Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

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These Moist Vanilla Cupcakes are super easy to make and so moist – for days! They are my new favorite vanilla cupcake!
Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Moist Vanilla Cupcakes recipe

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I’d be bringing you some new basic favorites and I started with my easy moist chocolate cake. Today, we are talking about these moist vanilla cupcakes and I’m pumped! One of the things that I’m always messing with is vanilla cake/cupcakes. It’s the never ending quest for all the best versions. I’m a believer that if you don’t have a good vanilla cake, you have NOTHING! 🙂 Ok, dramatic, but it’s like the “tell”. If you don’t have a good vanilla, can anything else really be that good? There are so many ways to vary a vanilla cake and I want the best of all of them! I’m greedy like that. Plus, I know not every has the same idea of the perfect cupcake, so I like to have options.

You may or may not have tried my original vanilla cupcakes. They are loved by many and were my favorite for some time. I still remember the batches upon batches of cupcakes I made while testing those and the fabulous friends that lined them up and tasted tested them all to help me find the best one. If you haven’t tried them, they are worth checking out. But while I still love them, these are my new fave. Sorry “OG cupcake”, there’s a new star in town. 😉

Best Moist Vanilla CupcakesEasy Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

So let’s talk a bit about these cupcake. There’s no need for creaming to get involved, which is kind of a plus. Creaming butter and sugar together makes quite a fabulous cupcake, but sometimes you just want quick and easy and to barely even need to use a mixer. I mean, basically like a box mix but not, you know? These are those cupcakes. The “OG cupcake” was that way too, but used butter and were a little denser. These cupcakes use oil and are lighter.

We’ve got the usual suspects in this cupcake, starting with the dry ingredients: all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Easy, common ingredients that you should totally have in your pantry already. Mix ’em all together and set ’em aside.

Next are the wet ingredients: milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs. The oil is the fat component instead of butter and in my opinion, tends to make a more moist cake that stays moist for longer. Totally true for these cupcakes. The milk (I typically use 2%) adds to the structure of the cake, in addition to adding moisture. Milk adds fluff and I love some fluff. 🙂 I used a full tablespoon of vanilla extract to make sure there’s plenty of delicious vanilla flavor. Then the eggs add more moisture, structure and flavor. I switched it up in these and went with whole eggs instead of egg whites. No more egg yolks getting wasted here!

Once the wet and dry ingredients are combined, the water is added.

There’s so much moisture in these cupcakes! I love them! I’m a big, big fan of their ease of making, their flavor and moisture. They use such simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry too – score! When topped with my favorite vanilla buttercream, these vanilla cupcakes really are a dream! They were a big hit in our house and I hope you love them as much as we did!

Homemade Moist Vanilla Cupcakes
Favorite Moist Vanilla Cupcakes recipe

Read transcript
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Moist Vanilla Cake
Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cake
Perfect Moist and Fluffy Vanilla Cupcakes
Easy Moist Chocolate Cake

NOTE: Some people have reported having trouble with this recipe, while others love it. I have no idea why some people have trouble. There could be any number of factors – improper measuring of ingredients, oven type, altitude, etc. I have never had an issue with these and cannot troubleshoot a problem that I cannot recreate. If you’d prefer a more traditional vanilla cupcake that uses butter and a little bit of oil, as well as the creaming method, and seems to be less finicky for people, try out these Easy Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes. They are currently my favorite vanilla cupcake.

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Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Author: Life, Love and Sugar
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24-26 Cupcakes 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


These Moist Vanilla Cupcakes are super easy to make and so moist – for days! They are my new favorite vanilla cupcake!




  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) 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 liners.
2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large mixer bowl and combine. Set aside.
3. Add the milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and eggs to a medium sized bowl and combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat until well combined.
5. Slowly add the water to the batter and mix on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to make sure everything is well combined. Please note that the batter will be very thin.
6. Fill the cupcake liners about half way and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
7. Remove the cupcakes from oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
8. To make the frosting, combine the butter and shortening in a large mixer bowl and mix until smooth.
9. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
10. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of water or milk and mix until smooth.
11. Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
12. Add remaining water or milk as needed and mix until smooth.
13. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. I used Ateco tip 844.


If you’d prefer a more traditional vanilla cupcake that uses butter instead of oil, and the creaming method, try out these Favorite Vanilla Cupcakes.

Keywords: vanilla cupcake recipe, easy vanilla cupcake recipe, vanilla frosting recipe, how to make vanilla cupcakes


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Decorated Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

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Recipe rating

      1. Erin

        Made these last night and they were perfect. My husband left his out uncovered over night by mistake, and it was still ridiculously soft/moist in the morning – well done, thank you!!

    1. Bridget L Kennedy Badams

      Hi Lindsay
      Can I subtitute vanilla bean paste in this recipe and would it still be 1 whole tbsp?

  1. Becky W

    Whenever I make vanilla cake or cupcakes the end result is never as light in color as your cupcakes turned out. Do you use regular vanilla or clear vanilla? Or what am I doing wrong? Any suggestions would be welcome.
    Thank you.

    1. Lindsay

      I use regular vanilla extract. It’d be so hard to say what is causing it without seeing it and watching. Have other cakes you made used baking soda instead of baking powder? I have noticed that that can make a darker cake sometimes.

    2. Melissa

      The color of the cake can depend on cook time, your ovens accuracy with temperature, and also whether you are using light or dark pans. The dark pans retain more heat and can cause cakes to brown faster. 

    3. Nancy vercammen

      ALso, it could be the yolks in the eggs. Usually white cakes only use the whites. I noticed that when I use Egglands Best, the yokes  are almost gold, I too made a white cake and called for 3 eggs, I use daily 2 egg whites and the the third egg I used the whole gig and the cake was more yellow than white. 

  2. Jean

    The cupcakes look wonderful, but I too would like to know can you use this batter for layer cakes also? My great niece has a wedding coming soon and she wants me to make her cake.How well does that icing hold up on a layered stacked wedding cake? Thanks so much in advance for your input.

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, you can use it for a layer cake. I made it in three 8 inch cakes and baked them for about 20 minutes I believe. The frosting also does well on cakes. I’d double it – or even use 2 1/2 recipes worth, but I’m a heavy froster. 🙂 I’ve used it on wedding cakes before with plenty of success.

  3. Karen Simon Peterson

    These cupcakes look so yummy! Where did you get the sprinkles? I’ve been looking for stars for quite a while. Thanks.

      1. GiGi

        Made in two 8 inch pans. Came out great.
        Any Lemon Cupcake recipes in the works? I searched your site and could not find any. Thanks!

      2. Lindsay

        I’m not exactly sure how full they are, but I divide the batter between three 8 inch pans.

      3. willow

        Hi, i made this and it turned like a puto cake.. i haven’t tried any vanilla cupcake before so i do not know if i got it right or not.. 🙂

  4. Michelle Kruger

    I’m from South Africa.

    1 cup = 250ml here.

    I see the flour is 2 and a half cup = 325grams in your recipe,. Should I just follow the recipe as is and ignore the cups and work on the grams?

    1. Lindsay

      Yes, I’d just follow the grams. I actually use the grams and weigh the ingredients when I bake so they’ll be accurate.

      And hi in South Africa! That’s where my husband is from. 🙂

      1. Jen

        I don’t know what went wrong but I followed the instructions and recipe and it didn’t taste good. I wasted time and materials, I will stick to my original recipe. No offense. Thanks for sharing though.

      2. Darlene

        Hi, I tried these cupcakes and they came out so moist and delicious, I just used the one cup measure that I bought from Walmart, I didn’t weigh any ingredients and I didn’t use an electric beater either, I just used a whisk and followed the recipes instructions and I was really happy with the result. I’m originally from South Africa as well but I’m in Savannah Georgia now. Great recipe, I’ll be using this one only from now on????

      3. Fabglittercorn

        What did you mean by “shortening” or like what is it than I might try this recipe today or tomorrow great website

      4. Lindsay

        I haven’t tried it to say for sure, but I think others have commented that they did and it worked well.

      5. Kara

        I too am from SA 🙂 I must just say thank you so much for sharing your vanilla cupcake recipe, my little girl and I have now happily mastered the perfect cupcake, due to your recipe. Absolutely perfect!

      6. Kaye smith

        Change your sugar quantities please I have just made you cupcakes and the sugar is wrong should be 200grams or there about snot 400 that will teach me not to watch and go on automatics grrrrr 

      7. Vanessa

        Hello, I just want to add my 2cents. I tried both the vanilla and the moist chocolate. WOW! Both are amazing! I never need to try any other. Love them both. I didn’t change anything EXCEPT I didn’t use separate bowls for wet and dry. I combined the dry ingredients and added the wet into the same bowl all at once. (Less dishes????)
         I am very happy with both recipes. Wouldn’t change a thing.
        Thank you 

      8. Erin

        Unrelated to this question, but. What are your thoughts on using a different sweetener? Maple syrup?

      9. Lindsay

        In my experience, that alters the texture of the cupcake. You could experiment with it, but I’m not sure how it’d turn out.

      10. Karen

        This is the most disgusting cupcake recipe I have ever tried. It stuck to the wrapper, the texture was odd, and it definitely did not taste good. 

      11. Farha Abualia

        It’s good I even gave it a star it’s horrbile it tastes like a cookie and I even followed the instructions nothing like vanilla you also have to put less then half mine cane literally out of the pan 

      12. Melissa

        Great recipe ! The only thing I adjusted was the sugar , I used half a cup less. Came out perfect and so easy. What I love is the tops aren’t hills, they are nice and flat , perfect for piping ! Thanks for sharing ! 
        I’m going to try and use the same recipe but convert to make chocolate cupcakes,see how that goes. 
        Xx South Africa 

      13. Melissa

        Hi Lindsay 

        Do you think I can sub the milk for coconut cream or coconut milk ? 

      14. Lindsay

        I haven’t tried it to be able to say how it affects the outcome. I’m sure they would bake fine, it just may alter the texture or flavor of the cupcakes a little bit.

      15. Phyllis

        I made these tonight. They came out excellent. My husband loved them also. I will always make this recipe. Tomorrow I will figure out an easy icing to make which I may have the ingredients in the house. Running low on ingredients. Not a good time to go shopping….

      16. Nicole

        This is the BEST cupcake recipe ever. This is my third time making them and everyone loves them <3

      17. Andrea

        This recipe is delicious and super easy to make. 
        However, I would highly recommend cutting back to 1 cup sugar – the 2 cups makes the sweetness a little too much. 

      18. Sonali

        I tried these cupcakes today and they’re yummmmm and super moist. I halved the recipe and got 12 cupcakes and a small mini cake 😊

      19. Vera

        Hello , I am writing all the way from Nigeria.
        I have made this recipe twice and it came out fabulous. The first time it was too sweet so I made the following alterations:
        – 1 cup of sugar
        – 1/4 tsp of salt
        -2.5 tbsp of baking powder
        – 1 1/4 cup of milk
        – 3eggs
        – no water added.

      20. Mia

        Hi there, what temperature should the water be? I usually use recently boiled water for cakes but wasn’t sure, thanks 

      21. Tara oakes

        Hi I’ve been using your recipe fior quite some time now cupcakes are so delicious. I’ve just looked again for this recipe to print if and noticed you say half a cup of all purpose flour as before it said 2 and a half cups is that a typo error. As I want to make sure I have the right amount. 
        Thank you so much again 

      22. Lindsey

        Made these today and they were great! The icing was amazing 👌🏼 and the cupcakes weren’t too sweet at all. I did the same thing as another lady who commented and just mixed the dry ingredients in a bowl, then added all the wet ingredients to save on dishes. Worked just fine. Some of y’all out here saying these were straight up disgusting or awful…I don’t know who hurt you, but don’t take it out on the recipe 😆
        User error is common, check your measurements and ingredients carefully. 
        Thanks for the recipe, the kids and I enjoyed them 🧁😋

      23. Lilly

        The amount of sugar in this recipe is way too much. I was going to make cupcakes for Halloween and was so excited until they came out way to sugary. I don’t know what I did wrong as many other reviews are saying wonderful things about this recipe.

      24. Aliza mae

        I’m only twelve and I did this for my mom it worked really good she was so proud of me thank you so much for this 😁

      1. Ashley

        I used buttermilk instead of milk and it turned out great, tastes wonderful and I didn’t use any water 

      2. Jamie A

        I use this recipe everytime I need to make cupcakes or a cake. I love how light and airy it is, and super moist! Personally I think it’s fail proof. I have never had these come out bad, so if yours does it must be human error. 10/10 recipe! Thank you

    2. Elle

      I was wondering if I could also substitute the water out for milk! I have grown up on cupcakes using milk and I was wondering if I could incorporate milk instead of water!

      1. Shay

        Did you try this recipe with all milk? I’ll be making them for a wedding and was wondering how it tasted.

      1. Kim

        Could I use coconut oil instead of shortening? I also only have coconut oil and EV olive oil in the house, so which would you use instead of vegetable oil? I’m leaning toward coconut, but wanted your opinion, as it’s your recipe. Thanks!

      2. Lindsay

        I’ve honestly never tried either in frosting. Coconut oil does sound like the better bet, but it will be softer than vegetable oil, so you’ll want to account for that.

    3. Leslie

      I absolutely love this recipe ..I make these cupcakes at least once every 2 weeks .
      My husband and nephew ask me to make them all the time.
      They are so moist and flavourful.

      1. Susan Som


        I want to make 3 x 7inch cake, will this recipe be enough or do i neex to double it?

        Also, will it still be moist after being in the fridge?


    4. Candice Swart

      Hi Lindsay,

      I am definitely not a Baker, but this recipe is winner! I usually do the box cakes and cupcakes, I decided to try your recipe. I baked the cupcakes for 20 minutes and they turned out perfectly. My husband and son thoroughly enjoyed theirs. I made my own version of frosting with purple colouring and chocolate sprinkles. Very sweet which is what I love.

      I have already saved your link to my phone and can’t wait to try your other recipes.

      Thanks a million again all the way from South Africa.

      Candice xxx

    5. Tara


      I tried making the recipe exactly as directed from your post but I found the cupcakes to be a little dense/gummy…..any suggestions as to how I can make a flufflier cupcake next time?

      1. Lindsay

        I’m really not sure. Some people seem to get this result and I can’t seem to recreate it. I’m sorry!

      2. Tass Elsdon Smith

        Mine came out gummy too. No idea where it went wrong. I think the cooking time is off? Going to try again tomorrow. Increase to 25 mins I am at sea level in far west Canada maybe the issue is altitude?

    6. aleena

      i don’t know what happened but i followed the recipe exactly. yet my cupcakes turned out weird and gummy. disappointed 

    7. Torey

      I’m also from South Africa and this is my Go-To recipe for vanilla cupcakes! They’re always moist and fluffy! Yum.

    8. Val

      I usually just doctor up a boxed white cake mix, but I tried this recipe today and I’m sure glad I did. So amazing! I will use a real vanilla bean next time for extra flavor. 

      1. Kay Kleinveldt

        Hi, I see the recipe says I must use the egg whites. Does that mean I don’t use the egg yolks at all

    9. bob bulk

      These cupcakes were terrible. Dont try. They had a doughy texture. It also tasted eggless. I do not know why they used only egg whites. We put it in the oven at 5pm it is 6:30 pm and it’s still baking. Please do not try it does not work. Tasted horrible. Please help. 🙁

    10. Refilwe Chilisa

      I’m also going to be making these tomorrow and fingers crossed- I’m also from South Africa but based in Botswana now., love your recipes and thanks for including the metrics measurements for some of us!! Do you use hot water or tap water? 

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