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. Dana

    Tasted like a cupcake! Didn’t have a box mix in a pinch so I appreciate how easy this was to make. Who knew how much sugar it requires 😝

  2. Jessi

    I made these cupcakes today, they are really good! The texture is nice and the flavor great. Would recommend! (:

  3. Liz

    This is a great recipe, the cupcakes are soft and moist. Do pay attention as mine didn’t look done (they were still a light blonde) but they were completely cooked.

  4. Anonymous

    Hi, I was wondering if i could make these on Sunday and then use them on Wednesday, would they still be fresh and moist?

    1. Lindsay

      Ehh that’s a bit of a stretch. I would typically recommend making 24 hours ahead. You could do maybe 48 hours, but Sunday for Wednesday may be a little long.

  5. Sss

    I have tried this recipe already a dozen times. Made cupcakes, cakes, apple pie with this. Turns out great and very very yummy even without any frosting.
    At first I hated it because the first batch failed. Then I added less water and an extra egg and it almost never failed me since then! But sometimes it happens that it doesn’t rise or cook properly or turns out too dense, I haven’t found the reasons why this happens though. But it’s still a safe and a cheaper recipe with great results, to me tastes much better then sponge cake. Thanks!

  6. Sarah

    This is THE best vanilla cupcake recipe. Period. I’ve tried so many recipes claiming to be the best, and this is the winner, hands down. No complicated techniques, no reverse creaming… Just a simple, moist, flavorful, delicate, delicious, perfect vanilla cupcake. THANK YOU!!

    1. Sarah

      I should add that I discovered this recipe because a nine-year-old made these for me, completely independently, and they were the best vanilla cupcakes I’d ever had. I was embarrassed because I had tried so many recipes, many of which were very good, but none of which were as good as hers. Now she’s delighted that she found the recipe we all agree is the winner, and the fact that it’s easy enough for a kid to make is just a bonus.

  7. Rachael

    Hello, this was a horrible recipe and it was not cooked and it just bubbled up and exploded. it was not edible. the water was not necessary.

  8. Jess

    I added a little less water just because the batter was getting too liquidy. If this happens to you I would recommend 1/2 cup of water. But otherwise so GREAT!

  9. Mary

    These are my favorite cupcakes. Can I double the recipe to make a three layer 9 inch cake? Will it hold together well?

      1. Lindsay

        Hmm, I’d expect it to turn out the same. I did use it as a cake in this Berry Mascarpone Cake. But I do know some people have trouble with the recipe, I would just think that if it worked as cupcakes, it’d be fine as a cake. You could try leaving the water out and see if that helps.

  10. Elizabeth Elaine Bleeke

    Tried this recipe for the first time and the cake was so fluffy and light! Absolutely love it

  11. Daniel

    These cupcakes are great! I made them for my mom. She loved them, too.
    With all due respect to anyone who has hegative feedback, there’s something that you may have missed. But I know you can do it!
    Thank you, Lindsay!

  12. Bakerlady15

    The cupcakes turned out great! A LITTLE dense, but since they weren’t exactly for eating it was ok.

  13. Mary Janith

    It’s ok, the consistency is pretty gummy and I followed the recipe to a T, I’ve been baking for years and wanted a staple vanilla cupcake recipe in my cookbook, this one definitely doesn’t cut it, but it’s still a decent cupcake.

  14. AlexiLaura

    Worst recipe for cupcakes. I first questioned the 1 cup of water but i put my trust in this recipe. The cupcakes came out flat and uncooked on the inside i had to throw away the whole thing. Note to self read the comments first.

  15. Ella

    I love this recipe my only go to for vanilla cupcakes. Awesome everytime and lov by everyone. For my daughters mermaid cupcakes I even coloured it with gel colour. Massive hit! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  16. marlene Lage

    I’m part of a baking facebook group and someone there recommended this recipe. This is ow i have found your blog and so happy for her suggestion. this cupcakes are moist, freeze well and actually wrapped last moist for 3-4 days i tested simply amazing. A new favorite in my books.

  17. Mona

    My go to recipe! Fantastic cupcakes. The only ones I make now. Just a question, should I beat with whisk or paddle attachment?

  18. Melissa

    The cup of water used at the end, does it matter if it’s hot water? Asking because in Chocolate Cupcakes recipes always call for hot water.

  19. Janele

    I LOVE this recipe. It’s perfect every time. Today I halved it and it was perfect. I made a small batch of your mascarpone frosting to top and it was delicious. Thank you!

  20. Rachael R Arrington

    This is my first time making cupcakes, and these were a hit! My hubby wants me to make some for his work. Thanks so much!!

  21. Rhea Bridgeland

    Unfortunately like several others have noted, these fall flat. Little to no rise, and leave a weird gummy texture even when baked through. When I chewed, my teeth stuck for a moment. I measured very carefully. 🙁

    1. Alisha

      I had times this recipe failed and cupcakes were flat and like glue….
      Tips that worked for me
      Mix by hand with whisk
      56g exactly of batter per patty pan
      Cook on 180 for 18 minutes on fan forced
      This is the best recipe but you do need to adjust according to your oven

  22. Emma Pernin

    Hi, I’ve made this recipe before and It ended up so good. I have to bake 46 cupcakes saturday for a birthday party and I’m just wondering if I’m able to make the batter this afternoon and bake the cupcakes tomorrow or is that not recommend for this batter to stay overnight?

      1. Anastasia

        I love this recipe it’s amazing and I have been using it for a while now. For the people that have issues, I don’t know why this happens, whether it’s from the weather or oven, or the products in the different countries. However for me I don’t cook them by the timeframe above, because I get the same issue as some people here report, I cook them until they are slightly golden at the top and it works every time. Everyone I have ever made them for loves them. I hope that helps. And thank you for the amazing recipe!

  23. Samantha

    The first time i used this recipe it was amazing! Best vanilla cupcake i have ever had/made. Second time and times after it has not turned out the same. Not as dense and just lacking…cannot figure out why. I am on the hunt for another now but am very sad that I couldn’t keep this recipe consistent 🙁

    1. Lindsay

      As mentioned in the note above the recipe, it has very mixed results for people. I’m sorry you’re having trouble. I have three other vanilla cupcake recipes that all turn out more consistently if you would like to check those out.

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tested it to be able to say. But I have three other vanilla cupcake recipes that use butter if you would like to try one of those.

      1. Flaunta

        Probably the worst cupcake recipe there is. They were so dense and flat, and I followed everything in the recipe.

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