Vanilla Cupcakes

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting are super moist, light, and fluffy cupcakes packed with vanilla flavor. A simple 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 with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles with bite removed

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.


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.

top-down view of Vanilla Cupcakes on cake stand

  • 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.

Vanilla Cupcakes with vanilla frosting with bite removed

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  • Sour Cream: 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.
  • Eggnog: Use prepared Eggnog instead of milk and add a teaspoon of ground nutmeg for easy, rich Vanilla Eggnog Cupcakes during the holidays.
  • Chocolate Chips: Fold in a ½ cup chocolate chips or baking chips in any flavor for an simple, delicious variations. For these Vanilla Cupcakes, try vanilla chips, caramel chips, or white chocolate chips, or contrast with dark chocolate.
  • Funfetti Cupcakes: 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.
  • 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.



  • 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 on cake stand

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


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


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

Vanilla Cupcakes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper liner cups.

  2. To a stand mixer add the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs, vanilla and milk until smooth.
  4. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add it to the stand mixer on the lowest speed setting until just combined.
  5. Using an ice cream scoop fill the cups 2/3 full and bake for 18-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

  6. Cool completely.

Vanilla Frosting:

  1. 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.

  2. Add in the vanilla and heavy cream and beat until light and fluffy for 1 minute.

  3. Add frosting to piping bag and frost your cooled cupcakes.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 12 servings, Amount per serving: 424 calories, Calories: 424g, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 65mg, Potassium: 84mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 43g, Vitamin A: 726g, Calcium: 45g, Iron: 1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Vanilla Cupcakes

Vanilla Cupcakes collage

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  1. 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. .