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How to make vegan buttercream

Have you ever wondered how to make dairy-free buttercream?

Vegan buttercream or vegan butter icing – whatever you call it, it can be a tricky thing to create if you don’t know where to start. Whether you stick to a strict vegan diet or need a dairy-free alternative to traditional buttercream, it’s good to know how to make a buttercream that suits your requirement.

Traditional buttercream (needless to say) uses dairy-based butter – but it is possible to create a delicious dairy-free vegan buttercream to go on cakes, without having to go too wild with ingredients.

Now we must say, it is entirely dependent on what type of buttercream you want to create for your cake. You may or may not know there are several different types of ‘standard’ buttercream – just standard icing sugar and ‘butter’-based buttercreams are much more straightforward to create. When you want to create something like a Swiss Meringue ‘buttercream’ is a bit trickier and needs more skills and more unusual ingredients such as aquafaba (chickpea water) to create.

Choosing the correct butter alternative for you and for the buttercream is important, you can create a decent vegan buttercream with margarine, but you need to ensure that the ingredients used in the margarine are suitable for you. Some kinds of margarine use ingredients such as palm oil – some vegans will eat palm oil if it is responsibly sourced, and others won’t eat anything that includes any type of palm oil, it’s something to bear in mind when choosing your butter alternative.

Now that we’ve gone through a bit of food for thought, here is a simple vegan and dairy-free buttercream recipe to try:

Vegan buttercream recipe:

This is a standard dairy-free buttercream base recipe that you can adapt with different flavours to suit your taste;


  • 225g (8oz) Vegan butter
  • 420g (15oz) Icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp Soya milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  1. Add your butter to a bowl using a hand mixer (or you can use a stand mixer if you have one) and gently beat the butter until it is smooth.
  2. Once your butter is smooth add a little bit of the icing sugar until fully incorporated, then gradually start adding more icing sugar until it is fully incorporated.
  3. Add the vanilla extract (can be replaced with another flavouring to create a different flavour buttercream)
  4. If the buttercream is too thick you can add the soya milk – add half a tablespoon, to begin with, if it is too thick still add another half a tablespoon.
  5. If you are happy with the consistency, you can stop here. If you want to create a lighter buttercream continue to mix the buttercream for another 8-10 minutes keeping a close eye to make sure the consistency of the buttercream is right for your requirements.

This recipe should provide you with enough vegan buttercream to cover one 8” inch vegan cake. To make enough for two just double to recipe, or adjust quantities to make the right amount of buttercream for your cake.

You can store your buttercream in the fridge if you are making it to use later, it is best to store is in an air-tight container and it will be fine to use a few days later. You can also do this if you make too much buttercream. It is also possible to freeze the buttercream to use for a later date, again it’s best to store it in an air-tight container. In both instances you will need to make sure you leave the buttercream out long enough for it to come back up to room temperature before use.

It is possible to make lots of different flavours of buttercream with this simple recipe, you just have to remember a simple rule – if you add more liquid you need to more dry ingredients (so icing sugar) to keep the consistency correct. Equally if you are creating something like a chocolate vegan buttercream, if you are using cocoa powder to create this, you may need to add a little bit more liquid (such as soya milk) to keep the right consistency.

So, there you have it, how to make a simple vegan buttercream.

If you don’t have time to make your own vegan buttercream or vegan cake, why not buy one from us? We have a range of delicious vegan cakes on our website.