Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

Whether you’re a novice baker or a seasoned one, you can’t deny that there’s anything better to have handy than a basic cupcake recipe that you can make quickly. These easy vanilla cupcakes are just that!

close up of a vanilla cupcake frosted with buttercream and topped with sprinkles


 

These cupcakes are a canvas for your creativity. You can make them as is, or you can let your imagination go wild with ideas for add-ins, toppings, and substitutions. 

If you’ve been looking for a recipe for cupcakes that couldn’t be more simple, but is super customizable, you are in the right place. The next time you need a dessert for a party, book club, or just to nosh on at home, try this one.

Seriously Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

Fluffy cupcakes full of warm vanilla flavor and topped with a light and sweet buttercream- what’s not to love!

  • Simple – This easy recipe uses basic ingredients that you likely already have in the pantry and it’s perfect for the first time baker trying their hand at making cupcakes. It’s also a great foundation for an expert baker to add their own customizations.
  • Portable – You can take these to parties or out for a picnic. They transport easily and you can even wrap the cupcakes in plastic wrap and add the frosting on the fly or try my favorite cupcake carrier.
  • Delicious – Vanilla is a classic flavor that nearly everyone enjoys. No one will be disappointed to chow down on these!
  • Fresh – A boxed mix is easy, but so is this! And since you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already, this is a much fresher and tastier version than you’ll get with a mix.
angle view of frosted vanilla cupcakes on a plate

Ingredients

From the vanilla cake to the vanilla buttercream frosting, you might already have most of the ingredients on hand.

  • All-purpose flour – All purpose flour helps to make these simple vanilla cupcakes light and airy. 
  • Baking powder – This ingredient also acts as a leavening agent to ensure the cupcakes perfectly rise. 
  • Baking soda – Using baking soda ensures, too, that your cakes are just the right texture. 
  • Fine sea salt – Just a touch of salt helps bring out all of the vanilla flavor.
  • Unsalted butter – Whether you use melted butter or just choose to leave it on the counter, make sure your butter is at room temperature.
  • Granulated sugar – White sugar is the best to use for this recipe to make sure that it maintains its color. 
  • Vegetable oil – The neutral flavor in this oil makes it ideal for baking. 
  • Pure vanilla extract – This brings all the flavor to these classic vanilla cupcakes.
  • Eggs – If you want to make sure to have a fluffy cupcake make sure to use room temperature eggs in this recipe. 
  • Milk – Whole milk is the best option to make sure you get the moistest cupcakes. 
  • Sprinkles – These are optional but add a fun decorative twist, especially for birthday parties or baby showers.
  • Powdered sugar – Use powdered instead of granulated to make sure that you have a smooth consistency. 
bite taken out of a vanilla cupcakes

How To Make Easy Vanilla Cupcakes

You are going to love this simplicity of this easy vanilla cupcake recipe.

  1. Dry ingredients. Use a whisk or a sifter to mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, making sure that all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  2. Wet ingredients. Cream butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed. Scrape the sides of the bowl often so that all ingredients can mix together. 
  3. Add eggs. One at a time, add the eggs. Beat each one into the batter on medium speed.
  4. Add half dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients. Beat just until combined, being careful not to overmix which can lead to dense cupcakes. 
  5. Add milk. Then, while the mixer is still running, add in the milk and slowly mix until the milk is fully absorbed.
  6. Add rest of dry ingredients. Once milk is completely absorbed, add the remaining dry ingredients and continue mixing until smooth.
  7. Bake. Divide the batter into the cupcake liners. Bake the cupcakes, making sure to leave the oven door closed for most of the baking process to ensure even temperature.
  8. Remove and cool. After removing the easy vanilla cupcakes from the oven, let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. 
  9. Make frosting. Combine all of the frosting ingredients in one large mixing bowl. Beat the ingredients with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  10. Pipe onto cupcakes. Using a piping bag, or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, to pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes. You can also use a spatula to spread, if you prefer. 
  11. Add sprinkles and enjoy. If you choose, garnish your cupcakes with colorful sprinkles.
step by step of how to make vanilla cupcakes

Variations

​There are plenty of ways you can make these moist vanilla cupcakes your own!

  • Make it moister – Using sour cream will increase the moistness of any cake. You can also use creme fraiche or full fat yogurt.
  • Frosting options – Change up your topping by using a cream cheese frosting or even a powdered sugar icing for something simple. Or choose your own favorite frosting.
  • Top it – Add decorator’s sugar (colored or not) to add some sparkle, or try finely crushed nuts or toffee to add some texture and impart a salty/sweet flavor. You can also garnish with fruit like maraschino cherries or finely diced fruit.
  • Vary your vanilla – Substitute vanilla bean paste for the extract using a 1:1 ratio. Alternatively, you can change up the entire flavor profile of these easy vanilla cupcakes by using any extract of your choice like lemon, almond, or coffee in place of some or all of the vanilla.
  • Fill ‘em up – After baking, use your piping bag with an appropriate sized tip and fill the center of the cupcakes with jam, pudding, or whipped cream. 
  • Add-ins – Throw some mini chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch chips into either the batter or the icing. You could also try finely chopped dried fruit.
close up of frosted vanilla cupcakes being eaten

Storage & Freezing

How to Store Cupcakes

Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. As per the usual, baked goods are best enjoyed the closer to baking.

Can You Freeze Cupcakes?

Can you freeze cupcakes? Ha! Yes- this is my favorite thing to do! You can also wrap the cupcakes individually, unfrosted, in plastic wrap. It will take about 20 minutes at room temperature to thaw.

overhead of cupcakes in a 6 cup muffin tin with frosting and spinkles

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the secret to super moist cupcakes?

Moist crumbs are what we all crave when making an easy cupcake recipe. Buttermilk can add more moisture. Also make sure not to overbake them.

What is the secret to good cupcakes?

Everyone has their own opinion about what makes a u0022good cupcake,u0022 but I’d say to use high quality ingredients, measure carefully and watch bake time.

What not to do when making cupcakes?

Make sure the oven is preheated completely, do not open the oven door during baking, allow cup0cakes to fully cool before adding the vanilla buttercream.

close up of a cupcake with vanilla frosting with text overlay saying easy vanilla cupcakes

More Cupcake Recipes

Cupcakes are the perfect single serving dessert idea! Here are a few more of our favorite cupcakes recipes.

close up of pink lemonade cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cupcake Recipe

4.50 from 14 votes
Pink Lemonade Cupcakes are an easy cupcake recipe using boxed cake mix with lemon flavoring and pretty pink food coloring. Perfect for any spring event! 
See The Recipe!
guinness cupcakes on a serving platter

Guinness Cupcakes with Bailey’s Frosting

3.59 from 12 votes
Chocolate cupcakes laced with Guinness Stout Beer and topped with fluffy Irish cream Bailey's frosting. Perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
See The Recipe!
straight on shot of iced tea cupcakes

Iced Tea Cupcake Recipe

4.45 from 20 votes
Iced tea cupcakes topped with a melt-in-your mouth lemon frosting are all things summer! Just like the favorite drink, the Arnold Palmer.
See The Recipe!
close up of a vanilla cupcake frosted with buttercream and topped with sprinkles

Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

No ratings yet
These EASY Vanilla Cupcakes with homemade vanilla buttercream are full of flavor and so easy to make! Top with festive sprinkles for fun!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

Cupcakes:

Frosting:

Instructions

Cupcakes:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. This will take a few minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating each one into the mixture.
  • Reduce the mixer speed and add half of the dry mixture. Beat just until combined, then slowly add in the milk and slowly mix until absorbed. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat together until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Be careful not to overmix.
  • Divide the batter into the 12 lined cupcake holes and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cupcakes cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Make sure they are cooled before frosting them.

Frosting:

  • Combine the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and milk in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric mixer until fluffy and smooth. If the frosting seems too thick, add more milk. If it seems to thin, add more powdered sugar.
  • Pipe the frosting on the cupcakes or smear the frosting on with an offset spatula. Top with sprinkles of your choice and enjoy.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Nutrition

Calories: 497 kcal, Carbohydrates: 68 g, Protein: 3 g, Fat: 25 g, Saturated Fat: 14 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 85 mg, Sodium: 161 mg, Potassium: 53 mg, Fiber: 0.4 g, Sugar: 57 g, Vitamin A: 708 IU, Calcium: 68 mg, Iron: 1 mg
Calories: 497
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy vanilla cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of easy vanilla cupcake recipe
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

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