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side view of vegan cream cheese frosting partially on a baked cake.

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

This Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting combines the sweetness of powdered sugar with soft notes of vanilla and lemon zest. The texture is thick and fluffy which makes it perfect for piping, too!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Gluten-Free, Vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 12 People
Calories 83kcal


  • 1/2 cup vegan stick butter , slightly softened at room temp (not melty)
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar , more if desired


  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest , finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (see note)


  • Add the butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a Stand Mixer (or use a Hand Mixer). Beat on med/high until fluffy for 30-60 seconds. 
  • Add the vanilla and *optional lemon zest - mix on medium for 30 seconds to incorporate. 
  • Now add the *optional cream of tartar and powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time over med/low speed until it's fully incorporated. Scrape down sides as needed. Now turn up to medium-high speed and mix until smooth and fluffy about 1-2 minutes. Don't overbeat or the frosting might turn runny. Taste and add more sugar if needed. *See notes for frosting instructions. 


 * FROSTING TIPS: Frost on completely cooled cake/cupcakes and serve. If not serving right away, place in the fridge and remove decorated items 30 minutes before serving. If you don't want to chill your baked goods, then you can chill frosting and decorate right before serving. This frosting will soften if left at room temperature too long.
  • PIPING: fill your piping bag and place in the fridge for 1 hour (or freezer for 15-20 minutes). This will make the frosting stiffer and easier to work with. 
* CREAM CHEESE:  if there is extra moisture in the container, drain before adding to the bowl. *See post above for recommendations on vegan cream cheese brands. 
* CREAM OF TARTAR: It helps to slightly stabilize the frosting. You can skip it if it's not in your pantry. The frosting will still be thick and creamy. 
* LEMON ZEST: it adds a subtle zing and brightness to the frosting, but you may not need/want that if the cream cheese brand you buy is already tangy. Many aren't tangy enough for me so I add it.  
  • If you have lactic acid, you can use that in replace of the lemon zest. It adds a similar tangy flavor that cultured cheese has. I usually add 1/2 teaspoon.
* I don't recommend using vegan butter in the tub. It's doesn't firm up as good in the frosting. 
* This recipe makes enough for 12 cupcakes or (1) 9-inch cake if you apply generously. For a double-layer cake, I suggest doubling the recipe. 
 * Frosting will last 4-5 days chilled in an airtight container. 


Serving: 1.5tablespoons | Calories: 83kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 97mg | Potassium: 20mg | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.1mg