8 Ways To Make Frosting Without Butter

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Bakers, rejoice! You absolutely can make delicious frosting without butter. And the great news is there are plenty of ways to make it too.

The keys to good icing are flavor and texture. Traditionally, butter provides both of these in frosting. 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!

In the article, we’ll cover:

  • Cream Cheese Frosting
  • Powdered Sugar Glaze
  • Whipped Cream Frosting
  • Chocolate Frosting
  • Margarine Substitute
  • Shortening Substitute
  • Coconut Oil Substitute
  • Vegan Butter Substitute

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 on reading to learn how to make icing without butter.

How To Make Icing Without Butter Feature

How To Make Icing Without Butter

Below you will find a variety of homemade icing recipes that do not use butter. You’ll also find ingredients to substitute for butter.

The best part is that each easy recipe and substitute yields a slightly different finished product. 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

Cream cheese is a really great substitute for butter in frostings. It’s one of the most popular alternatives because it creates a smooth, creamy consistency.

It also has an underlying tangy flavor that helps offset the sweetness of many baked goods like warm cinnamon rolls, red velvet cupcakes or your favorite cookies.

For best results when using cream cheese as a butter alternative, 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 usually available in a block. Similar to butter, the wrapper has measuring marks which makes it a convenient option for using in recipes.

Cream Cheese Icing Without Butter

How To Make Cream Cheese Icing Without Butter

Here is a quick frosting recipe that has no butter and just 5 simple ingredients.

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, full fat
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract (Vanilla bean paste or almond extract can also be used)
  • Pinch of alt
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with a paddle attachment in your stand mixer or electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Slowly add in a little powdered sugar at a time, incorporating after each addition.
  3. Add a little bit of milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Combine well.
  5. Refrigerate leftover frosting in an airtight container.

Donut Glaze Without Butter

2. Powdered Sugar Glaze

A simple powdered sugar glaze is a quick and easy way to create a butter-free icing. The glaze is perfect for drizzling or pouring over your favorite baked goods like donuts or muffins.

Powdered Sugar Glaze Recipe

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

Add powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract to a medium-size bowl. Slowly add small amounts of milk and stir until the glaze is smooth and you’ve reached your desired consistency.


Whipped Cream Frosting Without Butter

3. Whipped Cream Frosting

Whipped cream frosting is so light, creamy and delicious. It’s the perfect frosting for a delicate dessert like an angel food cake.

It’s important to note that this is a very delicate, soft icing that won’t do well in high 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 on high speed until stiff peaks form, usually about 3-4 minutes.


Chocolate Frosting Without Butter

4. Chocolate Frosting

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

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. Add in milk and vanilla extract, then mix until smooth. Add the powdered sugar slowly, mixing well 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

Margarine is a common substitute for butter in icing. Your frosting will not have exactly the same rich flavor or texture that butter provides. But when considering other substitutes, margarine is a really close second to homemade buttercream icing.

When using margarine instead of butter, it can be substituted at a 1 to 1 ratio. 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. You can also use unflavored shortening if preferred.

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 has more of a yellow color and a richer taste. Unflavored vegetable shortening has more of a pure white color.

Shortening can be purchased in a large can. But it is also conveniently available in sticks that make it easy to measure for recipes.

When using shortening instead of butter, it can be substituted at a 1 to 1 ratio.


Coconut Oil For Icing

7. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is another substitute for butter in icing. When refrigerated or kept below room temperature, coconut oil solidifies and has an appearance that is similar to butter or shortening.

Coconut oil does have a coconut flavor that will come through in your frosting. 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. Keep it stored in cool place until you’re ready to serve.

When using coconut oil instead of butter, it can be substituted at a 1 to 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 kinds of butter contain no animal products and can be used in place of real butter for a vegan-friendly frosting.

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

When using vegan butter instead of regular butter, it can be substituted at a 1 to 1 ratio.


How To Make Icing Without Butter Pin

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What can I use instead of butter in icing?

A. 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 yield a different type of icing with a unique flavor.

Q. Can you substitute coconut oil for butter in buttercream frosting?

A. Yes, coconut oil can be used as a substitute for butter in frosting at a 1 to 1 ratio. However, keep in mind that coconut oil melts at room temperature, so your frosting may require refrigeration. It will also impart a coconut flavor to the frosting.

Q. Can I use olive oil instead of butter for frosting?

A. While olive oil is a great substitute for butter in sauce and marinades, it isn’t the best choice. If you choose to use olive oil instead of butter, the end result will be more a glaze than a thick, spreadable frosting. You will also taste the olive oil in the icing.

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

A. Vegetable oil spread can technically be used as a substitute for butter in the frosting, but it’s not the best option. Your frosting won’t have the same creamy texture as butter.

Q. Can I use oil instead of butter in frosting?

A. Oil can work as a substitute for butter in most recipes, but it’s not recommended for icing. You’ll have better luck using solid coconut oil.


Homemade frostings with butter are delicious, but there are plenty of other ways to make 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.

From simple glazes to creamy chocolate frosting, there’s sure to be an icing recipe here that will fit your needs. 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
How To Make Canned Chocolate Frosting Taste Homemade
50+ Ideas To Make Store-Bought Frosting Taste Better

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Yield: 12 servings

Creamy Vanilla Frosting Recipe Without Butter

Cream Cheese Icing Without Butter

This quick and easy cream cheese frosting recipe has 5 simple ingredients and no butter. This creamy, fluffy icing is perfect for cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls and lots of other sweet treats.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with a paddle attachment in your stand mixer or electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Slowly add in a little powdered sugar at a time, incorporating after each addition.
  3. Add a little bit of milk or cream until you reach your desired consistency.
  4. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt. Combine well.
  5. Refrigerate leftover frosting in an airtight container.

Notes

Vanilla bean paste or almond extract can also be used instead of vanilla extract.

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