Favorite Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

These Vanilla Cupcakes are moist, light & fluffy! There are a couple different recipes on my site for Vanilla Cupcakes, but these are my all-time favorite classic vanilla cupcakes!

vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles on marble platter

vanilla cupcake with bite taken on marble platter

So here’s the funny thing about recipes – not everyone has the same opinion about them. What makes the “perfect” vanilla cupcake for one, may not be the same for another. It’s sometimes tough, because I want a recipe that everyone loves. I’ve got my original vanilla cupcake, Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes, and the new one, Moist Vanilla Cupcakes, I shared earlier this year and both are awesome! But which one is your favorite totally depends on the person. Both have rave reviews, and yet I’m still searching for that one that’s perfect for everyone.

I’m not really convinced that even exists, but this is my latest installment in the vanilla cupcake wars with myself. 🙂 It’s totally a real war. I figure between these three options, surely there’s one that tickles your fancy.

I have made these cupcakes over and over and over and they are always a hit. You can actually find them in various forms already on the blog and those are a hit, so I decided it was time to actually call attention to them in their full vanilla form. I like giving options, so this one should definitely be on your radar. They are a little different than both of my other vanilla cupcake recipes, so let’s chat about them a bit.

vanilla cupcakes on marble platter with sprinkles in bowl

While the other cupcakes utilize a more simple method of just being able to mix all the ingredients together (also one uses oil, instead of butter), these use the more traditional method of creaming. It’s actually a very important step, because creaming the butter and sugar together adds air to the batter that helps make them wonderfully fluffy. So be sure to not skimp on the creaming time, or you’ll be disappointed by dense cupcakes.

The remaining ingredients and steps are relatively straight forward. As with the other vanilla cupcake versions, the ingredients are all fairly standard ones you will hopefully have on hand. No crazy flours or anything.

After creaming the butter and sugar, you’ll add a couple teaspoons of vanilla and some sour cream. Vanilla is obviously important for a good vanilla cupcake and I always love the flavor and moisture that sour cream adds to a cupcake. It’s one of those ingredients that I really do stand by. Love it.

Next are the egg whites, followed by alternating adding the dry ingredients and milk and water. Again, all relatively straight forward. Just unlike other versions, these have more of a method to their madness – I mean brilliance. 😉

The final cupcake is super moist and fluffy and truly a favorite of mine. They are my go-to. When topped with vanilla frosting (or any other flavor frosting for that matter), they are delicious and absolutely make my ideal vanilla cupcake. I hope you love these as much as we do!

vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles on marble platterVanilla cupcakes on marble platter with purple napkin underneath

Read transcript

You might also like:

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes (oil based)
Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes (butter based, a little denser)
Moist Vanilla Layer Cake
Moist Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Homemade Moist Chocolate Cupcakes

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vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles on marble platter

Favorite Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Cupcakes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These Vanilla Cupcakes are moist, light & fluffy! If you are looking for a totally foolproof, easy & perfect classic vanilla cupcake recipe this is it!



  • 6 tbsp (84g), unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups (155g) sugar
  • 6 tbsp (86g) sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (163g) all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp (90ml) milk
  • 2 tbsp (30ml) water


  • 1/2 cup (112g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 23 tbsp (30-45ml) water or milk


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C) and prepare a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the amount of creaming time.
3. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
4. Add egg whites in two batches, mixing until well combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
5. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the milk and water in a small measuring cup.
6. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the milk mixture and mix until well combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
7. Fill the cupcake liners about halfway. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out with a few crumbs.
8. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling rack to finish cooling.
9. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting. Combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
10. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
11. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of water or milk and mix until smooth.
12. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
13. Add the remaining water or milk as needed and mix until smooth.
14. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.

Keywords: vanilla cupcakes recipe, best vanilla cupcakes, easy vanilla cupcakes recipe, vanilla frosting recipe


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Recipe rating

  1. Keji

    I adjusted this recipe a bit (doubled the measurements) and divided the batter in two parts. Then I added cocoa powder to one part and mixed it. Poured the batter in bits alternately into the baking pan to bake a marble cake. The result was fabulous.

  2. Mia

    I make up to 50 cupcakes a batch so this recipe is PERFECT!!. Sometime they underbake at  18 mins
    what would be a safe time not to get chewy on the inside?

    1. Lindsay

      That’s going to depend on your oven. If 18 minutes is too little, you can add another couple minutes. Glad you enjoy them.

  3. Judy

    Hello Lindsay, I’m wondering what suggestions you have for replacing the milk – will buttermilk, whipping cream or almond milk work?

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried buttermilk, but would think it’d be ok. Whipping cream might be a little heavy. Almond milk should be fine, but it lacks some of the fat, so I probably wouldn’t prefer the texture as much.

  4. Molly

    Hi Lindsay,
    I made your favorite moist vanilla cupcakes tonight and they are wonderful! Best tasting vanilla cupcakes ever! I do have a question… shortly after I removed them from the oven, the cupcakes didn’t keep their dome shape and the tops flattened out, some even sunk in. Have you had this problem before? I’ve had it happen one other time and I do know both this recipe and my previous recipe had sour cream in it. Would that cause the cupcakes to lose their height? Thanks!

    1. Lindsay

      I’m glad you enjoyed them! It’s hard to say for sure what happened with them sinking. A little bit of deflating is normal as they cool, but it sounds like they did more than that. It’s possible that they came out of the oven too quickly. Another possibility is that you added a touch too much baking powder. Beyond that, it’s hard to say.

    2. Steph De La Paz

      I agree with Lindsay about them coming out too quickly. Its like when u get out of a nice hot shower into the cold (I personally like it but others dont lol). Next time, leave them in the oven but with the door half way open. It’ll give the cupcakes time to adjust to the outside world and wont deflate as much. Some deflation will happen but they shouldn’t sink in. Good luck

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!

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