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Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Rich and luxurious vegan chocolate frosting. This smooth and fluffy buttercream frosting is made with just 5 simple ingredients.

A mixer with vegan chocolate frosting on it.

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Looking for the best vegan chocolate frosting recipe? You’ve found it! My friends and family absolutely love this frosting and always ask how I made it. It makes cupcakes beautiful and elevates your favorite cake recipe to the next level.

It makes the best vegan chocolate cake recipe even better!

Read on to learn how to make buttercream frosting, what the best vegan butter to use is, and how to make your frosting super smooth!

Ingredients to make frosting: vegan butter, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, dairy-free milk, and vanilla.

Ingredients

  • Vegan butter: Use your favorite or check out the section below for brand recommendations.
  • Powdered sugar: Also called “confectioners sugar”
  • Cocoa powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder. The container typically says something like “100% cocao/cocoa powder”
  • Non-dairy milk: Just use your favorite plain vegan milk! I typically use oat milk. Almond milk, soy milk, and cashew milk are other good options.
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract has the best flavor, but imitation works just fine.

Instructions

Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the dairy-free butter for a couple of minutes until smooth and lighter in color.

Slowly mix in the remaining ingredients. I usually add about a quarter of the powdered sugar and cocoa powder at a time, adding in the liquid ingredients (non-dairy milk and vanilla) as the mixture gets dry. Run your mixer on low speed to avoid a cloud of sugar messing up your counters.

If the frosting is too thick, add more non-dairy milk about 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder 2-3 tablespoons at a time.

For information on frosting a cake, see this excellent tutorial!

A bowl of beaten butter.
Bowl of freshly made frosting.

How to Get Smooth Frosting

Chunky frosting is certainly not the texture we’re going for. Only delicious, lush, smooth vegan frosting is allowed here. Here are some tips to achieve just that:

  • Frost the cake when the frosting is freshly made. I wait for the cake to fully cool before even making my frosting so this is possible. (For make-ahead instructions, see the section below.)
  • Use room temperature vegan butter and milk.
  • Make sure to beat the butter for a couple of minutes before adding the other ingredients.
  • Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. I like to use a hand sifter like this, but a fine mesh strainer will work in a pinch.
  • Add enough liquid. Because measurements aren’t always 100% accurate, you may need to add a little more liquid to the frosting. If it’s too dry and won’t spread smoothly, this is a sign to add more dairy-free milk.
Frosting a chocolate cake.

What Vegan Butter to Use

Vegan butter or margarine can vary by brand.

For baking and frosting-making, I prefer to use stick butter. It’s much easier to measure properly than the butter in a tub. My favorite is Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. Country Crock Plant Butter and Miyoko’s are also good options.

Storage

Buttercream frosting will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge in an airtight container.

Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Can I Make Frosting Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can absolutely make vegan chocolate buttercream frosting ahead of time! Take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Whip it with your mixer until it’s a smooth and fluffy consistency again. You may need to mix in a little more non-dairy milk to add moisture if it’s been in your fridge for a couple days.

Vegan cake.

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Did you enjoy this recipe? Please leave a comment and a ⭐ star review below!

Use this recipe to make a delicious chocolate orange cake, for a birthday on Vegan Funfetti Cake, or a classic like vanilla or chocolate cake.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Karissa Besaw
Make this vegan chocolate buttercream frosting as the perfect topping for your cake or cupcakes.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 286 kcal

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. If using a hand mixer, make sure to use a large bowl.
  • Add in the powdered sugar, cocoa power, 4 tablespoons of non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract. If you're using a hand mixer, beat in a cup of the dry ingredients (powdered sugar and cocoa powder) at a time. Beat on low speed until all the ingredients are mixed in.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add more non-dairy milk (1 tablespoon at a time.) If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar or cocoa powder (2-3 tablespoons at a time.)

Notes

How much frosting to make: 
  • The recipe as written will make enough to frost a 9×13 cake, a one-layer 9-inch cake, or 12 cupcakes.
  • Double the amount of frosting for a double-layer cake or a generously-frosted batch of 24 cupcakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 2gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gSodium: 127mgPotassium: 123mgFiber: 2gSugar: 39gVitamin A: 739IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
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