This Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting recipe is creamy in all the right places and yet firm enough to look gorgeous on your vegan cupcakes! Spread dairy-free cream cheese frosting on vegan carrot cake or red velvet cake for a dramatic and delicious topping!
As you can tell, I have a passion for vegan sweets. And if you’re making sweets, well, there’s nothing like adding a smear of vegan cream cheese icing on top!
The problem with many vegan cream cheese frosting recipes is that they’re just too soft. I prefer frosting that is nice and fluffy yet has that tangy cream cheese flavor for my cakes and cupcakes. I think you’ll be pleasantly pleased with this recipe!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- A small amount of vegan cream cheese is added for flavor, but because the texture doesn’t hold up in frostings, we won’t be using the entire container
- Both vegan butter and vegetable shortening are added for flavor and texture to create dairy-free cream cheese frosting that’s creamy and firm
- Using lemon juice adds even more of that tart flavor we’ve come to love in the best cream cheese recipes
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.
I finally cracked the vegan cream cheese nut to get the perfect texture and flavor. So, let’s get to it! Here are the ingredients in this recipe for cream cheese frosting:
- Vegan Butter. I use Earth Balance buttery sticks or you can make homemade vegan butter. Because I’m using a stand mixer, I don’t even let it sit out. But if you’re using a hand-held mixer, I would suggest letting it sit at room temperature for 15–20 minutes.
- Vegetable Shortening. Adding some vegetable shortening helps the frosting hold its shape more. I used Crisco.
- Vegan Cream Cheese. Daiya Cream Cheese has a good consistency and a nice, tangy flavor. Tofutti Cream Cheese has better flavor, but it becomes runny when mixed and leaves behind globules of cream cheese in the frosting.
- Powdered Sugar. Irecommend sifting the powdered sugar first to break up any clumps.
- Lemon Juice. We’re trying to capitalize on the tangy flavor, and adding a little bit of lemon juice helps.
- Vanilla-Flavored Creamer. You can substitute vanilla-flavored plant-based milk instead of creamer, but I love the creaminess of creamers like Silk, Califia, Nut Pods, and Ripple. Many of these I can even find at my local grocery store. That said, if all you have is plant-based milk, it will work fine too. And if that milk is plain, simply add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
How to Make Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the cream cheese frosting, follow these steps.
Step One: Cream the Fat
First, you’ll cream together the vegan butter and vegetable shortening. I used a stand mixer, but a handheld mixer works fine, too. Get these two nice and creamy together, which may require stopping more than once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Step Two: Add Cream Cheese
Add the vegan cream cheese. Whip that into the mixture until it returns to being good and fluffy.
Step Three: Add Powdered Sugar
Next comes the powdered sugar. I prefer to add it one cup at a time, with a good mixing in between each. This makes less of a mess, too. Who amongst us hasn’t dumped the entire batch of powdered sugar only to have it fly out of the bowl once we turn on the mixer? 🙋♀️
Again, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the lemon juice and vanilla creamer and mix one more time until light and fluffy.
Making Thick Frosting
Many complaints about non-dairy cream cheese frosting center on the fact that vegan cream cheese has a funny texture when added to frostings. Even though it may seem thick in the container, vegan cream cheese can actually become runny when added to the frosting. To solve this dilemma, I’ve reduced the amount of vegan cream cheese used in this recipe. We’ll use just enough to add a distinct flavor.
In addition, we’ll be using some vegetable shortening to increase the thickness of this frosting. This frosting works — it creates a thick dairy-free cream cheese frosting that even kept its shape after piping it on cupcakes!
- Don’t want to use vegan butter? Replace it with refined coconut oil. Coconut oil cream cheese frosting tastes great, but it may not hold its shape quite well, especially in the heat. Be sure to keep it refrigerated.
- If you’re using a decorator tip, spoon the freshly-made frosting into a piping bag and place that in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to help it firm up. It will keep in the fridge for several days.
- For the cupcakes in these photos, I used a Wilton 1A Round Tip.
This frosting, either by itself or spread on cakes or cupcakes, is typically safe at room temperature for up to 8 hours. However, overly hot or humid conditions can impact the frosting. After that, it should be refrigerated. To store the frosting by itself, transfer it to an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or it can be frozen for up to 1 month.
All of these delicious vegan cake recipes would be delicious with cream cheese frosting on top:
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- Add vegan butter and shortening to a mixing bowl. Using either a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vegan cream cheese and beat for another minute or so, until combined.
- Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating in between addition. Then add the lemon juice and milk. Beat for another minute or so, until all ingredients are combined and the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or so, to allow the frosting to thicken.
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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.