Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

This Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe makes perfectly moist, completely irresistible cupcakes! These light and fluffy cupcakes are topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and topped with sprinkles for the ultimate sweet treat.

Pinterest image for vanilla cupcakes showing a close up of cupcakes and a stack of cupcakes on a white stand

My Best Classic Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

These homemade vanilla cupcakes are a certified mood-booster. They’re moist, fluffy and topped with a simple buttercream frosting that hits all the right notes. Pour a cold glass of milk or a hot cup of coffee, then dig into one of these cupcakes for complete vanilla bliss.

Vanilla cupcakes may seem a little too “classic,” but honestly, sometimes that’s just what you need! You can make these cupcakes casual or fancy, so they’re a great treat to make for everything from birthday parties to lazy Saturday afternoons when you’re craving something sweet. I love the combination of moist vanilla cupcakes with silky smooth vanilla buttercream. I truly can’t say enough good things about these cupcakes!

Homemade vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles on a white stand

What Makes These Cupcakes Different From My Other Vanilla Cupcake Recipes?

If you’re familiar with my recipes, you know that this is not the first time I’ve shared a recipe for vanilla cupcakes. I’ve spent countless hours making many, many cupcakes – and taste testing them too! It’s a sacrifice, but someone had to do it, right? But my quest for the perfect vanilla cupcake has paid off. This version is absolutely perfect.

So how are they different?

These cupcakes are perfectly moist and light without the use of sour cream. Unlike this version, they use whole eggs instead of just egg whites, making them more velvety in texture. And even though I love this vanilla cupcake recipe, these new ones are made with butter instead of oil, which gives them an even nicer flavor.

This recipe uses a tried-and-true creaming method that’s based on my delicious vanilla layer cake, too. So basically this easy cupcakes recipe is the result of everything I’ve learned over years of making vanilla cupcakes and cakes, all wrapped up in one simple recipe.

Close up of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles

Cupcake Ingredients

No need to make a stop at the grocery store for these cupcakes. They use basic ingredients that you most likely have in your pantry!

For the Vanilla Cupcakes

Here’s what you’ll need to make the vanilla cupcakes:

  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla extract
  • eggs
  • milk

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Here’s what you’ll need to make the creamy vanilla buttercream frosting:

  • unsalted butter
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • water or milk
  • salt

Vanilla cupcake with frosting and sprinkles with a bite taken out of it

How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat Oven & Prepare Dry Ingredients: To start, preheat your oven to 350°F and insert liners into your cupcake pan. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder & salt and set aside.
  2. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a large bowl, add your butter, sugar, oil and vanilla extract, beating together until the mixture is light and fluffy. This will take no less than 3-4 minutes. You’ll want to add your eggs next, one at a time, mixing after each until mostly combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Combine Wet & Dry Ingredients: Add half of your dry ingredients to the large bowl and mix until it’s mostly combined. Before you add the next half, slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter might look a little curdled, but don’t worry! It’s supposed to look like that at this stage.
  4. Combine Next Half of Dry Ingredients: Add the rest of your dry ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Mix until smooth and combined, but make sure you don’t over-mix the batter.
  5. Bake Your Cupcakes: Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cupcakes from the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack.

Vanilla Buttercream for Cupcakes

This creamy vanilla buttercream frosting is super easy to make in one bowl. You may have noticed that these cupcakes are loaded with frosting. That’s because I made one and a half times the frosting called for in the recipe. It’s my personal opinion that you can never have too much frosting, especially when it comes to this particular vanilla buttercream. If you follow the recipe for these cupcakes, you’ll end up with a more normal amount of frosting than what’s pictured.

  1. Cream the Butter and Sugar: Add butter to a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until it’s smooth and well combined.
  2. Add Milk or Water: Add the salt and 1-2 tbsp of the milk or water, mixing again until well combined. Then, add in your remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. You can add more milk or water to alter the consistency if you’d like.
  3. Pipe the Frosting: Pipe or spread your frosting onto your cupcakes, decorate to your liking and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Make sure you cream the butter, sugar, oil and vanilla completely. This will ensure that your cupcakes turn out perfect and that they’re not too dense.
  • It’s a good idea to add a bit more milk or water if your frosting comes out too thick. Do this a little at a time to avoid thinning it out too much.
  • Let your cupcakes cool completely before you frost them. If you don’t, the buttercream will melt and all your pretty piping will be ruined. You want the frosting to stay smooth and velvety.

Frosted vanilla cupcakes on a cupcake stand with rainbow sprinkles

Simple Decorating Ideas

It’s not hard to make these cupcakes picture-perfect. But there are tons of easy ways to dress them up and make them even prettier!

  • Sprinkles: Add your favorite festive sprinkles to make these cupcakes a beautiful party treat.
  • Fruit: Top them with a slice of strawberry, a few blueberries or any other fruit of your choice.
  • Oreos: Garnish these cupcakes with an Oreo cookie or sprinkle them with crushed Oreos!
  • Candy: Make these cupcakes even sweeter by adding your favorite pieces of candy.
  • Pretzels: Turn these cupcakes into a sweet and salty treat by adding crushed pretzels or mini pretzels.

If you’re sprinkling a topping on the cupcakes, make sure to do it right after you pipe your frosting. This way, your sprinkles or crushed Oreos will stick perfectly!

Close up of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles

How to Store Frosted Cupcakes

If your cupcakes somehow last longer than one day, there’s an easy way to store them without compromising their beauty. Just place them into an airtight container, and they’ll stay good for up to three days in the fridge or at room temperature.

Can I Freeze Cupcakes?

You can freeze the vanilla cupcakes before they are frosted. Cover each cupcake in plastic wrap, then place them in an airtight covered container or freezer safe Ziploc bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for 2 months. Just make sure to thaw them in the fridge before serving!

Can I Make the Frosting Ahead?

Yes! The frosting by itself will last 3-5 days if covered and refrigerated. Just scoop it into an airtight container and close it securely before placing it in the fridge. When you want to use it, bring it back to room temperature, stir it until smooth and use like you normally would.


Read transcript

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Close up of vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles
Recipe

Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe makes perfectly moist, completely irresistible cupcakes! These light and fluffy cupcakes are topped with creamy vanilla buttercream and topped with sprinkles for the ultimate sweet treat.


Scale

Ingredients

Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (84g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (155g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (150ml) milk

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp (30-45ml) water or milk
  • Pinch or two of salt

Instructions

Vanilla Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, oil and vanilla extract to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Now it’s time to add the eggs. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Slowly add the milk and mix until well combined. The batter will look curdled, but that’s ok.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Remove cupcakes from the oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  1. Add the butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until smooth.
  2. Carefully pour in about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and 1-2 tablespoons of the water or milk and the salt to the frosting and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional milk or water as needed to get the right consistency.
  5. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.
  6. Cupcakes are best when stored well covered for 2-3 days.

Keywords: vanilla cupcakes recipe, vanilla buttercream, best vanilla cupcake recipe, easy vanilla cupcake, moist vanilla cupcake, homemade vanilla cupcakes, best vanilla cupcakes

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Recipe rating

147 Comments
  1. Samantha

    Hi, can I substitue extra virgin olive oil for vegetable oil? Also do we need to use a stand mixer for this recipe? I don’t have a stand mixer or hand mixer–what should I do?
    Thank you!

    1. audoree

      Hi Samantha! I don’t have a stand mixer either and done this by hand with a whisk with no problems! The batter is super easy to make if you follow the steps as per the recipe. I haven’t tried to make this frosting and it might need a bit more work though. I’ve made chocolate buttercream by hand and you just need to make sure the butter is soft enough (especially if your kitchen if too cold, just place it in a warmer room) and be a little patient. Hope this helps 🙂

  2. KateLynn

    These really WERE easy and delicious!  Mine do not look as fabulous, but they’re still really good.  I made the frosting orange flavored with some grated zest and orange juice.  

  3. Catherine D

    Hi! Your recipe is amazing. I’m new to baking and the recipe was so easy to follow. I’m also gluten free (celiac) so I substituted Bob’s Red Mill GF flour. After one bite, my husband looked at me and said “These are not gluten free, right?” That’s a huge compliment in our house! We’re so used to everything being GF but too dense or too different that normal flour products. We have finally found a recipe we will be using from now on! Thanks for sharing your recipe! 

  4. Jessica Morris

    I just finished making these with my daughter and they turned out amazing! I have tried DOZENS of vanilla cupcake recipes over the years searching for that perfect one and this is IT. Thank you so much!!

  5. Jonah Bond

    I love this recipe. First time baking cupcakes ever! I’ve started cooking and I really enjoy it I’m only 13 and by the time I’m a adult I will be a really good baker just like you Lindsay. Thank You!

  6. Maurika

    I just made these cupcakes, and they turned out perfectly for my daughter’s birthday! Thank you sooo much!! 

  7. Chahna

    Hey Lindsey I tried one of your other cupcake recipes and for this one I wanted to try replacing the egg with a flax egg. Do you know what the ratio of flax egg to one large egg would be? Or if it would work well?

  8. Crystal

    Super moist!! The cupcakes were light, fluffy, and delicious! Will definitely make these again 🙂

  9. Alejandro Brinker

    Hi Lindsay, I just made these cupcakes today. Really delicious, moist and fluffy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  10. Danielle

    This is my go-to vanilla cupcake recipe. So simple yet so foolproof. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!!

  11. Lindsay

    Hi Lindsay. In my country of South Africa all purpose flour is not readily available and almost all of our baking recipes call for cake flour. Can I use cake flour as a substitute for all purpose flour?

  12. CGV

    These are soooooo good! I Made sure to measured by weight, sift the flour 3 times with the baking powder, bake un a light colored cupcake tin, use lowest speed setting after adding the flour. Resulted un moist, light cupcakes, way beyond my expectation. Didn’t film too high for 15 flat cupcakes,great for decorating. Will shoot for 13 next time. Thank you so much for such a great recipe! Such a great vainilla favor, too!

  13. Kim

    Hello! I am anxious to make these cupcakes and try them. In the video when you were making the frosting you said cream but your recipe says milk. So are you using whole milk or did you use a whipping cream? Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      You can honestly use either. I’ve even used water before. I can’t say I notice a huge difference between any of them, but I’d probably go with milk or cream, depending on what you have on hand.

      1. Kim

        Thank you so much. I am going to makes these today for my daughters baby reveal tomorrow. I will let you know what everyone thought. I am excited to try these. Plus they will be homemade with love, not site bought. 😁
        Which there is nothing wrong with store bought. I should of said that first. 😊

  14. Michelle

    Wow, these turned out fantastic! I’m a diehard chocolate lover and have made a lot of your chocolate cupcake and cake recipes to rave reviews. My kids were looking for a non-chocolate change of pace so of course I came here first. Vanilla cupcakes have given me trouble in the past but these came out light and fluffy, with a perfect vanilla flavor. Nicely done as usual Lindsay!

  15. Gay LeVasseur

    I was about to give up on a scratch recipe for cupcakes until I found yours! I just made and I must say besides easy to make they are absolutely delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.

  16. Sravani

    Hi, I would love to try these they look amazing but I wish there was an eggless vanilla cupcakes recipe. My 3 year old is allergic to eggs. Can I replace eggs with anything else? 

    1. Lindsay

      Common egg replacements that people seem to use are applesauce and mashed bananas, but those would obviously mess with the flavor of these. I’d check your grocery store to see what egg replacement products are available.

  17. Jenna

    I am so interested to try these. I have made the version with the sour cream so many times (probably 100 times). They are my go to cupcake and everybody loves them, but of course you need to plan ahead with having the sour cream. I am really interested in whether these are just as good or only nearly as good.

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad to hear you enjoy the other ones! I personally think these win now, but everyone has their own preferences. I’d love to hear what you think!

  18. Mayra

    These cupcakes 🧁 look delicious and so easy to make, do you grease the cupcake pan or the cupcake liners?  Thanks for all the wonderful recipes.
    Mayra

      1. Kiki

        I plan on doing these cupcakes and adding a different flavor as well. I looked at the poppyseed cake recipe and that one calls for baking soda but this cupcake recipe does not. Will the cupcakes turn out differently? Can I reduce the milk in this recipe by half and substitute the other half with the juice? Thx

      2. Lindsay

        Lemon is acidic, so when you add lemon juice to a recipe it’s ideal to use some baking soda to react with the acid and give you the best texture. You could try using this recipe and just replace some milk with lemon juice, but it might not give you the best result. The lemon poppyseed recipe is better for a lemon cake/cupcake.

      3. Kiki

        Thanks Lindsay! So I went ahead and used this recipe replacing half of the milk with key lime juice. I also added some key lime zest. I think they would’ve came out better if I reduced the amount of key lime juice (a little tart for my taste) and not forget that I changed my mind about doubling the recipe (accidently put 3 eggs instead of 2). Overall, it wasn’t bad. No complaints from my 7 yr old :). I’ll try the poppyseed recipe this weekend. Thanks again for the reply!

      4. Bola

        Super moist and fluffy. The children absolutely loved it. I’ll make again and again!!

  19. Trish Marsh

    Lindsay,
    I made these last night and they are simply the best vanilla cupcakes I have ever had! I’d like to make a two layer cake using this recipe, would doubling the recipe work? About how long would you suggest baking in a 9in round cake pan?

    Trish =)

    1. Jennifer

      Hi Lindsay, to make 24 cupcakes would I double the recipe ingredients? And what would be the cook time ?
      Thanks
      Jennifer

      1. Lindsay

        Yes, you can double it for 24 cupcakes. You’d still bake the cupcakes for the same amount of time.

  20. Peggy

    Can you share where I could get the cute little sprinkles you put on top? My granddaughter’s is coming and it would help make the cupcakes special. Thanks.

  21. Linda Cosby

    Thanks Lindsay! I can’t wait to try these cupcakes. I have a silly question. Say I made these cupcakes and wanted half of them to have the vanilla icing and half to be chocolate icing but didn’t really want to make a separate batch of icing. Could I just adapt the remaining vanilla icing over to chocolate by adding in cocoa powder? Anything else I should add? And how much cocoa would you add?
    Thanks!
    Linda

    1. Lindsay

      So when I make chocolate buttercream, I remove some of the powdered sugar to add the cocoa. If you make the vanilla as written, then add the cocoa, the frosting would be quite thick. You could add more milk to thin it back out, if you like. It’s a little different that making separate chocolate buttercream, but it would technically work. I normally use 1/2 cup of cocoa in place of 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. If you aren’t only doing half of the recipe, then it’d be 1/4 cup. I hope that helps!

  22. Tiffany

    Hi Lindsay! I plan on making these on weekend for my niece’s birthday. If I want to make 3 dozen of them, can I cook more than one cupcake tin in the oven at once, or does that affect cooking time? Would I need to rotate? Thank you!

    Tiffany
    Phlanx’s Marketing Specialist

    1. Lindsay

      I don’t typically do that, just to be safe and ensure best results. You could try it, but yes, you’d likely need more cooking time and depending on your oven, might need to rotate.

      1. Adwoa

        How can I get my cupcakes to have the spongey centre when I bite into them. Do I have to reduce the flour?

  23. Jenny

    Hey Lindsay, you are too good at baking! I am a fan of all your desserts specially these mini cakes as they looks attractive and make my kids happy… Well, these day free from official tasks and busy with kids demands make me look out for something new and I just can’t find the better place other than lifeloveandsuger.com … Keep up it!

  24. Abigail

    So exited to try these cupcakes! I have tried all of your other cupcake recipes, I’m exited to try this one! They look great.

  25. Lynne Grabowski

    I haven’t had this recioe, but I did the one made with egg whites. They were delicious!!!! The only problem is I can’t make my frosting as pretty as yours. I really need a video, and a light frosting where I can get the height. I desperately want to make pretty ones like yours!! Congratulations to you and hubs ..so blessed!

      1. Abby

        Lightest fluffy cupcake ever. Delicious! I do recommend watching her frosting vid. Before hand. This is only if you want super pretty and perfect cupcakes!

    1. Gayle

      How do we make this one into a lemon batter? I did the lemon with the egg white but this recipe is the one we really love! Do I just add some lemon zest to batter? 

      1. Lindsay

        This Lemon Poppyseed Cake is my new lemon version and you can definitely leave out the poppyseeds and make cupcakes. There’s lemon zest, juice and an adjustment to the baking powder/baking soda. You could make the vanilla ones with lemon zest in them, but the lemon flavor won’t be as strong.

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12