This simple recipe shows just how easy it is to make vegan buttercream with 3 basic ingredients and no magic whatsoever!

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Vegan Buttercream on a cupcake.

Creamy, swirly, easy, pipeable vegan buttercream. What more could you ask for? Dairy free baking really isn’t complicated at all. This buttercream uses the same ingredients I used in my pre-vegan days but dairy free. Simple.

Vegan vanilla Cupcakes.

The Secret To Making Vegan Buttercream

There are no secrets if I’m honest but I like that title! People who are new to veganism or are just vegan curious do ask me questions in hushed and worried tones. I often feel like a wise old crone, imparting my secret knowledge! Yes, I can eat cakes and YES, I can eat buttercream!

  • The secret here is to use a high fat content vegan margarine, straight from the fridge. Lower fat spreads contain more water and collapse when you whisk them.
  • Whisk it on low in a stand mixer and add the icing sugar a little at a time – just like I used to BV (Before Vegan).
  • Add any flavourings  or colourings very slowly in small amounts, especially if they are liquids, simply because too much liquid can make buttercream runny. 
  • If the buttercream is too soft, add some more icing sugar.

Mixing buttercream in a stand mixer.


I decorated my cupcakes with far too much buttercream just to show you how well it pipes and that it doesn’t collapse and run away. Here’s a cross section so you can see how creamy it is. This photograph also features my vegan vanilla cupcakes in all their well risen, fluffy beauty! 

Vegan Vanilla Cupcake with Buttercream Frosting.

Adding Flavour To Buttercream

This basic dairy free buttercream recipe is easily adapted to include different flavours and colourings. 

  • Replace 50g (1/2 cup) of the icing sugar with cocoa powder for chocolate cupcakes.
  • Add 1 tbsp lemon juice and some finely grated lemon rind for lemon muffins.
  • Stir in some dried lavender flowers for some lovely lavender bakes.
  • Add liquid flavourings or colourings slowly so you don’t overwhelm the mixture.
  • If it goes too runny add a bit more icing sugar. If it’s too thick add a tiny bit of dairy free milk.

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream on cupcakes.

Using This Dairy Free Buttercream Recipe For Large Cakes

This recipe makes enough buttercream to generously ice 12 muffins or to fill and ice a 20cm (8 inch) large cake. If you have more buttercream than you need you can freeze the leftovers to use on another baking day. Defrost it in the fridge and it’s ready to go.

Dairy Free Fairy Cakes.

In A Baking Mood? Try These Vegan Delights:

If you make my recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Please leave a comment and a star rating below and share your pictures with me on social media. Tag me @thinlyspread and include the hashtag #thinlyspread so I can see them!

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Vegan Buttercream

Vegan Buttercream

A simple recipe for silky smooth vegan buttercream, making dairy free baking easy! This buttercream is perfect for piping, use it to decorate cupcakes, muffins or large cakes.
5 from 4 votes
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Course: Treats
Cuisine: American, English, vegan
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 68kcal


  • Stand Mixer


  • 200 g vegan butter or margarine with a high fat content
  • 400 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


  • Whisk cold butter in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, on low until light and fluffy. This should take just a couple of minutes.
  • Add icing sugar 1/2 a cup at a time, whisking between additions.
  • Pour in the vanilla extract very slowly, 1 teaspoonful at a time, whisking between each addition.
  • Sprinkle in a bit more icing sugar a little at a time if necessary to get the required consistency.
  • If it goes too stiff, add a tiny bit of dairy free milk to thin it.


Nutritional information is only an approximate guideline. Calculations will vary according to the ingredients you use and your cooking methods.


Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Sugar: 16g
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