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These Vanilla Cupcakes are fluffy and delicious with a velvety smooth vanilla buttercream frosting. This is seriously the best vanilla cupcake recipe and the only one you’ll ever need!

Everybody loves cupcakes, and these vanilla buttercream cupcakes are one of my favorite recipes. They are simple and classic, giving some of our fancier treats, like Strawberry Cupcakes and Coconut Cupcakes with Raspberry Filling, a run for their money.

vanilla cupcake on a white plate surrounded by cupcakes
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Moist Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

I’ll be the first to admit, that while I love to bake cakes and cupcakes, they have never been my forte. I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, but a really good vanilla cake recipe has eluded me for quite some time.

I’ve tried my fair share, but I really wanted something fluffy and light while still moist and delicious, and this vanilla cupcake recipe definitely fits the bill. So moist, so tender, and so easy, this is a simple treat you’ll want to make over and over again.

white cupcakecake with white frosting and sprinkles on small white plate

What you need

Ingredients For Vanilla Cupcakes

This is a basic cake recipe with common ingredients like all-purpose flour, salt, baking soda and sugar, plus melted butter, an egg, milk and sour cream to keep it moist.

Most cake recipes will call for 1 tablespoon of vanilla, but for moist vanilla cupcakes you’re going to double that, and use the best quality real vanilla extract you can find.

How To Make Vanilla Cupcakes

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

The key to a good cake or muffin batter is combining the ingredients just right. You don’t want to overmix the flour into the batter as it can result in a dense and chewy cake rather than something light and fluffy.

  1. Have your ingredients ready at room temperature. The butter may take longer, but the egg, sour cream and milk can sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes or so. Room-temperature ingredients bond together very easily since they’re warmer, creating a seamless and evenly textured batter.
  2. Mix your dry and wet ingredients separately. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder/soda together in a separate bowl, and then add them to the wet batter to ensure that everything is evenly mixed and incorporated without the risk of overmixing. We’ve already determined that’s not a good thing.
  3. Always use cupcake liners for cupcakes. This isn’t a necessity; you can easily make cupcakes without liners. But get yourself some good quality, grease-proof liners and you have to worry about your cake sticking to the paper ever again. Plus, if you’re feeding a crowd, they are much easier to serve. Set the liners in your cupcake pan before making the batter so they’re ready to go.
  4. Use an ice cream scoop to fill them. This is my favorite tool and favorite tip when making cupcakes. If you want evenly-sized cupcakes, do yourself a favor and grab one of these spring-release ice cream scoops. They are the perfect size to fill about 2/3 – ¾ of the cups which is exactly what you need.
  5. Bake. Once you’ve scooped your batter into the pretty little liners, it’s time to bake them. Set a timer, set two if you have to, and make sure to check on your cupcakes. You want them to be domed and slightly sunken in the center rather than peaked at the top. If you’re unsure, use the toothpick test and if no batter clings to your toothpicks, the cupcakes are done.

What makes cupcakes light and fluffy?

The key to a light and fluffy cupcake is all about the mixing. Overmix your batter and you’ll wind up with a dense cupcake. Always mix at a low speed and mix just until all the ingredients are incorporated.

How To Make Buttercream Frosting

Unlike baking, which can feel like a complicated math problem sometimes, making the perfect frosting is pretty simple. It requires heavy mixing on high speed, and the recipes are typically pretty forgiving.

If you feel it’s too sweet, add a pinch of salt and maybe a little more butter. Too thin? Add more powdered sugar. On the flip side if it’s too thick, add more milk. As long as you follow the basic guidelines of the recipe, you’ll be rewarded with a fluffy, creamy vanilla buttercream to ice your vanilla cupcakes.

How To Decorate Cupcakes

You can really put any kind of topping you like on your cupcakes, I won’t judge. Cool the cupcakes completely, and make my favorite simple buttercream frosting. But you can go with chocolate or peanut butter frosting, or even just a dollop of Cool Whip. Chocolate ganache is always nice or maybe a dip in some creamy Nutella. Using a basic white buttercream, you can even add colors to enhance your celebration.

You can choose to just spread on the frosting, or if you’re feeling fancy, use a piping bag and tips. Add sprinkles, like jimmies or non-perils, or find some cute cupcake toppers at a craft store. The possibilities are endless!

vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream
overhead shot of cupcakes with white frosting and sprinlkes

Recipe Tips For The Best Vanilla Cupcakes

I’ve made these quite a few times now, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

  • Measure your flour properly. Rather than scooping your flour, use a spoon to sprinkle the flour into the measuring cup, then level off the top with the flat side of a knife.
  • Buy good quality vanilla. I recommend getting high quality ingredients always when you can, but the vanilla for your vanilla cupcakes recipe is especially important. Make sure you are getting real vanilla extract and not imitation.
  • Match the occasion. The great thing about vanilla buttercream is it’s a blank canvas. Try adding food coloring to it to match your party decor.
  • Don’t forget the sprinkles! Colored sprinkles can set the mood from totally fun with multi-colored jimmies or nonperils, or totally classy with some shiny, sparkly sugar pearls.

Storage Tips

Storage and Freezing

Storage: Store in the refrigerator after two hours. Once they’ve been chilled in the fridge they should sit out for several minutes before eating.

Freezing: Place cupcakes in a single layer in a large freezer safe container. Pop them in the fridge for up to 4 months. Thaw in the fridge and enjoy.

cupcakes with white frosting and sprinkles

More Cupcakes and Baked Goods

A close up of a vanilla cupcake on a plate, with vanilla frosting

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream

4.75 from 39 votes
These Easy Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream are fluffy delicious with a creamy buttercream frosting. This is seriously the best vanilla cupcake I’ve ever tasted!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes


Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 ⅔ cup All-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • ½ cup Unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 Large egg
  • ¼ cup Sour cream
  • ¾ cup Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Pure vanilla extract

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • ¾ cup Unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3-4 cups Confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons Pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons Milk
  • Pinch Kosher salt
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Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Preheat oven to 350℉. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl whisk the sugar and melted butter until smooth (mixture will be gritty). Whisk in eggs, then sour cream, milk and vanilla extract until combined.
  • Slowly add in dry ingredients and stir until completely incorporated. Batter will be thick.
  • Fill cupcake lines ⅔ of the way full (about ¼ cup of batter). Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

  • Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or a large mixing bowl and a handheld mixer), beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy; 2-3 minutes.
  • Add confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk. Turn mixer up to high speed and beat for 3 minutes. If mixture is too thick, add more milk, a teaspoon at a time. If too thin, add more confectioners sugar, a little at a time.
  • Frost cooled cupcakes using a spreader or a piping bag. Depending on how much frosting you use on each cupcake, there may be some leftover.


This recipe will make about a dozen cupcakes, depending on how full you fill the cups. The recipe can be easily doubled using the sliding scale at the top of the recipe card.
Depending on how much frosting you use per cupcake, there may be some leftover.


Calories: 444kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 3gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 118mgPotassium: 115mgFiber: 1gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 671IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

This post was first published in 2018 and updated in 2021 and 2024 to include some tried and tested pro tips that we hope you find useful. 

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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  1. Adele says:

    Hi I followed word for word with the cake mixture and they didnt rise much I used plain flour is that correct or should I have used self raising flour. Thanku I will decorate with icing tomorrow

    1. Mary says:

      I had the same problem. The cupcakes are dense and spongey. They taste ok, though almost overwhelmingly vanilla (I used Penzey’s vanilla). I followed the instructions word for word, but maybe instead of whisking I should have used a mixer?

      1. Jennifer says:

        Do the frosted cupcakes need to be refrigerated? We have them in plastic cupcake holders

        1. Kristin Maxwell says:

          Butter is shelf stable so it would be ok to leave them at room temperature for a few days. But you could refrigerate them if you prefer.

  2. Rachel says:

    Can I bake this in a sheet pan?

    1. Kristin says:

      I don’t know about a sheet pan, but the recipe will work in a 9″x13″ baking pan.

  3. Jaimaris Diaz says:

    Can I use buttermilk?

    1. Kristin says:


  4. Maddie says:

    This are amazing!! I have made them multiple times. They are my go to recipient when it comes to cupcakes

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Maddie! thanks for stopping by.

  5. Jodie says:

    I tried your recipe and I must say that these are the best and easiest cupcakes to make hands down. I followed your recipe word for word. They were absolutely delicious and very moist.

    1. Kristin says:

      That’s awesome Jodie, thank you.

  6. JD says:

    Could I use heavy cream instead of milk?

    1. Kristin says:

      Yes, you could.

    2. MELANIE CASTINO says:

      Just one question but would I be able to replace the sour cream with plain yogurt or would that change the texture and taste ?

      1. Kristin says:

        You could use plain yogurt, it may alter the taste and texture slightly but not too noticeably.

  7. JD says:

    This may seem like a silly question but is 3 1/3 doubled 1 2/3 or should it be 2 1/2 cups.
    Also, how do I store these overnight?

    1. Kristin says:

      You can store these in the fridge overnight, covered. I’m not sure I understand what you’re referring to on the sizes?

    2. Renna says:

      Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted? Or would that change the flavor of the cupcake and frosting? Would I just not use any salt then because the butter contains the salt?

      1. Kristin says:

        Yes you can, you might not add any additional salt though.

  8. JD says:

    Can I make these the day before and if I can, how do you keep them overnight?

    1. Kristin says:

      Yes you can make them the night before. I would store them covered in the fridge.

  9. JD says:

    This may be a silly question, but is 2 1/3 1 2/3 doubled?

    1. Kristin says:


  10. Jay says:

    If I mix everything together using a spoon or fork, would the batter come out the same

    1. Kristin says:

      The beating process really aerates the batter making it fluffy. If you can, use a large wooden spoon. The frosting however needs to be whipped with an electric mixer.

  11. Ben Gardner says:

    Used this recipe to bake for the first time ever.
    They turned out perfectly and you made me look like a pro!
    Thankyou people couldn’t believe it was my first time baking lol

    1. Kristin says:

      Yay! Great to hear, Ben!

  12. JD says:

    Do you have to melt the butter?

    1. Kristin says:

      For this recipe, yes.

  13. Nicole says:

    Can you substitute sour cream for unsweetened applesauce

    1. Kristin says:

      I suppose you could, but it would change the consistency and texture of the cupcake.

  14. Joanna says:

    Hi! Can you sub Greek yogurt for the sour cream? That’s what I’ve got on hand. Thanks!

    1. Kristin says:


  15. Sandrine says:

    Pls help me I wanna make these cupcakes now . Should i have to add 1cup all purpose flour or 1 2/3 cups?

    1. Kristin says:

      It’s 1 and 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour.

  16. Anaelle says:

    Beautiful turn out u are awesome

  17. Lori says:

    I just made these.the recipe only listed one egg needed. But the directions said to wisk in eggs one at a time?? There was only enough batter for about 15 cupcakes. Did anyone else have this problem?

    1. Kristin says:

      Sorry, a couple of typos! 1 egg is correct, and that should have been 12 instead of 24.

  18. Fani Malik says:

    I made this tonight. It was delicious!

  19. Natalie says:

    I love vanilla cupcakes and these look utterly amazing!

  20. Jill says:

    I can totally tell this is a moist cupcake based on that pic with the bite out of it. YUM!