Sweet, creamy, and bursting with vanilla flavor! You'd never guess this fluffy vegan buttercream frosting was dairy free. The best part: you only need a few minutes and 4 ingredients to make it!
A while back I posted a recipe for vegan chocolate buttercream frosting. I never expected a recipe so simple to be such a big hit, but wow, was it ever! I'm happy to report that you guys seem to love frosting just as much as I do.
I had a few people ask if the recipe could be adapted to make a vegan vanilla frosting, and while I was confident that it could, I wasn't able to provide the exact amounts of the ingredients. To be honest, when I make vegan buttercream frosting I usually skip measuring and just eyeball everything!
With the holidays coming up (as well as a few holiday-themed recipes I'm working on that could benefit from a good buttercream frosting), I decided it was time to come up with an actual recipe that I could share.
Get ready for the richest, creamiest, best ever vegan buttercream frosting!
The ingredients for this one are identical to those in my chocolate frosting, except for the omission of (surprise!) cocoa powder. Here's what this recipe does include:
Vegan butter. What's this, you ask? It's basically margarine that's totally dairy-free (not all margarine is). Look for brands like Earth Balance, Melt, and, my favorite, Miyoko's.
Vanilla extract. This is where that delicious vanilla flavor will come from.
Non-dairy milk. Just a few splashes are all you need to get your frosting smooth and creamy. Since we're using so little, you can use almost any variety, though I prefer to go with something unsweetened and unflavored. Soy milk, almond milk, and cashew milk are all great choices for this recipe.
Powdered sugar. Look for powdered sugar that's organic, to ensure it's vegan.
How It's Made
The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way down if you'd like to skip right to the recipe!
First your vegan butter needs to be brought up to room temperature, so you can whip it. Try to remember to take it out of the fridge a couple of hours in advance. If you forget, use this butter softening method to warm it up in a hurry.
Beat the butter it until it's smooth and creamy. I'm using an electric hand mixer, but a stand mixer works totally fine as well! Now add the vanilla and beat it in, followed by the non-dairy milk (which you also want to be at room temperature).
Now it's time to add your powdered sugar. You'll need to do this in increments, adding a bit at a time and beating each addition in before adding the next. I find 1 cup increments to be the perfect amount — much more than that and I'll usually end up covered in powdered sugar!
Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl every so often so you work in all of the powdered sugar.
After you've added about 4 cups of powdered sugar the mixture should start to resemble frosting. At this point you can start adding in smaller increments, stopping when you're happy with the texture. More powdered sugar will give you a thicker, stiffer frosting, while less will give you a creamier vegan buttercream.
Enjoy your vegan vanilla frosting! Slather it on cakes, pile it on cupcakes, or pipe it onto cookies. Or be like me and eat it with a spoon!
Shelf-Life & Storage
Store any leftover frosting in a sealed container. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks, or in the freezer for about 2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most sugar in the U.S. is processed using animal bones. Organic sugar is processed differently, so it's considered vegan.
This is probably due to temperature differences between ingredients, namely the butter and milk. Make sure both are at room temperature when getting started!
Vegan Cake Recipes
Need something to smother in this delicious vegan buttercream? Try a few of these!
- Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes
- Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes
- Vegan Spice Cake
- Vegan Carrot Cake
- Vegan Red Velvet Cake
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Vegan Buttercream Frosting
Sweet, creamy, and bursting with vanilla flavor! You'd never guess this fluffy vegan buttercream frosting was dairy free. The best part: you only need a few minutes and four ingredients to make it!
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) vegan butter, brought up to room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unflavored and unsweetened non-dairy milk, plus more as needed
- 4-5 cups organic powdered sugar
Place the vegan butter into a large mixing bowl and beat it with an electric mixer at high-speed, until creamy.
Beat in the vanilla, followed by 2 tablespoons of non-dairy milk.
Begin beating in the powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, making sure to fully beat in each addition before adding more, and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Continue adding powdered sugar until you're happy with the taste and consistency of the frosting (about 4 to 5 cups total). Less powdered sugar will give you a thinner, creamier frosting, while more will give you a thicker, stiffer frosting.
If you find that you've added too much powdered sugar, thin the frosting with a small amount (1 tablespoon or less) of additional non-dairy milk.
Use the frosting immediately, or store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can you use vegan margarine. Becel makes a vegan one. Or would it change the flavour?
Alissa Saenz says
Vegan margarine should work just fine! Enjoy!
This looks sooo good, I'd like to eat the entire bowl with a spoon. (I'll likely add it to your spice cake, instead...ahem)
Could I substitute a tub-style spread (Melt, Earth Balance), for the stick vegan butter? (Is that what Jenny was asking?)
I've tried the stick version of Earth Balance and it had a plastic-like taste, bleh! Or, would the consistency be off?
Alissa Saenz says
Thank you! You should be fine using vegan butter from a tub - the only change I'd make is to increase the amount by about 25% (so use just under 2 cups). I have a tub of Earth Balance as well as a box of sticks in my fridge, and for some reason a tablespoon from a stick weighs slightly more than one from a tub, even though the ingredients are identical.
It is slightly whipped, less dense than the stick
These look so yummy!!
Alissa Saenz says
I'd never made buttercream frosting before this but it tasted great and was easy to make (icing sugar sure is messy though!). I paired this with your vegan vanilla cupcakes - winner. Thanks
I haven’t tried this yet but I have a question. Can I use an electric stand mixer? Oh does a hand mixer work best?
Alissa Saenz says
A stand mixer will work just fine!
This is a delicious recipe. In love! Delicious as cupcakes—I’ve made it so many times. Strongly recommend!
I’d like to make a maple buttercream frosting. Can you recommend some tweaking to this recipe to make it with some maple syrup?
Alissa Saenz says
Try substituting maple syrup for the non-dairy milk - that should add some maple flavor and make the frosting a tad bit sweeter!