Easiest Vegan Buttercream Ever (Dairy & Soy Free)

This vegan buttercream is so easy, it should be a crime. In about ten minutes or less you’ve got delicious, crave-worthy, allergy-friendly, infinitely customizable, perfectly pipe-able frosting to use on all your cakes, macarons, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and other confections.

It’s an American buttercream, but this icing is so good that I’ve sold it by the bucketful and even offered it as 2oz “frosting shots” to a begging and drooling clientele.

It CAN be made with just a hand mixer (if that’s all you’ve got), and it can also be turned into a “crusting buttercream” if you need that for your creation – just see the notes in the recipe. 

Yes, it’s a weird photo. I acknowledge that.

Vegan Butter?

Yeah, yeah, I know. “It’s not actually butter because it’s not made from dairy,” say the purists. Well, neither is peanut butter or apple butter, so let’s just go with it here. If it really bothers you *that* much, just imagine I’m calling it margarine.

Now, for this to be the “Easiest Vegan Buttercream Ever” you need a good quality, high fat butter. Most vegan butters are actually mostly water – so when they’re room temperature, they are EXTREMELY soft. The tell tale sign of this is if it calls itself a “spread”. These will not work well in this recipe.

Two good options for this recipe would be Earth Balance sticks and Country Crock Plant Butter (my personal preference). If you have another butter that’s at least 79-80% oil/fat though, it should be fine. Miyoko’s cultured butter should work well based on accounts I’ve read of it, but I’ve never tried it myself as the exclusive fat in a buttercream.

If you’re in Australia, Lis Armstrong of Treat Dreams, which specializes in vegan chocolates, treats, and desserts, advises that Nuttelex is a good choice. “For the oil percentage in Nuttelex it depends if you’re buying retail or food service…” She adds, “Retail sizes available from most grocers like Aldi (best price), Coles, Woolies and Costco (5kg tubs).

Food service comes in a 15kg box with plastic liner. It has a higher fat content of 80% and is used by some commercial bakeries in Sydney to produce vegan croissants.

Even with the food service version, melt is a factor in the warmth, so a little shortening can help, so personal trial and error really pays off.”

So silk. Such smooth.

What if I can’t find a high-fat butter?

Great question. If you can’t find a vegan butter with a fat content of 79-80% or more, I have had success with Smart Balance (64% fat) for frosting cupcakes. Note that the buttercream will be EXTREMELY soft, and won’t hold up in between cake layers or macarons. But for cupcakes and frosting shots, it’s wonderful.

Another option is to cut your butter with veggie shortening or straight palm oil. I usually use a 50/50 ratio for easy maths’ sake. If you go this route, it won’t be the “easiest” anymore, as it’ll take an extra step and a good chunk of time, but it’ll still come out just as high quality and delicious as the full butter version (yes, I promise).

Don’t want to use shortening? There is another, final option. It’s going to take some time, and you’ll feel like you’re wasting money, but it’s a viable option for those who don’t have vegan shortening options OR high-fat vegan butter available (I’m looking at you, South Africa!) – you’re going to make your own.

You can definitely make your own butter from scratch if you feel like it, but I never do. So what is my alternative route? I cook the water out of my high-water butter and it suddenly turns high-fat.

Put your delicious-but-too-soft butter into a shallow pan and melt it. Let it cook over medium heat until it starts to boil, and let it go until it stops bubbling. You’ll be left with nearly 100% fat that’ll work great in your buttercream! Just pour it (carefully! It’s hot oil!) into a heat-proof container or butter stick molds and pop them into the fridge to solidify, and then proceed as normal.

What about flavors?

The sky is the limit! I add whatever liquid I feel like, up to the two tablespoon per stick limit. Coffee creamer, coffee concentrate, fruit juice, protein shake, citrus juice, chamoy, jellies and jams, and more!

And powders can pop in with ease, too! Freeze dried fruit powders, powdered drink mixes, matcha tea, cocoa powder, instant coffee, protein powder, etc. Just make a paste with them with a tiny bit of liquid before adding so they distribute evenly and don’t cause drying out or texture issues.

Some tangerine zest going into the base buttercream for one of my bakery clients.

And what about food coloring?

For food coloring, I recommend using either gel or powder. You can use liquid, but any liquid you use will affect the consistency of your buttercream at the expense of flavor.

Some of my favorite vegan food coloring options are AmeriColor gels, ProGels, and Artisan Accents gels. Ultimate Baker has an amazing line of powdered colors that are both vegan and all natural, if you prefer the natural route!

Just remember that your colored buttercream will get darker and more vibrant overnight. This is especially important if you’re trying to make a dark color like black, navy, red, or burgundy. Try to make your buttercream a day early, get it to a few shades lighter than what you need, and let it “develop” in a covered container overnight.

The other side of the token though, make sure if you don’t want a dark color to not make your buttercream too far ahead of time! I once had to make a navy blue cake; I let the cake sit overnight and it was black by morning. Oops. If this does happen to you though, you can add in some white buttercream to lighten it a bit (unless it’s already on the cake like mine was).

My beautiful navy blue cake before it darkened.

And how do I store it?

In a bowl with a tight fitting lid or plastic wrap.

It can be kept at room temp for a week, in the fridge for a month, and in the freezer for six months. Just give it a quick stir before you frost your confections.

Another silly photo with the gold hand.

I’m so ready, but I forgot to take my butter out of the fridge!!

Don’t panic! And don’t microwave! I’ve got you covered:

(If you don’t have a blow torch, you can use a hair dryer!)

Pin it!

Video Tutorial, Extended:

Recipe Card:

Yield: 2.5 cups (enough to ice a 6” cake)

Easiest Vegan Buttercream Ever

Easiest Vegan Buttercream Ever

The easiest vegan buttercream you’ve ever made. Four ingredients and ten minutes gets you perfectly pipe-able frosting for any confection that needs icing!

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temp high-fat vegan butter* (two sticks) (230g)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar**** (450g)
  • 2 tbsp liquid - any liquid you want (check the post above for suggestions)***** (30ml)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (5ml)

Instructions

  1. Add butter and half the powdered sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment
  2. Mix on low/stir until completely incorporated. It’s important to do this slowly to avoid gritty buttercream!
  3. Add the second half of the powdered sugar, and mix again on low/stir until completely incorporated
  4. Add your liquid and vanilla extract
  5. Mix on low until completely incorporated
  6. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of your bowl
  7. Mix on low just until the mixture is fully combined and smooth
  8. Adjust the consistency by adding more liquid by the teaspoon to thin, or more powdered sugar by the quarter cup to stiffen until desired consistency is reached

Notes

*if you use shortening, whip the mixture for 15 minutes or until it no longer has a greasy/waxy mouthfeel. Use pure palm shortening if you're avoiding soy.

**if you want the buttercream as silky smooth as possible, turn the mixer on low/stir and let it go for about a half an hour

***for butter without palm oil, give Miyoko’s cultured butter a try

***for butter without soy, use Country Crock Plant Butter Sticks (does contain a cross contamination warning), Earth Balance Soy-Free, or Miyoko’s cultured butter.

****feel free to sift your powdered sugar if it’s very lumpy

*****for crusting buttercream, add another one to two tablespoons of liquid, and use powdered sugar to bring back to consistency

[columns gutter=”0″] [col image=”295″ image_size=”featured”] [/col] [col align_text=”center, middle”]

Never miss a post

Sign up to get new recipes and resources sent to your inbox. We promise to never spam you or sell your info.
[/col] [/columns]

73 thoughts on “Easiest Vegan Buttercream Ever (Dairy & Soy Free)”

  1. Hey Meggan
    Thanks for the butter icing .please help me with recipe for egg free cake that l can make for my boys they are allagic to eggs thanks

    Reply
    • Hi! Do you suggest melting down nuttlex buttery or just using as is? I want to make this for my sons first birthday and he has quite a few allergies. Thank you so much!

      Reply
      • Hi, Mel!

        I know this reply is quite a bit after when you posted the question (I’m so very sorry! I took a break from the blog once the pandemic started). You shouldn’t have to melt down the Nuttlex, just pop it into the mixer on low with the paddle attachment to smooth it out a bit first.

        And I hope your son had a wonderful birthday!

        Reply
  2. Hi Meghan! Could you give me measurements for making this a chipset buttercream (how much cocoa powder & liquid to make flavor paste?) Also, would this recipe make enough to frost a 3 layer cake? I’m trying to make a frosting for my German chocolate cake & thought this would be perfect!

    Reply
    • Hi, Ashley!

      I usually start with two tablespoons of cocoa powder and just enough liquid to moisten all of it, let it set for a couple or minutes, and then stir it into the buttercream. I keep doing that until my desired level of chocolatiness is achieved. 🙂

      As far as filling a three layer cake, it depends on the size of the cake and how much filling and frosting you add! For me, this is the enough to fill and frost a three-later 6” cake, but your mileage may vary.

      Reply
  3. The country crock plant butter was perfect for making buttercream. This recipe is the best vegan buttercream I’ve ever made and can be so easily adapted for flavor. I made it into a cookies and cream buttercream but just the base itself from this recipe is perfection. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!!!

    Reply
  4. Hi Meggan!
    Thank you so much for your detailed video and instructions to your buttercream icing. This is delicious!! And not to mention pretty foolproof. My little girl is going to love it on her birthday cake tomorrow 🙂

    Reply
  5. Hi Megan!
    I’m excited to make this recipe, but I have to make an 8” cake covered in “buttercream “ rosettes , would I tripled the recipe .? I appreciate your answer. 🙂

    Reply
    • Hello!

      Would this buttercream work as a macaron filling?

      Also, I’ve had issues with my buttercream (dairy) splitting at some point, would mixing the buttercream for so long do that as well?

      Reply
      • This buttercream is what I use almost exclusively in my macarons. 🙂

        And mixing it longer actually helps it to emulsify better, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

        Reply
  6. Why remove the liquid from the vegan butter if we end up adding 2T of liquid. Isn’t it simpler just to skip these two steps.

    Reply
    • You would think so, but it doesn’t end up working the same. I believe it’s because the water is completely emulsified into the butter, and it doesn’t allow it to stiffen up as much as is required for a really stable frosting.

      Reply
  7. I want to make this for a lactose intolerant friend but I will have to deliver the cake an hour and half in probably 25-35 Celsius weather. Do
    You know if this buttercream recipe will be stable for the journal with piping and all? Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, there!

      Yes, the recipe is stable for travel – as long as you use the recommended butters (high fat) or shortening, and your cake is properly structured. I like to chill mine overnight in the fridge just to be extra safe. We regularly reach 40C here in the summers, and I’ve never had any issues with the cakes melting or falling apart on car rides.

      Reply
      • Hi, Lori!

        I use all three varieties. The one I choose depends on what is available and any allergies or preferences those eating it have. All three work and taste great!

        Reply
  8. Hello 👋 I’m wondering if I can use 1/2 vegan butter, 1/2 vegetable shortening to make this have a better mouthfeel and if the storage and shelf life would be the same as if I’d used all vegan butter? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi, Dominique!

      Yes, you most definitely can do half and half! Just whip it for 5-10 minutes at the end and it’ll help get rid of the waxiness that comes from the shortening.

      The storage will be the same and shelf life will be slightly longer (basically forever, but I would go two weeks at room temp at most for food safety guidelines) if you use shortening, since the water content will be lower and the fat keeps all the bad germs away. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Fabulous recipe, thank you for sharing. My husband has celiac and I need a good frosting for some GF cupcakes I’m making. I got my first piping set and can’t wait to use this frosting.

    Reply
  10. Any advice on a dairy free, soy free “cream cheese” icing stable enough for a GF, dairy free, soy free carrot wedding cake? I’ve been experimenting, and most are soo very soft. I have tried vegan cream cheese as well as goat cheese. I’m planning on trying boiling out the water in the stick butter and hoping for the best?!

    Reply
    • I’m so sorry I’m just now seeing your comment, so I hope there’s still time left for this to be helpful!

      I have a great faux cream cheese frosting recipe here – it’s stable and should suit your needs!

      Reply
  11. I just made the buttercream with Miyokos Butter, using some oat milk and vanilla extract. I added a 2 tblspns of lemon juice at the end and whipped everything together at high speed very well. It is indiscernible from the real thing. My partner thought he was eating real cream cheese frosting. Thank you for posting the recipe; it was a great guide!

    Reply
  12. Thank you so much for this recipe! This is the best buttercream I have ever had/made! I’ve made pinacolada frosting, strawberry frosting, key lime pie frosting, coffee frosting & so many others with this recipe. And I always get great reviews!!

    Reply
  13. Incredibly simple, but delicious recipe! Thank you for sharing! It turned out great and I’m looking forward to trying lots of different takes on it.

    Reply
  14. This is hands down my favorite frosting! I haven’t made it in a while so I forgot how much it makes. I’m making a bunch of cupcakes for a graduation. Do you have an estimate on how many cupcakes this recipe will be able to frost? Thank you!

    Reply
  15. amazing recipe! i had to change it up a little but that was only because i didn’t have all the vegan butter :: but it turned out great! thank you this is the best vegan frosting recipe i’ve found 🙂

    Reply
  16. I couldn’t find soy-free sticks so I made the frosting with Earth Balance spread (78%) just as you said not to do — it came out delicious but a little soft (I know I know… you warned me!). Is there any way to thicken it at this point- will more sugar work? Thank you!

    Reply
    • There are three options you can try:

      1: add more powdered sugar, but this could cause the frosting to split if you’ve added any aquafaba to it (American meringue style)
      2: add some room temp shortening and blend it in with the paddle attachment
      3: keep it as cold as possible while working with it and after decorating until serving time

      I usually go with #2 with softer frostings because I live in tropical Texas and I can’t keep my frosting chilly for more than a few minutes.

      I hope this helps!

      Reply
  17. My 8yr old is doing a Master Chef challenge at school and needs a Vegan frosting. This looks like a great one!! She wants to make it strawberry frosting. Can you tell me exactly how I need to do that?

    Reply
    • Hi, there!

      The easiest way to make it a strawberry frosting would be to use a strawberry emulsion. You can also blend up freeze dried strawberries into a powder and use those (make a paste with the powder and a little water to mix in), or even a cooked down strawberry jelly!

      Best of luck to her!!

      Reply
  18. Does it hold the design well when piping? I tried another recipe and it all mushed together and no pretty flowers shown ..

    Reply
  19. Hi, Meggan.
    I live in Australia so as your list said
    to use nutelex, as its a spread really do
    we use it straight from the fridge, or room temp?
    i would think it would become too soft sitting out
    of the fridge for any length of time
    thank you in advance

    Reply
    • Hi! You want to use it at cool room temp.

      And the Nuttelex my friend uses is the commercial variety that has a lower water content. Try to find a baking block and you’ll likely have better luck. <3

      Reply
  20. Thank you for all the tips you incorporated into this recipe post! I followed it to a tee, making just some slight adjustments. If this helps anyone in the New York area- we are in Rochester- (and the high humidity we have had lately), I ended up adding in another 1/2 c powd sugar and then for my liquid I used Elmhurst vanilla plant based diary free creamer (found at Wegmans). I only used 1 T of the creamer. These ratios worked really well to create a frosting for this time of year when I always worry about the heat and plant based butters holding up. I followed your recommendation of Country Crock plant based butter for the higher oil content and it worked like a charm! Thanks for a yummy, smooth, awesome recipe and such specific details. Definitely keep that mixed on low too, makes all the difference too!

    Reply
  21. Whatever you do, DO NOT USE EARTH BALANCE BUTTER. We used it at first because of the possible soy contamination warning on the country crock plant butter sticks. It was a gritty greasy mess. We made it again with the plant butter sticks and we have smooth velvety buttercream like we should. Just a warning for anyone else who might make the same mistake we did.

    Reply
    • Yessssss Earth Balance has done something absolutely terrible to their recipe!!! It’s hugely disappointing and makes HORRIBLE buttercream. I need to add a note to the recipe. Thank you for the reminder, but I’m so sorry you experienced it!

      Reply
  22. This came out SO WELL! It was my first time making vegan buttercream. The only thing I would change is to next time use unsalted plant butter (if it exists). This recipe was SO salty (I used the Country Crock sticks), but it still worked.

    Reply
    • I’m glad it came out great for you! I feel you on the salt thing, too. I believe Nuttlex just came out with an unsalted baking block, but I still haven’t seen it in person. I’m excited to try it!

      Reply
  23. Hello, will it work alright to add liquid food color to this frosting? I know you suggest gel or powder. If you want to make 4 different colors would you just make the recipe as stated and then separate and add the liquid food color? I have made vegan frosting in the past (not your recipe) and it split after adding the food coloring (added the next day after overnight refrigeration). Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Yes, you can! I suggest adding it to the liquid you’re adding to the frosting (water, milk, whatever you choose). That way it all emulsifies together. If you’re separating into four colors, try mixing your liquid color with some powdered sugar to make a paste, then stir it in.

      Reply
    • You want the total amount of fat to be the same no matter what you’re using. So make sure you measure it out, whether you’re replacing half the butter or 32% of it with shortening, you want to end up with the same amount of fat either way.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Skip to Recipe