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How to make frosting without butter?

Bakers, take heart! You can create great frosting without using butter. And the great news is there are plenty of ways to make it too.

Flavor and texture are important aspects of excellent frosting. Butter has traditionally provided both of these in icing. But in this article, we’ll share quite a few different methods that will give you delicious and reliable results every time – no butter needed!

A cream cheese frosting recipe is one of the most frequent methods to prepare icing without butter. Cream cheese frosting recipes are extremely similar to buttercream frosting recipes. However, instead of softened butter, you’ll use softened cream cheese in the recipe.

So whether you’re looking for a vegan-friendly icing, need a butter alternative for health reasons or just don’t like butter, we’ve got you covered. So keep reading to find out more. how to make icing without butter .

How To Make Icing Without Butter

You’ll discover a range of butter-free homemade frosting recipes below. You’ll also discover things to use in place of butter.

The nice thing is that each simple recipe and replacement produces a somewhat different end result. In the list below, you’ll find some new recipes and ideas no matter what type of baked goods you’re making.

1. Cream Cheese Frosting

In frostings, cream cheese is an excellent alternative for butter. It’s one of the most popular alternatives because it creates a smooth, creamy consistency.

It also has a tangy undertone that helps to balance off the richness of many baked items, such as warm cinnamon buns, red velvet cupcakes, or your favorite cookies.

When using cream cheese as a butter substitute, it should be softened to room temperature first. There are also some brands that create whipped cream cheeses that can give you a fluffy frosting with a lighter appearance and texture.

Cream cheese is often sold in blocks. Similar to butter, the wrapper has measuring marks which makes it a convenient option for using in recipes.

How To Make Cream Cheese Icing Without Butter

Here’s a simple frosting recipe that uses no butter and just 5 ingredients.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, full fat
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (Vanilla bean paste or almond extract can also be used)
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Cream cheese, in a large mixing basin, beat with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer or electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add a little amount of powdered sugar at a time, mixing after each addition.
  3. Add a little milk or cream until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Combine well.
  5. Save any remaining frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.

2. Powdered Sugar Glaze

A simple powdered sugar glaze is a quick and easy way to create a butter-free icing. The glaze is ideal for drizzling or pouring over baked products such as doughnuts or muffins.

Powdered Sugar Glaze Recipe

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence. Slowly add small amounts of milk and stir until the glaze is smooth and you’ve reached your desired consistency.

3. Whipped Cream Frosting

Whipped cream frosting is so light, creamy and delicious. It’s ideal for a delicate dessert, such as angel food cake.

It’s worth noting that this is a fragile, soft icing that won’t hold up well at hot temperatures.

Angel Food Cake Whipped Cream Frosting Recipe

  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, add the heavy cream, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat at high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until firm peaks form.

4. Chocolate Frosting

If you’re making something like chocolate cupcakes, you may want a chocolate buttercream, but without the butter. This simple recipe with margarine and chocolate powder will suffice.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

  • ¼ cup margarine, melted
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 3 ½ cups powdered sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat margarine and cocoa powder until well combined. Mix in the milk and vanilla essence until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mixing thoroughly after each addition. If the frosting is too thick, add about a teaspoon of liquid at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

5. Margarine

In icing, margarine is a frequent alternative for butter. Your frosting will lack the rich taste and smoothness that butter offers. But when considering other substitutes, margarine is a really close second to homemade buttercream icing.

When using margarine instead of butter, use a one-to-one substitution. For example, if the recipe calls for one cup of butter you could substitute 1 cup of margarine.

6. Butter Flavored Shortening

Butter flavored shortening is another option for icing. If you want, you may use unflavored shortening.

Both have an appearance similar to butter, allowing you to have a smooth, creamy finish that is similar to a regular buttercream recipe. The butter-flavored shortening is yellower in color and has a deeper flavor. The hue of unflavored vegetable shortening is more pure white.

Shortening is available in huge cans. But it is also conveniently available in sticks that make it easy to measure for recipes.

Shortening may be used in place of butter in a one-to-one substitution.

7. Coconut Oil

In frosting, coconut oil may be used in place of butter. When refrigerated or kept below room temperature, coconut oil solidifies and has an appearance that is similar to butter or shortening.

The coconut taste of coconut oil will show through in your icing. Some people find the flavor to be pleasant, while others might find this a drawback of using the oil as a butter substitute.

It’s also important to remember that coconut oil is sensitive to heat, so your frosting will be more prone to melting in warmer temperatures. Store it in a cool location until ready to serve.

Coconut oil may be used in place of butter at a 1:1 ratio.

8. Vegan Butter

If you’re looking for vegan frosting, the good news is that there are quite a few brands and types of vegan butter available at the grocery store that you can use. These butters contain no animal products and may be used in lieu of real butter to make vegan frosting.

For the best results, you should select a vegan butter that has a fairly firm texture. This will assist guarantee that your vegan buttercream frosting is thicker, creamy, and spreadable, but not too soft.

Vegan butter may be substituted for conventional butter in a one-to-one ratio.

Frequently Asked Questions

 What can I use instead of butter in icing?

 Margarine, butter-flavored shortening, coconut oil, vegan butter, cream cheese, heavy cream and whipped cream are all suitable substitutes for butter in frosting recipes. Each will produce a distinctive form of frosting with a distinct taste.

 Can you substitute coconut oil for butter in buttercream frosting?

Yes, coconut oil can be used as a substitute for butter in frosting at a 1 to 1 ratio. Nevertheless, since coconut oil melts at room temperature, your frosting may need to be refrigerated. It will also give the icing a coconut taste.

 Can I use olive oil instead of butter for frosting?

 Although olive oil may be used in place of butter in sauces and marinades, it is not the greatest option. If you use olive oil instead of butter, the finished product will be more like a glaze than a thick, spreadable frosting. The olive oil may also be tasted in the frosting.

 Can you use vegetable oil spread instead of butter for frosting?

Vegetable oil spread can technically be used as a substitute for butter in the frosting, but it’s not the best option. Your frosting will lack the velvety smoothness of butter.

 Can I use oil instead of butter in frosting?

Oil can work as a substitute for butter in most recipes, but it’s not recommended for icing. You’ll get greater results if you use solid coconut oil.

Handmade butter frostings are fantastic, but there are many more methods to create delicious and creamy icings without it. If you’re looking for an alternative, these eight different ways to make icing without butter should be just what you need.

There’s likely to be an icing recipe here for you, from basic glazes to luscious chocolate frosting. So get baking and impress your friends and family with some amazing cakes and cupcakes topped with these classic recipes for yummy frosting (minus the butter of course!

You may also enjoy:
– 5-minute Chocolate Buttercream Recipe
– Cream Horns (Lady Locks) With Buttercream Filling
– Making Canned Chocolate Frosting Taste Like Homemade
– 50+ Ways to Improve the Taste of Store-Bought Frosting

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes


  • 8 oz cream cheese, full fat
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Cream cheese, in a large mixing basin, beat with a paddle attachment in a stand mixer or electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Add a little amount of powdered sugar at a time, mixing after each addition.
  3. Add a little milk or cream until the desired consistency is reached.
  4. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Combine well.
  5. Save any remaining frosting in an airtight jar in the refrigerator.


Instead of vanilla extract, almond extract or vanilla bean paste might be used.