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Basic Vanilla Buttercream


This recipe for Basic Vanilla Buttercream is courtesy of Billy Reece from Billy's Bakery in New York City.

  • Yield: Makes enough for 30 cupcakes

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, May 2006


  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. With mixer on low speed, add 6 cups sugar, milk, and vanilla; mix until light and fluffy. If necessary, gradually add remaining 2 cups sugar to reach desired consistency.

Reviews Add a comment

  • djofromvt
    14 MAR, 2017
    This was easy, fast and tasty! The consistency was great and even better set up in fridge. Mine was not runny and if it had been I would have added more sugar. And it was not too sweet to me! Husband loved it! Will be making this recipe again!
  • Ellesyd
    21 JUN, 2015
    This was horrible. It was all sugar so we had half the sugar and add milk. I would not recommend this recipe we had to add a lot of cream cheese. I hope this helps you make your decision. It wasn't even icing and tasted DISCUSTING after 40 minutes of blending.
  • mikeshn
    13 MAY, 2014
    I like the recipe.
  • Lulu24
    19 NOV, 2012
    this recipe is yummy, but does anyone know how long it lasts before it goes off? how long do you have to use it? as it makes quite a lot, i used it for my victoria sponge cake- made using two 8 inch sandwich tins, and even after sandwiching the layers together with it and putting some over tops and sides of cake, I still had half a load left!!! best made with lurpak though as any other butter will make buttercreams too buttery and lurpak has a more mild flavour. can substitute milk for water.
  • Lizzette M Rivera
    21 OCT, 2012
    Too sweet but good. I added like one teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • astroturfskirt
    12 AUG, 2011
    delicious! super creamy - used just a little over 6 cups (sugar) and i threw in extra vanilla. i will be using this again and again. perfect with chocolate fudge cupcakes!
  • kparks2
    1 MAR, 2011
    I am in love with this recipe. It is def my go to recipe for frosting. Simple and ingredients that I normally have on hand. However, the cupcake recipe I use calls for 24 cupcakes and I find that cutting this recipe in half gives me more than enough frosting. Also, a suggestion I tried today, I cupback a little bit ont he milk and used about a 1 tbsp of lemon juice and it added a nice tropical flavor to it!
  • SuperSpeechie
    31 OCT, 2010
    Love this frosting!! It's a little sugary sweeter than other buttercream I have tried, but I thought it was a good thing! It went perfectly with Billy's vanilla cupcakes.
  • rachel_nyc
    19 SEP, 2010
    This buttercream is simple
  • cris11
    26 JUL, 2010
    Mine turned out perfectly! I'm a pretty novice baker. I also live at a high altitude, so I made the necessary adjustments. I think the recipe is PERFECT! YUM!!