Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Top off cakes and cupcakes with the very best vegan buttercream frosting! This recipe can be whipped up in 10 minutes with only 3 ingredients; you'll never need to search for another recipe again.
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Vegan buttercream frosting on a chocolate cupcake.
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Everyone refers to the “cherry on top” as what makes something that is already good even better, but I’d make the case for vegan buttercream frosting on top instead. Fluffy and sweet, it crowns any cake with flair, elevating the everyday treat into something truly special.

You don’t need piping skills to spread it on thick just like a pro, too! Forget about ready-made canned frostings; it’ll be impossible to go back after you get a taste of this stunningly simple recipe.

Vegan buttercream frosting in a bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Vegan Buttercream Recipe

Trust me, this is the last vegan frosting recipe you’ll ever need. Why? Let me spell it out for you:

  • Only 3 ingredients. Seriously, that’s it! Nothing exotic or hard to find here. Everyone should have easy access to these basic staples.
  • Ready in 10 minutes. No need to keep baker’s hours or set your alarm for an early wakeup call; this frosting can be made on your time, in no time at all!
  • Allergen-free. On top of being vegan and vegetarian, this cake topper is also gluten-free, nut-free, seed-free, and soy-free depending on the brand of vegan butter. Always check labels for allergen statements, especially for potential cross contamination in instances of severe allergies.
Vegan cupcakes on a plate, topped with vegan buttercream frosting.

Essential Ingredients

Get your whisk attachment ready and prepare your cakes; these ingredients come together in no time at all!

  • Vegan butter: Always use vegan butter in stick format, not a spreadable butter packaged in a tub. Spreadable formulations have more added water which will create a runny frosting. It works to make icing, but not something thick enough to spread or pipe. One with a blend of vegetable oils works best.
  • Powdered sugar: Also known as confectioner’s sugar or 10x sugar, this super-fine granulated sweetener ground to the consistency of freshly fallen snow makes it easy to dissolve without any hint of grainy texture remaining. If you need to make your own in a pinch, you can blend 1 cup of regular white sugar with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a food processor or blender.
  • Vanilla: Spring for the good vanilla extract here since you can really taste it! An equal amount of vanilla bean paste, with flecks of real vanilla seeds, can add a whole new level of decadence too.

How To Make

Step One: Add vegan butter to a large mixing bowl and allow it to sit on the counter to warm up to room temperature. If you’re in a hurry, you can set it near a warm oven to speed up the process, just watch it closely to make sure it doesn’t melt.

Vegan butter sticks in a mixing bowl.

Step Two: When the butter is soft, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer, or use a hand mixer, and whip it for a couple of minutes.

Whipped vegan butter in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer.

Step Three: Slowly add the powdered sugar, a half cup at a time, and whip to fully incorporate it before adding more. Add the vanilla extract and whip until the frosting is smooth.

Pipe or spread onto cakes and cupcakes however you wish! This vegan buttercream recipe generously frosts 12 cupcakes.

Vegan buttercream frosting on a spatula.

Tips For Success

Make the fluffiest, most luscious vegan buttercream frosting with ease when you use these simple tricks!

  1. Sift your powdered sugar. It’s prone to clumping, especially in humid environments, and you don’t want any dry chunks of pure sugar marring the otherwise smooth texture of the frosting.
  2. Use room temperature vegan butter. Straight out of the fridge, it’ll be too hard to mix well, and if it’s too hot, it will start to melt and become too runny to pipe.
  3. Add the sugar slowly, in two or three additions, starting the mixer on low speed after each one. You don’t want the dry sugar to fly out and redecorate the walls before its incorporated! You can increase the speed to whip it once the mixture is smooth again.
  4. Resist the urge to add liquid! Many recipes include a tiny splash of non-dairy milk, but this formula is perfect as is.
  5. To fill a piping bag, place it with the tip facing down in a wide drinking glass and fold the ends over the sides. This will allow you easier access to transfer the frosting without smearing it all over the counter.
  6. Always twist the end of a piping bag closed and squeeze from the very back, not the center, to avoid any air bubbles or spillage.
Vegan chocolate cupcake topped with buttercream frosting next to a piping bag full of frosting.

Ideas For Serving Your Dairy Free Buttercream Frosting

Naturally, this go-to solution for instant vegan cupcake frosting goes best with similar cakes and baked goods, but don’t let that limit your creativity. If you have extra frosting on hand, aside from eating it off the spoon, here are more serving suggestions to try.

  • Make cake balls or cake truffles. Beat Starbucks at their own game with instant vegan cake truffles that can be transformed into a cake pop with a simple lollipop stick. All you need is frosting and leftover cake of any flavor to get started.
  • Sandwich between cookies. What’s better than a cookie? Try two cookies with frosting in the middle! This is true for soft, chewy cookies and thin, crispy cookies alike.
  • Drizzle over cinnamon rolls. Heat leftover frosting in the microwave until it reaches a pourable consistency, then drizzle all over warm cinnamon buns for a perfect sweet glaze.
  • Make chocolate fudge. Just add chocolate to create a brilliant candy that everyone will go crazy for! Spring for the darkest chocolate possible to balance out the sweetness and consider finishing it with a little pinch of coarse sea salt for contrast.
  • Spread on toast. Marie-Antoinette actually said, “let them eat brioche (bread),” not cake as it’s famously quoted, so spreading a thick slab of toasted bread with frosting isn’t so farfetched! When you’re too tired to bake from scratch but still want a little treat, this is a fun snack that the whole family will love. Don’t forget to top with sprinkles to make proper fairy toast, too!

FAQs

Can you freeze buttercream frosting?

Frosting freezes beautifully, which means you can make it in advance and always have some on hand for impromptu parties. Transfer it to an airtight container and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface, protecting it from exposure to the air. Seal and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge overnight and then whip once more in your stand mixer before applying.

What’s the best vegan butter for frosting?

There are more options than ever before when it comes to decadent vegan butter! The best brand is largely a matter of personal preference, but I’ve personally had the best results with Country Crock Plant-Butter or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks for making frostings.

Can I make vegan vanilla buttercream frosting without a mixer?

While it’s absolutely possible to make frosting without a mixer, it’s significantly more difficult and will likely end up denser, rather than light and fluffy. Simply beat the ingredients together in a large bowl with a sturdy spatula until incorporated, then switch over to a whisk. Be patient and give it some serious elbow grease!

Vegan chocolate cupcake topped with buttercream frosting with piping bag hovering over top.

More Frosting Recipes To Try

  • These adorable Easter cupcakes come topped with a bright, zesty Lemon Buttercream Frosting that you’ll want to slather all over everything! You don’t need to pipe it into the shape of rotund little chicks, but they are totally irresistible, if you have the time.
  • It’s easy being green when you seal the deal with Matcha Buttercream Frosting. The subtly bitter edge of ground green tea balances out the sweetness of the frosting perfectly.
  • You won’t believe that the Chocolate Cream Frosting that tops this show-stopping three layer German chocolate cake is completely raw! Now that’s a healthy kind of indulgence.
  • Also, last but not least, we have an entire Vegan Frosting Guide to refer to for the sweetest and most tasty baked treats!
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Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting (3 Ingredients)

Author: Michelle Cehn | World of Vegan
5 from 6 votes
A truly delicious vegan buttercream frosting that's perfect for piping on your cupcakes or decorating your favorite cake with. It holds its shape beautifully! It's thick and deliciously sweet and creamy with a lovely vanilla flavor. 
Vegan buttercream frosting on a chocolate cupcake.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes

Equipment

  • Handheld Mixer or Stand Mixer

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Measure 1 cup of vegan butter and place it in a bowl. Let it sit on the counter to allow it to warm up to room temperature. If you're in a hurry, set it near the oven and watch it closely until it has softened to room temperature, but don't allow it to melt.
  • When the butter is soft, transfer it to the bowl of a stand mixer (a hand mixer will work too) and whip it for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar, half of a cup at a time, and mix until it begins to form a frosting. Add the vanilla extract and whip until the frosting is smooth.
  • Once your cake or cupcakes are fully cooled you can use a piping bag to pipe the vegan buttercream frosting. This frosting recipe generously frosts 12 cupcakes. If you don't have a piping bag, you may use a knife to spread the frosting onto the cupcakes.

Notes

Storage – Vegan buttercream frosting can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. When ready to use, allow the frosting to warm up to room temperature and whip it with your mixer for a couples minutes before using.

Nutrition

Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 0.4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 3g | Sodium: 116mg | Potassium: 4mg | Sugar: 0.04g | Vitamin A: 33IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course — Dessert
Cuisine — American
Love this Recipe? Leave a Rating!And follow @Vegan on Instagram for more.

Vegan buttercream frosting photos by Amanda McGillicuddy for World of Vegan, all rights reserved.

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5 from 6 votes

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Recipe Rating




6 comments
  1. 5 stars
    Perfect pairing to go with the chocolate cupcakes

  2. 5 stars
    I made this buttercream frosting for your chocolate cupcake recipe and it was so perfect … this recipe is a keeper!

  3. Jessi Pratton says:

    5 stars
    Sooo delicious — I want to put this on everything!

  4. Andrea White says:

    5 stars
    This frosting turned out amazing! Love it on all the cupcakes!

  5. 5 stars
    Heaven! You will not believe how delicious this buttercream frosting is. I want to add it to everything! lol

  6. 5 stars
    This vegan buttercream frosting is absolute perfection! So delicious and easy to pipe onto cupcakes!

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