Moist Vanilla Cupcakes

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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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
  • 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 Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes.

*Some people report having issues with these cupcakes. If that happens to you, could try leaving out the water entirely.

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


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Recipe rating

  1. Chantal Ho Yee

    I love this recipe for the moist cupcake but please can I have the recipe for big batches 48+ cant find it on your website I know you use to have x3 recipe please advise.
    Thank you

    1. Lindsay

      You should just be able to double it. The 2x and 3x options were removed because people were having issues with it doubling (or tripling) certain ingredients, but not all of them, giving them the wrong results.

  2. Tally

    The frosting was really sweet and you could definitely taste too much shortening or Crisco. But the cupcake was pretty good.

  3. Lindsey

    This recipe is fantastic! I have made it twice now and it turned out perfectly both times even though the second time I had to use soy milk due to a dairy allergy. If you want easy delicious cupcakes this is THE recipe to use.

  4. Kimberley Smith

    Can I freeze these?
    Freeze cupcake alone and prepar frosting day of or
    Make complete and freeze cupcake with icing on and then thaw day before use?

  5. Yeana

    I have successfully made cupcakes with this recipe and it was amaaaaazing but can I use the same recipe to bake a birthday cake?

  6. Verushka

    I just made this recipe just now. The cupcakes are in the oven… so far so good. I am just wondering if i can use this same recipe for a cake?

  7. Ms Y. Brown

    This is the best recipe. Although quick and easy, to save even more time, I did mix all the dry ingredients and allowed them to sit overnight. Combining everything next day was simple. I also only added about 1/4 cup of water, not the 1 cup. The cup cakes sprung up and were absolutely delicious. I will never buy another box
    cake again. With these changes definitely five stars.

  8. Alissa

    it seemed more like a thin pancake batter with gummy and awful results. Was very hopeful but honestly was very disappointed.

  9. Amanda

    I was so hopeful, but the cupcakes came out kinda gummy (they were fully cooked, but felt gooey and raw when chewed) and tasted kinda floury :/ my ingredients were all fresh and good and I’ve made many cupcakes so not sure what went wrong. Followed the recipe to a T

    1. Lindsay

      There’s a note just above the recipe that some people seem to get this result for unexplained reasons. I truly cannot re-create it. But I have several other vanilla cupcake recipes that you could try that are more consistent for people.

  10. asdf

    Same batch of cupcakes.

    I thought they were gummy and doughy. They didn’t seem to have risen enough.

    This same batch, my wife thought were fantastic. She much preferred these to another recipe that I thought was better.

    Maybe this explains the bad results for some people: A matter of perception.

  11. Mikayla

    Planning to make these tomorrow but before I do just want to check what kind of sugar to use. Is Castor sugar okay?

  12. Belinda Moore

    I’m a patisserie chef here in Adelaide, Australia, this recipe ticks all the boxes for ease of reading and making with very little mess. But the best part is the product itself, very good recipe. I made a massive batch on Friday just gone for my daughter’s school sports day and topped them with Italian buttercream and sprinkles. WOW what a delicious combination and the taste is on point!!! P.S.: Both the kids and parents loved them! 🙂

    Today I made a batch just for home and made half of the 1x quantity. Perfect amount if you only want a few cupcakes for the week. I saw another’s question of freezing the cupcakes in (no frosting of course). I couldn’t imagine it would damage the integrity of this product so I will give this a go and see how they turn out. Thanks for the recipe Lindsay 🙂

  13. Shelly’sMom Gracie

    I’m always looking for easy and these are so easy that anyone can make and not mess up. SUPER MOIST for sure and my daughter loved them.

    Wondering if the can freeze well as for unfrosted leftovers on another day?

    Thank goodness my new go to recipe for vanilla cupcakes. I almost always have these simple ingredients on hand.

    Pure yum! Much appreciated

      1. Donna

        I’ve made several batches and have frozen most of them for use later. I leave out on the bench for a few hours before decorating and they have been absolutely perfect! Great recipe, thanks heaps!! 👍🏻

  14. Ann

    While this recipe was nice and easy to make with the kids, we found the taste to be far too salty. I’d probably only had half a tsp (or less) next time.

  15. Lily

    This recipe helped me so much. I was able to make my cousin’s sweet 16 in lockdown special! Thanks so much

  16. Amber

    This cake was certainly very easy to make, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. They are really moist, which is great, but the flavor resembles more like that of a pancake. My sister said it wasn’t sweet like a cupcake usually is, but we still ate them.

    Definitely different, and I’m sure they won’t go to waste, but I don’t think I’ll be using the recepie again.

  17. Laurie Quinn

    This is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe and it always gets rave reviews. I’ve tried others and while the flavor is good they dry out so quickly. Not an issue with these. I added sprinkles and made them into funfetti cupcakes as well. Just out of curiosity would buttermilk be able to be used instead of regular milk? That’s what I use in my vanilla cake so I was curious if it would negatively affect them?

  18. Annie

    Terrible cupcakes – flat and doughy. I followed the recipe exactly and was very careful because several reviews said the recipe didn’t work. Big disappointment!!!

  19. Tasha Gervais

    Okay guys I made this and thought they cooked great but tasted very “meh.” I was disspointed because this is my “baker friend’s” go-to recipe. YALL THE PROBLEM WAS MY VANILLA. I made something totally different and between the two things I discovered that my vanilla was cheap/old, whatever, and not very flavorful at all. So I made the recipe again the very next day and now these are soooo good. It makes all the difference between bland and GREAT. Replace that Great Value vanilla from Walmart with another brand yall 🙂 It helps so much!

  20. Jane

    These are the best vanilla cupcakes I’ve made. I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for the last two months – these are by far the moistest and fluffiest! Thanks for the great recipe.

  21. Janele

    This was the EASIEST cupcake I have ever made. Sooo delicious! I almost put the sugar in with with the oil but made sure to double check. My husbands new favorite recipe, thank you!

  22. Hopey

    I was skeptical about this recipe since some of the reviews are not so good. However I was excited to try to make these cupcakes anyway. They came out perfect despite my worry. They are extremely moist and flavorful, especially when a frosting was added. They peel right out of the paper cupcake cups. Only, I miscounted how many cupcake cups I had and I did not have enough. Instead I used a cake pan and made a cupcake – cake, and that seemed to turn put really good as well.

  23. Carson Skjerdal

    This was the first time I’ve ever made cupcakes in my life. It was a surprise for my fiance’s birthday. All I can say, absolute amazing recipe. I highly recommend. My only mistake was I didn’t have toothpicks, and probably could have baked them a bit longer. Otherwise everything else was perfect to follow. Not sure how other comments screwed up the recipe. 5 out of 5!

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