar: 24g, Vitamin A: 246IU, Calcium: 3mg, Iron: 1mg

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