Dairy Free Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

A bunch of cupcakes topped on a cooling rack topped with dairy free vanilla buttercream.

Need a delicious topping for cupcakes or cake? Try this vanilla dairy free buttercream frosting! Made with just four ingredients, this simple recipe is easy to whip up quickly. It’s perfect for any sweet treat (highly recommended on our dairy free vanilla cupcakes!).

Ingredient Notes

Here’s a photo of all the ingredients you’ll need, along with ingredient notes:

A bowl of powdered sugar, a stick of dairy free butter, a small bowl with oat milk, and vanilla extract.
  • Dairy-free milk – Any option works here – oat milk, almond milk, soy milk…you name it. You only need a smidge to get the right frosting consistency. Note that you can definitely use full fat canned coconut milk, but it does impart a hint of coconut flavor if you choose to use that.
  • Powdered sugar – This is needed for the right consistency. Do not use granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla extract – Real or imitation is fine!


You’ll find the full recipe amounts and instructions in the recipe card below, but here’s a helpful overview with photos and tips.

Start by softening the butter. This is key to the right frosting consistency. If you try to start with a hard stick of butter, or you accidentally melt the butter, it will not come out correct. Soften the butter by leaving it out at room temperature for a bit, or popping it in the microwave for a few seconds at a time until soft (again, do not melt it).

Combine the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of the dairy-free milk in a bowl. I recommend using the bowl of a stand mixer, as that will help you get the right consistency quickly. However, you can also use a regular bowl and a hand mixer if you don’t have a stand mixer.

All frosting ingredients combined in a mixing bowl.

Use the whisk attachment of your mixer to beat the ingredients. Start on low to give them a chance to start to incorporate, then raise the speed to high. (If you start the mixer on high, you’ll likely splash some powdered sugar around the kitchen).

When the frosting is light and fluffy, it’s all set! If it looks a little too dense or dry, you can add more dairy-free milk little by little until it reaches the right consistency.

Dairy free buttercream in a silver mixing bowl.

When done, you can frost your cupcakes or cake. Just make sure the baked good is completely cool before frosting (or the frosting can melt). You can either spread the frosting on with a knife, or using a piping bag and tip to create that fun swirly frosting look.

A vanilla cupcake on a countertop.

Recipe FAQ

Here are some common questions that may come up as you’re preparing this recipe:

Does dairy free buttercream need to be refrigerated?

If you’re frosting cupcakes or a cake, you can leave those at room temperature for up to 2 days. If you have leftover dairy-free buttercream that is not being used to frost that day, store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Can you freeze dairy free frosting?

Yes. You can freeze this in an airtight container (choose a size so the container is full without much air space) or a ziptop bag (with as much air removed as possible). Use within 2-3 months for best quality. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight, then use a mixer to re-whip it for the best texture.

Why is my frosting too runny?

If the frosting is too runny, you may have either added too much liquid or used melted butter. Be sure to use softened butter and only add a small amount of liquid at a time.

A platter full of cupcakes with dairy free vanilla frosting and sprinkles, next to a piping bag.

Allergens in this Recipe

Disclaimer:  Always double check ingredients and labels yourself prior to making a recipe.  While I try to check all ingredients for allergens, there’s always the chance I may miss something, or manufacturer formulations can change.

This recipe is dairy free, egg free, and peanut free as written.

This may include wheat/gluten, tree nuts, or soy, depending on the type of dairy-free milk you use. You can simply purchase products that meet any other allergen needs, though.

For example, this recipe is very easy to make top 8 allergen free by using Earth Balance Soy Free Sticks for your butter and by using a certified gluten free oat milk for your non-dairy milk.

More Dairy Free Frosting Recipes

If you’re looking for more dairy free frosting recipes, be sure to give one of these a try:

I hope you enjoy this dairy free buttercream recipe. It’s simple, tasty, and perfect for your baked masterpieces. If you get a chance to try it, feel free to leave a recipe rating or comment below.

Dairy Free Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

This dairy free vanilla buttercream is perfect for topping any cake or cupcake recipe! Made with just 4 ingredients, it’s simple and easy to whip up.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword dairy free buttercream, dairy free vanilla frosting
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 165 kcal
Author Dairy Free for Baby


  • ½ cup dairy-free butter, softened (i.e. 1 stick; recommend Country Crock plant butter sticks with avocado oil)
  • 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 3 tbsp non-dairy milk (enough to achieve preferred consistency)


  1. In a large bowl, combine the softened dairy-free butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon of non-dairy milk. Beat using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer or hand mixer, starting on low then increasing speed to high, until light and fluffy. Add additional non-dairy milk if needed to reach the preferred consistency.
  2. Add frosting to cooled cupcakes or cake (adding to warm cupcakes or cake will cause the frosting to melt).

Recipe Notes

  • Butter must be softened – not melted, not straight from the fridge – for the frosting, otherwise you will not achieve the desired texture.
  • This recipe makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes or one small cake. Double the recipe if you’re making 24 cupcakes or a large double layered cake.


Nutrition analysis (per serving): 165 calories, 7.5 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 75 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 0 g fiber, 24.5 g sugar, 0 g protein, Vitamin D: 0%, Calcium: 0%, Iron: 0%, Potassium: 0%

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A vanilla cupcake topped with dairy free buttercream frosting, with sprinkles on top and on the counter.

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