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+ servings
cupcakes topped with vanilla frosting, in different colored cupcake wrappers

Best Vanilla Frosting

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 243kcal
This vanilla frosting recipe is the best ever! It's perfect for any cake, cupcake, or baked good you need to frost. This is my go-to recipe any time I bake something, and you can easily make a batch of this frosting ahead of time with just a few simple ingredients. 
Print Recipe



  • 1 cup milk 227 grams
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 30 grams
  • ½ cup unsalted butter 113 grams (1 stick), room temperature (SEE NOTE)
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening 92 grams (½ stick), such as Crisco (SEE NOTE)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 200 grams (SEE NOTE)
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract 4 grams
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar 21 grams


  • Whisk milk and flour together and cook in a stovetop pan on med-low heat until thickened, stirring constantly.
    1 cup milk, 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    whisking milk and flour together on the stove
  • If small lumps have formed, pour through a mesh strainer into a small(ish) bowl, using a rubber spatula to press the thickened milk through the strainer.
    rubber spatula pushing milk and flour mixture through a strainger
  • Cover the dish and refrigerate until cold. To eliminate condensation forming inside the lid, place a paper towel just under the lid but not touching the milk mixture. To speed up the cooling, place the mixture in the freezer for ½-1 hour.
    glass casserole dish filled with milk mixture


  • Combine ½ cup butter and ½ cup shortening. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream for 4 minutes on high speed.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, ½ cup vegetable shortening
    frosting in a bowl
  • Add 1 cup of sugar. Beat 4 minutes on high speed.
    1 cup granulated sugar
    homemade frosting in a glass bowl
  • Add cooled milk, flour mixture, and vanilla extract. Beat 4 minutes on high speed
    2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
    vanilla frosting in a glass bowl
  • Add 3 tablespoons of powdered sugar. Beat 4 minutes on high speed
    3 tablespoons powdered sugar
    making vanilla frosting
  • Frosting is ready to use, or refrigerate until you need it.



  • Butter: Do NOT use margarine in place of the butter.
  • Shortening: Do NOT use butter in place of the shortening.
  • Sugar: Use extra-fine granulated sugar or castor sugar if available.
  • Be sure to strain the milk and flour mixture through a sieve if there are any lumps in it.
  • Use a stand mixer to really combine the ingredients and get plenty of air into the icing.
  • Beat the frosting for four minutes between adding the ingredients. It will help incorporate air in the frosting so it remains light and fluffy.
  • Double the recipe if frosting an entire layer cake, including the sides.
  • Nutrition information assumes 12 servings, but that may vary by the recipe.
Storage: Store vanilla frosting in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 10mg | Potassium: 39mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 269IU | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg