Vegan Chocolate Frosting

This is the best vegan chocolate frosting recipe because it’s so rich and creamy. It’s a perfect frosting for Vegan Chocolate Cake, cupcakes, and other desserts. It’s made with only four ingredients and ready in minutes so it’s the easiest, creamiest frosting ever!

A cupcake topped with vegan chocolate frosting and sprinkles sits in front of 2 other cupcakes.

Your sweet tooth doesn’t have to go away just because you’ve taken on a vegan diet. Trust me, mine hasn’t! In fact, you can make your favorite chocolate cake recipes even better. For example, this dairy-free chocolate frosting is better than anything you can buy in a tub at the store!

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using vegan butter creates a rich, buttery flavor for this frosting
  • Butter and sugar are creamed together to make a light, whipped texture
  • Rich, creamy plant-based milk is used to make this frosting extra creamy and irresistible!

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are all the ingredients involved:

  • Vegan butter — You can use Earth Balance or any favorite plant-based butter. It should be softened so leave it out on the counter for about 30 minutes.
  • Powdered sugar – Feel free to substitute a zero-calorie powdered sugar if you want a low-carb frosting.
  • Cocoa powder — Either natural or Dutch-processed cocoa will work here. The Dutch-processed cocoa will make a very dark frosting.
  • Plant-based creamer — I love using plant-based creamers, like the kind used for coffees. But any thick and creamy milk will work, such as soy milk, cashew milk, or even pecan milk.

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Frosting

  1. Cream the butter using a mixer on medium speed.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined.
  4. Beat in plant-based creamer until you achieve the desired consistency.

Here are more detailed step-by-step instructions.

Step One: Cream Butter and Sugar

It’s important to begin your frosting by creaming the butter first. This article from Cooks Illustrated shows why it’s important to use softened butter to save time.

Begin by placing the softened vegan butter in a mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed until the butter is creamed, about one minute. Next, add the powdered sugar and beat another minute until light and fluffy.

Looking down on a mixing bowl full of fluffy white frosting.

Step Two: Add Cocoa Powder

Next, add the cocoa powder and continue beating until the cocoa is incorporated.

Looking down on a stand mixer with cocoa powder added to creamed butter and sugar.

Step Three: Make it Creamy

Finally, add the plant-based creamer, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach a desired, spreadable consistency. You can leave the vegan chocolate buttercream frosting a little stiffer, or add more milk to make it soft and creamy.

Looking down on a stand mixer with creamy chocolate frosting.

Storage Tips

Keep any unused chocolate frosting in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep up to 7 days if stored properly. Once it’s chilled you will need to let it come to room temperature before spreading it over a cake. It might thicken as it chills so stir in a teaspoon or two of plant-based milk to get it back to a spreadable consistency.

How to Make Keto Icing

You can transform this chocolate frosting into keto icing by using Swerve powdered sugar. If you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, having a sugar-free chocolate frosting can add indulgence to your diet.

The sugar-free powdered sugar has a thicker consistency than regular powdered sugar so you’ll notice it takes a little more creamer to make it smooth. Be sure and use unsweetened creamer for a true low-carb frosting.

How Much Frosting Does this Make?

This recipe makes about 2 to 2 1/2 cups of frosting which will

  • Cupcakes — generously frost 12 to 18 Vegan Cupcakes.
  • Sheet cake — This frosting will be plenty for a 9×13 Vegan Sheet Cake.
  • Layered Cake — You can use this frosting on a layer cake, but if you want generous amounts of frosting in between the layers double this recipe or use some Vegan Ganache between the cake layers.

How to Use Chocolate Frosting

There are so many desserts that benefit from a small drizzle or generous smear of chocolate frosting. Here are some favorites:

Marly’s Tips

  • You can substitute all or half of the vegan butter with coconut oil. Make sure the coconut oil is softened before mixing. Note that coconut oil turns soft in hot temperatures so it will need to be refrigerated.
  • Be sure to use a mixer or stand mixer for this recipe to get a whipped texture to your frosting
  • Vegan icing is best when it’s smooth and spreadable but still holds peaks, like the swirly tops on those cupcakes. I find 3 tablespoons of vegan creamer makes the best texture.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What cocoa powder should I use for chocolate frosting?

Use either natural cocoa powder or dutch-process cocoa powder for chocolate buttercream frosting. The dutch-process version will create a darker chocolate frosting.

Do I need to use vegan creamer?

You can substitute plant-based milk, but you may need less of it because it has a thinner consistency.

Can I double the recipe if making a larger cake?

Yes, you can easily double this recipe, but it may require a bit more mixing time.

Do I need to sift the dry ingredients like powdered sugar or cocoa powder?

I find this frosting turns out great without sifting. However, if your powdered sugar or cocoa powder is particularly clumpy it can help, especially if you’re not using a mixer.

More Vegan Frosting Recipes

Here are even more delicious vegan frosting recipes to try:

A hand drops sprinkles over a chocolate cupcake.

Best Cakes for Chocolate Frosting

Here are some of my favorite recipes to top with vegan frosting:

A cupcake with chocolate frosting sits in front of two other cupcakes.
A cupcake with chocolate frosting sits in front of two other cupcakes.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Get ready for this delicious, creamy, vegan chocolate frosting. It's fall on the floor good!
5 from 4 votes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 14
Calories: 157kcal

Ingredients

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Sugar Free Chocolate Frosting (Keto Icing)

Instructions

  • Add the butter to a mixing bowl and beat over medium speed for up to a minute, until butter is creamy. 
  • Add the powdered sugar and beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add cocoa powder and beat again until combined.
  • Add one tablespoon plant-based creamer. Beat until combined. Add additional creamer one tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Top your favorite cakes or cupcakes with this frosting.
  • Keep any unused chocolate frosting stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep up to 7 days if stored properly. Once it's chilled you will need to let it come to room temperature before spreading it over a cake. In fact, it might thicken as it chills so stir in a teaspoon or two of plant-based milk to get it back to a spreadable consistency.

Recommended Equipment

(The products above contain sponsored links to products we use and recommend)

Notes

Use sugar-free powdered sugar to make this into sugar-free keto icing. Swerve’s statement on their site: “The ingredients in Swerve do not affect blood sugar, so the carbohydrates it contains are considered nonimpact.” Therefore it shows zero net carbs. 
If you don’t have vegan creamer, you can substitute creamy plant-based milk instead, like soy milk, cashew milk, or even pecan milk.
Calories: 157kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 53mg | Potassium: 46mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.5mg

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated to include new photos, new text, and an updated recipe in 2021.

2 Responses to Vegan Chocolate Frosting

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyAnn Reply

    5 stars
    Hello. The frosting was delicious. It taste and looks like a brand name frosting. Thank you!!

  2. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyBridget Wagar Reply

    5 stars
    Best vegan chocolate frosting ever! Super sweet & delicious. I topped some vanilla cupcakes with this frosting and my family loved them! I only needed about 2 tbsp of non dairy milk to smooth it out.

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