Basic Vanilla Cake Frosting

two layer cake with a layer of frosting in the middle and a dollop of frosting on top.

5 from 11 reviews

Looking for an easy, classic cake frosting? This simple 4-ingredient recipes is my go-to vanilla frosting recipe for cakes, cupcakes, and more!


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, softened
  • 1 lb powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 34 tbsp milk


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. 
  2. Add milk, one tbsp at a time, until you reach spreading consistency. 
  3. Use right away, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.


  • Use softened, room temperature butter for best results. Butter should be soft enough to leave a slight indent when pressed with one finger but not so soft that it's greasy or slick.
  • To soften butter quickly, cut into quarters and microwave on the defrost setting for 5-20 seconds.
  • Cream or half and half can be used in place of milk. 
  • Frosting is most easily spread at room temperature. If you're making it in advance, let it thaw to room temperature before using. 
  • add 1/4 tsp salt if using unsalted butter.

Keywords: basic frosting, easy frosting recipe, basic vanilla frosting