Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Pat Duran


This is a rich and very creamy frosting by William Sonoma from 1996 in their Good Cooking Book.
I use this all the time- it makes a lot and saves well refrigerated if you have any left over.


★★★★★ 1 vote

makes 2 1/3 cups frosting
20 Min
5 Min
Stove Top


  • 2/3 c
    granulated sugar
  • 4 large
    egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp
  • 1 c
    unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    vanilla extract

How to Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


  1. In a metal bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and water. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk constantly until the mixture reaches 170^ on a candy thermometer, about 4 minutes.
  2. Remove bowl from over the water. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat the egg mixture until cool and thick, about 5 minutes. Gradually add the butter pieces, beating until smooth after each addition. Beat in vanilla. If the buttercream looks broken or lumpy, set the bowl back over simmering water for a few seconds, then beat again until smooth. (I never had this happen yet.)
  3. Photo of finished buttercream frosting.
    To store: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Before using, let stand at room temperature until softened. If necessary ,rewarm over simmering water for a few seconds, then beat until smooth.
  4. For coconut flavor:
    Omit water and whisk in 3 Tablespoons canned sweetened cream of coconut with the sugar and egg yolks. Then add 1 teaspoon imitation coconut extract with the vanilla extract. Mix 1/2 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut into the finished buttercream, if desired.
  5. Coffee Flavor:
    Stir 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder when cooked egg mixture is removed from the heat, then beat as directed.
  6. Orange Flavor:
    Add 1 Tablespoon grated orange zest with the vanilla extract.
  7. Vanilla Bean Flavor:
    Cut 1 vanilla bean in half lengthwise and using the tip of a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the bean into the finished buttercream; beat in the seeds to distribute evenly.

Printable Recipe Card

About Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Course/Dish: Other Sauces Spreads
Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: American
Other Tags: Quick & Easy Heirloom

Show 19 Comments & Reviews

20 Super Tasty Chicken Recipes

20 Super Tasty Chicken Recipes

“What’s for dinner?” That’s the infamous question we get tired of hearing and figuring out. But, we have your answer – chicken. Now, wait. Before you say that’s boring, trust us. We guarantee your family will love all of these 20 super tasty chicken recipes. From BBQ chicken pizzas to orange chicken and rice to Parmesan […]

14 Hearty Creamy Soup Recipes

14 Hearty Creamy Soup Recipes

What’s better than a bowl of creamy soup on a cold night? Not much in our mind. We can’t think of many better things than warming up with a big bowl of smoky potato bacon soup, thick Zuppa Toscana, or heavenly chicken tortilla soup. Maybe you want to put your slow cooker to use and […]

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas for Meatless Monday

Vegetarian Dinner Ideas for Meatless Monday

Bored of eating the same old, same old? Looking to make a change to your menu? One of the easiest ways to do it is to have Meatless Monday. It’s a great way to try vegetarian recipes not normally in the weekly rotation. Trust us, your family won’t be sacrificing anything. Mondays won’t be a […]