Frosting Recipe Without Butter


The frosting is often considered the best bit of a cake, but if you don’t want to eat butter for some reason, you may be missing out! Making frosting without butter is perfectly possible, however – so let’s get cooking!

Frosting Recipe

How To Make Frosting Without Butter

To make butter-free frosting, you are going to need:

  • Whipping cream: this is crucial for the texture and the flavor. It will ensure your frosting is as light and fluffy as possible.
  • Cream cheese: you need to use full fat cream cheese, but any brand should work. This ingredient takes the place of the butter and makes your frosting delicious. It will change the flavor, lending it a tangier taste, but it is still ideal for frosting.
  • Powdered sugar: no frosting works without powdered sugar. This fine sugar will dissolve beautifully into the cream cheese to make a smooth frosting. If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can blend regular sugar to make it fine.
  • Vanilla extract: you can choose another flavoring if you prefer, but vanilla works very nicely with almost every kind of cake, so it makes a great basis for your frosting. However, if you want to try chocolate, orange, lemon, or any other frosting flavor, feel free to experiment!

Frosting Recipe Without Butter

4 from 49 votes
Recipe by Laura Ritterman Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





How do you make incredible frosting with no butter? Find out by following this great recipe!


  • 1 cup 1 powdered sugar

  • ¾ cup of whipping cream

  • 8 oz 8 cream cheese

  • 1 teaspoon 1 vanilla extract


  • Get out a large mixing bowl and a sieve. Sift your powdered sugar twice to ensure it is perfectly powdered and fine, and has no lumps whatsoever in it. When you have finished sifting it, set the bowl to one side.
  • In a clean mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is smooth and fluffy. Scrape the mixture down and beat for another minute so that all the cream cheese is airy. If you don’t have an electric mixer, make sure you take the time to do this very thoroughly – but don’t beat to the point that your cream cheese becomes runny.
  • Tip your powdered sugar into the bowl with the cream cheese and beat well until the ingredients are fully combined.
  • Add your vanilla extract and the whipping cream, and mix very thoroughly. Beat on a high setting for about 2 minutes, or beat by hand for 10 minutes or so, until your cream forms stiff peaks.
  • You need to trap plenty of air in the mixture for this to work. When you have finished, the frosting is ready to be used on your cakes or cupcakes!


  • If possible, use an electric mixer. This will get more air into the mix than you can easily do by hand, so it will usually create much better frosting in far less time.

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Tips & Tricks

This butter-free frosting will go amazingly well with red velvet cupcakes, but you can also use it on various other kinds of cake. Let’s look at how to ensure it works perfectly every time you make it!

  • Do not skip the sifting step. Your powdered sugar will really benefit from this double sifting. It will become airier and fluffier, and will ensure that the icing is as smooth as possible.
  • Don’t use low fat cream cheese! You need full fat to keep your frosting stable, and low fat options will not work.
  • Try a variety of different flavorings instead of just vanilla, especially if you fancy a change. You can get all kinds of flavorings from the store, so consider blueberry, pumpkin, gingerbread, cinnamon, lemon, orange, coffee, and more. Get creative and have fun with the recipe.
  • Consider grating a little garnish onto your cupcakes or cakes to suit whichever flavoring you use. For example, a little crumbled gingerbread, a touch of cocoa powder, some grated nutmeg, or slices of fruit could work really well. This will also make your cupcakes/cakes look stunning!
  • Try this frosting out on iced cookies as well as cakes; it tastes amazing.


How much cake will this cover?

The recipe should cover 12 cupcakes or a 2-layer 6 inch cake (both the filling and the topping). For a larger cake or more cupcakes, make sure you increase the quantities accordingly.

Can you make this frosting in advance?

Ideally, you should make this frosting when you are ready to use it. It will remain safe to eat in the fridge for a couple of days, but it will quickly lose volume and texture because the air will start to come back out of it. If possible, make the frosting only once the cake is ready.

Can you pipe with this frosting?

Yes, you can. If you want to pipe complicated designs, consider removing the cream and adding more sugar, as this will give you a stiffer, more resilient recipe.

Is this frosting very sweet?

Yes, this frosting is sweeter than buttercream frosting. However, the cream cheese lends it a slightly tangy flavor that many people love. Don’t try to remove any of the sugar from this recipe, as it is needed to make the volume.

Will the frosting harden?

The frosting will get a little harder as it dries, although it won’t become rock hard. It can take up to two hours to harden, depending on how thick you have made the frosting layer.

How can I make the frosting stiffer?

You can make the frosting stiffer by using a little less cream and a little more cream cheese. The cream brings the fluffy texture to the frosting so don’t omit it entirely, but adjust the ratio to suit your frosting preferences.


Now you know how to make incredible frosting without a scrap of butter in sight. This frosting recipe tastes amazing, although it is a bit sweeter than buttercream, and it will be a hit for parties and special occasions.

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