Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

Cupcakes topped with vegan cream cheese frosting

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 10 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
177 Calories
10g Fat
22g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 177
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 1mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 4mg 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.)

Indulge in a spreadable vegan cream cheese frosting using non-dairy cream cheese and vegan margarine. This recipe makes a fluffy and delectable icing, perfect for topping vegan carrot cake, cupcakes, or sweet breads. Use it on vegan cookies or scones, or as a filler for cookie sandwiches.

Many vegans or people on dairy-free diets would say Tofutti cream cheese works best for icings, as it's creamier and thicker than other vegan cream cheeses. Thankfully other brands that are producing soy-free dairy substitutes are also making creamy and spreadable "cheeses" made out of nuts, coconut, or pea protein. These creamy products are also great for making our recipe. Just be mindful that some have an off-white color that might turn greyish when mixed with lemon juice. If that happens, don't worry as the flavor won't be affected, but add a couple of drops of yellow natural food coloring to give it a nicer look.

What's great about making vegan icing is that you can cater to other guests with different dietary needs or restrictions. Whether it's a dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, or coconut allergy, there is always a vegan substitute that can meet the people's needs. Read labels carefully before preparing, especially if you're cooking for people with severe allergies or celiac disease.

Ingredients

  • 1 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese (Tofutti, or any non-dairy cream cheese substitute)

  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine (slightly softened)

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make vegan cream cheese frosting

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Combine the vegan cream cheese and the vegan margarine in a large bowl, beating them together to combine well. Use a rubber spatula to mix and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    A bowl of cream cheese and margarine being whisked together

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar, one or two tablespoons at a time, while still mixing. The mixture might look dry at first but the more you combine, the more the margarine and cream cheese start to cream.

    A bowl of whisked cream cheese frosting

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. Add the vanilla extract and the lemon juice and beat all of the ingredients together until they are soft, fluffy, and fully smooth.

    A bowl of whisked cream cheese frosting

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Transfer to a piping bag with a decorative tip to top your cake or cupcakes, or use a ziptop bag instead, snipping one of the corners to let the icing out.

    A piping bag of cream cheese frosting and frosted cupcakes

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. Use to frost cupcakes or cakes, and enjoy!

    Cupcakes frosted with vegan cream cheese frosting

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Keep at Room Temperature

This vegan cream cheese frosting will firm up slightly in the refrigerator, as the margarine hardens again, so keep it at room temperature to spread it on your cakes or cupcakes, then chill them in the refrigerator if needed. Before serving, let the cake rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Other Vegan Frostings

You can easily make a vegan frosting by using substitutions for milk, cream, butter, cream cheese, and other non-vegan ingredients. Here are a few other simple and easy vegan frosting recipes to try:

  • Vegan Chocolate Frosting: If you want to avoid refined sugar and artificial sweeteners, this recipe uses maple syrup to provide the sweetness. It's also free of common allergens, as its only ingredients are cocoa powder, vanilla, vegan margarine, and maple syrup.
  • Vegan Lemon Frosting: Enjoy the refreshing flavor of lemon with this easy citrusy frosting. If needed, substitute soy milk with other plant-based options. With a few ingredients and just 10 minutes, you can make tasty icing for cakes and cupcakes.
  • Peanut Butter Frosting: Nothing beats the flavor of peanut butter on chocolate cake. Vegan margarine and creamy peanut butter make the base of this icing, sweetened with powdered sugar.
  • Vegan Coconut Frosting: Make a buttery frosting without butter or milk, using coconut milk, sugar, and vegan margarine. Top vanilla cakes with the subtle coconut flavor of this icing, or add 1/2 cup of coconut flakes to the icing to enhance the fruity flavor.

In a pinch, and if you don't have at hand anything else but vegan margarine (or shortening) and powdered sugar, use a 1:1 ratio to make a tasty icing:

  • Mix vegan margarine and powder sugar in equal amounts. Add lemon or orange juice by the teaspoon and beat vigorously until you've achieved a creamy texture.