Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

By Shiran

This is the simplest, most classic buttercream recipe. Since I consider buttercream to be a bit too sweet, I add a pinch of salt and lemon juice to cut down on some of that sweetness. However, if you prefer it sweeter, you can choose to omit these ingredients.

Add powdered sugar just to the point where the buttercream is stiff enough to pipe.

Vanilla Cupcakes


5.0 from 1 reviews

Basic Vanilla Buttercream
Yields: 1 cup, enough to frost 12 cupcakes

  • ½ cup (113 g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ – 2½ cups (180-280 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1½ tablespoons heavy cream (my preference) or whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and salt on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Add 1.5 cups sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition until smooth. Add cream/milk, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat until smooth and fluffy. Beat in more sugar as needed, until desired consistency (thick enough to pipe).

*Salt and lemon juice are added to cut sweetness and are optional. Depending on your personal taste, you can add more or omit entirely.



10 Comments on Basic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. Marta
    March 5, 2016 at 11:37 pm (1 year ago)

    I made this buttercream and it came out perfect for piping. I would like to use this recipe but with chocolate. Can I add cocoa if so how much?

    • Shiran
      March 6, 2016 at 6:37 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Marta! For my favorite chocolate frosting click here. It’s a bit softer but also great for piping. If you still want to try using this recipe – add to it unsweetened cocoa powder or melted dark chocolate (and I suggest to also reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 teaspoon and skip the lemon juice).

  2. Jezenia
    March 27, 2016 at 7:44 pm (12 months ago)

    Will the lemon juice make the frosting tangy?

    • Shiran
      March 28, 2016 at 4:06 am (12 months ago)

      Both salt and lemon juice are added to cut sweetness and are optional. You won’t be able to taste the lemon juice in the frosting.

  3. Bea
    April 24, 2016 at 4:16 pm (11 months ago)

    I want to use this frosting recipe for a two layered cake, but I’m not sure if this quantity will be enough. Should I double the recipe?

    • Shiran
      April 25, 2016 at 6:56 am (11 months ago)

      Yes, you should double the recipe 🙂

  4. Yolanda
    October 4, 2016 at 5:35 pm (6 months ago)

    I will be trying this recipe tomorrow night with your chocolate cupcakes. I’m doing a test run for my son’s birthday party in two weeks. Do you have any other recipes where the frosting isn’t too sweet. I find buttercream way way too sweet so I’m excited to give this a try. Also, can cupcakes sit at room temperature once frosted with this?

    • Shiran
      October 5, 2016 at 6:10 am (6 months ago)

      Hi Yolanda, classic buttercream is indeed sweet, but I add a bit of salt and lemon juice to cut down on some of the sweetness. My recipe for cream cheese frosting is a bit less sweet and tastes amazing if you prefer to try it.

  5. Korina
    December 19, 2016 at 8:00 pm (3 months ago)

    hi just out of curiosity how do you get the little black specks in the icing ?

    • Shiran
      December 21, 2016 at 8:00 am (3 months ago)

      Hi Korina, sometimes I use vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. The seeds are these little specks.


Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: