Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (Nut & Soy-Free!)

This dairy-free cream cheese frosting is almost too good to be true. It’s ultra-creamy and tastes remarkably similar to cream cheese frosting, without using nuts or tofu.

vegan cream cheese frosting on pumpkin bars

The secret to this creamy frosting? Sweet potatoes.

White sweet potatoes, to be exact.

Did you know that sweet potatoes come in a variety of different colors? For years, I had no idea. There are sweet potatoes with white flesh, purple flesh, and the traditional orange flesh that we probably think of most often. (In the U.S. we often call orange sweet potatoes “yams,” though, technically, they are still just sweet potatoes.)

I used white sweet potatoes in this recipe for obvious reasons– I wanted this frosting to look like traditional cream cheese frosting!

white sweet potatoes steamed and blended into frosting

Because this recipe doesn’t call for powdered sugar, it’s not as thick or grainy as a traditional frosting. Instead, it’s silky smooth and a lot “lighter” in texture.

It’s sweetened with pure maple syrup and gets it’s signature tangy flavor from a combination of freshly squeezed lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. I find that this acid combination tastes more like “cream cheese” than if you were to just use one or the other alone.

vegan almond flour pumpkin bars topped with sweet potato frosting

I recommend that you make this frosting the night before you plan on serving it so that it can thicken in the fridge. It’s a little runny straight out of the blender, but it thickens up quite a bit more when chilled and tastes even MORE authentic when you spread it on a batch of Vegan Pumpkin Bars or Coconut Flour Carrot Cake.

This recipe makes a little over 2 cups of frosting, and would nicely cover a sheet cake baked in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan. I used it over a 9-inch square pan in these photos with plenty of icing leftover. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

healthy vegan cream cheese frosting in a square dish

5 from 4 votes
Print
Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (Nut & Soy-Free!)
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

SPECIAL TREAT  |  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Egg-free, Vegan

This dairy-free frosting is made with just 6 all-natural ingredients for a healthier frosting that tastes like cream cheese. Perfect for pumpkin bars, carrot cake, and more. 

Course: Dessert
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 53 kcal
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. To prepare the sweet potato, peel and cut it into 1-inch chunks. In a pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring 1-inch of water to a boil and steam the potato chunks until fork-tender, about 10-15 minutes. 

  2. Transfer the steamed potato chunks into a 1-cup measuring cup and mash them with a fork to tightly pack the cup all the way to the top. (Reserve any remaining sweet potato for a future smoothie or salad topper.)

  3. Transfer the mashed sweet potato to a blender, and add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of water, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and salt. Blend until silky smooth.

  4. If the mixture isn't blending well, add more water 1-2 tablespoons at a time until very smooth. Be careful not to add too much water or the frosting will be too runny. Once smooth, transfer the frosting to an airtight container to store in the fridge. 

  5. This frosting will thicken overnight and can be spread over your favorite cakes, bars, or cookies. Be sure to keep the frosting refrigerated for best texture, though it can sit out at room temperature for several hours for serving. It should last up to a week when stored in the fridge. 

Per serving (roughly 1.5 tablespoons): Calories: 53, Carbohydrates: 5,  Fat: 3, Protein: 0

Recipe Notes:

  • If you don’t care for coconut oil, you can reduce the amount used to 4 tablespoons and increase the water by 2 tablespoons for a slightly thinner/runnier frosting. I use unrefined coconut oil, which does leave a hint of coconut flavor, but you can use refined coconut oil for less coconut flavor. (I’m sure vegan butter would work here, too, but I haven’t tested that myself.) If replacing the coconut oil, you must use another fat that is solid at room temperature so that the frosting will thicken up.
  • If you can’t find white sweet potatoes, another variety will probably work, the color just won’t be the same. (Purple sweet potatoes would be fun for a naturally-colored frosting, too!)
  • Feel free to use another liquid sweetener in this recipe. Keep in mind that honey is not vegan, and is sweeter than maple syrup, so you might need to use slightly less than this recipe calls for.
  • If you’d like a more tangy frosting flavor, feel free to add more lemon juice or vinegar, just 1/2 teaspoon at a time until the flavor is to your liking.

As always, if you make any modifications to this recipe please leave a comment below letting us know what you tried so we can all benefit from your experience.

Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite type of frosting? I’ve always been partial to white or chocolate buttercream, and I have more dairy-free & nut-free options in my cookbooks!

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Comments

Kait

White sweet potatoes are very hard to come by where I live. Do you think I could use a regular white potato and simply add more sweetener?

    monika

    Same question!

      Jen

      This totally worked with a regular white potato. I used one and a half Russet potatoes and I didn’t add any additional sweetener. It’s still in the fridge so I don’t know what it will be like later, but it came out of the blender perfect. I can’t wait to slather it on all the muffins I have in recipe development. 🙂

Cam

Megan, your recipe creations continue to amaze and inspire me. You have proven time and time again that a diet of whole foods does not mean deprivation. We literally can have our cake and eat it too, with frosting none the less!!

Chelsea @ Healthy Fabulous Life

Vegan cream cheese frosting made with REAL ingredients?! You are amazing!!

Kristy

Why isn’t honey vegan? I can’t think of anything in it that is animal product.

    Megan Gilmore

    Honey is made by bees for bees, so taking it from them may cause them harm. There are some vegans who do consume honey– I’ve heard it called being “bee-gan.” 🙂

Maria Bratton

So excited to try this. Mine’s going to be orange as that was the only color sweet potato I had on hand! I have a son with food allergies – it will be so fun for him to get frosting on his cupcake!!

Laura

What can I substitue for the lemon juice, since I’mm allergic to citrus?

    monika

    the “juice” from sauerkraut, apple cider vinegar or any vinegar.

LeAnne

Genius!!! I was highly skeptical, but with the exception of your gingerbread cookies which were amazing right out of the oven but no so good after that, everything I have made from your website and cookbook has been fantastic. OMG so good. I used a table spoon of vanilla extract so I didn’t need any more than 2 tbsp water and then 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder to make it vanilla and it’s fantastic. Do not be skeptical to make this anyone you will not be let down!!!!

Lindsey k

Any tips on where to find white sweet potatoes in KC?!

    Megan Gilmore

    Whole Foods! I’ve been to two locations and both almost always have them around where they sell other sweet potatoes.

      lindsey k

      Perfect, thanks! 🙂

monika

because all potatoes are different sizes, how many GRAMS was your potato prior to peeling?

Glenda

Hi Megan! I have been trying to find recipes having in mind the good way to combine foods and it has been a long journey. I am SO glad you have this blog that helps me to make healthier meals for my family. You are one of the few nutritionist that apply this concept that I consider the secret for a healthy digestion! I have a question regarding to the rest of recipes in your blog: are all of them fallowing this principle? Thank you so much for what you do!!!

    Megan Gilmore

    Hi Glenda! All of the recipes in my cookbooks are properly combined and are clearly labeled to make food combining easy (there are properly combined meal plans and entertaining menus in the books, too), but that’s not always the case for free the recipes on my blog. I’m trying to go back and label the 500+ recipes on my site, but it’s going to take a while! You can see on my more recent recipes where I try to label them as a STARCH, PROTEIN, or SPECIAL TREAT (which means the recipe is not necessarily properly combined).

Anna

How do you think this would work in a pumpkin roll? I have a GF, vegan recipe for thanksgiving that I’d love to try this as a repacement for the regular cream cheese frosting. Last year I tried a pudding, but it wasn’t so good. Do you think it would withstand being rolled up in a pumpkin roll and frozen like I do for the other?

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