This is the best vegan chocolate buttercream frosting! It is easy to make and has a rich, fudgy chocolate flavour making it perfect paired with your favourite cake or cupcakes. It comes together within 15 minutes and is perfect for piping and decorating.
This vegan chocolate buttercream is something I’ve been making for years, and you’ve likely seen it featured many times already on the website atop chocolate cupcakes or slathered thickly over cakes. It’s so easy, so rich and fudgy and just basically the best chocolate frosting ever.
This frosting is the perfect easy go to for piping and decorating your cakes or cupcakes. It’s soft and creamy while still holding its shape meaning you can pipe decorative swirls with no issue.
I have made this several times and shared it with so many different people, including vegans and non vegans and I can tell you, every single person has said to me after eating one of my cakes that was topped with this frosting, ‘oh wow, that frosting is amazing!’.
People who know it is dairy free are amazed that the flavour is so rich, while others who don’t know don’t tend to notice but rather are focused on the intense chocolate flavour and the smooth creamy texture. It is every bit of chocolate indulgence that cake eating should be.
This easy vegan chocolate buttercream frosting recipe uses a few key ingredients, so it’s important that we make sure we’re using good quality ingredients and for this one, I don’t recommend any substitutions.
- Dairy-free butter – this is the key ingredient to make this the best frosting. Use a quality dairy-free butter substitute here for the best flavour and texture. I love and always use Nuttelex Buttery which is an Australian product. In the US, the closest alternative is Earth Balance which I understand to be very similar.
- Cocoa powder – for the rich chocolate flavour you want to use a good quality cocoa powder. I’ve used Cadbury Bournville cocoa powder my entire life because it’s made from the same beans Cadbury uses to make their chocolate so you know it’s going to taste good. For those in the US, this is a Dutch-processed cocoa powder.
- Icing sugar – I use the icing sugar mixture from the supermarket, not the pure icing sugar. The only difference is the mixture has a little bit of cornflour added which means it’s less likely to clump together and turn rock solid.
- Vanilla Extract – really enhances the chocolate flavour. Make sure you’re using vanilla extract, not imitation or essence.
- Dairy-free milk – just a splash of milk keeps the frosting super smooth and creamy. You can use any you prefer but I usually use oat or almond milk.
- Salt – optional, but a little bit just cuts through the super sweetness and balances out the chocolate flavour.
To make this chocolate buttercream you’ll need an electric mixer as without it you’re going to struggle to get the same creamy texture so I wouldn’t recommend attempting it. I find it easiest to use my stand mixer but you can also use a hand mixer.
Start by beating together the vanilla extract and dairy-free butter using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer.
Add in half of the icing sugar and continue mixing. After a minute or two it will start to come together and get thick and creamy.
Add in the cocoa powder and additional icing sugar keep mixing. Slowly add in the first tablespoon of milk and mix through. If it’s still too thick and not creamy add a little bit more of the milk until the desired texture is reached. I usually use about 2 tablespoons of milk, but just adjust as needed based on the consistency of your frosting.
Add in a little salt to taste.
Once smooth and creamy but still holding stiff, this means it’s ready to use. If it’s still too soft, you can either add a little more icing sugar, or if it’s a warmer day, just put the frosting in the fridge to firm up for 15-30 minutes before using.
You can now add to a piping bag or spoon directly onto your cake.
This amount will generously frost a batch of 12-14 cupcakes or a 2 layer, 8 inch cake. Any leftovers can be kept tightly covered in the fridge for about a week. Just be sure to beat it again before using it to get the best, creamy results.
Yes once you pipe it onto your cakes you can leave them out for a couple of days in an airtight container without issue. The amount of sugar acts to preserve the butter.
Yes! For best results you need to use cold dairy-free butter. If it’s a warm day and your buttercream is getting too warm, pop it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up for piping. Before using, mix it back together with a spatula
How to use this vegan chocolate buttercream
You have so many options for using this recipe as it pairs beautifully both chocolate and vanilla flavoured cake or cupcakes. Here are some options;
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream
- 125 grams dairy-free butter
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 3 ½ cups icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- pinch salt
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free butter and vanilla for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
- Add in half of the icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. Add in the cocoa powder and remaining icing sugar and continue to mix. As the mixture thickens, add in almond milk a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is thick and creamy. Add pinch of salt to taste.
- If the frosting is still too thick, add a little more of the lemon juice until it reaches the right consistency.
- Store covered frosting in the fridge, or pipe directly onto cupcakes or cake.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.