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Recipes

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

This frosting is perfect for anyone who prefers to eat vegan, dairy-free and/or gluten-free.

Enjoy it in moderation on special occasions, it’s definitely not a health food but it’s great for people with dietary preferences or allergies. It’s perfect on my dairy-free, gluten-free sugar cookies.

I usually leave this frosting white and food coloring is a known toxin (sorry!). There are some natural food colorings available at natural grocers, but they tend to be pretty pricy and only tint the frosting. There’s something simple and pretty about white frosting, so I usually just stick with it.

VEGAN VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

 

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Total time: about 5 minutes
Makes about 2.5 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup room temperature Earth Balance brand vegan butter*
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, use organic if possible
  • 2 teaspoons almond milk, soy milk or other nut milk, or substitute water
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Method: Be sure all of your ingredients are room temperature. Place all ingredients with 1/2 of the powdered sugar in a large bowl and cream together with a mixer. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and continue to mix until well combined and frosting consistency.

Store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator up to a week. Just like most frosting, if it’s been in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature about 10 minutes to slightly soften to help make frosting your cookies or cupcakes a breeze.

*Important note about vegan shortening: Earth Balance doesn’t contain any hydrogenated or interesterified oils, preservatives or emulsifiers found in most margarines and other butter alternatives. It’s a natural option with 0g of trans fat. Do not substitute traditional margarine or shortening (like Cristco) as both are hydrogenated and contain transfats. Stick to Earth Balance if you can. I use the soy-free option.

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting Recipe
 
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Author:
Yield: 2.5 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup room temperature Earth Balance brand vegan butter*
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, use organic if possible
  • 2 teaspoons almond milk, soy milk or other nut milk, or substitute water
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Be sure all of your ingredients are room temperature.
  2. Place all ingredients with ½ of the powdered sugar in a large bowl and cream together with a mixer.
  3. Add the rest of the powdered sugar and continue to mix until well combined and frosting consistency.
  4. Store it in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator up to a week.
  5. Just like most frosting, if it’s been in the refrigerator, let it sit at room temperature about 10 minutes to slightly soften to help make frosting your cookies or cupcakes a breeze.

 

 

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  1. Joan Camara

    March 23rd, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Hi, I love your very healthy recipies, and I just wanted to make the point that, YES, soy FREE is best for EVERYTHING, and EVERYBODY!! I believe I’ve read that most soy in this country is GMO, so best to stay away from everything soy. Soy lecithin also is a soy substance that is in most every food product in the grocery store, and there are so many studies of all the negative effects of it, that if anyone actually studied this subject, would be alarmed, and possible want to really learn how to eat better, which I say (and do) is organic only. So I just wanted to say, thank you for mentioning the fact, that soy should be avoided. Now onward, to your next wonderful recipie(s)…..

  2. Austen

    September 10th, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Actually, soy is great for you and everybody, process soy is not. A bag of frito’s lays will have bad soy while tofu is good soy. Soybeans are one of the few things that contain a complete protein within its self, so to avoid it is not a good idea for vegans. Although I’m not sure about how process earth balance butter w/soy is, but I’m not really afraid of it and I’m a health nut.

  3. Austen

    September 10th, 2018 at 10:52 am

    and most processed gmo soy is made for grazing beef cattle and all other animal agriculture. Yuk!

  4. Austen

    September 10th, 2018 at 10:54 am

    So that would mean Meat has more process gmo soy then “soy products”

  5. AmandaBock

    August 27th, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    I just tried this. Sounded really easy, but did not come out well. Way too thin, like my earth balance was melted (I swear it was at room temp, naturally). I added a little more powdered sugar and I’m putting it back in the fridge and going to re-beat it later and hope for something creamier.

  6. AmandaBock

    August 29th, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Nope. Didn’t work. Total disaster. If the icing got even close to room temp, it just slid off the cake. I just don’t think earth balance is solid enough at room temp to work here.

  7. Elizabeth Rider

    August 30th, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Hi there! This always works for me, so I wonder if it could be environmental, are you in a really hot, humid place? Also, try not adding any liquid (no almond milk.). You could also try another variation of vegan butter. ~Elizabeth

  8. Diana Mesropyan

    November 20th, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Hi, I wonder if you can let the buttercream stay in roomtemperature, if yes, hos long can it keep its shape?

  9. Nina Richards

    December 19th, 2017 at 6:56 pm

    Can I use a different flavor other than vanilla? What if I want to make mint buttercream?

    Also, is it ok to use oat milk? What about chocolate oat milk, for chocolate butter cream?

    I’m not looking for this to be 100% vegan, I’m semi lactose intolerant so I have to watch how much dairy I take in daily. Otherwise, I get sick. Basically, what I’m asking is if I can use regular unsalted butter instead of vegan butter.

  10. Elizabeth Rider

    December 22nd, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Nina! Great questions. Yes, you can use any flavoring. You can also use any dairy-free milk, so oat milk would be great. I haven’t tested chocolate yet, but you’d want to add some cocoa powder in addition to chocolate oat milk. Let us know how it turns out! ~Elizabeth

  11. Ally

    February 9th, 2018 at 9:20 pm

    Hi, does this pipe nicely onto cupcakes and stand up, like traditional buttercream, or will it flop and seperate? Once cupcakes are frosted, should I store them in the fridge – or not necessary? Thanks

  12. Carolynn Garcia

    April 23rd, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Hi there, thanks for the recipe! Made it today, with Earth Balance sticks, it piped well and was unrefrigerated for about 4 hours and didn’t melt or slide off or anything. Just what i needed. Thanks!

  13. Elizabeth Rider

    April 23rd, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    So glad to hear it! 🙂

  14. Sylwia

    April 23rd, 2018 at 1:01 pm

    For some reason, my frosting does not come out as white when I follow this recipe. I follow the recipe but I feel that I may need to add extra powdered sugar to get it to be more ivory white… is it my vanilla extract that is causing it to come out darker?

  15. Elizabeth Rider

    April 23rd, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    It might be the vanilla extract, you can find more concentrated versions at local spice stores or savory spice shop to use less to prevent the discoloring. Also, what type of vegan butter are you using? I use soy-free Earth Balance. It’s not completely white, but close.

  16. Anonymous

    May 16th, 2018 at 9:21 am

    This recipe is GREAT, but it’s not thick enough. Do you have any suggestion?

  17. Elizabeth Rider

    May 17th, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Hi there, it may be too warm. Put it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to firm up. 🙂 ~E

  18. Tasha

    September 7th, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Hello,
    What is your opinion on using powdered erythritol instead of the sugar? I would love to make this sugar free if possible!

    Thank you 🙂

  19. Elizabeth Rider

    September 7th, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Hi Tasha,
    Great question. Everyone is different and if you don’t mind the taste of erythritol you could try it here. I haven’t tried it so you’d have to experiment with how much. Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that contains zero calories, but some people experience digestive distress with sugar alcohols. Also, studies have shown that the use of zero-calorie sweeteners, such as artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and even stevia, don’t actually help people lose weight or be healthier, in fact, people who use them tend to weigh more. Zero-calorie sweeteners can still set off the same hormonal responses as sugar and cause insulin spikes, because your brain perceives the sweetness.
    For this specific vegan buttercream frosting recipe, I used it very sparingly and only a few times a year on a special occasion—perhaps a birthday or Christmas cookie. However it’s made, this recipe is an occasional treat and using real powdered sugar a few times a year is perfectly fine.
    Again, everyone is different. If you tolerate erythritol and feel healthy in general and after using it give it a try.
    Warmly, ~E

  20. Dani

    September 27th, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    For the Earth Balance, does tub version work just as well as sticks?

    Thank you!

  21. Elizabeth Rider

    September 27th, 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Dani, yes! The tub version works the same.

  22. Nadia

    November 8th, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    Can you provide an article about food coloring being a toxin? I would like to look into that.

  23. Andria Das

    December 18th, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Made this recipe for my daughter’s 20th birthday. She’s a vegan and I found a cake recipe, but I needed a very easy-to-make frosting and chose this one. It was absolutely perfect–light, fluffy and delicious. Thank you!

  24. Elizabeth Rider

    December 19th, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Andria, so happy to hear this, I love this recipe too. Thanks for stopping by to comment! ~E

  25. Kin

    December 18th, 2018 at 1:25 pm

    Have you tried using freeze-dried powdered fruit? Color AND flavor all at once!

  26. Elizabeth Rider

    December 19th, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing. ~E

  27. Kaitlyn Moore

    December 27th, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    This recipe is great, but it does not yield 5 cups! It made about 1.5-2 cups. Not 5!

  28. Elizabeth Rider

    December 30th, 2018 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Kaitlyn, thanks for pointing this out! We’ve corrected it in the recipe. ~E

  29. Ana

    November 3rd, 2019 at 1:56 pm

    Great recipe! Made it last night and it worked like a charm. Thanks!

  30. Ana

    November 3rd, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    Great recipe! Made it last night and it worked like a charm. I used my butter at room temp where I press and gives in with a bit of resistance, not creamy. Also, added 1-1/2 teaspoon of almond milk, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract instead of vanilla. Frosted my cake and today I’ll cover it with fondant. Thanks!

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