Spiced Buttercream Frosting


This recipe for dairy-free spiced buttercream frosting was created by Sarah for the Frosted Pumpkin Bars that she and her daughter Katherine created for our Kids Can Cook section. It was tested numerous times to get just the right spice and creamy ratios. But even in the end, Sarah waffled on the salt amount. So frosting lover that I am, I decided to give it just one more outsider taste test for her. And I couldn’t resist taking some pictures of this dreamy topper while I was at it.

Dairy-Free Spiced Buttercream Frosting Recipe (vegan and allergy-friendly, too!)

Alisa’s Testing Notes: Spiced Buttercream Frosting

Making Spiced Dairy-Free Buttercream with my Favorite Spices (Vegan Recipe!)This dairy-free, vegan and allergy-friendly spiced buttercream frosting may seem a little stiff at first. But keep mixing. A minute in and it begins to whip up like a dream.

As for the salt levels in this spiced buttercream frosting, I found that Sarah was right with both amounts! See my note in her recipe below for guidance on how much to use.

When Sarah’s young son first ate one of their pumpkin bars, he said the frosting is what makes it *really* good. I have to agree with him the flavor is AMAZING! The spice notes are ever-present (I used Simply Organic Spices – see more great dairy-free recipes here), but they mellow and meld as the mixture is allowed to rest. It’s fantastic for cakes, cupcakes, bars or even cookies. The latter is how I enjoyed it as shown in the recipe picture below.

Dairy-Free Spiced Buttercream Frosting Recipe (vegan and allergy-friendly, too!)

Special Diet Notes: Spiced Buttercream Frosting

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

5.0 from 3 reviews
Spiced Buttercream Frosting
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1½ cups
  1. Add the buttery spread and shortening to a mixing bowl, and mix them together with a stand mixer or with hand mixer.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and mix until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the vanilla, milk beverage, spices and salt, and mix until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  4. Use immediately or store covered in the refrigerator for up to a week. It will set up when chilled. Just let it come to room temperature for a few minutes, then whip it again with a hand mixer.
Alisa's Notes:
I tested this spiced buttercream frosting recipe with Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks, Nutiva Shortening, So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage, and Simply Organic Spices.
Sarah waffled on whether the salt should be ⅛ teaspoon or ¼ teaspoon since her son liked the greater amount. If serving immediately, I would definitely do just ⅛ teaspoon. If you are making this frosting ahead, and you like a little more flavor contrast and depth, you can up the salt to a scant ¼ teaspoon. The salt will have more time to meld and enhance the spices in this case.
Dairy-Free Spiced Buttercream Frosting Recipe (vegan and allergy-friendly, too!)

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. I absolutely enjoyed this recipe. I used it in a Vegan Gluten free Pumpkin whoopie pie recipe. Delish.
    Thank you so much

  2. When using the Earth Balance buttery sticks in frosting, can the frosted cupcakes then sit in a container at room temp for 24 hours before being served? Or should it be refrigerated?

    • Hi Kolyssa, like most frosting (dairy or dairy-free), it is best to keep it refrigerated and frost on the same day. If you were making a frosting without added moisture (like organic palm shortening-based with no liquid added) it would keep without refrigeration.

      • Thank you. I made some frosting with the EB buttery stick, coconut oil and powdered sugar. I understand it would be better to serve it fresh, but if we ate them after 24 hours of room temperature, would it be a higher risk of food poisoning? I’m not sure how the EB sticks work since I usually work with butter.

        • Hi Kolyssa, I’m really not an expert on food poisoning and couldn’t speak on behalf of Earth Balance. Maybe they have that info on their website? EB isn’t shelf-stable, so as far as I know, it should be refrigerated.

    • You can use another shortening Linda. Palm shortening includes brands like Spectrum and Nutiva. They’re sold in both natural food stores and conventional grocers, but are sometimes on the higher shelves in conventional grocers.

  3. This frosting is beautiful! I love having a dairy free option. Aren’t cakes and cookies just the vehicle to get the frosting to our mouths? A bit classier than eating it with a spoon!

    • I find them at Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, and our local coop. At the mainstream grocers, I mainly see the buttery spreads. Those should work, but will be softer at room temperature.

    • You can use all buttery spread Nicole, but it will be softer and not have quite the same structure. The flavor will also be a little more pronounced, so I would use the lesser amount of salt and make sure you use a dairy-free “butter” that you really like. I recommend the buttery sticks, particularly if you aren’t using shortening, as they’re firmer than the buttery spreads.

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