Dairy-Free King Cake that’s Easy Enough for Weekday Mornings


There are many, many wonderful Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday baked goods, such as pancakes, paczki, malasadas, beignets, and fasnachts–which my neighbor makes every year. They are all perfect for celebrating and for using up supplies before Lent begins. But my daughter and I wanted to do something different this year. We wanted to bake dairy-free king cake.

In the United States, King Cake is associated with Mardi Gras. It is served during the weeks between Epiphany and Lent. The cake is named in honor of the Biblical Magi (kings). There are many different styles of King Cake, with many varieties of fillings. Traditionally, a small baby figurine or dried bean is placed somewhere in the cake to represent baby Jesus. Today it is said that whoever finds the baby will have good luck for the following year.

Dairy-Free King Cake Recipe - A super-easy, kids can bake, Mardi Gras dessert that's made with refrigerator biscuits! Great for an anytime dessert, too!

Dairy-Free King Cake that’s Easy Enough for Weekday Mornings

I was looking for something a little simpler to make on a school morning. I came across a few variations of a King Cake using canned biscuits or canned crescent rolls. My daughter and I combined two of the recipes, and made a dairy-free, nut-free recipe that’s feasible for a busy weekday. For that festive touch, we decorated our cake with the traditional colors of Mardi Gras, but you can omit the colored sugar if baking this for another occasion.

Kids Can Bake Tips

Since this dairy-free King Cake recipe uses pre-made biscuits, the shaping, filling, and decorating are easy for young bakers. Other than having help getting the cake in and out of the oven, they should be able to do most of the cooking themselves. Don’t worry if the biscuit seams aren’t perfectly sealed; the King Cake will still taste good even if a bit of filling leaks out.

Dairy-Free King Cake Recipe - A super-easy, kids can bake, Mardi Gras dessert that's made with refrigerator biscuits! Great for an anytime dessert, too!

Is Refrigerated Biscuit Dough Dairy-Free?

Believe it or not, many brands are! Always double check the ingredients, but here are some options that are made without dairy, and are also vegan by ingredients.

  • Annie’s Organic Flaky Biscuits (contains wheat)*
  • Immaculate Organic Flaky Biscuits (contains wheat)*
  • Pillsbury Buttermilk Flaky Layers Biscuits (contains wheat and soy)*
  • Pillsbury Original Southern Homestyle Biscuits (contains wheat and soy)*
  • Walmart Great Value Buttermilk Biscuits (contains wheat and soy)*
  • Walmart Great Value Homestyle Biscuits (contains wheat and soy)*

*These may be made on shared equipment with milk-containing ingredients, so be sure to verify their allergen protocols, if needed. Only you can decide if a product is safe for your needs. Although some of these have “buttermilk” in their names, there is no buttermilk in the recipes.

Dairy-Free King Cake Recipe - A super-easy, kids can bake, Mardi Gras dessert that's made with refrigerator biscuits! Great for an anytime dessert, too!

Special Diet Notes: Easy Dairy-Free King Cake

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

Easy Dairy-Free King Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12 slices
  • 2 (7.5-ounce) containers refrigerated dairy-free biscuit dough (we used Wal-Mart Great Value Homestyle Biscuits)
  • 4 ounces dairy-free cream cheese (we used Daiya Cream Cheese Alternative)
  • ½ cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons dairy-free milk beverage
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Yellow, purple, and green colored sugars for decorating
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease a pizza pan.
  2. Open the cans of biscuits.
  3. Arrange the biscuit dough rounds in a two-biscuit wide circle around the edge of the pan.
  4. Seal the edges where the biscuits touch so the filling doesn't leak.
  5. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese alternative and brown sugar with a hand mixer until smooth.
  6. Spread the cream cheese filling in the center of the biscuit ring.
  7. If desired, place a small ceramic or heatproof plastic baby or dried bean somewhere in the filling. The person who gets this slice is believed to have good luck for the coming year.
  8. Bring the edges of the biscuit circle over the filling and seal.
  9. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  10. Meanwhile, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth
  11. Remove the cake from the oven. Keep it on the pizza pan, and place the pan on a cooling rack.
  12. When the cake is cool, spread the glaze on the top, letting it drip down the sides.
  13. Sprinkle the glaze with purple, yellow, and green colored sugar.
  14. Slice and serve.

For More Dairy-Free Recipes, Get Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free - The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein-Free Living

About Author

Sarah is the Associate Editor for Go Dairy Free. Her previous experience includes work as a copy editor at Thoroughbred Times magazine, a content writer at Travelago.com, and an intern at Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Sarah was a 'mom blogger' for many years but now mostly hangs out on Go Dairy Free and Instagram.

1 Comment

  1. I’m making the Fat Tuesday Cake. So far so good. I changed the filling to brown sugar and cinnamon. It’s in the oven seems to be browning ok. Going to school and it will cool. On returning going to hide a baby underneath. I was working as a public health nurse in NYC and I remember the school warning the bakers/parents not to put them in cake as they are a choking hazard. I’m going to tie a ribbon on baby’s foot so it identified before an issue arises.

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