Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Vanilla Frosting

carrot cupcakes with vanilla icing

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Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 15 mins
Serving: 1 serving

A go-to frosting is a great recipe to have in the recipe box. You want 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 the 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 vegetable shortening
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups gluten-free powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon coconut milk (canned; or milk substitute)
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the vegetable shortening and salt with an electric mixer.

  3. Add gluten-free powdered sugar and coconut milk (or milk substitute). Whip on high just until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

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

  5. Use the frosting on your favorite gluten-free, dairy-free baked goods. Enjoy.


  • 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.​