Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Vegan Indulgence: Delicious Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

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Updated on May 14, 2024

Cream cheese frosting is considered by many what dreams are made of. It is rich. It is tangy. It is a perfectly sweet classic swirl that takes cupcakes, cakes, and pastries from good to unforgettable—a frosting beloved for its simplicity and versatility. But what if you cannot indulge in dairy?

Well, that should not be a problem at all. The world of frosting has embraced delicious dairy-free alternatives, allowing everyone to enjoy that creamy, dreamy topping. This article will guide you through the process of creating delightful dairy-free cream cheese frosting at home, uncovering the endless possibilities it brings to the table. We will also share some flavour variations to tantalise your taste buds.

So, get ready to whip up a batch of dairy-free cream cheese frosting that is just as delicious as it is inclusive!

Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream cheese frosting is a delectable topping commonly used in baking to adorn cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and other sweet treats. It is simply made by blending cream cheese with powdered sugar and often butter, along with flavourings such as vanilla extract or lemon juice. The result is a smooth, creamy frosting with a rich and tangy flavour profile. 

The reason why this frosting is beloved by many lies in its versatility, as it can be easily customised with various additions like cocoa powder, fruit purees, or spices to complement different desserts. It adds a decadent touch to baked goods, balancing their sweetness with a subtle tanginess that delights the taste buds.

Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Yet, as you can see, traditional cream cheese frosting is a dream of dairy, completely unsuitable for vegan, lactose-intolerant people, or anyone who found themselves all of a sudden hating dairy for no apparent reason. However, if AI has replaced so many jobs, do you not think there is a vegan alternative to cream cheese frosting?

Of course, there is. Unlike its dairy-based counterpart, dairy-free cream cheese frosting omits ingredients like cream cheese and butter, replacing them with non-dairy alternatives.

Typically, dairy-free cream cheese frosting is made using plant-based cream cheese substitutes, such as those derived from nuts (like cashews or almonds), soy, or coconut. These alternatives usually offer a similar creamy texture and tangy flavour to traditional cream cheese and are often incorporated along with loads of powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and fresh lemon juice to achieve the desired consistency and taste profile.

Making dairy-free cream cheese frosting is a pretty straightforward process that will not take that much to yield a deliciously creamy and tangy topping for your favourite baked goods. So, here it is.


  • 226g of dairy-free cream cheese alternative, softened
  • 1/2 cup of dairy-free butter substitute, softened
  • 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt (optional)


First of all, allow the dairy-free cream cheese and butter substitute to come to room temperature. This will make them easier to blend and ensure a smoother consistency in the frosting. Once this happens, beat them together in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer or stand mixer. Beat until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed to ensure even mixing.

Gradually add the powdered sugar to the cream cheese mixture, about one cup at a time, while continuing to beat on low speed. After each addition, increase the speed to medium and beat until well combined. Continue adding powdered sugar until you reach your desired sweetness and frosting consistency. 

Once the powdered sugar is fully incorporated, add the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt if desired. The vanilla extract adds flavour, while the salt helps balance the sweetness of the frosting. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat the frosting for an additional one or two minutes or until light and fluffy. This will aerate the frosting and give it a smoother texture.

If the frosting is too thick, you can thin it out by pouring a small amount of dairy-free milk, one tablespoon at a time, until you reach your desired consistency. If the frosting is very thin, you can add more powdered sugar until it thickens.

Once the dairy-free cream cheese frosting is ready, use it immediately to frost your favourite desserts.

Flavour Variations

As demonstrated in the recipe, dairy-free cream cheese frosting is flavoured with vanilla extract and lemon juice for a delicious and refreshing taste. That said, there are some other things you can use to get different flavour variations of your dairy-free cream cheese frosting. Let’s explore some of them:

  1. Chocolate: Mix in cocoa powder or melted dairy-free chocolate for a rich chocolatey flavour.
  1. Cinnamon: Incorporate ground cinnamon for a warm and cosy flavour profile.
  1. Maple: Drizzle in maple syrup for a sweet and slightly earthy taste.
  1. Berry: Mix in pureed berries such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries for a fruity and colourful frosting.
  1. Coffee: Dissolve instant coffee granules in a small amount of hot water, then add it to the frosting for a subtle coffee flavour.
  1. Pumpkin Spice: Blend in pumpkin puree and a dash of pumpkin pie spice for a seasonal twist.
  1. Coconut: Substitute some or all of the non-dairy cream cheese with coconut cream for a tropical flavour.
  1. Almond: Add almond extract or finely chopped almonds for a nutty undertone.

Remember to adjust the sweetness and consistency as needed, and feel free to get creative by combining different flavours.

Ways to Use Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Dairy-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

Dairy-free cream cheese frosting is incredibly versatile and can be used pretty much in various ways to enhance both the flavour and presentation of your favourite baked goods. Here are some creative ways to use dairy-free cream cheese frosting:

  1. Frosting Cakes and Cupcakes: The most classic use of cream cheese frosting is to frost cakes and cupcakes. Spread a generous layer of dairy-free cream cheese frosting over your favourite cake or cupcakes for a deliciously creamy and tangy topping.
  1. Filling for Sandwich Cookies: Use dairy-free cream cheese frosting as a filling for sandwich cookies. Spread a dollop of frosting between two cookies to create a delightful sweet treat. This works particularly well with cookies like red velvet, carrot cake, or pumpkin spice.
  1. Decorating Sugar Cookies: Use dairy-free cream cheese frosting as a frosting for decorating sugar cookies. Spread or pipe cream cheese frosting onto cooled cookies and add colourful sprinkles or decorations for a festive touch.
  1. Topping for Brownies and Bars: Spread dairy-free cream cheese frosting over brownies or bars for an extra layer of flavour and creaminess. This adds a delicious contrast to the rich, chocolatey goodness of brownies.
  1. Swirl into Batters: Swirl dairy-free cream cheese frosting into batters for cakes, muffins, or quick bread to create a marbled effect. Simply dollop spoonfuls of frosting onto the batter and gently swirl with a knife or toothpick before baking.
  1. Dip for fresh fruit: Serve dairy-free cream cheese frosting like a dip for fresh fruit such as berries, strawberries, apple slices, or grapes. The creamy and tangy frosting pairs beautifully with the natural sweetness of the fruit.
  1. Filling for Crepes or Pancakes: Spread dairy-free cream cheese frosting inside crepes or pancakes for a decadent breakfast or brunch option. Add sliced fruit or a drizzle of maple syrup for extra flavour.
  1. Frosting for Cinnamon Rolls: Spread dairy-free cream cheese frosting over warm cinnamon rolls for a gooey and indulgent topping. The tangy frosting perfectly complements the sweet and spicy flavours of the cinnamon rolls.
  1. Layered Desserts: Use dairy-free cream cheese frosting as a layer in layered desserts like trifles or parfaits. Alternate layers of frosting with cake, cookies, or fruit for a stunning and delicious dessert.
  1.  Stuffed Desserts: Use dairy-free cream cheese frosting as a filling for stuffed desserts like doughnuts, pastries, or stuffed French toast. Pipe or spoon the frosting into the centre of the dessert for a delightful surprise.

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but the possibilities are countless when it comes to using dairy-free cream cheese frosting in your baking adventures. Feel free to get creative and experiment with different flavour combinations and presentation styles to create your own unique treats.


OK, you made some delicious dairy-free cream cheese frosting and used about half of it to frost the freshly baked cinnamon rolls you took out of the oven this morning. Now, you are standing by your kitchen counter; not sure what to do with the leftover frosting. Well, properly storing dairy-free cream cheese is pretty simple, yet it needs a few considerations due to its dairy-free nature.

First of all, you should transfer the dairy-free cream cheese frosting to an airtight container with a secure lid. Be sure the container is both clean and dry before adding the frosting. Do not leave it at room temperature for long and store it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. It can be refrigerated for up to a week. 

If you are storing the frosting for an extended period or if you have multiple containers in the fridge, consider labelling the container with the date it was made. This shall help you keep track of its freshness and make sure you use it within a reasonable timeframe.

Before using the stored dairy-free cream cheese frosting, check its consistency. If the frosting has become too stiff or thick from refrigeration, let it sit at room temperature for a short while to soften. You can also gently stir or beat the frosting to restore its creamy texture.

If you need to store dairy-free cream cheese frosting for a longer period, you can freeze it. Move the frosting to a freezer-safe container and leave some room for expansion, then seal it tightly. Frozen dairy-free cream cheese frosting can typically last for up to one to two months in the freezer. To thaw frozen frosting, transfer it to the refrigerator overnight and let it defrost gradually before using.


Dairy-free cream cheese frosting offers a delicious and inclusive alternative to traditional frosting options. With a few simple substitutions and a touch of planning, you can enjoy a delicious and creamy dairy-free cream cheese frosting on your favourite treats. This frosting is perfect for those with dietary restrictions or anyone looking for a lighter alternative.

So, next time you are whipping up a cake or batch of cupcakes, do not hesitate to give this dairy-free frosting a try—you might just be surprised at how delicious it is!

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