homemade vanilla cupcakes in a gray cupcake pan on wooden table

Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

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This Vanilla cupcake recipe is amazing. Vanilla cupcakes are one of the most popular flavors of cupcakes. I think it was the very first flavor that I learned how to make.

How could you not like them? They have a nice subtle vanilla flavor and really allow the frosting that you use to shine. With that said they are extremely flavorful on their own, I like to set some aside to eat without frosting, they are that good. It is a great base flavor for any cake or cupcake.

They will typically be white or yellow and go with practically any frosting flavor you can imagine. On this list of Top 25 Cupcake Flavors, they come in at number 3! And it is easy to see why.

They are incredibly easy to make with just a handful of ingredients that you most likely already have in your pantry. If I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get baking!

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients to make Vanilla cupcakes

8 vanilla cupcakes on a white cake pedestal.

In order to make this delicious vanilla cupcake recipe, we need to get our ingredients and tools together. You will need the following items:

  • Unsalted Butter – The butter will help add to the light and fluffy texture as well as give the cupcake some flavor. You can use salted butter if you like, but you will probably want to reduce the extra salt by half.
  • White granulated sugar – The sugar affects the texture and believe it or not will help keep the cupcakes soft and moist as well as give it flavor.
  • Eggs – The eggs will add structure and body to the cupcakes, act as a leavening agent, and help bind all the ingredients together. They also add much-needed moisture.
  • Vanilla Extract – The star of this recipe. Vanilla enhances other flavors as well as has an amazing flavor itself. When little is added it works as an enhancer when more is added not only does it enhance but it brings its own flavor to the mix. You can’t have a vanilla cupcake recipe without vanilla.
  • Salt – Make sure to use table salt. The salt is a flavor enhancer for the other ingredients. It also helps to balance out the sweetness of the sugar.
  • Baking Powder – The baking powder is the main leavening agent. It makes the cupcake batter rise. Without it, they won’t rise and will be denser. Unless more eggs are used as a pound cake.
  • Cake Flour or All-Purpose Flour – If it is readily available I recommend using cake flour over all-purpose (plain) flour. It will help to make the cupcake lighter and airier. All-purpose flour will make them a little denser.
  • Milk – I like to use whole milk but you can use any milk that you like. The milk has protein which helps make the batter stronger also the moisture helps to make the cupcake moister. The added sugar in the milk helps to create a nice golden-brown crust.
Several glass bowls holding vanilla cupcake ingredients laying on a wooden table.


Step 2: How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes

First, preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). In a large bowl add the softened butter and sugar. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer and cream those ingredients together.

Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If you forget to set your butter out to soften, you can put it in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds on defrost mode to help soften it up.

Hand mixer creaming butter and sugar together in a large glass bowl

Step 3: Eggsellent vanilla cupcake recipe

Now it is time to add in the two large eggs. No need to add them one at a time, just dump them in. Also, add in the vanilla extract. Mix well until combined, again scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Step 4: Flour and Milk

Next, add the baking powder and the salt to your flour and whisk them all together. Then add about a cup of it to the cupcake batter. After that has been mixed in add about a half of the milk and mix that in.

Now add the rest of the flour and milk. Do this until all the ingredients have been incorporated. You could probably just dump all the ingredients in and mix them together but doing them separately ensures a nice even mixing.

vanilla cupcake batter in large glass bowl on wooden table.

Step 5: Fill up the cupcake paper cups

Take several paper cups and place them in your cupcake pan. Then fill them each up about 3/4 full with your cupcake batter. I usually just use a spoon to do this. Try and get the same amount in each one.

Next bake them in your preheated oven (350 F/176C) for 15 to 20 minutes until when you poke it in the center with a toothpick it comes out clean.

After they come out of the oven let them cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the vanilla cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely.

Freshly baked vanilla cupcake recipe

Step 6: Basic vanilla cupcake recipe frosting

Now let’s make a basic frosting. You can use a homemade buttercream frosting or this one. Or any number of storebought frosting flavors.

For this cupcake frosting you will need:

  • Powdered sugar (confectioners)
  • Milk or half and half
  • Vanilla extract

Put all of those ingredients in a bowl and mix them together with a hand mixer. Add food coloring if you like.

In this case, I chose a “smurf” blue. Blue is my favorite color, not a common cupcake frosting color, but I like it.

homemade frosting for vanilla cupcakes

Step 7: Frost and decorate the vanilla cupcakes

Next, decorate your cupcakes however you like. Use a knife and spread on the frosting on top of the cupcakes, or put the frosting in a piping bag and pipe it on.

Add some sprinkles if you like as well. These are your cupcakes, make them however you like. Or you could leave off the frosting altogether and eat them plain. Enjoy!

homemade vanilla cupcake recipe with blue frosting sitting on wire rack

Can I get the vanilla cupcake recipe moister?

For even moister cupcakes add about 1/2 cup of sour cream this will add a bit of zing as well. Sour cream is commonly added into cupcakes and muffins and cakes to help with moistness without affecting the flavor.

How do I store the vanilla cupcakes?

You can store the unfrosted cupcakes loosely covered at room temperature for a couple of days. Store them in an airtight container for a longer lifespan. You may also freeze them if you wish.

After they have cooled completely place the unfrosted cupcakes in a freezer bag and then freeze them. When you want to use them, take them out of the freezer and remove the paper cups, or do this before freezing them.

If you don’t the paper cups will get soggy when the cupcakes thaw out. Allow them to sit at room temp for a few hours until thawed completely. Then frost and serve.

homemade vanilla cupcakes in a gray cupcake pan on wooden table
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5 from 7 votes

Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Homemade vanilla cupcakes are amazing. They are one of the most popular cupcake flavors and are enjoyed by millions of people worldwide. It was the first cupcake flavor I learned how to make. They are super easy to make using readily available ingredients. You won't be disappointed with these yummy cupcakes!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Cooling time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Cakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: butter, easy, moist
Servings: 24 Cupcakes
Calories: 230kcal
Author: In the Kitchen with Matt


  • Paper cups
  • Muffin pan
  • Spatula
  • Hand mixer
  • piping bag or plastic bag
  • cookie rack
  • Bowls


  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened (170g)
  • 1 3/4 cup of white granulated sugar 337g
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tsp. of vanilla extract 15mL
  • 1/2 tsp. of salt 2.5g
  • 2 1/2 tsp. of baking powder 12g
  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose or cake flour 320g
  • 1 1/4 cups of milk I like to use whole milk (375mL)

Basic Frosting

  • 1 lb. of powdered sugar confectioners (453g)
  • 1/4 cup of milk or half and half 63mL
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract 5mL


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). In a large bowl cream together the sugar and the butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  • Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix those in until combined.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Then add half of it in with the batter and combine.
  • Add half of your milk and mix that in until just combined. Then add the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk and mix until just combined. Throughout this process scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated evenly. The vanilla cupcake batter is ready to go.
  • Fill up two muffin pans with paper cups. Then add cupcake batter to each cup until about 2/3rds full. You can add a little more if you like for larger cupcakes. Use a spoon or piping back to add the batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when poking in the center. The edges will be slightly brown. All them to cool for a few minutes in the pan then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Basic Frosting

  • Now make the basic homemade frosting or use a storebought one. For the frosting add all the ingredients to a bowl and mix. If you want a color, add a few drops of food coloring until the desired color is reached.
  • Decorate them how you like, using a piping back or spatula to put on the frosting, and sprinkles and other toppings. Enjoy!


How to Make Vanilla Cupcakes | Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe


Vanilla Cupcake Recipe nutritional facts
Tried this recipe?Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!


Calories: 230kcal

Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.

Here are a few more recipes you may like:

Air Fryer Cake

Moist Chocolate Cake

Cake Pops

Molasses Cookies

Homemade Powdered Sugar

Vanilla cupcake recipe pin for Pinterest
(Pin it!)



  1. 5 stars
    Hi Matt, I have a question. If I wanted to bake a cake with this recipe as opposed to cupcakes, what size pan would you recommend?

  2. 5 stars
    I tried this. Came out perfectly. The kids loved the cupcakes. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Me during quarantine learn a new skill in baking

  4. 5 stars
    Damn! apart from the recipe, pictures are stunning. ?

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line one 12-cup standard muffin tin or two 24-cup mini-muffin tins with cupcake liners.

  6. Hi, can you make a cake instead of cupcakes with this recipe?

  7. Nnnniiiccceeeee….my challenge usually comes with the frosting bit. I don’t usually get the entire requirements-list for that, right. I do hope to get it right this time round.

  8. Such a lovely recipe that everyone enjoys! Vanilla cupcakes are always fun to make. Thanks for sharing a recipe that’s easy to follow.

  9. Vanilla… such a classic but a wonderful flavor. I love how creative you can be with the frosting when it’s a vanilla cupcake!

  10. thanks matt for another fabulous looking recipe! perfect for the holidays. and thanks for the tip about cake flour vs all purpose. i learned something useful! Joy

  11. Nice! These cupcakes look so delicious I want to try baking some tonight. Saving your recipe now. Will get the ingredients I need today.

  12. 5 stars
    I love Vanilla Cupcakes! They are so yummy and tasty! I hope to bake some these holiday season.

  13. Vanilla cupcakes really do allow for the flavor of frosting to shine through. I never thought of that before, but it’s absolutely true. These sound great.

  14. 5 stars
    Those sound delicious. Sometimes, it’s the simple recipes that are the best. You can put all kinds of stuff in a cupcake, but vanilla is just so good.

  15. This cupcake recipe is a classic for the holidays!!

  16. 5 stars
    Oh that’s a great idea using half and half instead of milk for the frosting, so much richer, I need to try that!

  17. 5 stars
    love how versatile this recipe is!! could be made in so many different ways!

  18. 5 stars
    Vanilla cupcakes are my favorite! These are so soft & a cinch to make!

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