Vanilla Buttercream

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I have a love/hate relationship with American buttercream. It’s so simple to make and stable enough for a multi-tiered wedding cake. However, I don’t like how sweet it is, and I really don’t like when it’s crunchy. Icing should not be crunchy. This vanilla buttercream is so smooth, you can use it on virtually any cake.

This recipe only requires 4 ingredients and could not be easier to make. The key is to beat it for a very long time. It’s best to let the Kitchenaid mixer do all of the work while you drink your coffee, answer a few emails, or practice those new yoga poses you’ve been wanting to master. It’s possible to use a hand mixer, but get ready for an arm workout!

It’s difficult to say how much half and half to use. I just add a little at a time until I get the desired consistency. Stop the mixer every few minutes to feel the icing. If it’s still super stiff, add another tablespoon of half and half and whip it, whip it good! You shouldn’t use more than 4-5 tablespoons of liquid in total. Once you have beaten it for 12-15 minutes, it will get softer. When it’s ready, it should be pale in color (not yellow) and soft enough to spread easily.

vanilla buttercream finished

Always finish your frostings by mixing by hand with a spatula to get out some of the air bubbles.


Vanilla Buttercream

Recipe by Amanda Innes-ShareefCourse: BakingCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time






  • Butter 226g
    (2 sticks)

  • Powdered Sugar 475g
    (about 3 1/2 cups)

  • Half and Half 4-5 Tbsp

  • Vanilla 1 tsp


  • Put cool, but not cold, butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on medium until butter is smooth.
  • Add one third of the powdered sugar and mix on low until ingredients are combined.
  • Add another third of the powdered sugar and mix on low until combined. Add 1-2 Tbsp of half and half. Turn mixer up to medium speed and mix for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the last of the powdered sugar. Mix on low until ingredients come together. Add 1-2 more Tbsp of half and half, then mix on high speed for 12-15 minutes until buttercream is light and fluffy and pale in color.
  • Add vanilla and beat until combined.
  • With a spatula, mix by hand for a minute to release some of the air bubbles.


  • If your buttercream is still stiff after 15 minutes of beating, add 1 more tablespoon of half and half and beat again for 2-3 minutes.