This dairy-free cream cheese frosting is just as tangy, creamy, and rich as the original, but it contains no butter or margarine. This is THE BEST vegan cream cheese frosting for cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and my favorite gluten-free vegan carrot cake.
One of the things I missed the most when I gave up dairy was cream cheese frosting. It's such an important part of the carrot cake experience! A bright and tangy cream cheese frosting just pairs so perfectly with moist, sweet, spiced carrot cake.
There are a lot of vegan cream cheese frosting recipes out there, but most of them are full of heaps of powdered sugar and lots of greasy vegan butter. They might taste great, but eating stuff like that makes me feel like a heap of shit.
This is the most delicious low-sugar, dairy-free alternative to cream cheese frosting without vegan butter. If you're looking for a healthy vegan frosting, I can't recommend this one enough!
It's really just so damn good I could talk about it all day. But enough of that. Let's talk about the recipe!
- This dairy-free cream cheese frosting uses a readily available vegan cream cheese alternative (Miyoko's) that can be found at most Walmart stores, as well as health food stores.
- In addition to being dairy-free and egg-free, it's also vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and soy-free. It does contain cashew and coconut products.
- This frosting is low in sugar. Most traditional cream cheese frosting recipes call for multiple cups of powdered sugar. We're only using a ½ cup to make a healthy cream cheese frosting with just enough sweetness to make this dessert-worthy, without taking away from the cream cheese flavor.
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, but here's a quick look at the ingredients you'll need to make this Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting.
- coconut cream (from a can of coconut milk that has been refrigerated overnight)
- container of plain vegan cream cheese (Miyoko's is my favorite, but Kite Hill works, too)
- organic powdered cane sugar (avoid refined white sugar to keep it vegan)
- pure vanilla extract
- lemon juice
- xanthan gum (this is the key to a creamy, fluffy frosting!)
- a pinch of salt
Place your can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before you plan on making your frosting.
The next day, carefully scoop the thick coconut cream out of your can of coconut milk. Add the coconut cream and vegan cream cheese to your stand mixer and use the whisk attachment to whip the mixture until it's is thick and fluffy.
Stop the mixer and use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and whip it until it's combined. That's it!
Substitutions and Variations
I haven't tried very many substitutions in this recipe since it uses so few ingredients. I can tell you that Miyoko's plain cream cheese tastes best to me, but Kite Hill's plain cream cheese works, too.
If you have a high speed blender and don't mind taking the extra time, you could try making your own vegan cream cheese and using it for the frosting. It would be missing the tanginess from the cultures in Miyoko's or Kite Hill, so I would double up on the lemon juice in the frosting recipe and add ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, if your cream cheese recipe doesn't already include it.
I prefer using store-bought vegan cream cheese to save time... and to avoid using the Vitamix because it scares my cats. #CatsRuleEverythingAroundMe 🤷♀️
If you prefer a sweeter frosting, you can add an additional ¼-1/2 cup (30g-60g) to reach your desired sweetness.
I've also made a cane sugar-free version of the frosting using powdered coconut sugar. It has more of a caramel flavor and darker color because of the coconut sugar, but it's great if you're avoiding cane sugar.
Don't skip the xanthan gum! The xanthan gum is absolutely, positively required for this frosting to work properly. It helps the ingredients come together and makes a fluffier frosting. If you skip the xanthan gum, your frosting will look curdled and pretty dang gross.
The non-dairy cream cheese that comes closest to real cream cheese is Miyoko's Creamery's Organic Cultured Vegan Cream Cheese in the Classic Plain flavor. It's vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and lactose-free. It's also cultured to give it that certain tanginess that makes cream cheese so delicious.
Kite Hill's plain cream cheese is a good alternative, although I don't think it has as much of the cream cheese flavor as Miyoko's cream cheese.
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out! Leave a rating and comment below, and share a picture on Instagram and tag me @thethrobbingeggplant.