A perfect vegan buttercream frosting recipe with only three ingredients, including a butter and healthy shortening combo that makes this the creamiest, fluffiest frosting, out of this world delicious, easily pipeable, and with options to create colored frostings using wholesome foods.
This easy vegan buttercream frosting uses only 3 ingredients, is bright white and includes a combo of butter and a unique healthy shortening that makes an outstanding buttercream frosting. It's creamy, it has the best texture for spreading or piping. And I include healthy natural ways to color it, although the white is perfect in my opinion.
This dairy free buttercream is a lovely soft white, not the crisp color of my white frosting recipe which has a different trick to help you make your white frosting snowy. And if you are yearning for fudge, I have your back with this chocolate fudge frosting. Those frostings and this vegan buttercream icing are all perfect to use on my fluffy vegan vanilla cake, and my chocolate fudge cake.
The ingredients are classic to any buttercream frosting recipe, but they are also tweaked to be slightly healthier and more delicious.
Powdered sugar. Use organic powdered sugar if possible. It tastes infinitely better because it has tapioca instead of corn starch. It is also more suitable for vegans because it has no bone char.
Butter. Use sticks not tub butter to reduce water content. Use vegan butter to keep it vegan.
Organic shortening. Not your mother's shortening. Use the extremely healthy organic shortenings with red palm oil and coconut oil. These shortenings are higher in the healthy saturated fats, not the unhealthy unsaturated fats you find in butter and old school shortenings like Crisco which is made of lard. Look for Spectrum and Navita brands.
Milk. Use dairy-free milk to keep it plant-based, and opt for a higher fat milk such as almond, as opposed to oat. The fat quality helps make the frosting creamier.
Vanilla + salt. Both are musts for a buttercream frosting.
- Measuring cups, spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Hand mixer or Stand mixer with paddle
- Rubber spatula
- Piping kit, tips & frosting bags
- Frosting knife
How to Make Vegan Buttercream
1. In a bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer to combine the room temperature butter and shortening until it is creamy.
2. Add in the vanilla and continue mixing. Add in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, and mixing in between. The amount of milk you need depends on the water content of your butter or shortening brands. If your frosting seems too dry, add a bit more powdered sugar.
3. When you've achieved the texture you want, cover the bowl of frosting with a soaking-wet paper towel for a half hour or so to keep it from drying out until you are ready to pipe.
How to Color Frosting Naturally
In each instance, add the coloring to the frosting, blend and wait a moment for the color to react before deciding if you need more. Some colors will need more than others depending on the shade you want.
Brighter White: Add a bright white food coloring with titanium. I use this brand.
Pink: Add beetroot powder to 1 teaspoon of water to dissolve, then add to the frosting.
Green: Add ceremonial grade matcha. Don't use culinary grade, I don't know why they sell it for culinary use, it's too bitter.
Yellow: If you use the Nutiva brand's red palm shortening, the frosting will be a natural yellow. Or you can add food coloring or a pinch of turmeric.
Purple: Blend up blueberries with as little water as possible into a puree, strain, and add to the frosting.
What to Use it On
I used this frosting here on vanilla cupcakes for Valentine's Day. I also melted cacao butter,(white chocolate) and piped it into hearts on a flat parchment paper, let them set and used as additional decorations.
I also used my buttercream on Halloween cupcakes.
Which vegan butter is best for buttercream?
Use the stick butter, not the spreadable tubs as they have too much moisture. Earth Balance, Miyoko's are two plant-based brands.
Which shortening is best for vegan buttercream?
I use Nutiva or Spectrum brands. Nutiva's is a mix of red palm oil and coconut oil, both of which are quite nutritious. Spectrum's is palm oil and white in color so is perfect for a white frosting.
How do you stiffen vegan frosting?
If your frosting is too runny, add ¼ cup of powdered sugar and mix again. Repeat until it is stiffer.
Other Frosting Recipes
- My healthier fluffy White Frosting has a special trick to make it snowy white.
- And my healthy Fudge Frosting is delicious.
- Try Vegan Royal Icing for Sugar Cooking Decorating.
- This 2 ingredient Chocolate Frosting uses sweet potatoes.
- A crowd favorite, Peanut Butter Frosting
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Vegan Buttercream Frosting
- Measuring cups & spoons
- Mixing bowl
- Hand mixer or stand mixer with paddle
- Spatula, frosting knife
- 3 cups organic powdered sugar* (360g)
- ½ cup vegan butter (220g) room temperature
- ½ cup organic shortening (220g) room temperature
- 3-6 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Natural Colors and Flavors
- Brighter white needs Titanium (I use this brand)
- Pink needs 1 teaspoon beetroot powder (I use this brand)
- Green needs 1-2 teaspoon ceremonial grade Matcha (I use this brand)
- Yellow needs a pinch of ground turmeric
- Purple needs 3 pulverized blueberries
To Make Base Frosting
- In a bowl,mix room temperature butter and shortening until it is creamy.½ cup vegan butter (220g), ½ cup organic shortening (220g)
- Add the vanilla and continue mixing.3 cups organic powdered sugar* (360g), 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add in the milk 1 tablespoon at a time, and mix in between.3-6 tablespoon milk
- The number of tablespoon of milk you need depends on the water content of your vegan butter. If your frosting seems too dry, add a bit more powdered sugar.
- Cover the bowl of frosting with a soaking-wet paper towel until you are ready to pipe to keep it from drying out.
To Make Colors and Flavors:
- Brighter White: Add a bright white food coloring with titanium. I use this brand.Brighter white needs Titanium
- Pink: Add the beetroot powder to 1 teaspoon of water to dissolve, then add to shorteningPink needs 1 teaspoon beetroot powder
- Green: Add matcha to the shorteningGreen needs 1-2 teaspoon ceremonial grade Matcha
- Yellow: If you use the red palm shortening, the frosting will be a natural yellow.Yellow needs a pinch of ground turmeric
- Purple: Blend up blueberries with as little water as possible into a puree, strain, and add a bit of the liquid the shorteningPurple needs 3 pulverized blueberries
To Pipe Frosting
- Push your choice of tip (I often use Wilton 1M or 8B) to the bottom of the frosting bag. If using disposable bags, snip the bag tip off so the metal tip can push through just enough to allow frosting through the tip.
- To fill the bag, put it tip down into a glass, and use a spoon to fill the bag about half way.
- Twist the bag up, forcing frosting through the tip.
- To frost, point the tip toward the cupcake center and hold vertically, going round and round, and remember to finish by pulling straight up and stop squeezing bag at same time.
- You can refrigerate this frosting for a week, or freeze for a few months. But I get best piping results piping it right after making it.
Can I use homemade vegan butter, or do I have to use store-bought vegan butter?
Good for you for making homemade vegan butter! I don't know. I guess it depends on how much moisture is your homemade version. You could make the batter and add flour or milk to adjust the texture to resemble mine.