This smooth and delicious vegan chocolate buttercream frosting recipe is perfect for vegan cupcakes, cakes, and cookies. This non-dairy version is made with only a few ingredients, is simple to make, and comes together in minutes.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe:
This vegan frosting pairs great with vegan vanilla cake, vegan chocolate cake, and so much more, and is one of the easiest recipes that I have in my vegan baking toolbox. Even when I make box cakes, I like to make this frosting recipe, instead of buying a premade frosting to give my cakes a more homemade taste. Unlike most American buttercream recipes, this chocolate buttercream frosting is not too sweet. It is perfectly balanced to complement your desserts and not overpower them.
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
- Vegan Butter: Unsalted vegan butter (see tips and tricks).
- Powdered Sugar: Organic powdered sugar to ensure it is vegan.
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: for the chocolatey flavor.
- Vanilla Flavoring: I like to use vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract.
- Sea Salt: to heighten the flavors and to balance out the sweetness.
- Dairy-Free Milk or Heavy Cream: This is optional and as needed. If you find that your buttercream is too thick, you can add vegan milk or cream to make it smoother.
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- Mix. Add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder to a bowl, whisk to combine, and set it aside.
- Add the room-temperature butter to a deep bowl or stand mixer bowl.
- Cream the butter. Using the whisk attachment on your stand mixer or hand mixer, start to whisk the butter on low speed until the butter is broken up, then increase the speed to medium until the butter is smooth.
- Incorporate. Gradually add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder about ½ cup at a time and whisk until combined. Repeat this step until all the sugar-cocoa powder mixture is incorporated, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Added Flavor. When the buttercream is smooth, add the vanilla extract, sea salt, and vegan milk or vegan heavy cream and continue to whisk until everything is fully incorporated and smooth again.
- Decorate. Pipe onto cupcakes or cookies, or spread onto your favorite cakes.
Important Tips & Tricks:
- Vegan Butter: It is really important that the butter is at room temperature to ensure it is soft enough to whip properly. I prefer to use vegan butter sticks and not the kind that comes in the tub for spreading. My go-to brands for this recipe are Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, Country Crock Plant Butter, and Miyoko’s European Style Plant Butter.
- Powdered Sugar: Not all sugars are vegan, due to the processing practices. I highly recommend using organic powdered sugar to ensure it is processed fully vegan.
- Consistency: You can easily adjust the consistency of your frosting by adding more vegan milk about a tablespoon at a time or by omitting it. For cakes you will want it to be thick but easy to spread, so adding more milk will be best, but if you plan to pipe the frosting onto cupcakes, you will need less or no milk.
- Sweetness: American buttercream tends to lean on the sweeter side, so I highly recommend that you do not skip on the salt and use a high-quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. This way, the buttercream will have a more pronounced vanilla flavor, instead of tasting like creamy sugar.
- Mixer Attachments: When making buttercream for cupcakes, I like to use the whisk attachment. This makes the frosting light and fluffy. However, when I make buttercream for cakes, I like to use my padel attachment. This gives it a smooth consistency that is perfect for spreading onto cakes.
How to Store Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
If you are making your frosting ahead of time, you can store it in the refrigerator in an airtight plastic bag for up to two weeks. When you are ready to use it, set it out to soften at room temperature. Once soft whip using a hand mixer or stand mixer. I like to use my padel attachment for this, as it helps to make the frosting smooth again and removes air bubbles.
Can you freeze vegan chocolate buttercream frosting?
Absolutely! You’ll want to store your buttercream in an airtight container or plastic bag. The frosting can be kept frozen for up to three months. When you are ready to use it, place the container in the fridge overnight and then transfer it to the kitchen count to soften at room temperature. Once soft, use a stand mixer or hand mixer with a padel attachment to make the frosting smooth and fluffy again.
Ways to use Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
- Vegan Cupcakes
- Vegan Cookies
- Vegan Sheet Cakes & Layer Cakes (and yes, even vegan wedding cakes!)
More Vegan Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:
- Quick & Easy Vegan Buttercream Frosting (5 Ingredients)
- Easy & Unbelievably Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes (Moist & Fluffy)
- The Best Vegan Strawberry Croissants (Cream Pan Copycat)