This easy and irresistible vegan chocolate buttercream frosting recipe will elevate your dairy free desserts to a new level of awesomeness! It creates the perfect topping for any cake or cupcake.
With simple, delicious ingredients, you’ll soon create a creamy and luscious spread that tastes as if you got lost in chocolate heaven. Enjoy the bliss of better-than-bakery frosting, all from your own kitchen!
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Ingredients for Vegan Chocolate Frosting
This recipe uses simple ingredients to create a decadent chocolate frosting. To make it, you’ll need:
- Vegan butter: This dairy-free baking staple provides fat content which is essential for a creamy texture. Butter also contributes to the frosting's structure, helping hold its shape when piped or spread onto baked goodies.
- Icing sugar: Icing sugar, also known as powdered sugar or confectioners’ sugar, adds sweetness to the frosting. It's responsible for the frosting's smoothness and the ability to hold together.
- Cocoa powder: Cocoa powder infuses our frosting with that irresistible chocolate flavor.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile of the frosting, creating a well-rounded chocolatey taste.
- Plant-based milk: Plant-based milk helps adjust the frosting's consistency and is the key to achieving perfect piping or spreading ability.
How to Make Vegan Chocolate Icing
This recipe is very quick and easy to make and only requires two simple steps. It follows the same process as my super delicious vegan vanilla frosting recipe!
Step 1: Prepare Buttercream
Add room-temperature vegan butter to a large bowl, then whip it with an electric hand mixer until fluffy and lighter in color. For best results and even whipping, scrape down the edges of your bowl as you go.
Next, add icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of plant-based milk. Begin whipping on low speed until the sugar and cocoa powder are well mixed.
Gradually increase the speed to fully whip your frosting into a luscious consistency. Again, scrape down the edges of your bowl a couple times for even mixing.
If needed, add extra plant-based milk in small increments (about ½ tablespoon at a time) and continue whipping until you achieve your desired consistency. Remember that the frosting will firm when chilled.
Step 2: Frost Cake/ Cupcakes
This buttercream is easy to spread with a knife or pipe out using standard piping bags. However, before you frost your baked treats, make sure your cake or cupcakes are fully cooled to room temperature.
This recipe makes enough to generously pile onto 12 cupcakes or a small (6-7 inch) two-layer cake (if the center is filled with a layer of buttercream).
Chocolate Buttercream Variations
This classic recipe creates a decadent frosting as-is, but you can also play around with flavor extracts or add-ins for a unique frosting every time.
Some tasty flavors to pair with the chocolate frosting include:
- Chocolate orange: Use orange juice instead of plant-based milk and add orange zest for a citrus twist. If this sounds good to you, try my vegan chocolate orange cake!
- Mint chocolate: Replace the vanilla extract with mint extract for a classic mint chocolate flavor combo. Be cautious when using mint extract as it’s very strong so start with about ¼ or ½ teaspoon and add more if needed.
- Mocha: Use espresso in place of the plant-based milk and/or consider using a coffee-flavored extract to create a delicious mocha frosting.
You could also add texture to this frosting with chopped nuts, crushed cookies or shaved chocolate.
If you’re in the mood for a different flavor altogether, check out my recipe for vegan vanilla buttercream! Vanilla frosting is great if you want to play around with colorful decorations.
How to Store Leftovers
Place leftover buttercream into a container and refrigerate until ready to use again. This will last for at least a week (maybe longer). You can also freeze it in any freezer safe container for a couple months.
It’s fine to frost a cake, then freeze it with the frosting on, if you wrap the cake with plastic wrap and then top it with a layer of tin foil to make the wrapping as airtight as possible. Frosted cake can be frozen for a couple months.
To thaw frozen cake, refrigerate it for a day or two before serving. You can then let the cake sit at room temperature for a short while (an hour or two) before serving to take the chill off.
Frosted cupcakes are difficult to freeze, so if making cupcakes, it’s best to freeze the frosting separately. Let the frosting thaw in your fridge, then come up to room temperature to soften, before spreading/ piping it.
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Step 1: Prepare Buttercream
- Use an electric hand mixer to whip vegan butter until it’s light in color. You’ll need to scrape down the edges of your mixing bowl a couple times to make sure all the butter is whipped.
- Then add icing sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and 4 tablespoons of plant-based milk.
- Whip on low speed until the sugar and cocoa powder are well mixed through, then turn up your speed to fully whip the frosting.
- If needed, add extra plant-based milk in small increments (about ½ tablespoon at a time) and whip the extra milk through before adding more. The frosting should be firm but soft enough to pipe/ spread. The frosting becomes firmer when cooled/ chilled.
Step 2: Frost Cake/ Cupcakes
- Ensure your cake or cupcakes are fully cooled to room temperature before frosting with buttercream. This recipe makes enough frosting for 12 cupcakes or a small (6-7 inch) two-layer cake.
- Once buttercream is added to cake/ cupcakes, refrigerate it (wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container).
More Vegan Dessert Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.