Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Get those dry, crumbly cupcakes outta here! Ya girl Grandbaby Cakes is here to deliver the ultimate tender, moist, and sweet vanilla cupcake recipe. And The Kitchn gave this recipe a 9 out of 10 which resulted in plenty of folks calling this recipe the best vanilla cupcake recipe they have ever had. I ain’t gotta lie to ya. Try for yourself boos.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy.

A white plate filled with vanilla cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream and sprinkles on a white background
Five star review

“This might be the best cupcake I have ever had and definitely the best one i have ever made! I this will be my go to recipe from here on out! Thank you!”

—AMANDA A.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many cupcakes I’ve baked in my lifetime. I’m talking about hundreds and hundreds of little tender cakes adorned with creamy, sweet frosting. That’s why I can stand by saying that these vanilla cupcakes are the very best out there. When folks try these, they are amazed at how delish a homemade vanilla cupcake recipe can be. The Kitchn added my vanilla cupcakes to a throwdown and said “The texture of these cupcakes was incredible. They were impossibly moist and dense in the most luxurious way imaginable.” That’s quite the compliment. When it comes to plain vanilla, it can be deemed plain, basic and boring but once you nail the right recipe, you will stop grabbing a box mix for good.

The Lowdown of The Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Closeup of Jocelyn in pink dress smiling

Cuisine Inspiration: Classic American

Primary Cooking Method: Baking

Dietary Info: Can be made Gluten-Free or Vegan with some adjustments

Key Flavor: Moist, perfectly sweet and full of pure vanilla flavor boos

Skill Level: Easy (No Sweat, Fam!)

No dry, crumbly cupcakes around these parts. These are the moistest, fluffiest little cupcakes you’ll ever bake. It’s like biting into a cloud ya dig?

Think of these as your canvas. These can be hooked up with any fave frostings or fillings you can dream up.

Beyond the flavor, the ease is what makes this the best vanilla cupcake recipe around y’all.

The Lowdown of the Best Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

Cuisine Inspiration: Classic American
Primary Cooking Method: Baking
Dietary Info: Can be made Gluten-Free or Vegan with some adjustments
Key Flavor: Moist, perfectly sweet and full of pure vanilla flavor boos
Skill Level: Easy (No Sweat, Fam!)

  • Super Fluff: No dry, crumbly cupcakes around these parts. These are the moistest, fluffiest little cupcakes you’ll ever bake. It’s like biting into a cloud ya dig?
  • Versatile: Think of these as your canvas. These can be hooked up with any fave frostings or fillings you can dream up.
  • So Easy: Beyond the flavor, the ease is what makes this the best vanilla cupcake recipe around y’all.

Ingredients You’ll Need to Make This Easy Vanilla Cupcake Recipe

eggs, butter, flour, leavening, salt, vanilla, sugar in white bowls on a white background
  • Vegetable Oil and Unsalted Butter– Butter cupcakes tend to be richer in flavor but dryer while oil cupcakes have less flavor but are super moist. In my moist vanilla cupcake recipe, I use both like a boss.
  • Granulated Sugar- The fine crystals in granulated sugar give us the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Eggs- Eggs bind all of our ingredients together while adding the rich structure we need.
  • Flour- Flour is the base to our cupcake. For the best results, make sure you sift to make that texture fluffy and airy.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda- These are gonna help our homemade vanilla cupcakes rise.
  • Salt– Salt enhances flavor and perks up the depth and complexity of the batter.
  • Sour Cream- This gives wonderful moisture and tangy flavor. The acid in sour cream produces a very fine crumb because it tenderizes the gluten in the flour.
  • Whole Milk- The protein content, fat, sugar, and overall creaminess of whole milk thins the sour cream and creates a smoother than a baby’s bottom batter y’all.
  • Vanilla-  Use only pure. None of that artificial stuff boos. And if you can get the paste, DO IT!  It makes a world of difference.

How to Bake Vanilla Cupcakes

Step 1: Set the Stage and Get to Mixing

  1. Kick things off by preheating your oven to a cool 325°F. Line your 12-cup muffin pans with those cute paper liners. You’ll need 16 in total, but hey, you can line the extra 4 after the first batch bakes up.
  2. Now, let’s get that mixer all revved up! Combine your oil and butter in the bowl, and mix on high speed for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar on high for another 4-5 minutes until you’ve got a beautiful, fluffy, pale yellow mix.
A collage of butter and oil in a mixer bowl with sugar being added to mix together

Step 2: Toss in the Eggs and Slow it Down

  1. Introduce the eggs one at a time, mixing each in before adding the next. Don’t forget to scrape down those sides.
  2. Set your mixer to low speed, and gradually add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda to the party, mixing them in two batches. No overbeating here!
A collage of egg mixed into a mixer bowl and dry ingredients added as well

Step 3: Add the Wet Ingredients

  1. Add some sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract to the mix.
  2. Give the sides one final scrape, a gentle mix, and then kill the power. Your perfect batter is ready!

PRO TIP: Don’t overmix y’all. Overmixing can add too much air and make the cupcakes tough and dense. Stop mixing as soon as you no longer see streaks of flour.

A collage of sour cream and vanilla added to a vanilla cupcake batter before being mixed until smooth

Step 4: Scoop and Bake

  1. Fill up your liners 3/4 full with the glorious batter.
  2. Pop them into the oven for a sweet 16-19 minute bake (18’s the magic number for me!) or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean when inserted in the center. Then cool to room temp before you frost.

PRO TIP: Grab an ice cream scoop so you get your liners all evenly filled up. This will make sure the baking is consistent across all of the cupcakes.

A collage of easy vanilla cupcakes in muffin pan before and after baking

What to Serve Homemade Vanilla Cupcakes

Perfectly frosted vanilla cupcakes from scratch with colorful sprinkles against gray background

Recipe Substitutions

  • Oil: Any other neutral oil like canola will also work really great in this recipe.
  • Butter: You can use salted butter just omit the butter or use all oil but that will result in less flavor overall.
  • Flour: If you like a softer crumb, try cake flour here. It will be beyond soft too boos.
  • Sour Cream: Grab greek yogurt or buttermilk if sour cream ain’t around.
  • Milk: You can legit use any milk for this and it will turn out great.

Recipe Variations and Additions

  • Gluten Free: Replace the all-purpose flour with 1:1 ratio gluten free baking flour. Just make sure it has xanthan gum for structure.
  • Vegan: Replace the eggs with flaxseed eggs (each egg is 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water after sitting for 10 minutes) and use oat milk, almond milk or coconut milk as well as a vegan greek yogurt for the sour cream.
  • Lemon Meringue vibes: Fill with some homemade lemon curd and add a meringue on the top. Torch it up for good measure.
  • Ice Cream Cupcake Sandwiches: Cut a cupcake in half and add a scoop of your fave ice cream like vanilla ice cream, cookie butter ice cream or strawberry ice cream to the center.
  • Cookies and Cream: Add crumbled Oreos to the batter and bake up. Then top with my oreo frosting. The texture is so amazing.
  • Swirl it Up: Swirling the batter with caramel sauce or peanut butter before baking really punches up the vanilla flavor.
  • Ombre: You can even turn this cupcake recipe into an ombre cake for a little fun.
A moist vanilla cupcake with a liner beginning to come off with sprinkles on top

Expert Tips and Tricks for Vanilla Cupcakes from Scratch

  • Room Temp: Make sure that the eggs, butter and sour cream have been taken out at least 30 minutes before baking. It’s gonna result in a smoother batter y’all.
  • Measure Correctly! Use the spoon and level method for consistent, exact results. Fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off. If you overdo it on the flour, you can dry out the vanilla cupcakes.
  • Use Good Vanilla. You can use cheap flour, sour cream, milk, and even butter but you gotta have good quality vanilla for this recipe. Bonus points if you use vanilla bean paste! 
  • Don’t Forget the Cupcake Liners. I hate when cupcakes stick to the pan boos! To avoid that, I choose to use cupcake liners. If that’s not your jam, be sure to thoroughly grease and flour the pan. 
  • Cool Before Frosting. If you try to frost your cupcakes while they’re still warm, the frosting will melt and you’ll have a soupy-sticky hot mess. Wait until they have cooled completely.
A delicious cupcake split in half

How to Store

  • Room Temp: Keep them in a cake cover so the elements won’t get to them. They will last for up to 3 days depending on the frosting you add.
  • Fridge: You can refrigerate them for up to 5 days but they should come back to room temp before serving.
  • Freezer: Freeze these unfrosted for the best results. Wrap with plastic wrap then cover in foil. They will last for up to 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to sift the flour in this easy vanilla cupcake recipe?

Listen y’all. It makes a difference. If you can commit the time, it will result in a lighter, fluffier cupcake that melts in your mouth.

How can I tell if my vanilla cupcakes from scratch are ready?

Use the toothpick trick. Insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cupcake. If it comes out clean or with just a couple of moist crumbs, remove so you don’t dry them out.

Help! My vanilla cupcakes sank in the center!!

Welp boos, either you overmixed the batter or you didn’t bake them long enough. Make sure you don’t go overboard when you add in the dry ingredients. And check your cupcakes with a toothpick before taking them out of the oven.

A close up of easy vanilla cupcake cut in half

Best Cupcake Recipes

A moist vanilla cupcake with a liner beginning to come off with sprinkles on top

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

This easy vanilla cupcake recipe is perfect tender, melt in your mouth, moist and full of wonderful vanilla flavor.
4.97 from 30 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 33 minutes
Course: Dessert
Servings: 28 servings

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup sour cream room temperature
  • 1/3 cup whole milk or another milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste for a deep vanilla flavor

Instructions

  • Start by preheating your oven to 325°F then place paper liners in 2 12-cup muffin pans. You will need 4 more so you can wait until a batch of cupcakes bake before lining with the remaining ones.
  • In your mixer bowl, add oil and butter and beat for 2 minutes on high speed. Slowly add in sugar and beat on high speed for an additional 4-5 minutes until very pale yellow and fluffy. Next, add eggs, one at a time, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.
  • Turn your mixer down to its lowest speed, and slowly add flour into batter in two increments then add baking powder, salt and baking soda. Be careful not to over beat.
  • Lastly, add sour cream, milk, and vanilla extract, scrape down sides and mix until just combined and turn off mixer.
  • Scoop batter into liners 3/4s full and bake for 16-19 minutes (mine bake in about 18 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean. They should be completely set in the center.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before frosting.

Notes

How to Store
    • Room Temp: Keep them in a cake cover so the elements won’t get to them. They will last for up to 3 days depending on the frosting you added.
    • Fridge: You can refrigerate them for up to 5 days but they should come to room temperature again before serving.
    • Freezer: Freeze these unfrosted for the best results. Wrap with plastic wrap then cover in foil. They will last for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 162IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @GrandbabyCakes or tag #grandbabycakes!
Filed Under:  Cupcakes, Dessert and Baking, Oven

Comments

  1. Hi I would like to try this recipe but I need a small batch. What’s the best way to half the recipe? Metric or US? Quite difficult to halve 79ml. Help please. Thank you

  2. These are soooo good! I’d like to make them as mini cupcakes. How would I adjust baking time? Thank you!

  3. These look absolutely wonderful, and I’d love to try them. But I need to be able to make smaller batches… is there a way to cut the recipe down to only make a dozen?

    1. You can definitely halve this recipe and get pretty close to your dozen.

  4. Can I mix the Flour, baking soda, baking soda, and salt together in bowl and add into the batter as one or do I need to have them separated for a reason?

  5. Brilliant! I live in Cape Town SA and was keen to try a new CC recipe. I substituted sour cream for sour double cream yoghurt that i needed to finish.

    Question! Do these freeze well?

    And can you use this recipe for a vanilla cake too??

  6. OMG!!!!!!!! Compliments galore!!!!! I bake these all the time and they NEVER fail!!! People love these vanilla cupcakes!!! This will forever be my go to recipe!!! Thank you Jocelyn!!!!

4.97 from 30 votes

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating