Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Vanilla Frosting

carrot cupecakes with vanilla icing
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  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 Cup (1 serving)

A go-to frosting is a great recipe to have in the recipe box. One that is easy, simple, and reliable. This easy recipe for gluten and dairy-free vanilla frosting is perfect for frosting cakes and cupcakes for kids on gluten and casein-free diets.

The frosting does not require cooking and is very easy to work with. Instead of butter, this recipe calls for vegetable shortening that is creamed together with gluten-free powdered sugar, salt, choice of dairy-free milk substitute, and gluten-free vanilla extract. 

Why does powdered sugar need to be gluten-free? Some powdered sugars include a starch that contains gluten, similar to marshmallows. Be careful to read labels; when in doubt, call the manufacturer to confirm.

The milk substitute is up to you. Canned coconut milk is dreamy for super creamy frosting with a subtle hint of coconut lingering in the background. Cashew milk adds a lovely creaminess as well, but both almond milk and soy milk would work well, too. 

You can adjust the amount of dairy-free milk substitute to desired frosting consistency, less if you want a slightly thicker frosting, a bit more for a silkier, creamier texture. 

For the flavor of vanilla but a burst of color to your baked treats, you can add a touch of gluten-free food coloring for a more festive dessert.


  • 1/3 cup shortening (vegetable, like Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar (gluten-free, powdered)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp coconut milk (canned, or your favorite dairy-free milk substitute)
  • 1/4 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Place vegetable shortening and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Cream together with an electric mixer. 

  2. Add gluten-free powdered sugar and milk substitute. Whip on high just until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

  3. If frosting is too stiff, gradually add more milk substitute, 1 teaspoon at a time to desired consistency.

  4. Use the frosting on your favorite gluten-free dairy-free baked goods. 


  • Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels - not all brands are created equal. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.​

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