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. It made me wonder how to thicken vegan cream cheese frosting. I like a nice and fluffy and yet still easy cream cheese frosting for my cakes and cupcakes.
How to Make Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
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 for my non-dairy cream cheese frosting and it works great. 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 setting it out at room temperature for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Vegetable Shortening. As I said above, I like a homemade cream cheese frosting that holds it shape and adding some vegetable shortening helps. I used Crisco.
- Vegan Cream Cheese. There are two primary vegan cream cheese products I will use for this recipe. The first is Daiya. I like it the best because it has a beautiful consistency and nice, tangy flavor. The other is Tofutti. I like the Tofutti cream cheese flavor, but I’m not a fan of the texture. It’s a little on the runny side and it leaves little globules of cream cheese in the frosting. That’s not a problem if you don’t care what the frosting looks like, because you’re making a Tuesday night vegan carrot cake and it’s mostly for your people. But if you’re taking it out on the town, you want it to look nice!
- Powdered Sugar. This recipe uses 3 cups of powdered sugar. I always recommend sifting it 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 the cause.
- Vanilla-Flavored Creamer. Yes, yes, yes, you can use 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, simple add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Making Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
To make the cream cheese buttercream frosting, first you’ll cream together the vegan butter and vegetable shortening. I used a stand mixer, but a hand held 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.
Then add the vegan cream cheese. Whip that into the mixture until it returns to being good and fluffy.
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.
Use these expert tips to make this basic cream cheese frosting vegan and perfect every time:
- As mentioned above, I used Earth Balance buttery sticks.
- 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 as well, especially in the heat.
- You don’t have to use cow dairy cream cheese. This lactose-free cream cheese frosting is made with vegan cream cheese. Daiya is a great substitute for cream cheese in frosting.
- Another option for vegan cream cheese is a product called Tofutti. Tofutti cream cheese frosting has great flavor and is a good substitute for cream cheese frosting. However, it’s not my favorite when it comes to texture. That said, it will work fine for a weeknight dessert recipe.
- Be sure to use a mixer to whip up the frosting.
- If you’re using a decorator tip, I recommend putting the freshly-made frosting in the bag and then place that in the fridge for at least 20 minutes or so, to help it firm up. It will keep in the fridge for several days.
For these cupcakes, I used a Wilton 1A Round Tip.
How to Use Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Here are some amazing recipes that could benefit from being topped with vegan cream cheese frosting:
- This Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe is so good, but even better with this icing on top
- If you love Vegan Red Velvet Cake, be sure to add a generous layer of this icing in between and on top of the layered cake
- These Carrot Cake Cookies taste even better with the best cream cheese frosting on top
- A Vegan Vanilla Cake tastes amazing with vegan vanilla buttercream frosting, but you’ll also love the tangy cream cheese frosting too
- Of course, cream cheese frosting for cupcakes is delicious and works perfectly with these Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes!
I hope you love this recipe as we do! Have you tried it? Be sure and leave a comment and a rating of this recipe below and then take a quick photo and share it with me using #namelymarly on Instagram. I love seeing your creations!
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/4 cup vegan butter
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
- 4 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla-flavored plant-based milk
- 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.