Vegan Vanilla Frosting

Easy vegan vanilla frosting

​The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
267 Calories
20g Fat
23g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 267
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 271mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 8mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

With just three ingredients—powdered sugar, vegan margarine, and vanilla soy milk—this is a basic recipe for a quick and easy vanilla vegan frosting. You can use this mock buttercream frosting on a variety of vegan cakes.​

Just be sure to use a vegan margarine for a vegan version. While margarine is not dairy-based, there can be traces of animal products in it. Dairy-derived whey, casein, or lactose are often added to give it a butter-like flavor. Some brands that are truly vegan include Earth Balance, Blue Bonnet Light Margarine, Smart Balance Light Margarine.

Some strict vegans also avoid most kinds of refined sugar since it may be refined using bone char. Commercially-prepared powdered sugar is made from refined sugar, so that can create a dilemma in these cases. If you purchase only certified vegan sugar, you can make your own powdered sugar by processing granulated sugar in your food processor until it is powdered. It really is that simple. Many kinds of commercial powdered sugar also add some cornstarch, which you can do as well.


  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup margarine (vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla soy milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Easy vegan vanilla frosting
    ​The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  2. Combine the powdered sugar, vegan margarine, and soy milk in a mixing bowl.

    Butter and flour
    ​The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  3. Using an electric mixer, blend until creamy.

    Blend until creamy
    ​The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes
  4. The consistency of the frosting may vary. Add more sugar, margarine or soy milk as needed to get it as thick as you wish.

    Consistency of frosting may vary
    ​The Spruce Eats / Emily Hawkes 

Vanilla soy milk contributes the vanilla flavoring and a little moisture for this recipe. If you have a preferred non-dairy milk that is not vanilla-flavored, you can use it and a few drops of vanilla extract instead. There are no vegan concerns about vanilla extract as it is either a vegetable product or synthetic. You can add flavors such as lemon or orange with a few drops of extract if you wish.

This recipe comes, with permission, from "The Compassionate Cook Cookbook." Admittedly, this recipe has received mixed reviews, but if you follow the recipe and the amounts, you shouldn't have any trouble with this easy and basic frosting.


  • Most vanilla buttercream frosting recipes use a much higher ratio of powdered sugar to margarine, often as high as 10-to-1, while this recipe uses a 1-to-1 ratio. If you find it is too much margarine for the amount of sugar, feel free to change the proportions to suit your tastes. This is a forgiving recipe in that respect. It is a trade-off of more sugar and less fat or less fat and more sugar.

Recipe Variations