Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes


There are so many strange food holidays, but I must admit that National Root Beer Float Day, which is today, holds a special place in my heart. Because it was almost ten years ago that these vegan root beer float cupcakes began a special friendship.

Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes Recipe (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and delicious!)

Something about the photos and the concept lured me in. They were so whimsical and creative, the very opposite of my persona. I began following the blogger who created them and was compelled to reach out. Mutual respect and admiration led to a joint project, the production of a vegan dessert cookbook that was quite successful. These vegan root beer float cupcakes were of course a star recipe within that first title.

The idea of continuing in publishing was a bit daunting for me at that time. Nevertheless, I supported her in the pursuit of other cookbooks, and she’s also gone on to become an amazing food photographer. That very talented woman and beautiful spirit is Hannah Kaminsky. You can see her work here, on Bittersweet, or in one of her other books: Easy As Vegan PieVegan Desserts, and Vegan à la Mode.

Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes Recipe (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and delicious!)Over the years, this recipe has become buried in our thousands of posts, but today, I’m giving it a refresh. It’s time to raise a glass, or a cupcake, to National Root Beer Float Day and a wonderful friendship.

According to Hannah, “This recipe has become a classic.  People usually try it out of curiosity, wondering if the cupcakes will actually taste like a root beer float. But once they take that first bite, their hooked!”

For the most part, these vegan root beer float cupcakes are made with everyday ingredients. However, you may be a little intimidated by the root beer extract. Fortunately, even McCormick makes one, and I’ve seen it at a couple mainstream grocers. But if you can’t find it locally, you can get a bottle with your next order online. Trust me, they’re worth it!

Special Diet Notes: Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes

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

Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 cupcakes
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup non-GMO canola oil (or your baking oil of choice)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons root beer extract
  • 1⅓ cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
Chocolate Ganache
  • 5 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate
  • ¼ cup dairy-free milk beverage
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
Vanilla Frosting
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
  • 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla dairy-free milk beverage
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Root Beer Float Cupcakes
  1. Preheat your oven to 350ºF and line a dozen cupcake tins with papers.
  2. Combine the soda and vinegar and let stand for a few minutes. Add in the sugar and oil, whisking vigorously until slightly frothy. Integrate your extracts, and gently introduce the flour, along with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt, being careful not to over mix.
  3. Distributing the batter evenly between the prepared tins, fill the cupcake liners approximately ¾ of the way to the top.
  4. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake yields no crumbs.
  5. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before proceeding to the ganache.
Chocolate Ganache
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and microwave on HIGH for about 1 minute. Stir thoroughly even if it doesn’t look completely melted - It should come together after a bit of agitation, but if the chocolate still isn’t entirely smooth, return to the microwave for 15-30 seconds at a time, watching carefully to ensure that it doesn’t burn.
  2. Drizzle the ganache in squiggles over the tops of the cupcakes. (You’ll probably have plenty of left over ganache, but is that a particularly bad thing?) Allow the ganache squiggles to fully cool and dry before preparing the frosting.
Vanilla Frosting
  1. Throw room temperature shortening into your mixer, and beat thoroughly until creamed.
  2. Add in the sugar and start on a low speed so as not to spray powder everywhere. Incorporate the milk beverage and extract, and combine thoroughly.
  3. Apply the frosting to the cupcakes as desired. Wax nostalgic about childhood memories.
Vegan Root Beer Float Cupcakes Recipe (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free and delicious!)

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, 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. These are delicious. I have made them several times. I like to use a small cookie scoop to make the icing look like a tiny dip of vanilla ice cream.

  2. Pingback: Aug 6- National Root Beer Float Day – Vegan Food Days

  3. Pingback: Un-Beet-able Dairy-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes Recipe

  4. Thanks for the inspiration! We had root beer floats for dessert last night, and they were delicious. I had forgotten about the crunchy bits until I read through the comments here and sure enough, that was the best part! I used Boylan root beer, which is sweetened with cane sugar and tastes amazingly great. Thank you for stopping by! We love to share wholesome and delicious recipes, perfect for home cooked family meals.

  5. These sound AMAZING! I haven’t had a root beer cupcake in years since making one for Harry Potter something or another. I’m not a pop drinker but there is something about root beer! We are even up north at my parents next to a classic original A&W how perfect, we will have to try to whip these up this week!

  6. Love the recipe!

    You might try using Almond milk instead of soy. Our family uses it regularly and It works really well. It bakes well and adds a nutty flavor to chocolates. It also has a higher protein count than soy and doesn’t affect people with Thyroid issues.

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