A simple 4 ingredient vegan buttercream frosting, flavoured with vanilla and ready in 5 minutes. Perfect for topping cakes, cookies, and more. If you use a really good vegan butter, you should barely notice a difference here between dairy buttercream and this vegan frosting.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Icing Sugar: unlike white sugar, which is sometimes non-vegan as it might be filtered through bone char, icing sugar is vegan unless the ingredient list states otherwise. Some brands will include egg whites so watch out for that.
- Vegan butter: use the best block-style vegan butter you can find. More on this below, plus our recommended brands!
Step 1: beat the butter in a large bowl until light, creamy, and fluffy.
Step 2: add the icing sugar to the bowl and mix on low to combine. Once the sugar is incorporated, slowly increase the speed to high and beat for another minute.
Step 3: add the vanilla and mix in the milk a tablespoon at a time, until the frosting has reached the desired consistency and is very smooth.
Step 4: use immediately or store for later.
- Beat the butter first: the butter is whipped until fluffy before adding the sugar to help the sugar to incorporate better, and keeps everything nice and smooth (no grittiness!).
- Make your own sugar: if you don't have icing sugar (confectioner's/powdered sugar) you can make it yourself. Just blend granulated, cane, or even coconut sugar in a high speed blender/food processor until powdered.
- Do a touch test: rub a little bit of the frosting between your fingers - if it feels gritty, beat for a little longer. It should be very smooth and fluffy when it's ready.
About Vegan Butter
A few things to keep in mind when buying vegan butter, for this or any recipe - look for block-type, rather than in a tub, and choose a version with minimal, simple ingredients. Avoid palm oil as an additive here if possible (not just bad for the environment, it also makes for an oily and unpleasant frosting).
We like Miyoko's vegan cultured butter and it's our go-to; it's based on cashews. In Europe, Alex recommends Naturli (the vegan block), made primarily with shea and coconut oil. Both make a delicious dairy-free frosting.
How to Store
Storage: vegan frosting can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. If you're using it to ice a cake or cookies, store the frosted treats in the fridge too. It's easy to make ahead and tastes just as good after chilling for a few days.
Freezing: transfer the frosting to an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. It can get a little grainy after being frozen, so we don't recommend it unless you have a lot left over.
What is vegan buttercream made of?
Vegan buttercream is made with the same ingredients as buttercream, but using vegan alternatives. A good vegan butter replaces dairy butter, and non-dairy milk is used in place of cream. Plus icing sugar and vanilla, and that's it!
What is the best vegan butter substitute for buttercream frosting?
Any vegan butter that comes in a stick rather than a tub will work, but some brands taste better than others. Miyoko's in North America is great and has a good flavour.
What makes homemade icing thicker?
If your homemade frosting is looking a little thin, simply thicken it by adding extra icing sugar until it reaches the consistency you're looking for.
If you make this Vegan Frosting recipe or any other frosting and icing recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Vegan Vanilla Buttercream
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Mixing bowl
- Hand or stand mixer
- ½ cup vegan butter at room temperature
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons plant-based milk
- Place the vegan butter into a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer. Beat on high speed for a couple of minutes, or until light, creamy, and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar to the bowl and mix on low to combine. Once the sugar is incorporated, slowly increase the speed to high and beat for another minute.
- Continuing to mix, add the vanilla. Slowly add the milk while mixing on high speed, a tablespoon at a time, until the buttercream reaches the desired consistency.
- Rub a little bit of the icing between your fingers - if it feels gritty, beat for a little longer. It should be very smooth and fluffy when it's ready.
- Store the buttercream in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to one week.