How to make rich, creamy, fudgy, decadent, dairy-free vegan chocolate frosting for cake or cupcakes. Somewhere between a vegan chocolate ganache and buttercream, this recipe is made with coconut milk, vegan butter, and unsweetened chocolate. 

A silver mixing bowl filled with homemade vegan chocolate frosting.

When it comes to frosting, I’m definitely a chocolate girl. But it has to be dark and rich and not overly sweet. This classic chocolate frosting is easy to make without any dairy. 

It’s perfect for cakes and cupcakes, and makes enough for 24 cupcakes, a round layer cake, or a sheet cake. 

Powdered sugar, vegan butter, coconut milk, vanilla, and unsweetened chocolate on a marble countertop before making vegan chocolate frosting.

What You’ll Need for Dairy Free Frosting 

You’ll just need a few simple ingredients for this recipe. For the best flavor, it’s important to use good quality chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger or Guittard. Very dark chocolate is almost always vegan, though cross-contamination can happen, so check the packaging. 

In addition, vegan butter replaces regular butter, and full-fat coconut milk replaces cream. Though some vegan frosting recipes are made with all coconut milk (no butter), I like the flavor best using a combination. You can learn about measuring butter here

Homemade vegan chocolate frosting drips off of a kitchenaid whisk attachment into a mixing bowl.

How to Make Vegan Chocolate Frosting 

This chocolate frosting starts out like a ganache. Chopped chocolate is added to hot coconut milk. Next, it’s beaten with some vegan butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar. 

This looks too loose at first, but after about 20 minutes at room temperature, or less in the fridge, it becomes perfect for spreading on cake or cupcakes. 

A close-up photo of a homemade dairy-free vegan chocolate frosting.

This vegan chocolate frosting spreads nicely on cakes and cupcakes, but does get thick enough to use with a piping bag and tip. If refrigerated too long it will get very hard, but leave it at room temperature and stir and it will soften. 

Cupcakes frosted with vegan chocolate frosting on a metal cooling wrack with a bowl of frosting on the side.

This frosting goes perfectly with our Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

A vegan birthday cake coated in vegan chocolate frosting and topped with white candles.

Vegan Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This frosting works beautifully for an 8 or 9 inch round layer cake too. 

More Classic Vegan Treats

Recipe adapted from Chocolate Satin Frosting, New York Times

Yield: about 3 cups

Vegan Chocolate Frosting

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

This dairy-free vegan chocolate frosting recipe is rich and creamy. Somewhere between a ganache and a buttercream, it's perfect for cupcakes or cake. This recipe makes enough frosting for about 24 cupcakes or one round layer cake.

Vegan Chocolate Frosting


  • 1 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
  • 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups organic powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt


  1. Using as much coconut cream as possible, add the coconut milk to a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil and then remove from heat.
  2. Stir in the chopped chocolate, vanilla, and butter. Chopped chocolate is added to hot coconut milk to make a vegan chocolate ganache frosting.
  3. Transfer to the bowl of a mixer and add the powdered sugar and salt. Powdered sugar, ganache, and vegan butter mix together in a mixer.
  4. Mix on medium-high until smooth and creamy, and then one minute longer, scraping down the sides as needed. The frosting will be very liquidy at this point but will firm up as it cools.
  5. Set aside at room temperature (or refrigerate to speed things up) until thickened and spreadable.


The key to chocolate frosting with great flavor is to use the best quality chocolate you can find/afford. Also, while the chocolate I used here is dairy-free, it is made in a factory that processes dairy, so it wouldn't be safe for someone with a severe allergy.

You can make this frosting one day ahead and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 118Total Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gSodium: 31mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.