Are you ready for a dreamy and delicious vanilla frosting recipe that is also vegan friendly? Look no further than this light and fluffy vanilla vegan buttercream frosting! With only 5 simple ingredients, you’ll have the perfect topping for cakes, cupcakes, sugar cookies, and more.
This vegan frosting is a vegan twist on classic American buttercream that is so easy to make. Perfect for any special occasion, this homemade frosting is so amazing, you’ll want to eat it right off the spoon.
This is my go-to all purpose vegan vanilla frosting. It’s perfect for piping into tall mountain swirls on top of vanilla cupcakes, or spreading on top of vegan vanilla cake (or chocolate cake!), and cookies. This recipe makes a lot of frosting, enough for about 16 cupcakes or the top of a 9×13-inch cake in a thick layer.
Why You’ll Love this Vanilla Frosting
- Simple ingredients. Nothing complicated here to make this frosting! The ingredients are available at almost every grocery store.
- Simple instructions. Since this is based on American Buttercream, it is super easy to mix up! It’s a great easy recipe that even beginning bakers will love.
Here is a quick rundown of what you’ll need for this vanilla frosting. Please see the recipe box for the full ingredients and measurements.
- Vegan Powdered Sugar: Before you add the sugar, make sure to sift the sugar to get out any lumps! Not all sugars are vegan so make sure to check. Brands like Wholesome Sweeteners, Trader Joe’s Powdered Sugar, Florida Crystals, 365 Sugar, and Pioneer Sugar are vegan.
- Vegan Butter: I recommend that you use softened butter that is just about room temperature. Melted butter won’t work in this recipe. More on what brand to use below!
- Good Vanilla Extract: A good vanilla is key to this recipe. I love to use a Madagascar vanilla or Bourbon vanilla in this recipe.
- Plant-Based Milk: Sometimes, depending on what brand of butter you use, you may need to add a touch of non-dairy milk to bring it all together and get the right consistency. For these images, I added 1 tablespoon of soy milk. Other milks like coconut milk, almond milk, oat milk, etc will also work.
- Salt: This helps to balance out the flavor and add depth to the sweetness.
Best Vegan Butter for Frosting
There are so many options now for plant-based butter that it can be overwhelming. And to make it more confusing, not all vegan butters will perform the same in different recipes. This is especially true for frosting recipes.
I typically use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks as I can easily pick them up at my closest grocery store. I like that they are soft and easy to work with. However, if you leave the cake or cupcakes out for much longer than 45 minutes, they will start to soften. This butter needs to be kept in the fridge and eaten pretty quickly for best results.
Avoid: Earth Balance Butter Tub. This is a butter that was designed for putting on toast NOT to be used for frostings! The water content of this butter is way too high and you won’t get good results with this.
“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is also available at a lot of stores, and it is one of the few vegan butters that is nut free! I’ve used this in the past and it has worked out well.
Country Crock makes a few different blends of vegan butter sticks. I would suggest trying the avocado oil blend as I find the olive oil blend to be a bit too savory of a flavor.
This vegan buttercream frosting is basically the same process as regular American buttercream frosting. It is also a super easy frosting to make and is really beginner friendly!
Make sure to check out the recipe card below for the full recipe and ingredient list.
This recipe makes enough frosting to generously cover 16 cupcakes or a 9×13-inch cake.
First, cream the vegan butter. You can use a hand mixer or a stand mixer. I generally prefer my stand mixer for this recipe. Place the butter in the bowl and begin to whisk it on a medium speed. It will turn lighter in color as more air is added in, leading to a light and fluffy texture.
Next, add in the vanilla, pinch of salt, and half of the sugar. I like to add it in batches so that it gets blended together more smoothly. Use a low speed until everything is mixed together.
Finally, add the remaining sugar and a small amount plant based milk if it’s needed. I really do mean to add just a teaspoon of milk at a time! You don’t want to make it too soupy! How much milk. you use will depend on what type of butter you used as different butters have different fat:water ratios.
Pro Tip! For the Creamiest Frosting
For super smooth frosting, switch from a whisk attachment to the paddle attachment on your stand mixer or hand mixer and mix for the final minute. This emulsifies the oils and will transform your frosting to the ultimate creamy texture!
How to Frost Cupcakes
If you want to get beautiful swirls of frosting like the images here, it is way easier than you think!
Grab a piping bag, a star tip, and a large cup.
Fold the edges of the bag over the cup and you can fill up the piping bag with frosting all by yourself.
When it’s full, use a clip so no frosting can escape out the top!
To frost a cupcake, hold the bag in your dominant hand (the right hand for me). Place the cupcake directly under your piping bag. Don’t do this at an angle.
Starting at 9 o’clock on the cupcake, gently squeeze the frosting with the palm of your dominant hand. Don’t use your other hand to squeeze the bag. The other hand just guides the tip on where to swirl.
Make one full rotation around the cupcake. When you get back to where you started, lift your hand slightly and make the next circle slightly smaller as you once again swirl around the cupcake.
Each time, make the swirl slightly smaller as you spiral up the cupcake.
When you have reached the top (for me it’s about 3 swirls around the cupcake) make a tiny swirl on top and stop squeezing the bag. Slowly pull directly up and it will naturally make the little top.
It may take a few tries to get the feel for this, but you can always scrape off any you don’t like and try again! I won’t tell anyone.
Tips for the Creamiest Frosting
Don’t over mix the vegan butter. Unlike dairy butter, which takes several minutes of whipping at high speeds to get it fluffy, you don’t want to over mix the vegan butter which is made with oils and not animal milk. Over mixing the butter in the beginning can make the butter curdle and fall apart. Just mix it for a minute or two until it is creamy, but not fluffy or curdled.
How to Store + Make Ahead
This frosting is best when used right away to frost cupcakes and cakes.
Fridge: Store any leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You may need to add an additional spoonful of plant milk to help the frosting have the right consistency again.
Freezer: Yes, you can freeze frosting! Store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight.
Leftover cakes and cupcakes: As this is a butter based frosting, all cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more should be stored in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.
More Dessert Recipes
Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest! I added this one to my cakes and cupcakes board. 🙂
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- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups or scale
- Measuring spoons
- Hand mixer or stand mixer
- 1 cup vegan butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1-2 tablespoons dairy free milk as needed
- Pinch salt
- Mix the butter. In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the softened vegan butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. It should be smooth and creamy. If it starts to curdle, it has been over mixed.
- Add and whisk. Add the vanilla, salt, and half of the powdered sugar. Start on low speed and slowly build up speed until the sugar is incorporated. Add the remaining sugar, again mixing on low until it’s incorporated. Mix on medium to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add plant based milk as needed to get the right consistency.
- Frost and enjoy! Transfer to a piping bag or use a spoon to frost cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and more! Enjoy!
- How to Store + Make Ahead
- This frosting is best when used right away to frost cupcakes and cakes.
- Fridge: Store any leftover frosting in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. You may need to add an additional spoonful of plant milk to help the frosting have the right consistency again.
- Freezer: Yes, you can freeze frosting! Store in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Leftover cakes and cupcakes: As this is a butter based frosting, all cupcakes, cakes, cookies, and more should be stored in the fridge or freezer until ready to use.