Best Vanilla Buttercream

  • Yield: 3 cups

I know saying any recipe is the best is a big promise but this frosting delivers. Most buttercreams are cloyingly sweet—not this one. It has just enough sugar to make it worthy of icing a birthday cake, but not so much that you can’t finish eating a whole slice.


3sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/4cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
3tablespoons heavy whipping cream


  1. Add the butter to a large bowl and beat on high until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and vanilla. Start out mixing on low speed until all the sugar is incorporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and beat until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, and beat on high for 4 minutes more. Use immediately, or store in a tightly covered container, in a cool dry place, for up to 2 days. Stir vigorously with a butter knife or offset spatula to fluff the frosting back up before using.

Sometimes plain white frosting just won’t do. Before committing your whole batch to a shade, use a half cup as a tester to figure out how many drops you need to get the color you want. When it comes to food coloring, I prefer the gel types, because a little goes a long way and they don’t water down or affect the flavor of the frosting. If you have sensitivity to (or don’t feel comfortable using) artificial dyes, check out your local health food store for all-natural options.

Reprinted with permission from Jennifer Perillo’s Homemade with Love (Running Press, 2013).