These gluten-free vanilla cupcakes make a timeless, classic treat. Whether served at a birthday party or indulged just because you’re craving a cupcake, these gluten-free vanilla cupcakes will brighten any occasion with their delicate crumb and luscious frosting. I also included a dairy-free option below. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosures.
There’s something about a perfectly baked vanilla cupcake that’s simply irresistible. It looks beautiful on the outside, but even better, it tastes amazing on the inside.
Inside, these beautiful classic cupcakes offer the perfect soft and fluffy texture. And they’re bursting with sweet vanilla flavor.
Yellow cupcakes are the epitome of comfort food. And once you take a bite out of these cupcakes, you’ll be a believer too.
So buckle up and take note of how to make these beautiful gluten-free vanilla cupcakes for the next special occasion in your life.
What You Need
To make these classic gluten-free vanilla cupcakes, you need sugar, butter (or oil), eggs, vanilla extract, gluten-free flour (with xanthan gum), baking powder, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk.
I suggest using a gluten-free flour blend that contains xanthan gum, like Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free flour, which is what I used to make these adorable yellow cupcakes.
I also recommend using buttermilk, although most grocery stores don’t carry pure buttermilk, so you’ll have to make your own.
To do this, combine the milk (or dairy-free milk) with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Let it sit for five minutes, and voila, you have buttermilk.
How to Make Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
Start by creaming the melted butter (or oil) and sugar with a handheld mixer in a medium mixing bowl. Add the eggs and beat until it’s smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Add one-third of the gluten-free flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix, then add one-half of the milk and mix. Follow with another third of the flour and mix, then add the remainder of the milk and mix. Finally, add the last of the gluten-free flour and mix until well combined and all the flour is incorporated.
Fill the prepared cupcake pan by filling each paper liner with about two-thirds full of batter.
Bake in a 350°F preheated oven for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean or the cupcake bounces back when gently pressed.
Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting, use a handheld mixer to beat the butter or shortening until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and slowly mix until combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract, then whip the mixture until it’s smooth and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit more milk.
Then frost the cupcakes as desired and top them with colorful gluten-free sprinkles!
Why You’ll Love These Cupcakes
There are many reasons to love these classic gluten-free vanilla cupcakes:
They’re Intensely Moist: You will enjoy a soft, fluffy, and moist cupcake center. Sometimes gluten-free baked goods are crumbly, but I think you’ll find this one perfectly tender and moist.
They’re a Classic Treat: Everyone loves classic yellow cupcakes. They evoke memories of childhood birthday parties. If you’re looking for a nostalgic treat, this is your recipe!
Classic Flavor: Vanilla is a widely loved flavor because of its subtle sweetness and mild taste. Of course, if you’re a chocolate lover (like me), I recommend making these Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream. Yummy!
They’re Versatile: Vanilla cupcakes can be made to suit different occasions, such as birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and casual gatherings. I love that they can be decorated with swirls of buttercream frosting and various colored sprinkles, all of which can set the tone for any special occasion.
FAQs, Substitutions, and Notes
Butter vs. Oil: Using melted butter instead of oil will give the cupcakes more flavor and crumb. Both butter and oil will offer a moist and velvety cupcake result.
Make Your Own Buttermilk: To make buttermilk, combine 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or white vinegar with milk or dairy-free milk. The buttermilk will react with the baking soda to help the cake rise, so it’s an essential ingredient.
White vs. Yellow Cupcakes: If you want to make gluten-free white cupcakes vs. yellow cupcakes, use three egg whites instead of two eggs.
About the Flour: This recipe has been tested with several different gluten-free flours. If you use a gluten-free flour like Bob’s Red Mill’s 1-to-1 Gluten-Free flour or another flour with xanthan gum already in it, omit it. King Arthur Measure for Measure, Gluten-Free Mama’s Almond Blend, and a blend of equal parts brown rice flour, white rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch have all been tested and work well in this recipe.
A Quicker Method: You can also mix these gluten-free vanilla cupcakes using the muffin method instead of the creaming method. To do this, whisk together the dry ingredients in one bowl, and whisk together the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. The gluten-free cupcakes have a velvety texture if mixed as written in the recipe because the butter (or oil) has a chance to coat the gluten-free flour, but when you’re in a time crunch, the muffin method gives great results too.
Want to Make a Vanilla Cake Instead? My friend Sandi at Fearless Dining has a stunning layered gluten-free vanilla cake with a cream cheese frosting.
You might enjoy these recipes:
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Raspberry Buttercream
- Almond Flour Pumpkin Cupcakes (or Muffins)
- Light and Fluffy Cassava Flour Cupcakes
- Gluten-Free Chocolate Sheet Cake
Classic Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes
- 1 handheld electric mixer
- mixing bowls and spatulas
- 1 12-cavity cupcake tin
- 12 paper cupcake liners
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar 168 grams
- 1/4 cup butter melted (or vegetable oil if dairy-free)
- 2 eggs large
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour I used Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum omit if you're using a gluten-free flour that already contains xanthan gum
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 2 grams
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1 gram
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup buttermilk 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice + milk to make 2/3 cup
For the frosting
- 1 cup butter or non-hydrogenated shortening
- 4 cups powdered sugar 453 grams
- 1-2 tablespoon milk dairy-free is okay
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- sprinkles to decorate, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.
- In a medium mixing bowl, cream the melted butter or oil and sugar with a handheld mixer. Add the eggs and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
- Combine the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
- Add 1/3 of the gluten-free flour mixture and mix, then add 1/2 the milk and mix. Follow with another third of the flour and mix, then add the remainder of the milk and mix. Finally, add the last of the gluten-free flour and mix until well combined and all the flour is incorporated.
- Fill the prepared cupcake pan by filling each paper liner with about 2/3 full of batter.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, or the cupcake bounces back when gently pressed.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting: Beat the butter or shortening until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until combined. Add the milk and vanilla extract, and whip until smooth and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add a little bit more milk.