This Chocolate Vegan Frosting is quick & easy to prepare, calling for just a few simple ingredients. I love how it’s fruit-sweetened for a healthy frosting option, and that it’s naturally dairy-free and oil-free, too.
Vegan Frosting Ingredients
You’ll need just a few simple ingredients to make this easy frosting recipe.
- Medjool dates (or any soft, squishy variety)
- Coconut cream (from a can of coconut milk)
- Cacao powder
- Vanilla extract (optional)
- Salt (optional)
This idea came to me after trying to make a date-sweetened frosting several different ways. In all of my test runs, the frosting ended up tasting too much like dates, and not quite “creamy” enough.
In a move of desperation, I decided to simply blend dates and cacao powder with a full can of coconut milk to see what might happen… and the taste was amazing!
Using a full can of coconut milk creates more of a chocolate pudding that never sets, so using only the solid “coconut cream” that you’ll find in a can of coconut milk is key to making this recipe work. (You can save the liquid for a smoothie recipe later!)
Several stores now sell cans of coconut cream, so you can try using that, if you prefer. In this case, you’ll still use only the solid cream, not the whole can. (I noticed that in the two cans pictured above, the amount of solid cream inside the can was exactly the same, so the can of coconut cream wasn’t a better value.)
How to Separate the Coconut Cream
If you’ve ever worked with coconut oil, you may be familiar with the fact that it is solid in temperatures below 76ºF. This same fat is why many cans of full-fat coconut milk are solid, in part, when you open them. You’ll only want to use the solid part in this recipe!
My air-conditioned kitchen makes the cream in my cans of coconut milk solid at room temperature when stored in my pantry. If your pantry runs warm, be sure to place the can of coconut milk in the fridge the night before you want to make this, so the cream will be solid. The cream is softer if you can open the can at room temperature, and I think that makes it easier to work with and measure, but be sure to chill it if you think it won’t be solid otherwise. You can usually shake the can to hear if it sounds solid inside.
You might want to buy 2 cans of coconut milk for this recipe, in case one can doesn’t have enough solid cream inside.
How to Make Chocolate Vegan Frosting
To make this healthy frosting recipe, you’ll combine the ingredients in a food processor or blender, and then blend them together until very smooth. It’s the easiest to do this if you melt the coconut cream so that it’s liquid first.
I melt the coconut cream by placing the solid cream in a heat-safe bowl, then making a double-boiler out of a saucepan filled with one inch of water.
Arrange the bowl of coconut cream over the sauce pan (the bowl needs to be larger than the top of the pot so that it will sit on top), bring the water to a boil, then stir until the coconut cream is liquid. (You can probably also do this in a microwave, but we don’t use one.)
Once the cream is melted, add it to the blender along with the dates, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender to make sure there are no chunks of dates left.
You can also add 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid to help it blend, if you needed. I use 1 to 2 tablespoons of the remaining liquid from the can of coconut milk, but any type of milk or just water will work. For a sweeter result, you can use maple syrup as the liquid, if you prefer.
This takes about 5 minutes in a food processor, or about 60 to 90 seconds in a high-powered blender with the use of a tamper. Either way, be sure to scrape down the sides to make sure everything is evenly incorporated.
What Does It Taste Like?
This frosting definitely has a chocolate-coconut flavor, and it’s not quite as sweet as a traditional frosting, but it almost is. You can increase the amount of cacao powder you use to give it a richer, darker chocolate flavor if you’d like to, which can help to hide the coconut flavor even more.
What’s nice about this recipe is that you can taste as you go! If you want it sweeter, you can add up to 2 or 3 tablespoons of maple syrup as the liquid part of this recipe, without affecting the final texture.
Coconut Cream Substitutions
If you don’t have coconut cream on hand, I’d recommend that you try making a frosting using a base of sweet potatoes instead! My Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting is a fan favorite, and you can easily swap out the flavorings to make a chocolate version.
Vegan Frosting (No Powdered Sugar!)
- 1 cup Medjool dates , pitted (8 ounces; 227 grams)
- 1 cup coconut cream (the solid part in a chilled can of full-fat coconut milk)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder , or more to taste (24 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- pinch of salt
- 1 to 3 tablespoons water , if needed for blending (you can use the liquid leftover from the coconut milk can)
- First, melt the coconut cream so that it's liquid. (You want the cream chilled solid first so that you can separate it from the liquid in a can of coconut milk, but then you want to melt it so that it's liquid in the blender.) I melt the coconut cream using a double boiler, but you can most likely use a microwave to do this, if you prefer.
- Add in the melted coconut cream, dates, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until silky smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides of the machine to keep everything moving, or use a tamper for the blender if you have one.
- Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water, if needed to help thin out the frosting and ensure that the dates are completely broken down. I use some of the remaining liquid from the can of coconut milk, but water will work, too. For a sweeter frosting, you can use maple syrup as the liquid, instead. Be sure to taste as you go and adjust the flavor to your liking.
- Transfer the blended frosting to an airtight storage container and let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight. It will thicken as it chills, and then you can use it to frost your favorite cake or cupcakes.
- This frosting can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months. (It turns into a thick ice cream when you freeze it!)
Nutrition is for roughly 2 tablespoons of frosting. This information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like it. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too! We can all benefit from your experience.
Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite frosting recipe? Feel free to share links in the comments below!