Today we’re sharing our favorite basic vegan cream cheese frosting recipe. The kids have been enjoying it for years, and it pairs beautifully with our new Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread recipe. You can also use this frosting on cupcakes too (the kids love it with chocolate cake and carrot cake). I’ll talk a little about consistency below. You’ll need to have a final use in mind when making your frosting, especially if you’re application calls for a less-runny cream cheese frosting.
To make a dairy free and vegan cream cheese frosting, you will NEED to be able to consume either soy or almond. Importunately, there aren’t any top 8 allergy free cream cheese options on the market yet. Additionally, if you can’t do trace amounts of allergens, you’ll need to use the right brand of dairy free cream cheese. You can learn more about this in our Dairy Free Swaps article.
Free From: Wheat/Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Soy**, Tree Nut** (including Coconut), Peanut, Fish, Shellfish, Sesame, Alliums, Apple, Avocado, Banana, Beans & Lentils, Berries, Buckwheat, Celery, Citrus, Cruciferous, Garlic, Legume, Lupin, Mushroom, Mustard, Nightshade, Oat, Onion, Pea & Pea Protein, Potato (Nightshade Variety), Poultry, Red Meat, Rice, Seeds, Squash & Gourd, Strawberry, Sweet Potato & Yam, Tomato, Yeast
Friendly To: FPIES, Vegan
**You will need to select a dairy free cream cheese that contains either soy or tree nut(s) to make this recipe work. More expensive brands will have less ingredients and avoid less common allergens such as pea protein (from what we’ve found in our area). However, then you may find other less common allergens such as mushroom (extract for freshness).
How do you harden cream cheese frosting?
In this case, harden usually refers to the consistency of the frosting. For a “harder” consistency, use less water. Additionally, work with your frosting cold and keep the final dish cold as well. If your frosting is room temperature when you work with it, it will behave totally different.
Which is better, buttercream or cream cheese frosting?
That depends on what you’re pairing it with. The truth is, you can use cream cheese frosting pretty much everywhere you would a buttercream frosting. In the case of allergens, I lean towards buttercream because you can make one that’s top 8 allergy free and a version that’s corn free as well. We have a great How To Make Vanilla Buttercream Frosting video here.
Does cream cheese buttercream frosting need to be refrigerated?
Absolutely! Both dairy free cream cheese and milk-based cream cheese are perishable items. If you leave them out, they can go bad and possibly make you sick.
Can I make dairy free cream cheese frosting without powdered sugar?
Maybe. We have a cool dairy free frosting recipe that uses maple syrup instead of powdered sugar. The key is to have some type of flour to balance the consistency, and provide body. That last bit is important if you want the feel of a light and fluffy frosting. However, if you’re OK with more of a glaze, you won’t need much flour.
A Bit More About The Ingredients (and Substitutions)
This particular recipe calls for both butter and cream cheese. Some recipes only call for cream cheese. Our family has enjoyed it this way for years. If you don’t need dairy free milk, you can substitute for a regular cream cheese in the same amount. The same is true of the vegan butter we use.
Easy Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting Video & Recipe
RAISE Members, we’ve included a list of brands we used for this recipe after the recipe card. There are also notes on available brands of cream cheese on the market.
Mixing Bowl (or use a stand mixer)
Handheld Electric Whisk (easy to use)
- 8 ounces Dairy Free Butter (454 g)
- 8 ounces Dairy Free Cream Cheese (454 g)
- 3 pounds Organic Powdered Sugar (1362 g)
- 6 - 8 TBSP Water
- 4 tsp Organic Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
Measure your dairy free butter and dairy free cream cheese. Allow them to come to just about room temperature before working with them. should be almost soft, but not runny in any way.
Combine your butter and cream cheese together in your mixing bowl.
Add your salt and vanilla, and mix again.
Add your powdered sugar and 4 Tablespoons of water. Mix well and your frosting will start to form.
For the last 4 - 8 Tablespoons of water, add the 1 at at time. As you add each Tablespoon, the consistency will change. Stop adding water once you've achieved your desired consistency.