'This basic buttery frosting has unmatchable homemade taste,' assures Diana Wilson of Denver, Colorado. 'With a few simple variations, you can come up with different colors and flavors-from orange, lemon and mint to chocolate and peanut butter.'

Allrecipes Member

Recipe Summary test

15 mins
15 mins
12 servings


Original recipe yields 12 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • In a mixing bowl, cream butter. Beat in sugar and vanilla. Add milk until frosting reaches desired consistency.



For Chocolate Frosting: Substitute 1/2 cup baking cocoa for 1/2 cup of the confectioners' sugar. For Peanut Butter Frosting: Substitute peanut butter for butter. For Lemon-or Orange-Flavored Frosting: Substitute lemon or orange juice for milk and add 1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange peel. For Almond-or Peppermint-Flavored Frosting: Substitute almond or peppermint extract for the vanilla. Liquid or paste food coloring may be added to match flavoring (green for mint, for example) or for contrast when decorating.

Nutrition Facts

454 calories; protein 0.5g; carbohydrates 80.3g; fat 15.6g; cholesterol 41.5mg; sodium 114mg. Full Nutrition

Reviews (274)

Rating: 4 stars
The recipe was very good but I changed a lot of it. It kind of seemed outrageous to have 8 cups of powdered sugar so my first plan was just to cut the recipe in half. I used 1/2 cup butter, only 2 cups of powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and enough milk to make it the right texture. But after doing this everyone in my house loved it. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Very tasty but I used only 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) and only 3 3/4 cups confectioners sugar (about half what the recipe calls for) also, since it came out tasting incredibly sweet I added just the tiniest drop of white vinegar. It came out perfect! What a delicious frosting. I am not sure how much the original recipe yields but my "reduced" recipe made enough frosting to cover 2 9" round layer cakes with tons of frosting. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I liked this recipe because I had all the ingredients on hand. I think the the trick is to beat it well, I cut the recipe in half and frosted a 2-layer cake and had about 1 cup of frosting left over. I will make again, it had a great consistency! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This is also yummy with almond extract! My mother used to be a cake decorator and this is just like hers! For a flawless finish, use shortening instead of butter, and use a metal spatula with a smooth edge. Let your frosting dry. Dip spatula in VERY hot water and smooth frosting, wiping spatula frequently. It will end up almost as smooth as fondant and be a beautiful canvas for your handiwork! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Excellent basic buttercream recipe. You need to have the butter at room temp or cool (butter indents when you press)...not warm and runny...the butter needs to have some body to it. I add the sugar a 1/2 cup at a time, tasting all the way. Then some half and half (instead of milk), then more sugar..until it is light, fluffy, tasty and perfect. I have no idea how much sugar I add, but if you add the sugar, THEN the milk, both a little at a time, it will be wonderful. Today I made a chocolate , a vanilla and a cream cheese frosting with this basic recipe. I probably use less sugar so it comes out fluffier and less sweet. Again...the key is the butter...it mustn't be warm..in fact if it's cool it's really perfect, will hold lots of air and become - with each addition and whipping - light and lovely. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I made half the recipe, which generously frosted twelve cupcakes. I found I needed only 3-1/2 rather than four cups of powdered sugar, but the full amount would have been fine too. Don't be rigid on the amount of milk to use either - simply add it gradually until you get the consistency you want which will depend on whether you're spreading it or piping it. Since I piped this frosting onto cupcakes, I made a stiffer frosting which obviously required less. This is a standard, reliable recipe for basic vanilla buttercream. It's very hard to go wrong on this one! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
a good basic recipe. I found that the best tactic with the sugar was to just add it to the butter and milk 1-2 cups at a time until you get it just right. 8 cups did seem like a wee bit too much for me, I only added about 3 1/2 cups. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Wonderful! Not too rich at all, nice consistency. Dries very smooth, not at all dry & crusty. I was out of Pure Vanilla, so I used 1/2 tsp Immitation Vanilla, instead. Came out great! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I found this is a good recipe. But I added a little more vanilla and decreased the powdered sugar by a cup and added 1/2 cup bakers sugar. I think it came out great and more fluffy. Thanks for the recipe! Read More