Veggie Balance

Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}

Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}After our little adventure into low-sugar, healthy vanilla buttercream frosting smothered on top of fresh cinnamon breakfast bars, it’s time to bring this healthy buttercream frosting to the forefront. It deserves its very own spotlight for a day.

Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting – does that sound like an oxymoron?

Regardless, healthy buttercream frosting belongs on everything. (This is my official foodie opinion.)

Chocolate cookies, peanut butter cookies, and cinnamon rolls all have something in common: Frosting is divine on them all. Why is that?

It’s because it’s buttercream frosting – duhhhhhh.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to make low-sugar buttercream frosting. It is possible to do without using any low-cal sweetener.

Right about now, you are saying, “Tell me more, Lindsay!”, aren’t you?

Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}Alright, alright. So I apologize if I repeat myself from the recent post.  (I repeat myself all the time in real life.) Here it goes though, two simple words that are the super duper secret to this frosting: Potato. Starch.

Say whatttttttt. Trust me.

Potato starch is my absolute favorite ingredient. Much like frosting, it goes well with just about everything.

Not so much in cookies, but more so in soups, dips, and anything that needs some thickening action.

Using less powdered sugar would result in a watery, extremely buttery frosting. If that is your sort of thing, then by all means go for it. Otherwise, you have two options: add more powdered sugar (boo) or add potato starch.

Adding potato starch allows you to keep the frosting on the low-sugar spectrum, avoiding a total sugar-rush. I do not need extra sugar in my life; I am already wired to begin with.

Sugar-rushes are great for 30 minutes, then it’s nap time.

Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}This thick puffy frosting will thicken and harden just like normal frosting. It goes great on cakes, cookies, or whatever your heart desires. Like say, goes great simply on a spoon? 

If you are looking for some other wondrous recipes that include potato starch, check out Gluten-Free Party Food. I used potato starch in most of the crispy, crunchy, dollop-worthy bar munchies and entertaining recipes found in GFPF. If your heart pulls you to those onion rings, french fries, and blue cheese sliders, then Gluten-Free Party Food is calling your name.

While you’re at it, make sure you check out our giveaway of Gluten-Free Party Food with an opportunity to win a signed copy of the book!

If instead your heart pulls you in the direction of frosted cookies, no worries. Something is coming your way soon to satisfy those cravings.

If there is one thing we must ask ourselves after all of this, it is,

“Can we just eat frosting with a spoon?” Yes, yes we can. Come join me. 🙂

Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}

4.3 from 3 reviews
Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}
Prep time
Total time
Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting that is low-sugar, all-natural, vegan and dairy-free options. Made with only 5 basic ingredients and easy, delicious low-sugar vanilla frosting.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 2.5 cups
  1. Add softened butter in medium bowl.
  2. Beat butter with mixer until creamy (30-45 seconds), add vanilla extract, milk, continue beating with mixer, slowly add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time incorporating into butter mixture. Beat for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Frosting will still be a little runny, begin adding potato starch 2 Tablespoons as a time, combine into frosting, add remaining potato starch.
  4. *If frosting is still a little runny then what you would desire add additional Tablespoon. Frosting will continue to thicken over a course of an hour.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Tablespoon Calories: 35 Fat: 1 g Saturated fat: .5 g Unsaturated fat: 0 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 7 g Sugar: 5 g Sodium: .5 mg Fiber: 0 g Protein: 0 g Cholesterol: 2 mg

Available as Ebook & Paperback


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Gluten-Free Party Food


28 thoughts on “Healthy Vanilla Buttercream Frosting {Low-Sugar}

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    1. Hanna

      Also, is coconut oil an acceptable substitute or would it make the frosting too runny? I don’t eat dairy but I don’t love Earth Balance. If not, I’ll get over it and just use it anyways!

      1. Lindsay Post author

        I unfortunately have a coconut allergy so I don’t work with coconut oil ever. My understanding is that it does melt and harden similar to butter though, I think it would be worth a try. If it’s a little runnier then add 1 TBS of potato starch at a time to get desire thickness.

        I would absolutely love if you came back and reported how it turns out for other people to know for reference! 🙂

        1. Hanna

          Hey! I ended up making the frosting with ghee (my first time trying it!) and it worked wonderfully. Thank you so much for the fabulous recipe! 🙂

          1. Lindsay Post author

            Yay! Thanks for coming back and sharing Hanna! I still haven’t jumped on the ghee bandwagon yet – definitely on my list to try though! 🙂

          2. Barbara

            Oh dear, ghee is butter, it’s just clarified butter. So, it is a dairy product. I hope you’re okay and it didn’t make you sick!! :-/

  4. Terrie

    Unfortunately, this is still not low carb, which is the usual reason for needing a lower-sugar recipe. Potato starch is super carb-y.

    1. Lindsay Post author

      You are correct Terrie, this frosting is not low carb. It was not my intention to make it low carb, it was to make it using less powdered sugar than the traditional recipe I grew up with which called for 4 cups of powdered sugar. 😉

      It is still lower than the average traditional frosting though. The sugar grams per Tablespoon is cut in half along with about 3g less Carbs then the traditional frosting. Again, this TBS nutrition. Obviously everything is still needed to be consumed in moderation. 🙂

  5. Anuradha

    I tried this recipe although it does work for low sugar but it is not very stiff i had to add a buttload of starch for such a little amount i made. Will this frosting be at all stiff?

    1. Lindsay Post author

      Potato starch does take just a little bit of time to thicken once added. It won’t thicken to its full stiffness immediately upon stirring it in – Normally about 5-10 minutes. I’ve made this recipe several times myself, sometimes on accident I’ll add just a hair too much milk or extract and I’ve had to compensate with extra potato starch to reach the desired thickness. Hope this helps!

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  7. Alayza

    Hi, Lindsay! Yey! found a recipe that doesn’t use too much powdered sugar 🙂 I’ve been struggling to find the right buttercream for my vegan cupcakes it’s either too sweet or I can’t use the buttercream because it’s melting easily 🙁

    I do have a question can I use this to frost my cupcakes? How many cups can this make.
    Thank you!

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  9. Irene Ilachinski

    This was so good! I was searching for a dairy-free frosting for our son’s birthday cake, and came across this one. I substituted earth balance vegan butter for regular butter. The potato starch idea is ingenious. I will say that it was a bit too sweet for me…As I get older, I find I prefer mild sweetness. Next time I would reduce the sugar by 1/3 to 1/2. Also I should probably refrigerate the frosting for about 30 minutes before applying it to the cake. I did not do that, so it was a bit runny, but whenstill it refrigerated well and was awesome!

    1. Lindsay Post author

      So glad you enjoyed it Irene! You can most definitely swap the powdered sugar with even more potato starch if you are needing even less sweetness. I’ve done that before myself. 🙂

    1. Lindsay Post author

      Gluten-Free – Yes. All my recipes (provided you use the same ingredients as I do) are gluten-free since Mid 2015. Dairy-Free – Also yes, provided you use a dairy-free butter swap. Hope this helps! 🙂

  10. Gretchen

    1. Does these remain firm? I’ve read some other dairy free frosting recipes say that it melts at room temperature. I’ll be decorating the cake a day ahead of time and may need it to sit at room temp.

    2. This appears to have a more yellowish tint. Does that affect food coloring? I need a solid royal blue, but I’m afraid adding blue to this yellowish tone will turn slightly green.

    It is for my son’s first birthday this weekend. He cannot have dairy or soy.

    1. Lindsay Post author

      It does! My family and I actually prefer it to sit out so it gets that crisp outer coating on the frosting. For some reason my organic powdered sugar is what is causing that yellowish tint. I’ve used my non-organic powdered sugar and it turns out a normal buttercream color. You should be fine with the color. 🙂

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