Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
This is the lightest and fluffiest vanilla buttercream frosting. It’s perfect for frosting just about anything— cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more!
Are you a frosting person? I’m totally a frosting person. What’s under the frosting is important too, of course, but I definitely can appreciate a big pile of billowy frosting.
And for me that’s exactly what frosting should be like— light, creamy and cloud-like.
I’ve developed this vanilla buttercream frosting recipe over several years and too many cakes, cupcakes and cookies to count, and I feel pretty confident calling it the very best. Because it is!
WHAT’S THE SECRET?
There are two ingredients that really help make this frosting what it is— heavy whipping cream and just a touch of almond extract.
Using heavy whipping cream instead of milk, and then whipping it on high speed for several minutes really gives this frosting its light and fluffy texture. Turn your mixer on low for just a few moments until the ingredients come together, then turn it up to high and walk away for about 3 minutes. Come back, scrape down the bowl and whip it for another 1-2 minutes. It turns out perfectly whipped every time.
Almond extract is my other secret. I add a small amount, only 1/4 teaspoon. It’s not enough that the almond flavor comes through, but it gives the frosting a little something extra, and helps it taste kinda fancy.
How to use this whipped vanilla frosting
One recipe yields enough frosting for:
- Filling and frosting a double-layer 8 or 9-inch layer cake. If you have 3 or more cake layers, or want to do a lot of piping decoration, you may want to double this recipe or use another filling option for the cake.
- Frosting 24 regular cupcakes with a moderate amount of frosting per cupcake, or 12-15 cupcakes with a generous amount of frosting (as shown in this post).
- Frosting 24-36 sugar cookies.
Feel free to add food coloring as desired. You can also use other flavorings and other extracts.
This frosting is great for piping and decorating cakes and cupcakes. If the frosting starts getting too soft as you work with it, chill it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm it up.
If you’d like to make this frosting in advance, it can be stored in the fridge for at least 1 week and in the freezer for at least 1 month. Let it come back to room temperature, then beat for 1-2 minutes until fluffy again.
baking tip:How to frost like a pro
I am not an expert when it comes to decorating with icing. I know my limitations. But I also know how to fake it and make it look like I know what I’m doing. How do I do it?
- I always sift my powdered sugar before making the frosting, ensuring it’s smooth and lump-free
- I use gel food coloring instead of liquid, resulting in vivid colors. Look for gel food coloring in a craft or baking supply store, or buy online.
- I use a piping bag with plain and star tips, which go a long way to make my decorations looks professional.
Watch the video
Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar (1 lb, 455 grams), sifted after measuring
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks, 226 grams), at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract , optional, but highly recommended!
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand-held mixer, mix all of the ingredients on low speed until it starts to come together.
- Increase speed to high and beat for 4-5 minutes until frosting is fluffy, pausing once or twice to scrape the bowl down.
- (Optional Step) The frosting will be very airy with lots of bubbles. To achieve a smooth frosting, beat it with a wooden spoon by hand for 2-3 minutes. This will push all of those air bubbles out.
- Use frosting as desired to cover cakes, cupcakes, cookies, etc. This is enough frosting for a double layer 8 or 9-inch cake, 2 dozen cupcakes, or 2 dozen 4-inch cookies.
- Store frosting at room temperature for 1-2 days, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to several months.
This post was originally published April 2016.
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134 Comments on “Whipped Vanilla Buttercream Frosting”
Great almond extract tip — I love almond flavor so much I’d be tempted to add a little more 🙂
Thanks Sue! Add as much as you want! 🙂
This turned out perfect. Now it is my go to!
This is a very good frosting!! Made it yesterday for Super Bowl cupcakes. I have one question, does the frosted cupcake need to be refrigerated because of the heavy cream? How about if used on cake does it need refrigeration?
Nope! There’s not very much cream and all that sugar acts as a preservative. 🙂
This is amazing! I have made a similar one but always guessed. I can’t wait to see how our Easter bunch likes it :)!
Frosting is great! Anyone who is looking for a very tasty buttercream with a creamy texture, you have come to the right place. Press print and saved! Mary Ann from NH
I am looking forward to making this frosting; it looks perfect!
Talk about some fluffy frosting! Can’t wait to try it!!
It’s a tie between cookie dough and frosting, which one is my favorite food group. Floofy bakery frosting, but not cheap, greasy grocery store bakery frosting, is absolute perfection. Like, Reams and Smith’s do NOT have good frosting, but Harmons and Whole Foods do. Sweet Tooth Fairy has excellent frosting. Oh, and Costco’s is really good. It must be about a 1:1 frosting to cookie ratio to be any use to me. In conclusion, yours looks spectacular. Absolutely mouthwatering. Saving this recipe. Thanks!
Oh, how I miss Harmons, Whole Foods and Sweet Tooth Fairy! And I agree, a 1:1 ratio is an absolute must. Thanks Erin!
I have always loved almond extract in my frosting. I do this very same recipe. I have also always found that using almond extract seems to make the frosting whip up fluffier than vanilla extract. I always add just a touch to every frosting recipe for just this reason. I wonder why this is?
I love your name. My daughter is also named Annaliese. Just spelled different!
Awe, thank you 🙂
I’m planning to make my daughter’s birthday cake. But I’m afraid I won’t have time to both make and spread the frosting the day of since it will be an early brunch. So, do you think I can prepare this one day before and spread it on the next day? Or even better, can I both make and spread it the day before? Or will it be too hard/not tasty/etc?
Yes, you can prep the frosting in advance. It will keep on the counter overnight, in the fridge for 1-2 weeks and frozen for several months. Just give it a good whip before frosting the cake to get it all nice and fluffy again. You can also frost the cake the day before if you like and store it in the fridge overnight to keep it firm. Just pull it out 30-60 minutes before serving. Hope this helps!
My daughter is allergic to almonds, is there something else you would recommend to use in its place?
You can just leave out the almond extract. Add more vanilla extract, if desired.
I am also allergic to almonds…all tree nuts sadly. I have found that I am not allergic to the artificial almond flavoring. I’m going to try some of the McCormick flavoring to see if that one is ok for me. I’m not saying all artificial flavorings she might not be allergic too though, use caution and if you are ever curious. Sometimes I just take tiny bites a little at a time and let those set in before I take another bite. Usually if I’m allergic to it my mouth swells before I even swallow that bite. It’s taken me 35 years to figure out what I can have and what I need to stay away from (mostly). Good luck! Maybe you could find an almond flavoring that works. I’m going to go buy some just to try this recipe! I tried it with just the vanilla and it’s lacking a little something.
If I use this recipe on cutout cookies, will the frosting set up or get hard so I can package the cookies on top of one another?
Hi Pauline! The frosting will form a crust after the cookies have set up for a while, however it won’t harden completely and they probably won’t stack very well. If you want a hard frosting, do a search online for royal icing. Hope this helps!
Does this have the same taste as to regular buttercream frosting?
It most likely does but the almond extract does change the flavor a tad but that why you should only add 1/4 teaspoon
can I use 1% milk instead of cream because I don’t have any cream on hand. thanks! looks delicious
Hi Maya! You can use 1% milk but just know that the frosting won’t be quite as creamy and rich. Start with 3 tablespoons and add more as needed.
wow thanks for writing back so quickly! thanks! I love your page! best one I’ve seen so far!!
hi I have another question! why do you put all of the ingredients in together? is there a specific reason?
You mean as opposed to mixing some first and adding others later? I’ve found no need to do it that way, so it’s just easy to dump it all in at once.
Is anyone else’s buttercream very air bubbly. Whenever I frost cakes, it’s never smooth and I always have air bubbles and holes in my frosting. Love this recipe but hate the air bubbles! Anyone know what I’m doing wrong!!!
Hi Kristin! This particular frosting is light and airy on purpose, and I’m sorry it’s not what you’re looking for. You can always try to find another recipe online (maybe one that doesn’t have “Whipped” in the title?). You could also use this recipe, but not beat it at such high speed for so long. Beat it for only 1-2 minutes, and note that you may need to adjust the liquid amount to get the consistency you want. Hope this helps!
Hey I was wondering if this is extra sweet? I love buttercream but not the sweetness. So if I whip the cream into it will it cut the sweet back ? And I don’t really like boiled milk frosting so I figured I’ll ask about this. Thank you
Hi Alina, yes this is pretty sweet. It’s lighter in texture, but still a classic sweet buttercream recipe. Maybe you should try something like Italian meringue buttercream?
Can this frosting be piped onto cupcakes or the texture too light? Thanks!
Can I cover over it with fondant?
I don’t have any experience working with fondant, sorry! But I do believe people frost cakes with a buttercream frosting similar to this before covering it with fondant? Perhaps another reader will be able to help you out.
Heyy can i use this to decorate my cupcakes
Hey, I’m planning on making this for my brother’s birthday cake, which I’m making a day in advance. Would this hold for a layered cake filling?
Absolutely! I use this frosting on layer cakes all the time.
Used this frosting for my sons birthday cake (Chocolate cake with edible cookie dough filling) and it was THE BEST FROSTING IVE EVER MADE. I mean, I got compliments all day long! Thank you for sharing such a great recipe and I can’t wait to try some others!
Do I need to use a clear vanilla if I want the frosting to be more on the white side or will regular brown vanilla work?
I used regular vanilla for the frosting pictured here, and it’s what I always use unless I’m frosting a wedding cake. It’s such a small difference in color. Of course, feel free to use either per your preferences. 🙂
Hi- can you add food coloring to this frosting?
Absolutely! I prefer gel food colorings over liquid, but whatever you have will work!
Hello Annalise, do you mind if we share your gorgeous photo of the buttercream with full credits and link back to you?
Of course not, share away! 🙂
Thank you so much! I don’t know how you keep the mess contained enough to take such beautiful photos, but job well done!
Is this stiff enough to.pipe??
Can I mix in cocoa powder?
If you’d like to make this a chocolate buttercream, I would suggest adding cooled melted chocolate instead. It’s been a while since I’ve made it so I’m not exactly sure of the amount. Maybe 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate?
Would cutting down the sugar by 2 cups affect the recipe? 4 cups sounds too sweet.
Classic American buttercream is very sweet, I will agree with you on that! But I think the ratios here are standard for this type of recipe. If you’d like to reduce the sugar amount, just note that you’ll yield a lot less frosting and you’ll need less heavy cream. Add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the results you want. The frosting may also have a slightly more buttery flavor and texture.
I tried to cut down the sugar because I’m sensitive to it and I hate overly sweet stuff and it doesn’t work. It leaves the frosting greasy and lumpy. You need the full sugar to make the frosting smooth and pretty. The consistence is really nice, but it’s too sweet for my preference. I prefer the flour and milk frosting recipes.
Hii thanks was looking for such recipe that combines butter n whipped cream rather than shortening. Thanks i think i would definitely try it out. But would like to know if this butter cream would hold shapes for the purpose of decoration on cake?? Please help thanks.
Yes, this is a classic buttercream recipe so it will hold it’s shape fine for decorating. 🙂
Can I use a hand mixer instead?
Hi. Please the whipping cream I know if is powdered. How can I use it for d frosting? Thanks
If you don’t have access to traditional heavy whipping cream, you can use milk instead.
I used this recipe for my son’s first birthday cupcakes. The family loved it and I’ve had many requests for the recipe which I gladly shared. I also used it on my son’s smash cake and the frosting is the only part he was interested in eating!
Are the 4 cups of powdered sugar before sifting or after?
Wow, its so amazing but i have found new recipe that a really very looking nice and good , why are you wait , i give to all of you : https://www.sooperchef.pk/chocolate-chip-muffin-recipe/
My favorite thing to bake is cupcakes!
Looking to use this for my macarons. And maybe add puréed strawberries, would you recommend this? What is the best practice to add flavor?
I overlooked sifting the powdered sugar. This frosting is absolutely easy & delicious. It is so creamy. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Ugh- I love the taste of this frosting but it is super soft. How can I stiffen it? I need this for a wedding cake I’m working on. I’m worried that the tiers are going to slide while transporting. It’s an hour drive.
I wonder if your butter was too warm when you made it? You can put the frosting in the fridge for 15ish minutes to firm it up, then beat it again. I have never had a problem with this frosting being too soft, it should be the same consistency of traditional buttercream frosting. Also, be sure the cake layers are completely chilled before transporting and that the car stays cool.
I am on a search for my signature vanilla buttercream. I made this this week and it resulted in the most professional looking cupcakes I’ve ever made. I used vanilla paste instead of extract and it worked fine.
The taste isn’t 100% what I was looking for but that’s just me. Tasted more buttery than I expected and not at all like whipped cream. I think I was looking for something that tasted in between whipped cream and frosting.
However it piped amazingly well, was smooth and shiny and I will use it when I want really pretty cupcakes.
A question: how do you get the perfect finish to your piping? I mean that perfect little peak in the middle. I had to cheat and throw a few blueberries in the middle of mine.
I haven’t made this yet. Maybe you could substitute a block of cream cheese instead of the butter. ?? I did find this recipe. Maybe it’ll be more like what you’re looking for.
Yes, this recipe is a whipped buttercream, not whipped cream buttercream. If you want something more like whipped cream, you could always fold in some whipped cream into the frosting. And if your frosting is too stiff to get that peak when you pipe, thin it out with a little heavy cream. I hope this helps!
I made this recipe last night. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! I had no problems at all. Set up perfectly! I only used the vanilla, but next time I will definitely try the almond extract. I’ve never used almond before. Do you use both when you make it?
Wonderful! Thanks so much for the feedback, Jackie. 🙂 Yes, I do use both extracts when I make it. The vanilla is the star, but I like the little “secret something” that a bit of almond extract adds.
I just made this for my daughter’s birthday cake. I didn’t have almond extract so I used 1/4 tsp coconut and 1/4 tsp caramel extract. Super easy and it is so so SO good!!! Thank you for sharing!
I made this frosting a couple hours ago and when I offered my family a taste, their eyes popped open in shocked delight. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I would like to know if i could use non dairy whipping cream instead of heavy cream. Thanks in advance ?
I would imagine so, though I haven’t tested it myself.
What much would you say this makes. Because I don’t want to much and I don’t want not enough. I am going to make a 2 layered cake.
It yields 6 cups. It should be enough to fill and frost an 8 or 9-inch 2 layered cake, but just barely.
I’ve made this recipe for cookies and it’s amazing! Everyone kept complimenting the frosting ? I plan on making it again but for cupcakes, do you know about how many cupcakes I could frost? Thanks!
This looks great. I make a similar frosting with heavy cream but never thought to add the little bit of almond extract. I will have to give that a try next time. Thanks for the tips!
I also want to say I really like your site layout and writing style. Your pictures are amazing also. I am hungry just looking through the images on your front page. Keep it up!
Hi, is this frosting sturdy enough to make and hold rosetts covered cake?
Adding cold whipping cream to butter will be the reason for curdle frosting. Do you have any recommendation for me?
Thank you so much!
Never had an issue with curdling! Since it’s such a small amount of cream it shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe just keep beating and it will come back together?
I will use this as buttercream for my cake and then cover with fondant. How far in advance will the frosting stay if covered with fondant at room temp? Just wondering if I could make it today for a cake served Saturday?
The frosting will keep at room temp just fine for several days without spoiling. You may want to refrigerate it just to help it keep it’s shape and keep it safe and put away, but that’s up to you!
This looks delicious but I’d like to know if its ok to freeze it
Yes, okay to freeze!
I would love to use this recipe but can I use food coloring to color the frosting without losing the fluffy texture? Thank you in advance.
Absolutely! Food color won’t affect flavor or texture. I recommend gel food colorings over liquid colorings.
Excellent, thanks for sharing
I tried 3 other recipes and failed badly then I found yours and it worked out perfect for me….. Thank you so much for the help you provide in the recipe and the recipe itself … Loved it so much
So happy to hear you loved this recipe! Thanks!
Hello! I love this recipe but I would like to know if you think it will stand up and not melt under fondant for a wedding cake? Thank you!
Hi Sarah! This is like any other standard american buttercream frosting, so you can use it like you’d use any other! I haven’t ever worked with fondant so I haven’t tested that specific use, but I imagine it would work just fine?
I make cupcakes for fundraising and everyone loves this buttercream. I will never use another recipe again. Super creamy, not too sweet and holds up great.
I love love love this frosting! I’ve used it on cakes and cupcakes it’s the best I’ve used!
Deliciously light and fluffy. Best recipe I’ve tried.
Keeping grandchildren’s fingers out, (and mine) was the hardest part. Made a lemon, blueberry pound cake to frost. Added fresh sliced strawberries and blueberries as a garnishment.
Did this icing for birthday cake. Easy to make (I use a standing mixer). Step 2 and 3 are important to take note. Thank you Annalise.
Can we replace heavy cream with regular low fat dairy cream
That should be fine, though you may get less volume and fluffiness in your frosting.
How do you thicken?
Hi I liked this your whipped butter cream recipe but I want to ask can I use it to frost a 3tier cake covered with fondant. I also don’t live in a cold region your advice please
Sure! This will work find underneath a fondant frosting.
Thanks for the recipe! This is my favorite recipe for a quick, easy delicious frosting.
Will this frosting flavor well? I want to add a little bit of blueberry reduction to make a blueberry filling. I was also wanting to add lemon juice and zest to make a lemon flavored buttercream. Do you think lemon juice will thin it out too much? or should I consider lemon extract?
It was nice a thick 2 stick of butter was to much for my liking so nxt time i will use only one and a lil more of heavy whip
I’ve tried several of your cake recipes and they do not disappoint!
Question: I’m making your lemon cake, but a lemon buttercream was requested instead of the swiss meringue buttercream in your recipe..what do I add to this buttercream to give it the lemon flavor?
Thanks so much!
Hi Rebekah! You can add lemon extract or baking oil/essence, or you could also try adding some lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice. I can’t give specific amounts but small and add more if needed. Good luck!
Hi Annalise, I just came across your page while looking for a way to incorporate whipped cream in buttercream, and here it is. But the problem is I only have access to whipped cream powder. Can you please help me out? It’s urgent
I haven’t tested this with whipped cream powder, so I’m afraid I can’t make any recommendations. I would suggest searching google for recipes that use this ingredient. Good luck!
I only need 2 cups frosting. Do I just cut recipe in half?
Yes! This recipe scales up and down really well.
I must have done something wrong . I don’t see this as light and fluffy at all. Everything was room temperature. Maybe i just had the wrong expectations
I was wondering if this recipe works for a cake I want to cover with fondant
It looks so good and would love to use it!
Does the sugar have to be exact amount? What is the least amount to be added? I only use like 20g sugar for 100g butter on my normal buttercream frosting. TIA
I have only used the recipe here as written and for me it’s the perfect balance of flavor and consistency. You are welcome to play around with ratios if you like, but I don’t have any tested recommendations to suggest you start with.
Followed recipe exactly. Delicious! Spread nicely on cake and also easily piped some of the frosting that I colored.
I have two questions. First is can I use regular salted butter, and second is I am making pinapple prosecco cupcakes with prosecco buttercream. Do you think it would be ok to add a little prosecco, or do you think it will curdle the cream? I need these cupcakes later today so please respond ASAP!! Thanks
Yes, you can use salted butter but consider reducing the amount of salt you add. And I’m not sure about adding prosecco as I haven’t tried it. I’d add a teaspoon at a time to see how the consistency holds up to it.
Hello mam…. Is this buttercream stable in hot temperature… Please reply I would love to try it
Hello! The melting point of butter is at about 90°F, but I would be careful not to leave it out in temperatures above 80°F for long. If you have to have it out when it’s hot, I recommend chilling the frosted cake/cupcakes/etc completely in the fridge first. Hope this helps!
This has been my go-to icing recipe for several years. Today I tried using lemon extract instead of almond (I used 1t), and added the juice of one lemon. I also added an additional 1/2c icing sugar to compensate for the lemon juice. Delightfully tangy and fluffy lemon icing!
Love the sound of this lemon variation!
I’ve been wanting to try a whipped buttercream frosting and this one was perfect and delicious!
Can I use plant based half and half instead of whipping cream? If not what worse to you recommend?
I haven’t tested the recipe with non-dairy substitutes but I imagine it will work just fine.
Delicious frosting on my Easter sheet cake! Did not have heavy cream so I used half and half and a little extra butter!
Made recipe exactly as written and it is Awesome! The almond extract as you suggested, adds to the taste. A Must! Thanks for the recipe!
This is my go-to icing recipe. It’s delicious and turns out perfectly every time.
Was sceptical in this recipe at first as being a new Baker. I needed not to have worried as its absolutely gorgeous. If you do make this the almond essence is a must.
Made this as per the dir3ctions including the almond. The taste is excellent. One thing is I had to add some extra cream as it was a little stiff and too dry. Other than that this is so easy to make and very delicious.