We all need a quick, easy, and fluffy vanilla frosting recipe in our back pockets, and this basic buttercream is it. The ingredients can be counted on one hand, and it can be made in 10 minutes.
How to Make Perfect Buttercream Frosting
The difference between a buttercream that’s just okay, maybe a little dense or grainy, and one that is smooth and super fluffy is the method. Here's what to do:
- Add the powdered sugar to the butter in two stages
- Beat the sugar and butter together for a full minute after each addition
- Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl so everything is well mixed
- Use heavy whipping cream instead of milk or half-and-half. It’s great for thinning out a too-stiff frosting without sacrificing body.
How to Store Buttercream
Store the buttercream in an airtight container (I love to use quart-sized deli containers) and refrigerate for up to four days or freeze for up to one month.
After refrigerating or freezing the frosting, bring it back to room temperature by leaving the container on the counter for about an hour if it was refrigerated, or several hours if the frosting was frozen.
You can also transfer frozen frosting from the freezer to the refrigerator 24 hours before you need it, then bring it to room temperature on the counter for an hour. Rewhip the previously frozen frosting to make it fluffy and spreadable.
More Great Frosting Recipes
- Looking for a light fluffy frosting? Try Swiss Meringue!
- Prefer tangy frosting? Try this Extra Rich Chocolate Frosting made with sour cream.
- This easy Vegan Chocolate Frosting is loved by all!
- Cream Cheese Frosting makes the world go ’round.
Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
- 2-4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
Beat the butter
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer) beat the butter until creamy.
Add the sugar and a little cream
Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Mix on low until the powdered sugar is incorporated into the butter, scrape down the sides, then turn up the mixer to high and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and another 1 tablespoon of cream.
Add the extract and salt
Add the vanilla and salt and beat to combine. If the buttercream seems too stiff, beat in an additional 1-2 tablespoons of cream at a time. You want it to hold a peak, but be soft enough to spread with little effort.