Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Double vanilla in this very vanilla buttercream frosting makes it completely irresistible. It’s perfect on cookies, cakes, and anything else.
Why you’ll love it: It’s beautiful and delicious!
How long it takes: 10 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: Mixing bowl, mixer, scraper
Servings: 1 1/2 cups
Remember the Spiked Irish Cream Buttercream that I made the other day? I made this the same day. I was having a buttercream party. For one.
I highly recommend you do the same.
Sharing is good too though. I guess.
Okay, a lot obsessed.
I might have even thanked God for them on Thanksgiving. Don’t judge.
I think I like this buttercream even better (gasp!) than its spiked sister. Maybe that has to do with the vanilla bean obsession. This version isn’t quite as sweet as the Irish cream frosting either–it boasts a more delicate muted flavor.
I made this special heart-shaped cookie for my hubs. Wife of the year award goes to me, right? Okay–this is store-bought dough, I confess. I just cut off a round and then shaved off some from the sides and from the middle to make it a heart. Maybe I just wanted to eat some of the raw dough. Maybe I’m not wife of the year. Maybe my husband can’t tell the difference between a store-bought cookie and a homemade cookie. Maybe I’m BUSY! Let’s be real though:
Who cares if the vessel is store-bought? Or made of metal. (I’m talking about a spoon, people!)
As always, you’ll find the printable recipe with measurements at the end of this post.
What you’ll need to make this frosting
- Butter: Unsalted butter is best but salted butter will do if that’s all you happen to have at the moment. Make sure your butter is softened. Take it out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for an hour or two.
- Vanilla: I’ve doubled up the vanilla in this frosting, making it “very vanilla.” Use pure vanilla extract and scrape the seeds from two vanilla pods. So good! If you don’t have vanilla pods, that’s okay, though, just increase the amount of the vanilla extract to two teaspoons.
- Confectioner’s Sugar: You may know it as powdered sugar. Same thing. Spoon it out of the bag or canister into a measuring cup to get a proper measure.
- Milk, Cream, or Half-and-Half: It doesn’t matter which you choose, really, but you need a little something (a couple of tablespoons) to get a good consistency.
How to make This Frosting
It’s really easy! Use an electric mixer or you’ll need quite a lot of muscle power!
Add the softened butter, vanilla (both kinds), and milk to a medium sized bowl. Blend them together until creamy.
One cup at a time, add the powdered sugar, beating well after each addition, until the frosting is just the consistency you want.
Tip: To make frosting thicker, add more confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. To make frosting thinner or softer, add more milk, a teaspoon at a time.
If you’re planning on using a pastry bag with a tip to make fancy designs like I did in the photos, you’ll want the frosting to be thicker so it holds its shape. If you’re spreading it on a cake, the frosting should be a little softer so it’s more spreadable.
I really don’t think you can overbeat this frosting. When it’s smooth and creamy, just stop your mixer. It’s easy to tell when it’s ready.
If you plan on eating the frosting soon, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated unless it’s a very warm day. It will hold its shape best if it’s cool so if you’re not planning on eating it right away, I would refrigerate it.
There’s a couple of reasons why your buttercream may be too soft. If the butter you used was melted or super soft, it could cause your frosting to be runny. Try refrigerating the frosting until it hardens, and then beating it again briefly.
Another reason for runny frosting: You added too much milk or cream. Try beating in more powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. It’s always best to be cautious when adding liquid to buttercream frosting. It doesn’t take much to make the frosting too thin and you’ll have to add a LOT of powdered sugar to compensate.
Storage Tips/Make Ahead
Buttercream frosting will keep in the fridge in a tightly covered container for up to a week or in the freezer for three months.
When you’re ready to use the frosting, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if it’s frozen. Refrigerated frosting may be stiff too. Just let it rest on the counter for an hour or two before using.
The frosting may deflate a bit. No worries, just use your mixer to whip it briefly until it has a good spreading consistency.
More great frosting recipes
Homemade frosting is easy and delicious! Why use canned frosting when homemade is so much better? Try:
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Orange Creamsicle Buttercream with Vanilla Beans
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter softened (see note)
- the seeds of two vanilla beans (or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste)
- 2 tablespoons milk or cream
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla, and milk.
- One cup at a time, add powdered sugar until you achieve desired consistency. You’ll want it a little stiffer/thicker for piping.
- Yield: 1 1/2 cups, enough for a 9×13 cake or 12 cupcakes. Double recipe for a layer cake.
- Butter should be fairly firm, not completely mushy.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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