The perfect recipe for moist and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with American buttercream frosting. Enjoy as they are or add a splash of color to fit any event!

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Close up front view of multiple vanilla cupcakes pictured on a plate, pictured with sparkling lights in the background.

About The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

With a delicate vanilla flavor woven into the soft and moist texture of a picture-perfect dessert, there’s nothing “boring” about classic vanilla cupcakes – they have stood the test of time as an iconic dessert, and for good reason.

Vanilla is a flavor that everyone can enjoy, and with the elegant pale color – that’s also amazing on its own – it’s easy to jazz these cupcakes up with a little color to fit any holiday or event.

What’s in vanilla cupcakes?

To make two dozen of these classicly delicious vanilla cupcakes, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Single cupcake on a plate, pictured with a cake stand full of cupcakes in the background, and a single lit sparkler stuck in the frosting of the front-pictured cupcake.

Do you have to use kosher salt?

There are a few key differences between kosher salt and table salt, but overall, kosher salt is known to enhance the flavor of food while table salt tends to make them saltier. Kosher salt is also not as potent, meaning you would use more kosher salt than table salt in seasoning or baking.

Some recipes – like the one featured here – are tailed with kosher salt in mind, playing into the mild way it magnifies flavors. However, you can still substitute kosher salt for table salt – you just need to reduce the total amount of salt content by half. For example, this means that instead of using 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt you would use 1/8 teaspoon table salt.

Top down view of multiple vanilla cupcakes, surrounded by festive white and gold sprinkles.

Can these cupcakes be made in advance?

Yes, they totally can! To ensure the best presentation, I would recommend making them up to 24 hours in advance.

How should these cupcakes be stored?

The cupcakes can be stored in an airtight container on the counter or in the refrigerator. The frosting is shelf-stable and can safely be stored without chilling.

How long will vanilla cupcakes last?

When stored in a sealed container on the counter, cupcakes can last anywhere from three to five days. When stored in the refrigerator, they could last up to a week.

Close up side view of a single vanilla cupcake, showing off the texture of the buttercream frosting.

Can you freeze vanilla cupcakes?

Yes, you totally can!

To freeze these cupcakes:

  • Bake cupcakes per recipe instructions, then allow to cool completely. Note: for best and consistent results, do not decorate cupcakes before freezing. Frosting types and consistency may vary and could impact how long or well the cupcakes will last while frozen.
  • Wrap cupcakes in plastic wrap. You can either wrap them individually or arrange the cupcakes in a group (single layer) and wrap them together.
  • Place wrapped cupcakes in a freezer bag or a storage container with a sealable lid.
  • Cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months.

Notes & tips for vanilla cupcakes

  • Make sure you have enough muffin tins to make 24 cupcakes (total yield of this recipe, unless the serving size is adjusted in the recipe card below).
  • Feel free to add fun food coloring to the batter or frosting to make these cupcakes unique!
  • This recipe has been successfully tested with milk alternatives (oat, soy, etc).
Close up side view of multiple vanilla cupcakes on a plate, where the front most cupcake has the wrapper removed and a bite taken out, showing the texture of the cupcake inside.

More fun cupcake recipes

Other tasty recipes with vanilla flavor

How to make vanilla cupcakes with American buttercream

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In a medium bowl, whisk together the following ingredients: flour, baking powder, and kosher salt. Set this bowl aside for now.

Step 2 – Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy.

Step 3 – Drop the mixer speed and blend in the eggs, milk, white vinegar, and vanilla.

Step 4 – Finish the batter by blending in the dry ingredients until it appears incorporated.

Step 5 – Pour the batter into a muffin tin lined with cupcake liners, filling each cavity about 1/2 of the way full.

Step 6 – Bake!

Step 7 – While the cupcakes bake and cool, prepare the frosting by whipping together the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, kosher salt, and heavy whipping cream until thick and fluffy.

Step 8 – Place the American buttercream frosting in a pastry bag with a piping tip of your choice and decorate the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with cupcakes with sprinkles, if desired.

Step 9 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Close up front view of multiple vanilla cupcakes pictured on a plate, pictured with sparkling lights in the background.
5 from 1 vote

Vanilla Cupcakes

30 mins prep + 20 mins cook
393 kcal
Yields: 24 cupcakes
The perfect recipe for moist and fluffy vanilla cupcakes topped with American buttercream frosting. Enjoy as they are or add a splash of color to fit any event!


Vanilla Cupcakes
American Buttercream Frosting


For the Vanilla Cupcakes
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners, then set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set bowl aside.
    2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), cream together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
    1 cup unsalted butter, 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and mix in eggs, milk, white vinegar, and vanilla until incorporated.
    4 large eggs, 1 cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Keeping speed on low, quickly scoop in the dry ingredients, adding about 1/3 to 1/2 cup at a time. Once added, continue to mix until dry ingredients first appear to be incorporated; be careful not to overmix.
  • Pour batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cavities about 1/2 of the way full.
  • Bake cupcakes for 17-20 minutes or until a tester toothpick comes out clean with no crumbs.
  • Let cupcakes cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
For the American Buttercream Frosting
  • Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), whip butter on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.
    1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • Drop mixer speed to low and blend in powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt until incorporated, about 3-5 minutes.
    4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Keeping mixer speed on low, add heavy cream and whip until frosting is smooth, about another 2-4 minutes.
    2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Putting it All Together
  • When ready to decorate, fill a pastry bag with prepared American buttercream frosting and a piping tip of your choice.
  • Frost each cupcake in a decorative pattern, then dust the top of each cupcake with sprinkles (optional).
  • Serve immediately.


Serving: 1cupcake | Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 93mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 671IU | Vitamin C: 0.01mg | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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