This is the best Vanilla Frosting Recipe! This buttercream frosting is ultra-creamy, super fluffy, and perfectly flavored with vanilla extract!
What is the difference between icing and frosting?
Although icing and frosting are similar, there are a couple of key differences!
Both icing and frosting are made up of powdered sugar, milk or cream, and vanilla extract. Frosting, however, has the addition of butter.
The ratios of the ingredients are also different. Icing is more liquid-y and has to set. Frosting is thicker and has more structure.
Today, we’re making vanilla buttercream frosting…and it’s so good!
- Unsalted Butter – the base for the frosting. Whipped to make it light and fluffy.
- Powdered Sugar – sweetens and thickens the frosting to give it structure.
- Salt – cuts the sweetness and brings out the vanilla flavor.
- Heavy Cream – makes the frosting extra creamy and thins it out slightly so it’s not too dry or thick from the powdered sugar.
- Vanilla Extract – gives the frosting that signature warm vanilla flavor.
How to make
This vanilla frosting recipe comes together in just 5 minutes!
- Use your stand mixer or hand mixer to beat butter for 60 seconds. Beat in powdered sugar and salt.
- Slowly pour in heavy cream and vanilla, beat until well combined and fluffy, then refrigerate until you’re ready to use!
Do you have to use vanilla extract?
Not necessarily. Vanilla extract is what gives this frosting its signature vanilla flavor but you can definitely flavor it with other things as well.
- Maple Syrup will add warmth but it’s sweeter than vanilla extract, so start with less and add more as needed.
- Almond Extract will add a similar flavor profile to vanilla extract but is more potent. Again, start with less and add more as needed.
- Bourbon has notes of vanilla and caramel so it will provide similar flavors. Start with a very small amount of bourbon and add more to taste.
How do you make frosting fluffy?
The key to making your frosting fluffy is to use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the ingredients in.
This whips them better than hand mixing does which results in lighter, fluffier frosting.
Why is my frosting clumpy?
Here are a couple of ways you can make sure your frosting is smooth, not clumpy:
- Sift the powdered sugar. Sifting the powdered sugar through a sieve ensures that there are no clumps in it before you mix it in with the rest of your ingredients.
- Use an electric mixer. Although you can hand mix your frosting, using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer really works the frosting and gets out any clumps.
How to serve vanilla frosting
Aside from just shoveling this frosting into your mouth with a spoon, there are a few other ways you can serve it. 😉
- On cookies. Spread it on your favorite chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, or sugar cookies.
- On cupcakes. Try it on strawberry cupcakes, chocolate hazelnut banana cupcakes, or even pumpkin cupcakes!
- As a dip. Serve it in a bowl next to pretzels, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, teddy grahams, etc.
- With fruit. Try it on apple slices, strawberries, raspberries, or even banana!
How to store
Leftover frosting will last for up to 1 month in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
To enjoy again, use straight from the fridge or thaw in the fridge if frozen.
The Best Vanilla Frosting Recipe
Equipment for this recipe
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Using your stand (or hand) mixer, beat butter for 60 seconds in a bowl.
- Beat in powdered sugar and salt slowly.
- Slowly pour in heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined and fluffy.
- Ready to frost or refrigerate!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.