Cooked Vanilla Frosting

Cooked Vanilla Frosting

The Spruce / Loren Runion

Prep: 0 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 20 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
136 Calories
10g Fat
12g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 136
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 26mg 9%
Sodium 20mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 12g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 17mg 1%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 22mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This vanilla frosting is an old-fashioned cooked frosting that's easy for anyone to make. It's not as sweet as the typical confectioners' sugar or buttercream frostings. Don't let the fact that it's cooked throw you off—it couldn't be simpler.

Use vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract to make this frosting. This recipe yields 1 cup, enough to frost one sheet cake. If you are looking to frost a layer cake, make sure to triple the recipe to ensure there's enough frosting for all the layers and sides of your cake.

This frosting works great on a simple chocolate sheet cake as the recipe is written, but we also like it on cakes made from bananas or on a classic two-layer white cake. If you want something really easy, you can certainly use a boxed cake mix for the base and whip up this frosting quickly for a weeknight treat.

For a gluten-free and dairy-free version, try this vanilla frosting recipe.


  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Cooked Vanilla Frosting ingredients

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  2. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk the milk, flour, and salt together.

    Whisk the milk, flour, and salt together in a saucepan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  3. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture is very thick and bubbly. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

    Cooked milk and flour mixture in the saucepan

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  4. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until smooth and creamy. There should be no grittiness left in the mixture.

    Beat sugar and butter together

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  5. Beat in the cooled flour mixture until the mixture is light and fluffy.

    Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture

    The Spruce / Loren Runion

  6. Beat in the pure vanilla extract or bean paste.

    Cooked Vanilla Frosting with vanilla extract

    The Spruce / Loren Runion


    • To frost a two-layered cake, you will need to triple this recipe.

    How to Store Cooked Vanilla Frosting

    You can store any leftover frosting in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week to 10 days. Bring it to room temperature before using it so that it is spreadable.

    Similarly, you can make this frosting ahead of time by two to three days and store it in the refrigerator until you're ready to use it. Bring it to room temperature so it spreads over the cake more easily.


    Feel free to use this recipe as a base to experiment with. Substitute almond extract for the vanilla, or take the frosting in a completely different direction with an orange or lemon extract.