This is the ultimate vegan vanilla buttercream recipe, perfect for piping and decorating your favourite cakes and cupcakes. This post will show you how to make the smoothest, creamiest frosting that is not only dairy-free but also tastes delicious.
This recipe is my go-to. It’s the easiest, creamiest, most delicious way to finish off any cake or cupcake. Plus it’s so quick and easy to make!
This recipe has not only been enjoyed by all my friends, family and work colleagues, it has also been made by count-less readers over the years who’ve raved about just how good this frosting is. It’s the only buttercream recipe you’ll ever need.
Buttercream frosting is all about the texture. It needs to be smooth and creamy but still have enough structure to pipe and hold it’s shape. The more you practise piping, the more you’ll learn the feel of texture you’re looking for. Too thin, just add more icing sugar, too thick and add a little more liquid.
This recipe came about because I wanted to enjoy delicious, decadent cakes without the dairy and since then has been a staple in my house. So if anyone you know can’t eat dairy or follows a vegan diet then treat them to a cake (you can find many options in the archives of this site) with a generous swirl of this buttercream and I guarantee they will love it.
Ingredients for vegan buttercream frosting
To make this frosting you really only need 4 key ingredients.
- 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.
- 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 – for flavour.
- Dairy-free milk – my preference is usually vanilla almond milk, but I’ve used regular almond milk, soy milk and oat milk in a pinch and all give fantastic results. You only need a little bit but it’s going to make this frosting super creamy.
- Salt – technically optional but if you want to cut the super sweetness due to the amount of sugar we use, then adding just a pinch to taste is going to really give you the best flavours. I never leave it out.
How to make vegan buttercream
To make this 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 three cups of icing sugar and continue mixing. After a minute or two it will start to come together and get thick and creamy. Add in the extra cup of sugar and keep mixing. The frosting will be a bit lumpy so add in ½ a tablespoon of milk. If it’s still too thick and not creamy add more milk.
Once smooth and creamy but still holding stiff, this means it’s ready to use.
From here you can add a few drops of gel food colouring to get your desired colour or use it as is (I like gel as this won’t change the texture of the buttercream).
Add to a piping bag or spoon directly onto your cake. This amount will generously frost a batch of 12-16 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.
If your results are not super creamy, then there are a couple of things you can do. Add your icing sugar (making sure it’s been sifted first) in smaller amounts and beat all the way into the butter before adding in more. Also once all of your icing sugar has been added and the taste and consistency is how you want it, mix it again by hand with a spatula to remove any extra air that has been added in. With regards to making the icing more stiff just use less milk or add a little more icing sugar to get the right consistency, also you can put the buttercream in the fridge for 30 minutes before piping which can help as well, particularly if its a warmer day.
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 vanilla buttercream
The options are pretty endless with this recipe as it pairs beautifully with almost all flavours of cake or cupcakes. Here are some options;
Vegan Vanilla Buttercream
- ½ cup (125 grams) dairy-free butter*
- 3-4 cups icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon vanilla almond milk
- pinch of salt , to taste
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted, beat dairy-free butter for 1-2 minutes until creamy.
- Add in 3 cups of icing sugar and beat on medium until combined. As mixture thickens, add in vanilla and almond milk. If frosting is too thin, add in an extra ½-1 cup of icing sugar until it reaches the right consistency. Add pinch of salt to taste if frosting is too sweet.
- 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.