Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Vegan buttercream frosting recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
434 Calories
15g Fat
76g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 434
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 20%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 2mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 76g 28%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 74g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 2mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 8mg 0%
*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.)

You may have the perfect vegan cake recipe, but without vegan icing to top it off, your cake is not ready for the party. Enter this easy recipe. This dairy-free, vegan buttercream frosting can pass for the real thing, and it's simple enough to make at home.

There isn't all that much to this recipe; it comes together in just minutes, using only 4 ingredients, and can be piped or spread on pretty much any vegan cake or cupcake as a lovely finish. The key to making frosting vegan is to replace the butter with vegan margarine. A soy-based option or dairy-free butter substitute will work.

Vegan buttercream frosting is versatile, too. Add a drop or two of food coloring to add a festive flair, add a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to make it chocolaty, or experiment with different extracts for different flavors.


  • 1 cup dairy-free soy margarine, or any dairy-free butter substitute

  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, divided

  • 1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk, or any dairy-free milk

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegan buttercream frosting

    The Spruce

  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or, alternatively, in a medium-sized mixing bowl if using a hand mixer), beat the dairy-free soy margarine until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Turn the mixer speed down to low and gradually add half of the confectioners' sugar.

    Beat margarine and sugar with hand mixer
    The Spruce
  3. Add the vanilla coconut milk and vanilla extract, followed by the remaining confectioners' sugar. Once most of the confectioners' sugar is mixed in, turn the mixer speed up to medium and then high speed, beating until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 2 to 4 minutes more.

    Adding vanilla coconut milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar
    The Spruce
  4. Use to frost dairy-free and vegan cakes and cupcakes immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.

    Vegan buttercream frosting on cupcakes
    The Spruce


  • If your vegan buttercream starts to split (looks clumpy and separated), it's either too warm or too cold. If it's too warm, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to stiffen up and then continue beating. If it's too cold, let it sit on the counter and warm up a bit before continuing.
  • If the buttercream is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more coconut milk.

How to Use

  • This recipe makes enough frosting to generously frost a 9-inch layer cake or about 24 cupcakes. (You will fill a standard pastry bag more than once with this recipe.) This recipe is easy to halve, quarter, or double, however, so if you need more frosting or less, feel free to adjust the portions (just make sure to use a bowl that's big enough if you decide to double).
  • If storing frosting in the refrigerator before using, make sure to allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes for smooth spreading.
  • If you wish to pipe the buttercream onto your cake or cupcakes (as shown in the photos), fill a pastry bag with some of the frosting, then place the pastry bag in the refrigerator until you're ready to frost your desserts. When you're ready to use the frosting, allow the pastry bag to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes (otherwise, your frosting will be too cold to pipe properly).