The Best Buttercream Icing Recipe, like ever.

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Buttercream frosting is the classic topping for cakes and cupcakes. This tried and true buttercream recipe will wow you and become a staple in your baking!

vanilla cake with heart shaped sprinkles decoration


Every time I make this buttercream frosting recipe, my boys are smitten.  It’s so much better than any store bought frosting.  It honestly can’t even compare.  

I’ve used it on so many cakes and cupcakes over the years that there just isn’t anything else I could imagine using. 

Before we get to the recipe, let me touch on a few tips and questions:

Tips for making this Homemade Vanilla Icing Recipe:

Do I need to melt the butter?

No. Don’t ever melt the butter. The butter needs to be soft but not liquid.

Be sure your butter is soft as in room-temperature soft.  Take your butter out of the fridge several hours before you make this frosting.

Do I need to sift my powdered sugar?

Yes if you want a very smooth frosting.  If you are going to use it under fondant or you are just short on time, that’s fine.  Just know that it might have a few lumps and bumps in your finished product.  If I’m making this just for family, I’ll oftentimes skip sifting the sugar.  However, if I am making it for an event or and extended family get-together, then I’ll definitely sift it.

Can I color this frosting?

Absolutely.  Just add a few drops of food coloring at a time to get the desired color.

Can I use this buttercream to pipe decorative details?

You’ll notice that this recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk.  It makes a very soft buttercream so piping intricate details is not advisable.  If you need a stiffer buttercream, add the milk very slowly in increments of 2TBS at a time until you get the consistency you’re looking for.  As is, the recipe is perfect for frosting cupcakes and layer cakes.  It’s soft and fluffy!

What are the best tools to use with this buttercream recipe?

I generally use a very large Wilton piping tip for cupcakes, either the large round tip or the star tip for a ridged design.  

To frost a cake, I use these pastry spatulas. Having a revolving stand would be a big help too!

Now, let’s get to the actual recipe!

vanilla upcake with sparkler decoration


The Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe

The Best Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This soft and fluffy buttercream frosting is perfect for making delicious cakes and cupcakes! It will become a staple in your baking repertoire!


  • 8 cups of Powdered Sugar, sifted
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup Milk


  1. Cream 1/2 of the sugar with butter.
  2. Add vanilla and milk.
  3. Beat of medium speed in your electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Add 1/2 of the remaining sugar. Beat for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the rest of the powdered sugar. Beat for 2 more minutes.


Use 8 Cups of Sugar for a thinner icing. If you want it thicker, add additional sugar until it reaches the consistency you want.

This recipe is for the general frosting of cakes and cupcakes. For more detailed piping work, use less milk to create a stiffer icing.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 16 Serving Size: 2 TBS
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 321Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 96mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 0gSugar: 54gProtein: 0g

 I hope you will forever love and cherish this vanilla buttercream icing recipe.

The streets of heaven will be lined with this Buttercream frosting.

I just know it.



cake with heart shaped sprinkles decorationcupcake with vanilla icing

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  1. I am sorry – I can’t read this right now. I have the worst weakness for yummy icing. I was just on the phone with my mom talking about pumpkin bars and this will go perfect on top of them – for sure. So I will pin it for a day when I decide I have earned the calories. The peach cobbler from last week made my jeans tight!

  2. I’m from Australia .. can someone please tell me what ‘one stick’ of butter equates to in grams … or even ounces which I can convert ! We buy butter usually in a block of 250gms here.

      1. The recipe is great, the only thing I would change is the powdered sugar!! The one we buy ! It has a lot of not so good tasting cornstarch!!! I suggest you grind your own sugar at home.

  3. Recipie looks yummy but am in the uk what is two sticks of butter in grams or oz please

  4. I just pinned this to try! 🙂
    For Beatrix and Lisa: a “stick of butter” is a 1/2 cup in America. Each stick of butter is 4 ounces, or 113 grams. So for this recipe since it calls for 2 sticks of butter, you’d need 8 ounces or 226 grams. I hope that helps!

  5. With this much milk in the recipe does it have to be refrigerated then? Not just leftovers but whatever you ice as well?

  6. what if you wanted this to be a chocolate buttercream?
    How could you do it?? Or could you??

    1. I guess you can try adding some Cocoa Powder to it, Nancy, but I’ve never actually tried it!

      I’ve thought about it, though, so maybe that should be my next project! 🙂

      1. You might try melting the solid cooking chocolate, melt in a double boiler on low heat, stirring. Let it sit aside to cool some. Whip the butter cream, slowly incorporating the chocolate. Start with a small amount. Add more ‘to taste’.

  7. I made this today! It is absolutely heavenly!! I did add a tsp. of Almond extract. It is delicious, thank you so much for sharing this little piece of paradise.

    1. Oh, I’m SO glad to hear that, Stacy! I’ll have to try it with almond extract sometime. Sounds amazing!

  8. This looks yummy!! I am just wondering how much icing does the 8-10 cups of icing sugar yield?

    1. Hi Dee! I”m not entirely sure, but I do know it should be enough to ice a 2 layer cake. I hope that helps!

  9. Does this icing need to be refrigerated? Thanks for your help!

    PS: … it is D.LI.CIOUS!!!

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