Making the perfect vegan chocolate frosting has been something I have struggled with ever since I started baking without dairy. The all vegan butter-based versions were always way too greasy for my taste, and the all coconut milk versions never held up quite as well. Well, I’ve found the perfectly creamy, easy, and non-greasy version of vegan chocolate frosting and I’m sharing my secrets of how to make it with you!
Every year, when I plan out my birthday cake (like I usually do), I struggle with what kind of frosting I’m going to use. There’s never a question, it’s always going to be chocolate frosting, but am I going to struggle through another batch of vegan butter-based frosting again? Or am I going to attempt to make coconut milk-based frosting for the 988th time and just HOPE that it tastes good?
Turns out, you can have the best of both worlds! I was thinking about what makes these two vegan frostings great, and mainly it’s that they each bring something a little bit different to the party. Vegan butter mimics the texture and taste of dairy-based frosting the most, allowing it to get super creamy and spreadable while still retaining its shape at room temperature. On the other hand, coconut milk-based frosting is way easier and doesn’t use something I never get at the grocery store (i.e. vegan butter sticks). The best solution? Combine them and make the BEST vegan chocolate frosting!
Tips for making vegan chocolate frosting
- Make sure your butter is room temperature when you beat everything together. If it’s too cold, it will break and become all kinds of lumpy and weird.
- Go for the FULL fat coconut milk here. None of the skim coconut milk or anything else. That’s not gonna work. Full fat coconut milk and vegan butter, that’s how this ends up working so beautifully.
- Use powdered sugar, not granulated sugar! This maybe seems like a given, but granulated sugar is not going to do well in the frosting. If you run out of powdered sugar and need more, here’s a perfect guide to making your own.
- This mixture is going to seem sloppy and goopy at first, and you are going to doubt it will work. Trust me, it will! You just have to get beating and it will come together.
FAQs about how to make frosting
Can I use the vegan butter in the tubs?
Yes and no. I used the stick butter, so it might not turn out the same if you measure it by volume. I would highly recommend getting the stick butter (also, it’s way easier) and measuring it that way.
Why is my frosting breaking?
Breaking in frosting happens when the ingredients aren’t the right temperature and the ingredients don’t emulsify. You will know if your frosting breaks because it will end up looking like cottage cheese, with grainy chunks throughout and not the creamy, even frosting you are used to. Good news: you can fix it! Let everything come up to room temperature (so let it hang out in the mixer for a few minutes), and then increase your speed to medium-high or high on your mixer. This should give your frosting the chance to come together and emulsify, so you can fix the grainy mess that you had before.
Another tried and true method for fixing broken frosting is to add chocolate. Since this is a chocolate frosting, this is the perfect solution! Melt a bit more chocolate and add in while mixing on medium high. Chocolate is a natural emulsifier, so this is a sure-fire method for making your frosting come together in no time.
Why is my frosting so watery?
Your coconut milk was probably not solid enough, or it had too much water in it. No problem though, add more powdered sugar to absorb the moisture and keep beating on medium to medium-high to make sure everything comes together.
Can you use granulated sugar instead of powdered sugar for the frosting?
Like I said above, in short, no. But if you whip it into your own homemade powdered sugar, yes! Just make sure you aren’t adding it as-is without blending it first. Granulated sugar will make your frosting super gritty and no smooth at all.
How much powdered sugar is equivalent to 1 cup granulated sugar?
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar is equal to 1 cup of granulated sugar
How long can frosting be refrigerated for?
This kept for up to a week in my fridge, but I would recommend using it fresh so you don’t run the chance of it separating or breaking.
Previously on Heart of a Baker
The BEST vegan chocolate frosting that is so perfect on cakes, cupcakes, and everything else in between! This recipe uses coconut milk and vegan butter.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt the dark chocolate in 30-second increments in the microwave until smooth. Make sure you keep a close eye on it, as it can burn and overcook VERY easily. Each time you check on the chocolate, stir it with a spatula so it cooks evenly and remains smooth. Once the chocolate is melted, set aside.
- Remove your coconut milk from the fridge and drain off the liquid (this is the coconut water type substance) and scoop out the solid white part from the can of coconut milk. You CAN’T skip this step, or your frosting with be liquidy and not come together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the coconut milk solids and vegan butter on medium. Beat the mixture together for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium-high and beat together until fairly smooth. If the frosting begins to break, let it rest for a few minutes to warm up or increase the speed of the mixer to ensure it emulsifies.
- Add the melted dark chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cocoa powder. Beat together on medium-high until mixture starts to come together and is smooth.
- Transfer the frosting to a bowl or container and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before using.
- Don’t forget to refrigerate your coconut milk beforehand! This will ensure it’s a solid, creamy frosting instead of a sloppy, goopy mess.
- If your frosting breaks, that’s ok! It’s easy to fix. Allow it to rest for a few minutes and come to room temperature or add more melted chocolate to ensure that it emulsifies completely.
Keywords: vegan chocolate frosting, how to make frosting