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This vegan chocolate frosting tastes luxuriously rich and creamy like buttercream but is totally dairy free. It’s easy to make with only 5 ingredients. The perfect chocolate frosting for cakes and cupcakes.

Traditionally buttercream frosting it’s made by creaming together butter, sugar, milk and vanilla. Cacao is added to make it chocolate. It’s sweet and fluffy.

Here I make the exact same decadent chocolate buttercream frosting but with a few variations to so it’s vegan or paleo. It’s just as rich and velvety you won’t notice the difference.

Ingredients and Variations

  • Palm Shortening or Vegan Butter – I like palm oil it has a good texture and is very stable. (read more below). Vegan butter is also good.
  • Raw Cacao Powder – This give the frosting a deep, rich chocolate taste. A high quality cocoa powder will also work
  • Powdered Confectioners Sugar –  Organic guarantees it will be vegan and high quality. If you are paleo make you own powdered coconut sugar or powdered maple sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract – Adds excellent flavor!
  • Vegan Milk: your choice! Almond, cashew, coconout or oat — you’ll only need a little to get the perfect consistency.

Follow the recipe below for vegan or paleo. Here are the variations for each.

For a Dairy-Free or Vegan Chocolate ‘Buttercream’ Frosting use organic palm shortening or vegan butter (or 50/50 palm shortening and vegan butter), organic powdered sugar and non-dairy milk.

For a Paleo Chocolate Buttercream Frosting use powdered coconut sugar or powdered maple sugar. You can use regular butter or 50/50 palm shortening and butter if dairy is part of your diet.

How to Make Paleo Powdered Sugar

If you haven’t made paleo powdered sugar yet, it’s easy.  Paleo powdered sugar is made with either coconut sugar, maple sugar or sucanat.

These sugars are less refined and have a lower glycemic index. If you follow a paleo diet you may prefer to use them.

Powdered coconut sugar has a much darker color but it won’t matter with the cacao. It does have a caramel flavor and if that’s okay with you this is a good choice. Maple sugar has a lighter taste.

For each cup of powdered sugar, add cup of coconut or maple sugar to a high speed blender, like a Vitamix, and one tablespoon of arrowroot or tapioca, for anti-caking. Blend on high for 30 seconds to get powdered sugar.

Why I Like Palm Shortening

Organic palm shortening is a fabulous non-dairy replacement for butter. It’s not the same as Crisco which is highly processed, hydrogenated and contains trans fats which are not good for you.

Palm shortening is better for your body because it’s never hydrogenated, has zero grams of trans fat, and is made from virgin palm oil, which is naturally cholesterol free and a good source of heart healthy monounsaturated fat. Use it for baking or frosting for cakes or to pipe onto cupcakes.

Palm shortening has a neutral favor making it the perfect base for this vegan chocolate frosting.

Choose a palm shortening from a company who cultivate and presses their palm oil in an environmentally sustainable manner. Since it’s extremely shelf stable and lasts for a long time it’s worth it to investing in the good stuff.

Vegan butter is also good. Don’t use coconut oil it’s too soft. You can also use a combination of vegan butter and palm shortening.

How To Make Vegan Chocolate Frosting

This is a simple foolproof recipe.

  • Add the palm shortening, cacao powder and the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and half the vegan milk to the bowl of an electric stand mixer or a hand mixer.
  • Start mixing at slow speed, gradually increasing speed until it’s very thick and smooth.
  • Add vegan milk for a thinner consistency, more powder sugar to make it thicker.

Ingrid’s Tips

Here are a few simple tips to make your vegan chocolate frosting great.

  • Sift Your Powdered Sugar and Cacao Powder – If your powdered sugar and cacao have lumps and they usually do, sift before mixing it with the rest of the ingredients. It will be easier to make it creamy.
  • Soften the Palm Shortening or Vegan Butter –  Make sure shortening is room temperature soft but not runny.
  • Keep Whipping: For the fluffiest frosting, you want to whip the the mixture for at least 2 minutes.


You can make vegan chocolate frosting ahead of time if you want. Store in a covered container and refrigerate for up to 4 days. When ready to use, let it come to room temperature and then beat it again with your mixer.

It can also be frozen for 2-3 months.

If you like this recipe you may also enjoy these other warm comfort vegan stews.

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Vegan Chocolate Frosting

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  • Author: Ingrid


This vegan chocolate frosting tastes luxuriously rich and creamy like buttercream but is totally dairy free. Easy to make with only 5 ingredients.




  1. Add all ingredients a bowl and mix with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on low/medium.
  2. Once the ingredients come together gradually increase the speed to high and mix for two minutea until totally smooth.
  3. To thin the consistency (if needed) add more milk, or to thicken add more powdered sugar.


Sift if lumpy!

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