Classic White Frosting Recipe

Every baker needs this Classic White Frosting recipe on hand for frosting cakes and cupcakes.

Classic White Frosting

The Best White Frosting Recipe

You may be asking yourself, “What’s going on here?  RecipeGirl is going cake-crazy!”  Yes, indeed I’ve been going cake crazy.  And I may just continue to do so!  I’ve realized that needs a greater stash of cake and frosting recipes, and I’m on a mission to give them to you!

Everyone needs a good yellow cake recipe (you got that last week).  Everyone needs a most-excellent chocolate frosting recipe (last week as well).  And now you’re getting the best white frosting recipe.  So you can probably guess what might be coming next, right?  Yep, a chocolate cake!  Keep reading below for the chocolate cake!

making Classic White Frosting

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe

  • butter (I like to use salted)
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • milk

How to make this Classic White Frosting recipe:

The butter is mixed until creamy and smooth with an electric mixer.  You can either use an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer. Then you’ll mix in the powdered sugar a little at a time, along with the vanilla and milk a little at a time too.  You’ll keep mixing and adding enough milk until you achieve the texture you’re looking for in a frosting.

This frosting turns out creamy and wonderful.  It’s perfect for frosting a two-layer 9-inch cake (generously so).  It’s not a good frosting for piping- I prefer my Wedding Cupcake Buttercream recipe for piping decoratively onto cakes and cupcakes.  But this one is just a good old-fashioned white frosting that is perfect for spreading smoothly.

Classic White Frosting

How do you make white frosting super white?

It’s pretty tough to avoid grabbing a spoon and just going to town on eating this bowl of frosting.  It’s pretty delicious!  To achieve a nice white coloring, I use a brand of butter that is not terribly yellow (my grocery store brand is perfect for that), and I like to use a clear vanilla extract.  You can locate that in the baking aisle of craft stores (or on Amazon- Wilton makes a version of it), and if you have a good baking supply store in town, they would most likely carry it too.

Can classic white frosting be tinted to make other colors?

Yes!  It’s very easy to turn white frosting into other colors.  I try to avoid using traditional food coloring because it can change the texture of the frosting.  Instead, I like to use gel paste

Classic White Frosting on a chocolate cake

Is this Classic White Frosting good for piping?

This white frosting recipe isn’t the best one for piping.  It’s best for spreading.  And it works very well on my Best Chocolate Cake recipe or this White Snack Cake!

If you’re looking for a frosting recipe that is great for piping frosting onto cakes and cupcakes, I recommend you try my Pipeable Cream Cheese Frosting recipe or my Wedding Cupcake Buttercream recipe.With both of those recipes, you can scrape the frosting into a piping bag and pipe beautiful swirls with various tips.

Classic White Frosting
How to turn Classic White Frosting into chocolate:

You can add 3/4 to 1 cup of cocoa powder to this frosting to turn it into Classic Chocolate Frosting.  Be sure to taste it to see if it needs any more sugar (since cocoa powder is unsweetened), and you can add a little bit more milk, as needed, too.

5 from 7 votes

Classic White Frosting

This is the best classic white frosting for cakes and cupcakes.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword classic white frosting, white frosting, white frosting recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 24 servings (enough for 24 cupcakes)
Calories 220 kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar (16 ounces + 2 more cups)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons milk


  1. In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the butter until it is creamy and smooth. Mix in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, adding in the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of milk a little at a time too. If the frosting is too thick, add up to 2 tablespoons more milk until you achieve the thickness and texture you're looking for.

Recipe Notes

  • *For the whitest frosting you can get, use butter than is more white than yellow, and look for clear vanilla extract (in the baking aisle at craft stores, or at baking supply stores). You can certainly use regular vanilla extract if you are unable to locate clear.
  • This recipe makes enough to frost a two-layer cake or 24 cupcakes.
Nutrition Facts
Classic White Frosting
Amount Per Serving (24 servings)
Calories 220 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 17%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 102mg 4%
Potassium 6mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 30g 10%
Sugars 29g
Vitamin A 7.2%
Calcium 0.6%
Iron 0.1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
More Frosting Recipes...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Cathy Pollak wrote:

    This was so perfect on my chocolate cupcakes!

  • Toni Dash wrote:

    Thank you so much for the recipe! I love how easy this is to make!

  • Aysegul Sanford wrote:

    Such a great recipe to have on hand. Perfect to use on cupcakes and cakes. Thanks for sharing.

  • Brenda wrote:

    Everybody needs a gool ol’ classic frosting in their recipe box. Great recipe!

  • Jennifer Farley wrote:

    This was perfect on the cupcakes I made today! Thanks for sharing!

  • Liz wrote:

    The proportions for this frosting are just right! It’s now our go-to white frosting!!

  • Melissa wrote:

    The simplicity of this recipe keeps me going to it over and over again!

  • Diederik wrote:

    Can this white frosting be refrigerated? Is so, how long before spreading it on the cake layers?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I haven’t tried refrigerating it. I would imagine if you did that, you’d need to store it in a tightly covered container and then let it come to room temperature before using.

  • Taryn wrote:

    Hi there! I really enjoyed how easy this was to make, especially for my kids! They were able to make all of it themselves, without the mixer (I wasn’t able to have one on hand, but that didn’t seem to bother them!) However, crazily enough, my kids thought it was a bit too sweet (I know right???) Is there something I can add/not add to cut down on the sweetness a bit? Thank you!

    • Lori Lange wrote:


  • Barbara wrote:

    What would I add to make classic chocolate frosting?


  • Heather M. Whipple wrote:

    this looks great , although I plan to put it on top of sugar cookies then peppermint pieces on top of the frosting.
    would that be ok with this frosting? would it hold up? please e-mail me a response to this inquiry to the email address I put in my contact information. thank you.
    have a Merry Christmas.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Hi Heather, I haven’t tried frosting cookies with it… but I’m guessing it would be okay for that!

  • Beth wrote:

    Can I make this a day in advance of frosting my cake or should I make it the day I frost? 


    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I would make it the day of frosting.

  • Colleen Zehr wrote:

    I didn’t know there was different shades of butter. I have always wanted to get the frosting whiter. Where can I get whiter butter?
    Thank you for the recipe!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Maybe a more organic or high end variety?

  • Lola Lambrechts wrote:

    Made it and added some peanut butter, spread it on brownies. And my dad said that they were the best brownies ever! (I think it was because of the frosting!)

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      That sounds delicious!

  • Ronda wrote:

    If I wanted to make an almond flavored buttercream would I just switch the vanilla extract to almond extract in the same quantity?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      yes, that would probably be fine.