Vanilla Cupcakes

12 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting are moist, light, and fluffy cupcakes packed with vanilla. A classic recipe for perfect cupcakes!

Just like our Easy Vanilla Cake, this classic Cake Recipe is simple and sweet perfection. The best recipe for moist, melt-in-your-mouth Vanilla Cupcakes ever!

Vanilla Cupcakes on cake stand

While it’s commonly found in baking recipes, vanilla is anything but common. The second most expensive spice, vanilla sometimes gets a bad wrap as boring and that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Vanilla is complex, both sweet and slightly bitter, with smoky and floral notes. It pairs well with almost everything but it’s also delicious on it’s own. Use this classic vanilla batter as a base to more flavors or enjoy the simple perfection of warm sweet vanilla.

Vanilla Cupcakes Collage of prep steps

These homemade Vanilla Cupcakes might seem ordinary but one bite will show how wonderful they are. They are moist and fluffy, practically melt-in-your-mouth, and are bursting with sweet vanilla flavor. The egg yolks and whole milk add a layer of richness, and the classic Vanilla Buttercream Frosting finishes off the perfect classic cupcake.

The perfect Vanilla Cupcake recipe is made with just a handful of simple ingredients and a little extra care – but is still ridiculously easy with our step-by-step instructions. The main thing to remember, above all else, when you are making homemade Vanilla Cupcakes is to use real vanilla extract and not artificial vanilla or imitation vanilla. If your bottle says “flavoring,” it’s not the real stuff.

Easy Classic Cakes for Any Occasion

Tips for Making Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Use whole vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract for the best vanilla flavor. They are a little pricey but when vanilla is the main flavor, it could be worth the splurge. You could also get really fancy and use Tahitian vanilla, Bourbon vanilla, or vanilla powder. 
  • Whatever kind of vanilla extract you use, be sure you don’t use artificial vanilla flavoring. It is bitter, doesn’t capture the essence of vanilla flavor, and has a poor aftertaste. Trust us, it’s worth an extra dollar or two for the real stuff.
Vanilla Cupcakes with vanilla frosting with bite removed
  • For a classic vanilla and chocolate cupcake combo, drizzle your frosted cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache! Salted Caramel Sauce would tasted delicious too.
  • Instead of the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, try Cream Cheese Frosting. You can easily add a little pizazz to the frosting for birthday parties by adding food coloring or top with colorful sprinkles.
  • To keep your Vanilla Cupcakes super light and fluffy, don’t mix them too much. Over-mixing releases all the air built by creaming the butter, eggs, and sugar. Sift the dry ingredients so they mix in easier with the wet ingredients.
  • Cool cupcakes on a wire cooling rack completely before frosting. The wire rack allows air to circulate under the cupcakes and cools them faster.
top-down view of Vanilla Cupcakes on cake stand

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use sour cream in Vanilla Cupcakes?

Yes! For the ultimate rich and moist Vanilla Cupcakes, use full fat sour cream instead of whole milk. You can also use plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, or buttermilk.

How do I make Eggnog Cupcakes?

Use prepared Eggnog instead of milk and add a teaspoon of ground nutmeg for easy, rich Vanilla Eggnog Cupcakes during the holidays.

Are chocolate chips good in these Vanilla Cupcakes?

Absolutely! Fold in a ½ cup chocolate chips or baking chips in any flavor for a simple, delicious variations. For these Vanilla Cupcakes, try vanilla chips, caramel chips, or white chocolate chips, or contrast with dark chocolate.

How do I make Funfetti Cupcakes with this recipe?

For the easiest homemade Funfetti Cupcakes, fold ½ cup rainbow sprinkles (the large ones or jimmies) into the cake batter. Top frosted cupcakes with extra sprinkles for birthday parties or just a little extra joy.

Can I use this recipe for Chocolate Cupcakes?

Turn these moist Vanilla Cupcakes into Moist Chocolate Cupcakes by swapping ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder for ½ cup all purpose flour. Top with a chocolate frosting. You can also use hot cocoa mix and fold in marshmallows for Hot Cocoa Cupcakes.

More Vanilla Flavored Desserts

How to Store Vanilla Cupcakes

  • Serve: Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes can be kept at room temperature for up to 2 hours before the frosting needs to be chilled. Unfrosted cupcakes can be kept covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. 
  • Store: To keep moisture from collecting, cool Vanilla Cupcakes completely before storing in an airtight container. Frosted Vanilla Cupcakes will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and unfrosted will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
  • Freeze: Once completely cooled, place unfrosted Vanilla Cupcakes in large sealed container. Use parchment paper between layers if stacking so the cupcakes don’t stick together. Freeze Vanilla Cupcakes for up to 6 months and thaw uncovered.
Vanilla Cupcakes with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles with bite removed

Pin this recipe now to remember it later

Pin Recipe

Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting are moist, light, and fluffy cupcakes packed with vanilla. A classic recipe for perfect cupcakes!
Yield 12 servings
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream


Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper liner cups.
  • To a stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add in eggs, vanilla and milk until smooth.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add it to the stand mixer on the lowest speed setting until just combined.
  • Using an ice cream scoop fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting:

  • To your stand mixer on low speed cream the butter then start adding in the powdered sugar in ½ cup increments until fully combined then raise the speed to medium-high for 1 additional minute.
  • Add in the vanilla and heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy for 1 minute.
  • Add frosting to piping bag and frost your cooled cupcakes.



Calories: 424kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 84mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 726IU | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg
Vanilla Cupcakes Collage

Photos used in a previous version of this post.

Vanilla Cupcakes on cake stand
Vanilla Cupcakes collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


Leave a comment & rating

Have you checked the FAQ section above to see if your question has already been answered? View previous questions.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. These cupcakes were so moist and fluffy, everyone in the family liked them! The vanilla frosting is a winner! Can’t wait to bring these to our family gathering this Sunday, thanks Sabrina!

  2. These vanilla cupcakes are delightful and tasty! Been one of our go-to cupcake recipes, thanks for this amazing recipe Sabrina!

  3. looks delish. how exactly do you use the vanilla bean to equal 2 teas of vanilla? Novice cook here who LOVES your recipes and descriptions!

    1. Hi, sorry I am a little confused by your question. The recipe calls for vanilla extract, not the actual beans? Hope that helps!

  4. This look amazing, but you talk about using vanilla bean or powder but you don’t say how much. Could you please let us know.

  5. They were good. I substituted sour cream for the milk. They were not as light as I would have liked. Maybe I did something wrong. I used one egg as listed on the recipe. .