Light and Airy Homemade Vanilla Frosting

Do you know what makes me happy?  Well, lots of things.  But, the one that I have in mind right now is my children’s great love for the vanilla frosting I make.  Jack, in particular, will sometimes say (just out of the blue), “Mom — you make the best frosting I’ve ever had.  It’s so much better than frosting from the store.”

Love that kid.

This vanilla frosting recipe is simple, and you probably have everything in your house right this moment to make it.

Light and Airy Homemade Vanilla Frosting

Light and Airy Homemade Vanilla Frosting
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 3 cups powdered sugar (aka confectioners' sugar)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) of butter, soft and at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla (sometimes I put in a tiny bit more)
  • 3 tablespoons of milk (although I always end up adding a bit more than that -- if you want very thick frosting though, you can even go less than 3 tablespoons)
  1. Put the butter in a bowl first. Since I have a handy dandy Kitchen Aid mixer , I beat the butter pretty well after adding it to the bowl. You can do this with a hand mixer as well, of course. But, you know what? I'm pretty spoiled by my Kitchen Aid.
  2. Add the powdered sugar a bit at a time to the butter, and cream them together.
  3. Stir in the vanilla and milk.
  4. Then, beat the mixture well. If it is not thick enough, add in some more powdered sugar. But, if you're like me, you are always apt to add in just a bit more milk to make it slightly thinner.
  5. If you want to add in food coloring, this is the time to do it!
  6. At this point, I beat the frosting for several more minutes to give the frosting a light, airy texture.

I didn’t always beat the frosting so long to get the light, airy texture that though.  However, one time, I was trying to make the frosting orange, and I had a horrible time making it happen.  I just kept having to add more yellow, then more red, then more yellow, then more red, and so on.

All that time, of course, I was mixing it in my Kitchen Aid.  I was then rewarded with not only orange frosting, but light, airy, and delicious orange frosting.  I got so many compliments, and people even asked how it was so light.

Perhaps you don’t want to make orange cupcakes though.  Just keep in mind, there’s always blue cupcakes with monkeys instead.


Thanks to Party Cupcake Ideas for the Barrel Full of Monkeys cupcake idea.  I sent them in to Eric’s work, and everyone loved them.  (Plus, as a bonus, I filled the barrel they came in with extra vanilla frosting and sent in graham crackers.  Yum!)

Disclosure Policy


Angie Kauffman
Angie, a domestically challenged nerd and mom of three very fun kids, is the founder of Real Life at Home.  Angie also listens to music every chance she gets, writes eBookspodcastsloves Pinterestdocuments the little moments in life on Instagram, and occasionally sleeps.


  1. Nona says

    I just want you to know I used this idea for making fluffy butter cream frosting. Love LOVEed it thanks!!!

  2. Cat says

    Three words…. BEST. FROSTING. EVER!

    I’m making a cake today for my roommate’s bachelorette party, and decided to give your icing a try…love it. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • says

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for coming back to let me know. :)

      It’s one of our favorites as well. (My kids get excited for anything I make that includes the frosting, just for the frosting.)

  3. tamarah says

    i found that all the frostings sold in store were very heavy and artificial tasting. i decided to try this frosting and i absolutely fell in love! it was so delicious and very airy. i kept wanting to mix it!!!

    • says

      Isn’t it amazing what adding in air through the mixing process can do the frosting? I’m so glad for the incident that made me mix longer. :)

      Thanks for sharing how much you enjoyed the frosting! :)

    • says

      Yes, it definitely will be. I can use this recipe to make enough to generously frost 24 cupcakes (and sometimes have some leftover frosting).

    • says

      Bailey – I haven’t tried it before, but I have long thought about using almond extract instead of vanilla. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work though. But, I would start off with a small amount and sample it. Then, add more if needed. Good luck! :)

  4. Cammy says

    Amazing!! So tasty and my family loves it!

    Even my dad, who baked all his life, said this was amazing!

  5. Stephanie . says

    Thanks, Angie, for sharing your great recipe! I’m glad Joy asked for it by name! I’ll probably add it to my cook book, and it’ll forever be known as Mrs. Kauffman’s icing!

  6. Nancy says

    Frostings intimidate me, but this one has made a proud frosting-maker out of me. I’ve made it twice now and garnered rave reviews. One little thing I’ve tossed in is 1/4 t salt. My mom always said sugary foods are enhanced with a little salt. That advice has rarely failed me, and in this case the salt seems to take the flavor from “amazing” to “absolutely dazzling.” Thanks for helping me tackle frosting with this superb recipe. :-)

  7. Rina says

    I’m going to make this for my sons 1st birthday. Can I make it on a Thursday and use it Saturday? Or is it better to make right before I use it?

    • says

      Sorry – I have been off the computer. The frosting will get hard and difficult to spread sitting in the refrigerator. Even if you soften it up, I don’t think it will end up having the same consistency as when it is fresh.

  8. Amanda says

    So..I just have to keep on beating it till it’s light n airy? Coz I’m really not into thick n creamy frosting..

    • says

      Using the mixer longer is going to help it be more airy, but if it’s too thick for you, I would keep adding a splash of milk and beating it longer. Then, keep trying a small taste until you have found the consistency that you like. The first time around, you’ll just really have to play around with the amount of milk and mixing that is perfect for what you prefer.

  9. Abby says

    Im making cup cakes tomorrow for valetines day and i was wondering if i make them tonight will the icing be ok for tomorrow? I dont want the icing getting hard tomorrow then not being as good as they would be. So would they be ok? or do you have another sugestion

    • says

      We’ve eaten them the day after making them, and they’ve always been fine. Sometimes, the frosting will harden on the outside every so slightly. But, not in a bad way, and certainly not to where the frosting is actually hard.

        • says

          You can frost the cupcakes and put them in the fridge. (Although, I’ve only done it once or twice.) But, just in a container, the frosting will get hard and difficult to spread sitting in the refrigerator. Even if you soften it up later, I don’t think it will end up having the same consistency as when it is fresh.

          • Mary says

            Awesome! Easy and so yummy! I used my Kitchen aid mixer too…and loved how it made it so fluffy the longer I beat it! Thank you.

    • says

      When I’m making cupcakes, it makes enough for 24 cupcakes with a little bit of leftover. That’s with some pretty liberal amount put on each cupcake. 😉