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Best Ever Vegan Buttercream Frosting

Nothing says happy birthday like a real legit from scratch birthday cake and when you are gluten and dairy free that means smothering that delicious cake in vegan buttercream frosting. This recipe is a dairy free buttercream frosting with shortening because that is how you give it that fluffy melt in your mouth texture and flavor. Has your vegan buttercream too runny? This recipe will show you how to make it with the perfect texture.

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When I first went gluten free and dairy free I honestly thought enjoying cake was a thing of the past. That was until I started experimenting and I first created my My Personal Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend.

With that I was able to create the Vanilla Cake that is pictured here and what really made me decide to pursue this whole gluten free blog thing.

Once I finally created a vanilla cake with the perfect buttercream that melted in my mouth I knew others would appreciate these recipes.

buttercream in a jar with sprinkles next to it.

Before creating this dairy free buttercream frosting I did not like buttercream. I preferred a whip cream topping because it was lighter.

The combo on vegan butter with the right vegetable shortening gives this dairy free buttercream frosting with shortening the absolute perfect flavor and consistency. You can decorate with it, it doesn’t get too hard and it tastes absolutely amazing!

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

cake decorated with vegan buttercream frosting

This recipe is light and fluffy but provides the perfect amount of sweetness to your desserts. You can use it to decorate cookies and frost all of your favorite cakes.

Dairy Free Buttercream Frosting with Shortening

With only 5 ingredients you will find yourself turning to this recipe because it so simple to make and will never let you down.

Dairy Free Buttercream Icing

slice of cake with a bite on a fork

Has your vegan buttercream been too runny before?

The combo of vegan butter, shortening, and powdered sugar give this recipe the perfect texture and consistency.

If your frosting has been too runny before then you likely used too much liquid, or the ratio needed shortening. Nutiva or Spectrum Organic shortening are my go-to’s. Literally, these are all that I will use.

This frosting is incredibly simple to make and also pipes well. You can put it in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to stiffen after making it if it is too soft.

cake frosted with vegan buttercream frosting

When I decorate cakes I start with adding some of this frosting to the top of the first layer, spreading it evenly and then placing the second layer on top.

Then you will add a thin layer of the buttercream and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Continue this process until the cake is frosted to your desire and then you can pipe it. If you plan on doing a lot of piping then you will need to double this recipe.

vanilla buttercream in a jar with sprinkles next to it
So, for your next birthday or gathering make sure to try out this buttercream. You will love how simple it is with amazing flavor. Don’t forget to leave a star rating below and share on Instagram with #livingfreelyglutenfree. Enjoy!

Dairy Free Buttercream Icing

4.64 from 19 votes

Vegan Buttercream Frosting

This perfect vegan buttercream recipe will melt in your mouth

Course Dessert
Keyword dairy free buttercream icing, vegan buttercream frosting
Servings 12
Calories 230 kcal


  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening I used Spectrum Organic Shortening -- 24 oz
  • 2 1/2   cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 tsp.  dairy free milk


  1. With a beater or stand mixer cream the butter and shortening until smooth
  2. Add sugar and beat for 1 minute on medium speed
  3. Add vanilla and milk and beat 3 minutes on medium/high speed until very smooth and fluffy

Recipe Notes

Make sure to share your culinary creation on Instagram with the #livingfreelyglutendfree

We love star ratings! Make sure to leave your review below! 


Nutrition Facts
Vegan Buttercream Frosting
Amount Per Serving
Calories 230 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Sodium 63mg3%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 360IU7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you want the chocolate version of this buttercream it is below.

Click here for printable version

Chocolate Buttercream
½ cup Vegan Butter (Earths Balance is my preferred)
½ Cup Vegetable Shortening (I used Spectrum Organic Shortening — 24 oz)
2 ½ Cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ Cup Cocoa Powder
6 tsp. Dairy Free Milk
  1. With a beater or stand mixer cream butter and shortening
  2. Add sugar and cocoa and beat for 1 minute.
  3. Add vanilla and milk.
  4. Beat on medium high speed for 3 minutes until very smooth and fluffy. Enjoy!


Need some delicious recipes to decorate with this vegan buttercream frosting? I’ve got you covered…



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Recipe Rating


  1. Can I make this in advance and just store in fridge till needed?

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      You can make it in advance, but you will need to let it sit out and soften before frosting. It hardens once you refrigerate it. It will last about 3 days in the fridge.

  2. Do you have any advice on how to know if my powdered sugar is vegan? Or is any powdered sugar considered vegan? I’m baking cupcakes for someone who is vegan and am planning to use your recipes, but I was just concerned about some of my ingredients. I’m not finding much helpful info online. Thanks!

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      Powdered Sugar in general is vegan. The ingredients are typically starch and sugar, so as long as those are the ingredients you are good to go.

  3. What if I don’t have vegetable shortening? Can I just use more of the dairy free butter instead?

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      For the best frosting I would recommend shortening. Too much butter will give it a greasy consistency.

  4. Jaqueline says:

    Can I use coconut butter for this recipe? I live in South Africa and am finding it extremely difficult to find vegan butter

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      I have never tried it, so I’m not sure how it will turn out but give it a try and let me know. If you are not dairy free you can use regular butter too.

  5. I’m sorry but I made this recipes and it is completely horrible. The cake tastes bad and the frosting is SUPER sweet. I don’t recommend.

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      I’m sorry you had that experience Heather. What would you change about it? I’m always looking for ways to improve my recipes.

  6. Bridget Sinclair says:

    Hi! Do you think this buttercream can be made in advance and frozen? I’m making my own 30th birthday cake next month and have a few dog/gf guests. I normally make a normal buttercream that can be frozen, but not sure if df ingredients freeze as well. Thank you!

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      The frosting gets kind of weird when it has been frozen. Would you be freezing it on the cake, or freezing defrosting and then frosting the cake?

  7. Hi! I made the vanilla cupcakes the first time and the baking soda ruined the flavor, so I started over and made them without baking soda and they were beyond perfect! Then I made the frosting without the shortening and it tasted exactly like my Nana’s buttercream frosting she made when I was little! Long story short, this is now a huge hit with my friends and family and nobody has any idea that it is gluten – and dairy- free except the people who need to know for dietary reasons. It is absolutely the yummiest cake and frosting combo I have tasted in a long, long time!! Thank you!!!

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      Hi Robin,
      Thank you so much for this review! I am so excited you were able to make it perfect to your liking!!! Did you use extra butter for the frosting, or just leave it out? You took all of the baking soda out, but still used the baking powder? I would love to give it a try and see how we like it.

  8. I will be trying this recipe for the first time, but have been have been unable to find the “Earths Best Dairy Free Butter” I have tried numerous grocery stores. Even Whole Foods and no one carries it. Where do you buy it?

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      Hi Rita. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. It is actually Earth’s Balance and I will be updating that in the blog post right now. Honestly though, any vegan butter will do the job.

  9. I am going to try this recipe for the first time. Can you tell me what kind of dairy free milk you use?

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      I use So Delicious Coconut Milk, but almond or cashew milk would work great too

  10. 5 stars
    I made 1/2 batch subbing coconut oil for shortening as I don’t like using shortening in recipes. It’s delicious & am pairing it with your Vanilla cake which is in the oven.

    1. livingfreelygf says:

      Thank you so much for sharing Michelle. I have never thought to use coconut oil in place and I am excited it turned out.