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.
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?
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.
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 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. 🙂
Hi! Would you recommend this recipe for frosting sugar cookies and using food coloring with it? I really want to make some cute Christmas designs 🙂
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!
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! 🙂
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! 🙂
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! 🙂
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!! :-/
Yes most definitely this frosting would work for that! 🙂
Unfortunately, this is still not low carb, which is the usual reason for needing a lower-sugar recipe. Potato starch is super carb-y.
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. 🙂
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?
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!
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.
Yes you can definitely use this frosting to frost cupcakes! Its the frosting I use for every baked good of mine. It makes roughly 2 cups.
Irene Ilachinski says
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!
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. 🙂
Beth Dulay says
Will corn starch work in place of the potato starch?
It can work, it just has a slightly stronger taste compared to potato starch in my opinion.
Will this work to pipe on a cake?
Yes! I use it all the time for frosting cakes. 🙂
This is recipe gluten and dairy free? Thanks!
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! 🙂
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.
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. 🙂
What’s the “shelf life” for this icing(for lack of better wording)? I’m a newbie at baking and needed a lactose-free option. Anything I should know about refrigeration?
I frost cakes with this and leave the cakes on the counter for 2-3 days myself. I actually prefer that ‘frosting crunch’ cakes get when sitting out. I’ve lived leaving it out after frosting items. Before frosting anything I leave I’d leave it in the fridge in a air tight container up to 1-2 weeks.
This is a great recipe! I’ve used it in many adventures, turing into chocolate icing, chai spiced and dulce de leche! It’s so versatile! I just wanted to comment to mention that you CANNOT make it too far ahead of time, and store in the fridge as you can with other icings. I learned the hard way: once the potato starch was added and everything looked right, I placed it in the fridge (as I had a big celebration planned and I made it the day before). It came out rock hard in the morning, with no hope of ever softening up again.
So, great recipe, just be ready to use it right away! 🙂
So glad you’ve liked it and thank you for adding in that tip! 🙂
Hi- this sounds great, so clever! – do you know if tapioca flour would work the same as potato starch? Thanks
I have not tried it so I’m not sure. I thinkkkkkk it might work similar though so it’s definitely worth a shot.
Hi do you think arrowroot powder would work?
I haven’t tried it myself but I definitely could see it working! 🙂
Would corn starch substitute the potato starch If we don’t want to use it
While I haven’t tested it out with cornstarch. Yes I imagine it would work.
Hi! I’m wondering what brand of powdered sugar you usually use. I’ve read that not all sugar, weather regular or powdered, is considered vegan. But other than that, I can’t find hardly any other info when I look into certain brands. Any help would be appreciated!!
Hi! I’m making this at th moment, how many ml is your 1 cup? Or maybe are they American cups or United Kingdom cups? Or ambI being overboard? The cup I have is 250 ml but I am sure American cups are a bit less, like 236,588 ml 😅🤦🏼♀️🙄🙏🏻
You are right! 1 cup is about 236 ml. Just because you are converting it personally I’d add a splash in a little bit at a time. With frosting it’s better to gradually add the milk then pour it all in anyways. And this way is the conversion is a bit off you won’t have to worry about adding additional sugar to compensate adding too much milk. Hope that makes sense!
Just wanted to tell you thank you for this recipe and I used spectrum palm oil shortening instead of the butter, water instead of the almond milk (I need to go grocery shopping haha!) and arrowrot starch instead of potato but the big change was I used erythratol that I powdered in my coffee grinder because I’m out of suggar and it turned out great! The erythratol gave it a weird cold feeling though so I would stick to suggar I just wanted to share for anyone that was curious.
Thank you for sharing Rachel ! 🙂
Cora Turner says
Is there anything to substitute potato starch? It looks like such a great recipe but I don’t have potato starch.
cornstarch or xanthan gum.. both should work.
Could tapioca starch be used instead of the potato starch to get the same results?
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe (5 yrs ago)! FYI I subbed cornstarch for the potato starch and only needed 3 TBs (I actually would’ve used even less because it was too dry and I ended up having to add more almond milk). Also, I added 1/4 tsp salt because you can’t make frosting without salt! It’s pretty much the secret to making anything sweet taste even more amazing.
Can I substitute cornstarch for potato starch? How about with arrowroot powder?
I don’t see why not
Beth Carbone says
Has anyone tried subbing lemon juice for the almond milk to make a lemon frosting? My son is wanting that for his birthday (today..lol) so I guess I might just have to try it out & see how it goes! 🍋
I ended up trying the recipe using lemon juice instead of milk and it came out delicious!! I added in 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and it is a gorgeous yellow color and you can’t taste the turmeric at all. The only issue I had is that the icing ended up being more of a fondant consistency so I couldn’t spread it on but had to mold it like play dough and press it onto the cake. 😆 I doubled the recipe and stayed on the lower end of the potato starch recommendation (using 8 Tbsp for the whole batch). Any suggestions on what to do differently next time so it’s more spreadable?
Thanks so much for the amazing recipe!
What potato starch do you recommend?