This easy butter FREE powdered sugar frosting is soft but stiffens up nicely making it ideal for topping cupcakes, cakes, soft sugar cookies or brownies. It's made without butter so it can be made dairy free OR vegan!
📝Note* There are TWO versions of this frosting recipe. See notes in recipe card at the bottom!
Homemade frostings are super easy to make! Most recipes are made with sugar, butter, milk (or cream) and vanilla extract.
This recipe is made without butter and can also be made without DAIRY!
To do this, we want to use dairy-free milk, water, cream, or juice.
This type of icing is known as a "quick frosting" because it takes minimal time to whip up. For flavoring, I like to use almond extract instead of vanilla extract because of it's unique flavor which is very tasty!
Extracts you could use to flavor your frosting besides vanilla:
No butter frosting for cake or cookies
This confectioners frosting is great if you want a thick but soft icing for those soft sugar cookies we've all come to love around the holidays. Whether frosting Christmas cookies or cupcakes for a birthday party, this frosting is inexpensive but tasty.
My favorite thing is how nicely it stiffens up so once your frosting is set, you can stack them or cover your cupcakes without worrying they will smear everywhere.
Note* This frosting is on the SWEET side. If you want a less sweet frosting, you should look into a frosting made with BUTTER known as a buttercream frosting.
How to make your frosting super smooth:
One thing I LOVE about this confectioners sugar frosting recipe is how forgiving it is! If you mess up the frosting or dent it, you can easily fix it with some hot water and an offset spatula. Read more about smoothing frosting here.
Heating the icing sugar will cause it to melt again. So pressing a hot spatula or knife against the icing will cause the sugar to melt just enough to help it to smooth out evenly giving a clean presentation.
Pro Tip: Dip an offset spatula or butter-knife into hot water to easily smooth out your frosting!
There is no butter in this frosting because it not a buttercream frosting but there IS cream cheese. Without either of the two your frosting will just be too sweet. It needs one or the other to take that sweetness level down a bit.
Have you checked out my desserts page yet?
Yes, it will harden up enough for you to stack your cookies or take your cupcakes on the go without smearing everywhere. Depending how thick your frosting is, it will take anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours as it cools and the moisture evaporates.
Your frosting will stay fresh for up to 1-2 weeks sealed in the fridge.
Yes. Just make sure to mix it very well!
Sift your powdered sugar before mixing in your cream and extract. Sifting the sugar will remove many small clumps that you don't want in your frosting creating a softer, smoother texture.
Yes! Just allow your frosting to harden. The time will differ depending on how thick it is. It should take 30 minutes - 2 hours to fully harden.
Warm your frosting up in the microwave in 15-30 second intervals until it softens enough to spread.
Tools to make frosting desserts a bit easier:
Other delicious sweets you will LOVE:
Sea Salt Chocolate Covered Potato Chips Recipe
BAKED Mini Churro Bites w/ Quick Chocolate Sauce
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EASY Powdered Sugar Vanilla Frosting (without butter)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 oz. cream cheese
- 2 tablespoon cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
Dairy Free Frosting
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ¼-⅓ cup non-dairy milk, water or juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Sift your powdered sugar if you want a smoother frosting.
- Add your sugar, heavy cream, extract and salt to a bowl and mix well until smooth. A standing mixer or hand mixer works best.
- Add to a piping bag or smooth onto cupcakes, cookies or cake using an offset spatula. Read notes below*
Dairy Free Frosting
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix using a hand mixer or standing mixer. (Mixing by hand is tough to do.)
- If frosting is too thick, add 1 tsp. of liquid at a time until desired consistency is reached. Too much and you will need more powdered sugar.Add to a piping bag or smooth onto cupcakes, cookies or cake using an offset spatula. Read notes below*
- Have a bowl of hot water on the side for dipping your spatula into before smoothing out your frosting. This is so useful!
- Add a few drops of food coloring to get the color you desire if you want a colored frosting.
- You can use milk, water or juice to make your frosting. The amounts will vary based on what you use.
- The frosting will harden between 30 min to 2 hours.
- Store frosting in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
- To use frosting after its hardened, heat the frosting in the microwave for 15-30 second intervals until you can spread it easily.
I was making cake pops and I realized I didn’t have butter (I used the butter in all in my cake.)Although I did have to quadruple the recipe. But thank you, you are a lifesaver!!
I needed a quick and easy glaze.. I only needed half the recipe but cutting the amounts were simple, whipped it all together with a wisk and had it in the cake in 7 minutes. Tastes perfect! Thank you!
So glad you liked it!!
I normally make buttercream icing because my boyfriend likes white icing, and the butter is what makes it so great. He would eat white icing on a burrito if I let him! Anyway, to him, brownies are boring without icing. I had made brownies then realized that I had no butter in the house. This recipe is wonderful!
So glad you liked it! Hopefully he does too! 🙂
That's funny cause I am doing the same EXACT thing & I also realized I had no butter, thank goodness for these recipes! I LOVE BROWNIES W ICING & I'M W HIM, I'D EAT ICING ON JUST ABOUT ANYTHING IF POSSIBLE! LOL
hi I want to ice a 3 tier round cakes 9" and do not want to use buttercream. Will your frosting stand up to layers and piping please... this is rather urgent for baby shower cake.
also how much icing does your recipe make please
Hi Christina, I have not used it to ice a cake before so I am not sure of the exact amount you will need. I would at least triple the recipe. I imagine it will stand up just fine. If anything, you may need to add a little extra milk to thin it out so it spreads easier.
Hi! I'm curious about this frosting recipe, does cream cheese taste good? And do you have any alternatives, I want to make a bi coloured cake for me since it's pride month and I'm still new to this icing/frosting thing since I have always left my cakes/cupcakes plain.
Hi Christina! Happy pride month! 🙂 Yes there are a lot of frosting recipes that use cream cheese as a base either WITH butter or in place of it. It's what makes cheesecake so yummy! 🙂 Without the cream cheese, the frosting may be a bit too sweet but it can be done. If you don't have cream cheese, you can use butter. And if you are looking for a vegan version, let me know!!
YOU ARE AWESOME
Aw thank you Roxxane!
my son's birthday is coming up and I'm planning to do his cake and he is a dairy free child, so I was wondering what should I subsitiute the cream cheese and the cream with?
Hi Lubna, I added cream cheese to balance out the sweetness but you don't NEED the cream cheese, you could simply use just powdered sugar, vanilla and a nut milk or water to make it dairy-free. I have not frosted a cake with this but I would start with 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, then add 1 teaspoon of a nut milk or water. Mix it up. Continue to add 1 teaspoon of liquid until it is frosting consistency! (A little liquid goes a long way!) IT will be sweet but it works! You can also add a pinch of salt to balance some of the sweetness. Let me know how it turns out!!
Hi i am a young baker and enjot it what does the recpie mean when it says cream
Hi there, it means to blend together until creamy! 🙂
Hi there, I am eager to try this. Jiffy doesn't make their white frosting mix anymore, which is my gold standard for taste. Buttercream frostings don't compare so I will try your recipe!
Hi Faith! Oh boy, I hope it is comparable. Be sure to let me know! 🙂
Can use milk
I made this today and it was amazing!!! I needed to use more cream than the recipe called for, but it came out so good and my kids loved it!
Hi Amy! I am so glad you liked it. Adding more cream cheese will make it a bit creamier and less sweet which is a great alternative! Thanks again for your comment!
Can I use thing icing for cakes
I have used it for cupcakes so I don't see why not. Just keep in mind it will be a bit stiffer than most cake frostings. You can thin it out with more milk if you want.
AMAZING!!!! BEST FROSTING IN THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am SO glad you like it Lola! 🙂
I just love this frosting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its amazing and great for wedding cakes!
My sister had a wedding and loved the taste of this frosting and wanted cupcakes on the wedding cake as well!!!
Thank you so much for your comment! I am so thrilled everyone loved it! 🙂
How many cupcakes can this recipe frost?
Hi Eresa! This recipe can moderately frost approx. 6 cupcakes.
Would this work for decorating with a piping bag too?
Hi Cecilia, If you notice in the photo, I used a piping bag with star tip to frost the cupcakes. If you want to use a tip that's smaller than that, it MIGHT be difficult to pipe since this frosting is thicker than your normal 'icing'. If you have success, please let me know!! 🙂
I love this idea! AMAZING!!!!!
Aleeya Mahina Cantor-Charles
ok, weirdest tasting frosting recipe I've ever tried but strangely adictive 😂
Lol, I am assuming you used the almond extract? It is definitely unique since most frostings are made with vanilla flavoring but you can use any extract you wish. 🙂
Thank you for your comment Danielle! I can only imagine how delicious it was with red velvet cake!
You are a life saver. I did't have butter and I had to hurry up and make a vanilla icing. And the cake was for my brother. THANK YOU SO MUCH!😂😂😂😊😊😊😊😊😁😁😁
Aw thanks Danielle for your sweet comment! I am so glad it worked out for you!
Quick question. I came across this recipe and was reading that it was vegan friendly, but then jumped to the recipe and saw Cream Cheese. I can make this frosting without butter or any expensive vegan cream cheese??
Hi there! I updated the recipe recently which included cream cheese to make it LESS sweet. With that said, if you want to make it vegan friendly, you STILL can. You would leave out the cream cheese and would just need to use more butter. I will repost with those exact measurements soon!! Sorry about the confusion.