Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting (Nut-Free!)

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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 slice of cake

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

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

Naturally Sweetened Sweet Potato 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.

container of sweet potato frosting and it going on the cake

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.

healthy carrot cake with sweet potato frosting

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 double the recipe when frosting a two layer cake, as pictured above.

I used it over a 9-inch square pan in the photo below, with plenty of icing leftover. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

healthy vegan cream cheese frosting in a square dish

vegan cream cheese frosting on slice of cake
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4.88 from 39 votes

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting ((Nut-Free!)

This Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting is made with just 6 all-natural ingredients, for a healthy frosting that tastes like cream cheese. Made with sweet potatoes!
Course Dessert
Cuisine vegan
Keyword Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 53kcal

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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. 
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 53kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 33mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 785IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 9mg
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

Fedora

I Love the taste! It is so creamy and delicious. Thank you!

Chelsea

I’m a big, use what you’ve got proponent, AND I have zero self discipline sooooo… I used 1/2 a small sweet potato (orange),a table spoon of coconut mana, a tablespoon of maple syrup, a teaspoon of white vinegar, a little squeeze of lemon, a shake or three of salt, and enough water to make it blend. It was awesome!! Thanks so much for this awesome recipe! I can’t wait to use it correctly for a less selfish snack.
BTW I made it to put between cashew butter banana gf cookies. Can’t wait!!!!

Taepin Kasemsarn

Just made this with Japanese yellow sweet potato and it turns out so yummmyyyyy!!
Love it more than regular cream cheese frost now. Couldn’t stop licking the spoon.
Thank you sooo much for the great recipes.🥰🥰

Dori

I made this with a regular sweet potato, and it was DELICIOUS! It’s carrot-orange colored, and I frosted gluten-free pumpkin bread with it. Even my husband loved it, and he normally just tolerates my healthy recipes. He said he couldn’t tell this was anything other than the “real thing”. High praise since he has a very discerning palate. I refrigerated overnight before using it. It never got thick & creamy like real cream cheese frosting, but it holds it’s shape fine on a piece of cake. The frosting is so good, I made extra and just ate it with a spoon! This will be my go-to frosting!

Angi vi

I love your recipes SOOOOOO much! I’m always trying to make all our goodies free of refined cane sugar and healthy and you take the guesswork out for me! I have 6 kids who I feed as healthy and nutritious as I can and some have allergies. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Your recipes save me so much time and always please my family. Thank YOU so very much!

Kendra

This is one tasty diary-free frosting! I used grape seed oil instead of coconut oil as DD can’t have coconut. The texture is far from cream cheese, but still very yummy!

Emily James

I was SO skeptical about this recipe but it literally works so well, the potato makes it so creamy you’d never guess it’s potato. And it ACTUALLY tastes like cream cheese! Love it!

Katalin

Hi,
If I can only get normal (orange flesh) sweet potatoes will it work the same?

Kjp

Any suggestions to replace the coconut oil in this recipe? We have a family member that is allergic to anything coconut.

    Megan Gilmore

    Butter would be the most similar to coconut oil, but then this recipe won’t be vegan. If you can find a vegan butter that is solid without using coconut products, that would also work! It needs to be something that is solid when chilled.

Arielle

I don’t have a steamer basket at home. What can I do instead?
Thanks.

    Megan Gilmore

    If you don’t have a way to lift the potatoes out of the water, you can just cook them directly in the inch of water. They will still steam with the lid on the pan.

Christine

All-in-all I think this is a brilliant way to get an almost-cream-cheesy flavor without dairy. However after it formed up in the fridge and I put it on my cake, I could not get past the mashed potato consistency. It just didn’t work well for me. But it was fun to try and I love your creativity with gf/df/v recipes!

Amrita Sinha

Hi just made this frosting it was awesome.i did orange rind and joice instead of lemon. Will definitely be trying other flavour combinations

Trish Nordstrom

I made this over the weekend for my daughter’s 2nd birthday party. It was so easy to make, worked perfectly when I piped it out of the bag, and tasted delict! As always, another winner!

Lindsey

Detoxinista never a disappoints! She is amazing! Every recipe calls for such simple easy ingredients and the recipes never fail to amaze me at how delicious hey are. Now I thought, cream cheese icing…. I dunno how to substitute or find a healthy alternative… and with sweet potatoes?? Really? OMG!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for creating this! A healthy and super easy alternative for all our cakes and cupcakes! This is amazing!! This will be my go to from now on. Thank you for always creating healthy, delicious and easy recipes! A must try!!

Mel

I love the sound of this recipe. I haven’t tried it yet and was wondering if the frosting stays solid in room temperature. I made traditional frosting and the cream melted. I was looking for something that kept its shape.

    Megan Gilmore

    No, this one doesn’t become solid like a frosting made with powdered sugar. It does hold its shape pretty well for piping (unless the room it’s sitting in is hot or in direct sunlight) but the texture is always on the softer side.

Caren

This frosting is amazing! I’ve made it several times as written but just tried adding some peppermint extract and natural pink coloring for a festive version!

Melody

Hi there i cant use any oils what can i do for this frosting? It sounds perfect minus the oil

    Megan Gilmore

    The oil is what helps thicken it up, so you can leave it out, but the frosting might be a little more pudding like. Let me know if you experiment with it!

Mariette Tafani

What can I replace the coconut oil with, please? If I can not use it.

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