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Easy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 10 min.


About 3 cups

After trying a few buttercream frosting recipes, this easy buttercream frosting takes the cake with its unmatchable homemade taste. With a few simple variations, you can come up with different colors and flavors. —Diana Wilson, Denver, Colorado


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons 2% milk


  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency.

Change up the flavor

Prepare the recipe as directed making the following substitutions:


Add 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon almond extract instead of the vanilla.


Use 4 cups confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup baking cocoa and 6-7 tablespoons milk.


Use 5-6 tablespoons lemon juice instead of the milk and 1 teaspoon grated peel.


Use 5-6 tablespoons orange juice instead of the milk and add 1 teaspoon grated orange peel.

Peanut Butter:

Use 1/2 cup peanut butter instead of the butter and use 6-8 tablespoons milk.


Use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract instead of the vanilla.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • When beating softened butter, wait until it's pale yellow and creamy before adding sugar.
  • For super fluffy frosting, beat a few extra minutes to incorporate a bit more air.
  • Save time: This frosting can be made ahead and refrigerated. Just bring it to room temperature and beat again before using.
  • Nutrition Facts

    2 tablespoons: 124 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 11mg cholesterol, 40mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 0 fiber), 0 protein.