Vanilla Buttercream

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5 min


4 cups (1 L)

* PLUS Cooking time: 6 minutes


  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp vanilla


  • Fill bottom of a large saucepan with 1 in. (2.5 cm) water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat so it’s barely simmering. Find a large heatproof bowl that will fit in saucepan but not touch water. Place bowl on counter. Place egg whites and sugar in bowl. Position over simmering water. Using an electric mixer, beat on high just until egg mixture is warm and increased in volume, and will hold soft peaks when beaters are lifted, 1 to 2 min. The consistency will be thick but not stiff. Remove from heat. Continue beating until mixture and bowl are completely cool, 4 to 6 min.
  • Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter and beat until evenly mixed. Repeat with remaining butter in 2 additions, scraping down sides as needed. Once smooth, continue beating on high until pale and fluffy, about 2 min. Don’t worry if it separates. Just continue beating until very smooth. Beat in vanilla.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 139,
  • Protein
  • 0.6 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 10.7 g,
  • Fat
  • 10.8 g,

How to fill a piping bag

If using a coupler – a plastic base and ring that fits on piping bag, allowing you to change tips without changing bags – fit base into bottom of bag. Drop tip into ring. Screw ring onto base. If not using coupler, drop tip into bag. Fold top of bag down to make a cuff. Using a spatula, fill bag with buttercream, pushing it down. Fill about 3/4 full. Roll up cuff. Using your hands, squeeze and push buttercream down into tip.

For pretty colours

Beat drops of food colouring, a few at a time, into buttercream.

Pina Colada

Beat 2 tsp (10 mL) coconut extract and 2 tbsp (30 mL) grated lime peel into buttercream along with vanilla.


Beat 1 tsp (5 mL) each ground ginger, cardamom and cinnamon into buttercream along with vanilla.


Beat 1 tsp (5 mL) almond extract into buttercream along with vanilla. Taste and add more if you like.


Melt 3 oz (84 g) bittersweet chocolate. Allow it to cool completely. When cool, but not seized, beat into buttercream along with vanilla. Then, sift 2 tbsp (30 mL) cocoa over buttercream. Continue to beat until evenly mixed.


Stir 2 tbsp (30 mL) instant coffee granules with 2 tbsp (30 mL) boiling water. When completely cool, beat into buttercream along with vanilla.

Transform our basic buttercream with these delicious additions – Lemon

Beat 2 tbsp (30 mL) each freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly grated lemon peel into buttercream along with vanilla.


Place in an airtight container. Press plastic wrap over buttercream. Seal and refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month. To prevent splitting, bring to room temperature. Then, using an electric mixer, beat on medium until smooth, 1 to 2 min.