Simple Vanilla Buttercream

This is a fabulous quick reference recipe for the start of any great filling or frosting.

I love a simple vanilla buttercream: there are literally 4 ingredients and based on your level of sweetness, you can adjust this with a few minor additions to loosen, spread out the sweetness or basically flavor this to your needs.

This is the recipe I always start with for my macaron fillings (unless I am using a ganache.) I add color, flavor, salts, powders or even cbd oils for different cookies in the farm’s artisanal arsenal… Even with multi-level fillings (aka: our Wedding Cake Macaron has a double almond buttercream well with a raspberry preserve filling between the two shells), this is always my starting point.


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter aka 1 stick (at room temp… very soft, but not melted!)
  • 1 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or pure extract… my favorite is paste as it contains the bean… link below!)
  • 1 tbsp whole milk (I tend to use whole milk for my fillings, but if I am piping or decorating a cake, a thicker buttercream may be better… for that I use heavy cream.)


  1. Place butter in medium sized bowl and whip on high with electric mixer for 1 minute, or until fluffy
  2. Add 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar to bowl with vanilla and milk and mix to combine
  3. Add remaining confectioner’s sugar in 1/2 cup at a time, mixing each to combine
  4. Adjust thickness with either milk or confectioner’s sugar

Once you have your base buttercream made, you can then add additional flavors based on what you are trying to create.

However, if you are trying to make a solitary flavor which has an extract of it’s own available, you may opt to utilize that extract versus the vanilla extract or paste (unless the vanilla is a flavor layer you want to include in the end result!) An example of this is the double almond buttercream I use in the Wedding Cake Macaron as well…. I use 2 tsp of almond extract versus 1 of vanilla paste.


Rose Buttercream: use basic vanilla buttercream base and add 1/8 tsp rose water (I LOVE this brand Rose Water so much!) Adjust amount as desired.

Creamsicle Buttercream: use basic vanilla buttercream base and add 10 drops orange oil, 1 tsp of orange zest and an additional 1 tsp of vanilla paste. (If you’ve never tried oils to flavor your baking projects, below is a great starter kit with many fruited flavors by the dram to begin your journey!) Adjust as desired.

Salted Watermelon Poppyseed Buttercream: use basic vanilla buttercream base and add 10 drops watermelon oil, 1 tsp poppyseeds and a pinch of kosher salt (either mixed into the base or as a finisher on top of the filling before capping off with a shell.) Adjust as desired.

Malted Milk Buttercream: use basic vanilla buttercream base and add 3-5 tsp of malted milk powder (depending on taste). Adjust as desired.

Light Chocolate Buttercream: use basic vanilla buttercream base and add 1 tsp of dark cocoa powder (I love this 60% Ghirardelli baking powder!)

Here are links to my FAVORITE vanilla extract and paste… the quality is incredible (hence the price for quality vanilla) and their entire line or flavorings is amazing!

It really is a VERY solid recipe to have bookmarked and will be referenced in all of my baking posts going forward (if you chose not to bookmark, no biggie!)

Enjoy and happy baking!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. tanvibytes says:

    Looks delicious! This is in my top two! Nothing better that cream cheese or buttercream frosting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. TOTALLY! I agree wholeheartedly 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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