Want to know how to make the best vegan buttercream frosting that even dairy lovers will obsess over? This 4 ingredient quick vegan vanilla frosting is so easy to make and perfect for stacking, decorating, and piping onto layer cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more!

vegan buttercream frosting in the bowl of a stand mixer

This vegan buttercream frosting recipe is going to take all of your vegan cakes to the professional level! 

And guess what? It’s just so easy to make. 

This frosting is the perfect classic buttercream recipe that you can use for just about any cake recipe out there (and especially on my vegan vanilla cake!) or pipe onto cupcakes (like my vegan vanilla cupcakes!). You can even smear this frosting onto vegan brownies (or swap in my classic vegan chocolate frosting), pipe as a filling for cookies, and even use as the base frosting for a vegan wedding cake.

It’s a staple recipe from my vegan cookbook, and once you try it, you’ll see why!

Vegan buttercream frosting ingredients

Making a homemade vegan vanilla frosting is actually much simpler than it sounds, and trust me, tastes so much better than store bought.

You’ll need just 4 key ingredients:

  • Vegan butter: If you use salted vegan butter, you can really keep this vegan vanilla frosting just 4 ingredients! I recommend Miyoko’s vegan butter for the best all around vegan butter. for a nut-free vegan butter option. Other great options include Flora Plant Butter, and Earth Balance. More on which butter brand to use below!
  • Powdered sugar: make sure that your powdered sugar is sifted! This will prevent any clumps in your buttercream, and allow for the smoothest texture. I recommend Florida Crystals powdered sugar for a vegan powdered sugar. 
  • Dairy free milk: any non-dairy milk (such as soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, etc.) will work. This helps to achieve a really smooth consistency in vegan buttercream frosting. However, only a little is needed (literal spoonfuls). Too much, and the frosting will split!
  • Vanilla extract: because without a little vanilla, the frosting will just taste sweet! We want some complexity to it 🙂
vegan vanilla cake with vegan vanilla frosting on a cake stand with flowers

What vegan butter brand should I use?

There are tons of vegan butter brands on the market, but, unlike all of the regular dairy butters out there, not all vegan butters act the same way in a recipe. 

This is especially important for vegan frosting recipes. 

The best vegan butter I’ve found is Miyoko’s Vegan Butter. It’s European style, which means it has a higher fat content than other vegan butters, and will stand up at room temperature longer.

The other brand I recommend with similar results that’s nut-free is Flora Plant Butter. 

I have used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks before but I have found that they soften too much at room temperature, and you risk collapsing your layer cakes.

The one butter not to use: Earth Balance Butter Tub. This is a vegan butter that was NOT designed for frosting, so please don’t use it!

bowl of vegan buttercream frosting

Room temperature butter

What does room temperature butter actually mean? Well this is where the worlds of traditional baking and vegan baking collide.

Room temperature vegan butter is the same as room temperature dairy butter. The same rules apply here! This does not mean melted butter, nor does it mean melted then cooled to room temperature butter.

Room temperature butter is essentially butter that is left on the countertop to soften to room temperature. This will take several hours. If your kitchen is warm, like mine always seems to be (I’m a baker, I guess that comes with the territory!), then this should take about 2 hours, but it might take you a bit longer.

room temperature vegan butter

How to tell if your butter is at room temperature? You’ll be able to easily make an indent into the butter with barely any pressure at all, and it won’t feel too cool to the touch. It should be around 65F. (So it’s not QUITE room temperature, but that’s what we bakers refer to as room temperature I guess! I didn’t make the rules!).

But why can’t I use cool vegan butter? This is because the powdered sugar won’t properly combine into the vegan butter, and will probably lead to split buttercream!

Overview: How to make vegan buttercream frosting:

Now that we’ve established how to achieve room temperature vegan butter, let’s make this vegan buttercream frosting!

This vegan buttercream frosting is essentially like regular American buttercream frosting. We’re looking for a 2:1 ratio of powdered sugar to vegan butter. I use about 2 cups of vegan butter and 4 cups of powdered sugar, and this will frost an 8″ cake, or generously frost a 6″ cake with leftovers for decorating.

American buttercream is also the easiest of the buttercream to make, so this is beginner friendly, and can easily be used to make elegant and intricate cakes!

As always, the full instructions are found down below in the recipe card. But essentially, making vegan buttercream frosting can be broken down into three steps:

  1. Cream the vegan butter. You can use either a stand mixer with whisk attachment or a hand mixer. Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and begin to cream the vegan butter until it starts to turn lighter in color. This allows the the vegan butter to become slightly aerated, which also leads to a fluffier and more voluminous frosting.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar. You’ll be adding the sugar in increments, so as not to overwhelm the mixture!
  3. Achieve the perfect texture and flavor: once the powdered sugar is incorporated into the butter, you’ll add just a smidgen of dairy free milk, along with vanilla extract for flavor! And by a smidgen, I really mean go 1 tablespoon at a time.Too much, and you’ll split the buttercream!

This vegan buttercream frosting is perfect for cake decorating, cupcake decorating, and also making beautifully colored frosting, like the ones found in my watercolor cake!

Can this buttercream be used for a vegan wedding cake?

You can definitely use this vegan buttercream recipe to make a layer cake (like this fun vegan Sleeping Beauty cake) or tiered cake for a vegan wedding (which is what we’re using this fall for our vegan wedding cake 🙂 which I have a whole tutorial for here on how to make a vegan wedding cake that I recommend checking out!).

A note about vegan frostings:

Vegan buttercream does not hold up as long as regular buttercream at room temperature. 

This is because most vegan butters are oil based, specifically coconut oil. Oil at room temperature is liquid, where as solid fats, like animal fats in butter, are solid. 

If the wedding reception is indoors and the temperature is controlled to 70-72F, your cake will be able to hold for 2-3 hours, depending on how intricate the decorations are. However, outdoor weddings, especially a hot summer evening, risk the buttercream completely melting.  I recommend bringing the cake out to slice when ready.

vegan wedding cake frosted

Can I freeze vegan buttercream?

You can definitely prepare the vegan buttercream frosting ahead of time, and freeze it in large containers to use on another day! 

When ready to use again, simply transfer the frozen buttercream to the fridge the night before. Then the morning of, transfer the buttercream from the fridge to the counter to rest at room temperature for 4 hours. 

You might need to use your electric hand mixer or stand mixer to fluff up the frosting again once it’s at room temperature!

Can I make a low sugar or Keto vegan buttercream?

Absolutely! The texture won’t be quite like a vegan buttercream, but you’ll achieve a pretty close texture. For a keto buttercream, you can use your favorite keto-friendly low sugar or zero sugar powdered sweetened.

Then simply turn it into a powdered sugar substitute by pushing it into a powder in your food processor.

frosting a vegan vanilla sheet cake

If you try this buttercream recipe, be sure to leave a comment down below, as well as a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ so that others may find it!

As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!

Happy buttercream making!

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

vegan buttercream frosting pinterst pin

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

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vegan buttercream frosting in the bowl of a stand mixer

Quick & Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting (4 Ingredients!)

  • Author: thebananadiaries
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 7 cups 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Stand mixer
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Want to know how to make the best vegan buttercream frosting that even dairy lovers will obsess over? This 4 ingredient quick vegan vanilla frosting is so easy to make and perfect for stacking, decorating, and piping onto layer cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and more!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups (432 g) vegan butter, room temperature*
  • 4 cups (520 g) powdered sugar, sifted*
  • 23 tbsp dairy free milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream the vegan butter until light and fluffy. The color will begin to lighten. This should be about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Sift in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, creaming the mixture together between every cup. Start with the lower speed, and increase as the powdered sugar becomes incorporated into the vegan butter. The mixture should be smooth yet thick at this point. You can add in a tablespoon of dairy free milk here to help if the powdered sugar isn’t integrating.
  3. Add in the remaining tablespoons of dairy free milk, along with the vanilla extract, and cream together again until fluffy and light.
  4. Apply to your cake, cupcakes, or macarons! This amount of frosting will frost an 8″ cake, or generously frost a 6″ cake, with extra for decorating.
  5. Store any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to use again, allow the buttercream to come to room temperature again lightly cream together again for 2-3 minutes (see blog post for thawing buttercream from the freezer).

Notes

Vegan butter: I always use salted vegan butter for my frostings. I know that sounds gross, but then you don’t need to add any additional salt to the recipe to help balance out the sweetness! I also think this is what makes my vegan buttercream appeal so much to non-vegan eaters. It’s not overwhelmingly sweet, and has a bit more complexity to it!

For refined sugar free: you can use your favorite granulated monk fruit or allulose sweetener, and pulse it in the food processor to further refine it. You can also use coconut sugar and turn it into powdered coconut sugar the same way. Just keep in mind that your frosting will be caramel colored! Still beautiful and delicious!

For keto frosting: use allulose or monk fruit, and pulse in a food processor. Or swap in your favorite powdered keto-friendly sugar.

Please read blog post for which vegan butter brands I recommend! Not all will work here!

Keywords: vegan buttercream frosting, vegan vanilla frosting, vegan buttercream, vegan frosting, American buttercream

More Vegan Frosting Recipes You’ll Love:

Vegan White Chocolate Frosting from my Vegan White Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy Vegan Chocolate Buttercream

The Best Vegan Cream Cheese frosting from my Vegan Red Velvet Cake