Vegan buttercream can be a fickle beast. And I may have a very unpopular opinion when it comes to vegan buttercream – I don’t love putting butter in it.
My vegan swiss buttercream is my favorite frosting of all time. It is always smooth, flavors beautifully, is so light and fluffy and I could just eat it right off the spoon. But it has some unique ingredients and you may be looking for a buttercream that is delicious AND easy and speedy. So after many test batches, I give you two vegan american buttercream recipes.
It is very important to note to use good flavorings in your frosting. My favorite vanilla that is a perfect base to anything is Olive Nation’s Vanilla Bean Puree. Make sure you taste your extracts and flavorings in a small batch of the frosting before adding to the whole batch.
My favorite vegan butter on the market in Miyoko’s. You can find this product in more and more grocery stores now – especially the specialty ones like Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. I really like making a large batch from scratch and freezing them in 1/2 cup portions. It’s definitely cheaper this way too. You can easily get all the ingredients on Amazon and the grocery store.
But even with my beloved Miyoko’s, there are some issues. The buttercream can go very grainy quickly when you add things like citrus juice or zest. Also, vegan butters can act and taste so different depending on the brand. It’s still absolutely delicious, it just can be a little fickle. That is why I am giving you two recipes and each recipe will shine in different ways.
Butter recipe. This recipe is specifically made with Miyoko’s, either homemade or store-bought, but if you have a favorite vegan butter, definitely try it! This recipe works best with your standard mix-ins like extracts, and does not do well with citrus and acidic flavors. It’s creamy and wonderful, but I’m warning you – it can be fickle! So if you don’t mind if your frosting may get a little crystallized and grainy after it has been refrigerated, than I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Some people who did taste testing on this recipe didn’t even notice, but some definitely did. I do have shortening in this recipe so the frosting can hold its shape. If you are just frosting a simple pan cake and are not worried about runny frosting, you can substitute the shortening for another cup of butter.
Shortening recipe. Now you may not even read this because you can’t imagine a world where buttercream has no butter. And I get that, but hear me out. Using a high-quality shortening will give you a much different experience than the greasing, tongue-coating Crisco. Non-vegans are always surprised that this is a butter free recipe. It’s easy, reliable, creamy and most importantly – absolutely delicious!
Popular buttercream add-in ideas:
Chocolate: add 1/4 c. cocoa powder of 1/2 c. melted chocolate chips (my favorite) to recipe.
Fruit: The easiest way to add a delicious fruit flavor to the frosting is preserves, jams or jellies. Add a Tablespoon at a time until you have reached your desired fruitiness. You can also finely chop fresh fruit and gently fold it into the finished frosting.
Extracts: There are endless ways to customize this frosting with extracts. Add a 1/2 teaspoon at a time so you don’t over do the flavor. If you are trying out a brand new extract, I highly recommend putting some frosting in a small bowl first to test it. I added some raspberry extract to straight into the frosting and it tasted like cough syrup! It ruined the whole batch.