Vanilla Russian Buttercream

5 from 1 vote

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This vanilla Russian buttercream recipe is rich and buttery with a hint of caramel flavor. Creamy and smooth, it’s quick to make and perfect for frosting layered cakes and decorating cupcakes!

Why you’ll love Russian buttercream:

While I have a pretty big sweet tooth, I think I enjoy frosting even more than full desserts, and buttercream is my absolute favorite. With recipes like strawberry Swiss buttercream, pistachio buttercream, and peanut butter buttercream frosting, I just can’t get enough! 

However, this vanilla Russian buttercream recipe is my go-to option when I need something simple yet delicious. 

  • Simple – Just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes are all you need to make this recipe! 
  • Versatile – This frosting is smooth and creamy, making it great for frosting large cakes, but it’s also sturdy enough to pipe more intricate designs. 
  • Flavorful – If you think vanilla is boring, this recipe will make you think again. The sweetened condensed milk adds a rich, buttery taste with subtle notes of caramel. 
A cake decorated with vanilla Russian buttercream and sprinkles.

Key Ingredient Notes:

Before you begin making your vanilla Russian buttercream, let the butter and sweetened condensed milk come to room temperature. This makes it a lot easier to blend! 

  • Unsalted butter is the star of the show! It acts as a stabilizer, making the buttercream sturdy enough to pipe. It also adds a deliciously rich flavor.
  • Sweetened condensed milk – Don’t confuse condensed milk with evaporated milk! Condensed milk contains sugar, while evaporated milk is unsweetened. It adds a rich, buttery flavor with just a hint of caramel. 
  • Vanilla extract – I prefer to use homemade vanilla extract, but store-bought will also work. Just make sure it’s pure vanilla and not imitation! Trust me. You can taste the difference. 
  • Coarse kosher salt – Just a pinch balances the sweetness of the buttercream creating flavorful, not-overly-sweet frosting. 
Salt, butter, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla extract in bowls.

How to make Russian buttercream frosting:

You only need 5 minutes to make this condensed milk buttercream recipe. Just follow the instructions below, and it will be ready in less time than it takes to run to the grocery store. 

  • Beat the butter on medium-high speed in a mixing bowl with a paddle attachment until it’s light and fluffy. 
Two images showing the process of whipping butter.
  • Reduce the speed to low, and slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Once all the condensed milk is added, increase the speed to medium-high. Then, continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. 
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and salt. 
  • Whip the mixture again until everything is well incorporated. This only takes about 30 seconds!
Sweetened condensed milk being added to whipped butter.

hand mixer vs stand mixer

I like to use a electric hand mixer to whip up a small batch of frosting. Just be sure to add the sweetened condensed milk in three batches, beating in between. 

However, it’s best to use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment when you need to double, or quadruple the recipe for frosting a layered cake.

Tips for Success:

If you’ve never made Russian buttercream frosting, be sure to take a look at the tips below before you begin: 

  • Allow the ingredients to come to room temperature. Before you begin, make sure both the butter and sweetened condensed milk are at the same temperature. Butter should be around 65°F. If it’s too cold or too soft, it will cause curdled frosting. 
  • Add the sweetened condensed milk slowly. This is crucial to prevent the frosting from separating! Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk while the mixer is running on low, allowing the butter to absorb the liquid and emulsify properly. Or, if you’re using a hand mixer, add the sweetened condensed milk in 3 batches.
  • Use the proper ratios. The basic ratio of butter to sweetened condensed milk is 1:1 for vanilla Russian buttercream. 
  • Make as much as you need. You can easily double or even quadruple this recipe to frost everything from classic white cake to macarons

How do I fix separated buttercream? 

If your vanilla Russian buttercream recipe curdles or separates, first identify if your butter was cold or too soft. Then, follow the tips below. 

  • If your butter was cold, keep beating the frosting until the butter is sufficiently softened. This may take a while, but trust the process! It will smooth out as you whip it more. 
  • If your butter was too soft, transfer the frosting to the fridge for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up a bit. Then, whip again until it’s smooth and fluffy. 
Vanilla Russian buttercream frosting.

Make-Ahead Tips:

  • This condensed milk buttercream recipe can be made in advance and frozen for up to 3 months or refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
  • Thaw the frozen buttercream on the counter overnight. Then, whip it until it’s smooth and creamy.

Storing Tips:

  • Store the vanilla Russian buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  • Let the frosting come to room temperature. Then, whip until smooth before using. 
Piped designs of vanilla Russian buttercream on a black plate.

Buttercream Frosting FAQs: 

What’s the difference between Russian buttercream and regular buttercream? 

Russian buttercream is made with whipped butter and sweetened condensed milk, unlike other buttercream varieties. As a result, it’s creamier and has a stronger, milk-like flavor. 

What is the hardest buttercream to make? 

Italian meringue buttercream is considered to be the most difficult type of buttercream to make. This is because the sugar syrup has to be cooked to a specific temperature and poured into egg whites while it’s piping hot. 

What buttercream do professional bakers use?

Swiss buttercream is most commonly used by professional bakers. It’s slightly more difficult to make than American buttercream or Russian buttercream. However, it’s silky smooth and light in texture and makes for beautiful decorating. 

Is Russian buttercream stable? 

Yes, Russian buttercream is smooth, stable, and great for piping. 

Piped designs with vanilla Russian buttercream frosting.
5 from 1 vote

Vanilla Russian Buttercream

Make this easy, stable vanilla Russian buttercream recipe with just four ingredients and five minutes, and use it on all your favorite desserts!
Prep: 5 minutes
Total: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Yields: 1 cup / 240g frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (113 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (113 g) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Instructions 

  • In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    1 stick unsalted butter
  • Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the sweetened condensed milk. Then increase the speed to medium high and continue to beat until smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. (Alternatively, if using a hand mixer, add the sweetened condensed milk in 3 batches.)
    1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • Stir in vanilla extract and salt. Whip again until incorporated, 30 seconds.
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Tips & Notes

Tips:
– Make sure both butter and sweetened condensed milk are at the same temperature.
– Butter should be at room temperature, which is around 65°F. Too cold or too soft butter will cause curdled frosting.
– The basic ratio of butter to sweetened condensed milk is 1:1.
– You can easily double or even quadruple this recipe.
– To prevent the frosting from separating, add sweetened condensed milk slowly into the whipped buttercream to allow the butter to absorb the sweetened condensed milk and emulsify properly. Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk while mixer is running on low. Or if you’re using a hand mixer, add the sweetened condensed milk in 3 batches.
How to fix separated/ curdled Russian buttercream:
If the frosting is curdled/separated, identify whether your butter was cold or too soft. 
– If butter was too cold, keep beating it until butter is sufficiently softened. It’ll smooth out as you whip it more.
– If the butter was too soft, put the frosting in the fridge to firm up for 5-10 minutes and whip again.
Storing Tips: 
– Store the vanilla Russian buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
– Let the frosting come to room temperature. Then, whip until smooth before using. 

Nutrition

Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 144kcal
Carbohydrates: 7g
Protein: 1g
Fat: 13g
Sugar: 7g
Sodium: 180mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: russian

Hi, I’m Shinee!

Welcome! I’m so happy you’re here! I believe anyone can cook restaurant-quality food at home! And my goal is to help you to become a confident cook with my easy-to-follow recipes with lots of tips and step-by-step photos.

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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