Dairy-Free and Soy-Free Frosting Recipe

spreading icing on cake
Will Heap/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images
Total Time 15 min
Prep 15 min, Cook 0 min
Yield Aproximately 2 cups

Cake frosting is pretty simple, as recipes go: you generally take powdered sugar and blend it with something to make it creamy. Throw in a little flavoring, and you're good to go.

It gets a lot trickier, though, when you're dealing with food allergies, especially allergies to dairy and soy. In most frosting recipes, the "something to make it creamy" is butter or possibly a soy-based margarine. Frosting recipes also commonly include milk, which of course won't work if you're dealing with a dairy allergy.

So what can you do? Well, this basic vanilla frosting recipe is free of both dairy and soy. It suits people with dairy or soy allergies, or people with multiple allergies (it's also gluten-free). You even can substitute other flavors for the vanilla to vary the frosting — see below for the details.

Looking for an allergy-friendly cake to frost? Try one of these recipes:


  • 1/2 cup soy-free, dairy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance - see note below)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon rice milk (or more, as needed)


Using an electric mixer, beat together the margarine, vanilla extract, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar until they are well mixed.

Slowly add remaining powdered sugar until all is mixed in.

Continue to beat with a mixer and add rice milk a little bit at a time until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Since this is a basic vanilla frosting, it will pair well with all kinds of cakes and cupcakes, including chocolate, vanilla, lemon, coconut and even red velvet.

I've experimented with jazzing up this allergy-friendly recipe by adding in some other flavorings, such as mashed fresh strawberries (made a terrific strawberry-frosted vanilla cake!), maple (substitute maple extract for vanilla), or even peppermint (a holiday treat — substitute peppermint extract or crushed allergy-safe peppermint candies for the vanilla).

Important note: I recommend using Earth Balance margarine for this recipe (and in other dairy-free, soy-free recipes on the Food Allergies section). Earth Balance makes numerous margarine products, all of which are dairy-free, vegan and gluten-free, but only two of which are soy-free.

To stay safe with a soy allergy, you need to stick with either Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Sticks (made from a combination of palm fruit, canola, and olive oils), or Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread (made from a combination of palm fruit, canola, safflower, flax and olive oils).

Other Earth Balance margarine products contain soy, and so won't be safe on a soy-free diet.

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